October 30, 2007

10/30/2007 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

This update/Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter has the following items:

1. Jewish Vegetarian Group in L.A. Schedules Meeting

2. Jonathan Safran Foer to Publish Vegetarian-related Book

3. JVNA Mentioned in a Jerusalem Post Article

4. Animal Rights Group to Unveil “A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion”/Please Consider Attending

5. You Can Help Vegetarian-Related Poem Win a Prize

6. Israeli Vegetarians Open a Vegetarian/Vegan Hotel and Resort in Costa Rica

7. A Chance to Get a Vegetarian Message to Al Gore

8. California Leads Efforts To Improve Conditions for Farm Animals

9. Important Vegetarian Talk Scheduled by JVNA Advisor

10. Israeli School Children Help Cleanup Campaign

11. Hazon Plans Food-Related Conference/Please Consider Attending

12. Humane Society of the US (HSUS) Starts an “Animals and Religion” Program

13. Excerpts From the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership Newsletter

14. Vegetarian Times Article Outlines 15 Reasons for Vegetarianism

15. Action Alert: Reducing Fur Sales

16. Web Site Provides Useful Information For Spiritual/Ethical/Environmental/Vegetarian Investing

17. My Old Article on “Mad People Disease” Posted by the European Vegetarian Union News Agency

Some material has been deferred to a later update/newsletter to keep this one from being even longer.

[Materials in brackets like this [ ] within an article or forwarded message are my editorial notes/comments.]

Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the JVNA, unless otherwise indicated, but may be presented to increase awareness and/or to encourage respectful dialogue. Also, material re conferences, retreats, forums, trips, and other events does not necessarily imply endorsement by JVNA or endorsement of the kashrut, Shabbat observances, or any other Jewish observances, but may be presented for informational purposes. Please use e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and web sites to get further information about any event that you are interested in. Also, JVNA does not necessarily agree with all positions of groups whose views are included or whose events are announced in this newsletter.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. Jewish Vegetarian Group in L.A. Schedules Meeting

[It is great that there are Jewish vegetarian groups in various areas. If you would like to help publicize your group and events, please send us information. Thanks.]

The Jewish Vegetarian Society of Los Angeles invites you to join us for an enjoyable monthly meeting:

2:00 PM. November 4, 2007
Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue (meeting room)
15739 Ventura Blvd, Encino
Free and Everyone is invited. No age restrictions

Speaker: The reknown Mike Anderson, author of the DVD "EATING" and the RAVE eating plan
Event type: education, health
Areas: L.A., San Fernando Valley, Westside, Santa Monica
Posting: Singles, Community

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2. Jonathan Safran Foer to Publish Vegetarian-related Book

Forwarded message:

Foer writing farm non-fiction

By JOHN EBY / Dowagiac Daily News
Friday, October 26, 2007 10:14 AM EDT

How do you follow two wildly acclaimed novels about researching his grandfather's life in Ukraine, which became a movie starring Elijah Wood, and a 9-year-old boy coming to terms with his father's death in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11?

Non-fiction farm writing, of course.

"Eating Animals," due out next fall, makes perfect sense once everything from vegetarianism to parenthood is illuminated by Jonathan Safran Foer, Dowagiac's 34th visiting author since Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwen Brooks at Central Middle School in January 1992.

Speaking Thursday night at Dowagiac Middle School Performing Arts Center, Foer made it clear that his next project isn't as much of a departure as it sounds, considering that another journey is involved and it will be culled from varying perspectives, just as his novels unfold from three different points of view.

As a "vegetarian off and on for most of my life," parenthood prodded him into action. "I decided I better think about this more seriously. Feeding someone else is not like feeding yourself - especially if your decisions are going to be different from decisions most other people make."

His odyssey took him from traditional family farms to factory farms and slaughterhouses.

"I don't know how well I've written it or if it will mean anything to anybody," he said, "but I'm absolutely sure this is something people should be talking about. The (United Nations) recently released a study that was a continuation of a study by the University of Chicago that said animal agriculture - meat - is the single most important cause of global warming and in the top two or three causes of every single environmental problem globally. Have you ever heard Al Gore mention this or seen it on the Sierra Club's list of the 10 things you can do to help fight global warming? It's not on the list because it's very hard to talk about. It pisses people off."

Foer offers the perspective of someone who is not an animal activist, philosopher or journalist. "I was trying to write something from the very personal perspective of what should I feed my child? I've seen for a year and a half the various ways people farm. There are wonderful traditional farms also like existed 50 years ago. Animals are, believe it or not, outside and they are not fed anti-biotics before they're sick. I've seen the full range for this book, which traces that personal journey."

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3. JVNA Mentioned in a Jerusalem Post Article

Oct 25, 2007 11:06
A vegetarian feast

Until recently, it was weird to be vegetarian, at least in Europe and the New World.
October is World Vegetarian Month, according to the newsletter of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America.
[Unfortunately, the article is just a general discussion of vegetarian food, and not much about Jewish teachings re vegetarianism.]

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4. Animal Rights Group to Unveil “A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion”/Please Consider Attending


[I was part of the group that drafted the proclamation. It is a very good document, but not as strong re promoting vegetarianism as I would like. Please consider attending the unveiling and helping to promote this important initiative. Thanks.]

A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion

An Invitation from “Best Friends”!

On November 7, leaders representing the world's major religions will proclaim to the nation, and the world, that principles of kindness to animals should be an integral part of religious teachings.

On that day, in an event hosted by Best Friends Animal Society, pastors and priests, rabbis and imams, and leaders of other religious traditions will join together to sign "A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion," an historic document that calls on all people of faith to speak with one voice on behalf of animals.

The event will be held this November 7th at 9:30 a.m. in the Cannon Caucus Room, in the Cannon House Office Building in Washington, D.C.

"This is an important event in the timeline of the animal protection movement," says Paul Berry, Best Friends' executive director. "People of faith are often the gatekeepers of critical social reforms in our country, and this event signals a major shift in their thinking on animal protection.

"The religious leaders who developed this proclamation are showcasing great courage and moral leadership on behalf of the animals, so we're asking our members and friends to make the trip, attend the ceremony, and demonstrate their enthusiastic support for the brave efforts of these religious leaders. They deserve a big show of our support at the event."

The event is free and open to the public, and advocates for the cause of animal protection are encouraged to attend and show their support for this important effort.

Berry added, "If any big groups want to attend, some kind folks have offered financial aid for travel. So, anyone needing help to make the trip-or anyone offering financial aid for groups wanting to attend-should contact Kris Haley krish@bestfriends.org

The Proclamation that will be unveiled in D.C. on Nov. 7th is the result of weeks and months of spirited discussion and debate. And, it all began in a two-day retreat hosted by Best Friends at our sanctuary in Angel Canyon. <http://network.bestfriends.org/religion/news/17477.html>
During that retreat, Best Friends facilitated a frank and earnest discussion among religious leaders from across the country about issues on animal protection such as blood sport and factory farming-and the "confounding silence" among people of faith on such issues. During and after the retreat, many other faith leaders joined the discussion over the Internet, and a consensus of principles emerged in the form of an
inspired, formal proclamation intended to break the silence-and call on people of faith, and leaders of faith, to put compassion into action for all of God's creatures.

The concept of caring for all of nature is becoming more and more a concern for people all over the country, regardless of their faith or philosophy. In 2006, a nationwide poll commissioned by Best Friends found that 89 percent of Americans agree that "we have a moral obligation to protect the animals in our care." Download our Animals & Religion - A Kindness Revival
<http://network.bestfriends.org/Library/Download.aspx?d=2900> (PDF) to learn more.

In spite of that astounding consensus, we also learned in that poll that religious leaders in their churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues have largely ignored kindness and compassion toward animals in their messages to their congregations.

The consequences of violence in our society-to animals and each other-are inextricably linked. So, the need for more persistent and pervasive attention to animal protection issues across all sectors of our society-including the religious sectors-is fundamental and essential to social progress. From dog fighting and the culture of criminality that surrounds this brutal practice, to the violence toward animals among young people that predicts violence and sociopathic behavior as adults, cruelty to animals is both a moral issue and a community issue. Leaders of faith, as many did during the Michael Vick dog fighting scandal, can use the pulpit to proclaim compassion and kindness toward animals as a foundation of their religious faith, but that message can't end when cases of violence to animals isn't front page news.

"A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion," developed by the religious leaders in the weeks since the retreat at Best Friends, offers the united belief that "animals have intrinsic value as part of God's creation and are entitled to live lives free of cruelty and exploitation. We therefore invite and encourage people of all faiths to speak with one voice on behalf of those who cannot speak."

That unified call for action among people of faith for a new emphasis on kindness and compassion to animals will be officially unveiled in the official signing ceremony November 7, beginning at 9:30 a.m. in the Caucus Room of the Cannon House Office Building in the nation's capital.

The event is free and open to the public, and advocates for the cause of animal protection are encouraged to attend and show their support for this important effort.

The proclamation highlights five problem areas regarding animal welfare, followed by five corresponding calls to action such as:

* Adopting rather than purchasing companion animals

* Reducing meat consumption and only buying from farms that implement humane practices

* Rejecting forms of entertainment that harm or exploit animals

* Becoming aware of current harmful medical and commercial testing on animals and advocating for more humane alternatives

* Speaking out against over-aggressive land development that encroaches upon wildlife populations and habitat

"We in the animal protection movement owe a huge debt of gratitude to the religious leaders who joined together to create this historic document," added Berry. "We're encouraging everyone who can make the trip, to attend the event and show these folks that we appreciate their courage and commitment to our cause."

For more information on event details, email Kris Haley at krish@bestfriends.org.

The Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion was authored by leaders of the following 21 faith traditions: Assembly of God, Baptist, Buddhist, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Church of the Brethren, Community of Christ, Episcopalian, Interfaith/New Thought, Islamic, Jain, Jewish, Lutheran, Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Quaker, Religious Science, Roman Catholic, Unitarian Universalist, United Church of Christ, and United Methodist.

After the event in D.C., Best Friends will continue to facilitate this important effort by giving people around the world an opportunity to lend their support by signing an online version of the document, which will be posted on November 7. People and leaders of faith interested in joining this effort can visit Best Friends' Animals and Religion Network Community. <http://www.network.bestfriends.org/religion>

"It's abundantly clear that people of faith are looking to religious leaders to speak out on compassion for animals," said Berry. "In facilitating this remarkable collaboration of religious leaders from such diverse traditions, we've seen that kindness to animals is a universal moral and ethical principal. Best Friends will continue to help build this initiative into a true grass-roots movement.

"Beginning with the event in Washington, and continuing with the online campaign for one million Proclamation signatures, 'A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion' offers our friends and colleagues in the animal welfare community an unprecedented opportunity to reach one of the most influential demographics in the nation - communities of faith."

What you can do:

Best Friends supporters in the national capital area are invited - and encouraged - to attend the November 7 signing ceremony. RSVP to the Animals and Religion Community manager, Kris Haley <mailto:krish@bestfriends.org>

* Tell your minister, rabbi, priest, imam, pastor or other clergy about the November 7 signing of "A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion," and encourage them to visit Best Friends Animals and Religion Network Web site http://network.bestfriends.org/religion/news to learn more about the effort.

* Tell other congregants about your commitment to kindness to animals as a part of your religious values. Download a flyer about the Proclamation.

* After November 7, the Proclamation will be available online so you can add your name and lend support to Best Friend's effort of gathering one million signatures in support of kindness and compassion for animals in religions teachings.


Religious leaders from an unprecedented diversity of faith traditions will carry a single message to Washington D.C. on Nov. 7: Be Kind to Animals.

An alliance of religious leaders representing faith traditions worldwide, people of faith, and Best Friends members and supporters.

The official unveiling and signing ceremony for "A Religious Proclamation for Animal Compassion"

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007 at 9:30 a.m.

Cannon Caucus Room
Third Floor
Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

Best Friends Animal Society

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5. You Can Help Vegetarian-Related Poem Win a Prize

Forwarded message from David Sparenberg:

Forward This Email To All Of Your Family And Friends!

Dear Family and Friends,

I am in the middle of a great online poetry competition. I have the chance to win some great prizes, including an iPod. I really want to win, and all I need are votes from my family and friends. You simply need to click on a link, read my poem, and rate it. If I get enough votes, I win, it’s that easy! Please use the link below to vote for my poem, “Lead Us Not into Extinction/Prayer of the Animals.” Please forward this to anyone else you know that could help me out. You can also use the link below on your Facebook or MySpace page to help me receive even more votes. This is a great way to help me share my poetry with the world!

Thanks very much for your vote. I will keep you posted if I win. Wish me luck!

Best regards,
David Sparenberg

Use This Link To Vote For Me:

Here is David’s poem:

Lead Us Not into Extinction/Prayer of the Animals
by: David Edwin Sparenberg

Our kin, who now possess the land
where once we roamed
plentiful and free,
lead us not into extinction,
but deliver us from the devouring
disease of human greed.

Give us this day
(even unto the seventh generation)
a belonging--place to be
what we are, and in harmony
with all our relations.

For yours is the power
to restore or further destroy
the sacred hoop of creation.

Make a warrior's choice
by honoring unity in diversity
of the great mystery.
Let spirit guide you
back to Creator's vision-dream:
We are all one family.

Copyright ©2007 David Edwin Sparenberg

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6. Israeli Vegetarians Open a Vegetarian/Vegan Hotel and Resort in Costa Rica

Forwarded message from the marketing manager. If interested, please visit the group’s web site and contact them, if you wish, for further information.]

Hi Richard!

I got your e-mail address from Stewart Rose from "Vegetarians of Washington" organization. My name is Assaf and I'm the marketing manager of Lands in love a 100% vegetarian & vegan cloud forest hotel & resort in Costa Rica. The staff and the owners are Israelis and vegetarians for many years.

Our two restaurants have many vegetarian dishes, including American, Italian, Japanese, Mexican, Indian, Tai, Chinese, Israeli and more. We prepare vegan food on demand, fulfilling our guests special wishes. Our lasagna, burgers, sausages and tacos, which are soy made, can satisfy even carnivorous guests.

We already host at Lands in love many Jewish and vegetarian clients (we can offer to your organizations - JVNA and SERV special prices - 15% discount from our regular rates). We also operate as travel agency and offer veggie tours in many locations in Costa Rica – active volcanoes, beautiful beaches and wildlife reserves and have many activities at the hotel - canoeing, rappelling, horseback riding, guided forest trails and rafting.

I can send you a short description about the hotel and adventure center if you'd like.

This is a link of our web-site:



Ace Shlosberg
Tel: +506-447-9331
Fax: +506-447-9334
Tel US: +1-408-351-2636
Costa Rica

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7. A Chance to Get a Vegetarian Message to Al Gore

Forwarded message from Al Gore:

Dear Richard,

Current, the media company I co-founded six years ago with my partner Joel Hyatt, just last week launched a new web site that integrates television and the Web in an unprecedented way. It provides, as never before, a platform for citizens to make the media their own.

One of the features I'm most excited about on Current.com is called Viewpoints. Viewpoints is a virtual town hall where you can share your opinions, in video, about the issues that matter in the 2008 election: from global warming to government eavesdropping, and many more.

This digital town hall is already bustling, and you can find viewpoints from me and from a lot of people, including the candidates running for President. Come and listen to their positions and, more importantly, tell them and the rest of the world what you think!


Since Viewpoints is the only place on the Web where you can easily share your view in video, my hope is that you'll take this opportunity to go toe-to-toe with the pundits on TV and help contribute to a new platform for public discourse. All it takes is a webcam and 60 seconds.

And, since we'll be taking the most popular and most compelling viewpoints and airing them on Current TV -- now available in 52 million homes around the world -- you may very well get your voice heard on our global TV network.

I look forward to seeing and hearing you on Current.com, as we deepen the discussion on these important topics:


Thank you,

Al Gore

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8. California Leads Efforts To Improve Conditions for Farm Animals

From: Farm Sanctuary
Sent: Oct 19, 2007 4:59 PM

Thanks to author and JVNA advisor Lewis Regenstein for forwarding the following article:

Groundbreaking Effort for Farm Animals Underway in California

Farm Sanctuary, in conjunction with The Humane Society of the United States, has launched a ground-breaking ballot initiative effort to outlaw some of the most inhumane farm animal confinement systems in the state: veal crates for baby calves, gestation crates for mother pigs and battery cages for laying hens.

On October 1, 2007 citizens throughout the state began a massive effort to gather the 650,000 signatures needed to qualify the Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act for placement on the September 2008 California ballot. Volunteers have only about five months to complete their signature-gathering efforts to achieve this goal—and help save millions of farm animals a year from tremendous suffering. Your help is needed!

If you are a California resident, please contact Californians for Humane Farms and find out how you can participate in this historic effort for farm animals.

***If you are not a California resident, please forward this email to all your friends and family members who live in California.

Why California?

Polling has consistently shown that most Americans oppose the cruelty of veal crates, gestation crates and battery cages, yet it is extremely difficult to convince the legislature to pass laws banning these confinement systems, thanks to the influence that huge factory farming corporations exert over many legislative offices.

The ballot initiative system was implemented to solve this problem, by allowing citizens to place an issue on the ballot for a vote directly by the people. This presents a great opportunity for animals, as it allows animal protection advocates the opportunity to circumvent the pressure that big agribusiness companies exert over the legislature and bring humane issues directly to the people for a vote.

California is one of just a handful of states that allows the ballot initiative system, and it is also the largest agricultural state in the U.S.—providing us with an excellent opportunity to save millions of animals a year from extreme, gratuitous suffering on factory farms.

The Prevention of Farm Animal Cruelty Act is supported by a broad coalition of animal protection groups, veterinarians, environmentalists, and food safety advocates, all of whom oppose the growth of huge factory farms in the state and their terrible impacts on animals, the environment and food safety.

Veal crates are narrow wooden enclosures, typically 2 feet wide, which prevent calves from turning around or lying down comfortably for the duration of their short, miserable lives.

Gestation crates are 2-by-7 feet enclosures that confine 400-pound breeding sows on factory farms for most of their lives. The sows are freed only briefly to be moved to similarly restrictive farrowing crates to give birth.

Battery cages are used to confine 95 percent of all laying hens in the U.S. and allow giant egg farms to pack hundreds of thousands of hens into a single shed. The cages are so small that each hen has a living space smaller than a sheet of typing paper.

All these confinement systems are so cruel that they are already banned throughout much of Europe. In the U.S., a growing number of restaurants, supermarkets and even producers have pledged to stop using them, based on their inherent cruelty.

In the past few years alone, we have succeeded in banning gestation crates by ballot initiative in Florida, and a similar ballot initiative in Arizona banned gestation and veal crates. This year Oregon became the first state in the nation to ban gestation crates by a legislative vote.

Please be part of history and help us reduce the suffering of millions of animals in California!

***If you don't live in California, please pass this alert on to anyone you know who lives there, as only registered voters can sign petitions. Find out what you can do in your state or contact us by e-mail: campaigns@farmsanctuary.org to find out what can be done in your state!

Farm Sanctuary is the nation’s leading farm animal protection organization. Since incorporating in 1986, we have worked to expose and stop cruel practices of the “food animal” industry through research and investigations, legal and legislative actions, public awareness projects, youth education, and direct rescue and refuge efforts. Our shelters in Watkins Glen, NY and Orland, CA provide lifelong care for hundreds of rescued animals, who have become ambassadors for farm animals everywhere by educating visitors about the realities of factory farming. For more information about Farm Sanctuary or our programs, please visit farmsanctuary.org or call 607-583-2225. To become a Farm Sanctuary member or to make a donation today using our secure online form, please click here. For updates on previous action alerts, please click here.

Please forward and distribute widely! Thank you.

Farm Sanctuary, P.O. Box 150 Watkins Glen, NY 14891.

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9. Important Vegetarian Talk Scheduled by JVNA Advisor

Forwarded message from JVNA advisor and animal rights activist David Cantor, Executive Director of Responsible Policies for Animals:

[Cross-Post Freely]

Mark your calendar!

Responsible Policies for Animals presentation November 8th!

-- in Glenside, Pennsylvania! --


Inhumane treatment of animals is a root cause of global warming, pollution, and other ecological destruction; racism, sexism, and other discrimination; influenza pandemics, AIDS, and other biomedical disasters; pervasive chronic disease and soaring medical & insurance costs; poverty and hunger; and wars linked to rapidly diminishing fresh water, oil and other resources.

I’ll explain connections at a free presentation on November 8th -- in Glenside, Pennsylvania! I’ll also explain crucial differences between cruelty to animals and inhumane treatment of animals. Read on for details …

Nonhuman animals experience pain, pleasure, fear, hunger, a wide range of emotions, and have much else in common with the animals who decide how the rest will live and die: human beings.

Almost everyone agrees animals should be treated humanely, but humane treatment throughout society is not possible under current laws and practices. Domination and destruction of nonhuman animals and their natural homes are woven into the human economy. Changing that has never made it onto the public agenda, and mass media never explain it.

So it is crucial that all people learn their best long-term interests depend on an end to animal use and destruction. There are reasons even popular efforts to solve the big human problems in recent decades haven’t worked. And there are reasons fighting cruelty to animals makes little progress toward ending inhumane treatment of animals.

War without end is not necessary. We needn't keep driving species extinct. Our bodies needn't be dumping grounds for inhumane and unhealthful foods or for pharmaceutical products.

People are naturally altruistic, just, compassionate, and generous, but they’re asked to do, give, and think little. I believe people can be inspired by humane treatment of animals as the fundamental change that is needed – even though it will be a long time coming.

Especially if you live or work within a reasonable distance, join me at 7:00 P.M. on November 8th when I’ll give a presentation titled Food and Peace at the Won Institute of Graduate Studies, 137 S. Easton Road, Glenside, PA 19038.


Best wishes,

David Cantor
Executive Director
Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc.
P.O. Box 891
Glenside, PA 19038

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10. Israeli School Children Help Cleanup Campaign

In Ilut, school children help cleanup campaign

By Eli Ashkenazi


Haaretz 10/23/07

Never has the garbage littering Israel's open spaces - like the entrance to the Nazareth suburb of Ilut - been worse, according to Dr. Omri Boneh, director of the northern district of the Jewish National Fund (JNF).

But as Boneh toured the north yesterday, he tried to exhibit some optimism at the sight of thousands of school children and local council workers who had volunteered to take part in a national cleanup day.

At the entrance to Ilut, a bulldozer - jointly paid for by the local council and the JNF - was hard at work loading dump trucks with huge piles of garbage, which had piled up on the path leading to a grove near the main road to Ilut.

"A large part of my job involves dealing with garbage in the groves," JNF Nazareth Mountains ranger Sheli Ben-Yishai said, adding that vandalism and arson are also problems. "The piles of garbage we remove today will grow here again. It's frustrating. But if we didn't conduct campaigns like today's, the garbage would take over the forest, and the damage would be irreversible," he said.

But Ben-Yishai also said that the campaign is "a day of opening a door to cooperation with the people in the towns in the region where I work."

The campaign was part of a nation-wide cleanup day held in dozens of communities throughout the country.

Symbolic significance

Susan Basol, who works in JNF's department of community and forest coordinating activities in schools in Arab communities, says the significance of the cleanup day is mainly symbolic.

"It expresses the relationship between the JNF, the schools and the community," she said.

Yesterday's campaign took place a month after the global Clean Up the World campaign was held, following a request by Muslim participants that it not take place during the Muslim month of Ramadan.

According to Lubana Daraushe, a teacher at an Ilut elementary school and coordinator of the school's cultural activities, "the goal of today's activity is to plant in the students the love of cleanliness and the environment."

Ben-Yishai says the state has a part to play in the phenomenon of the illegal dumps.

"There is no dump site close by, and so people create one in the open spaces," he said.

Basol agreed, saying that although litter in Israel's open spaces is usually blamed on hikers and picnickers, most of the garbage at the entrance to Ilut was dumped not by residents, but rather by "contractors saving travel time by leaving their building refuse there."

Basol added that yesterday's campaign can only be a drop in the bucket, at a time when municipalities are fighting to provide the most basic services, and Ilut's sanitation department is a small part-time position. "Under such circumstances, environmental quality is a luxury," Basol said.

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11. Hazon Plans Food-Related Conference/Please Consider Attending

[This should be an important conference, and, fortunately JVNA advisor and vegetarian activist Roberta Schiff will be attending and representing Roberta. Please consider attending and helping Roberta spread the Jewish vegetarian message to about 200 people interested in food issues.]

The Hazon Food Conference
December 6th - December 9th
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center | Falls Village, CT

The Hazon Food Conference is at the forefront of an emerging national movement that explores the intersection of Jewish life and contemporary food issues. It brings together educators, rabbis, farmers, nutritionists, chefs, food writers, and families who share a passion for learning about and celebrating food. Join us for inspiring lectures and discussions, hands-on cooking sessions, family-family activities, an inclusive Shabbat and Chanukah celebration, and delicious, consciously prepared food. For more info or to register:

Hazon has moved! Please note our new address:
45 West 36th Street | 8th Floor | New York, NY 10018 | info@hazon.org | 212 644 2332

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12. Humane Society of the US (HSUS) Starts an “Animals and Religion” Program

Posted by: "AnimalConcerns.org" animalconcerns@gmail.com
Sat Oct 27, 2007 10:31 am (PST)
[Cherry Hill Courier Post - opinion]

What do the animal rights movement and religion have in common?

Plenty, according to Christine Gutleben, director of The Humane Society of the United States' new "animals and religion" program.

The nonprofit group wants to encourage people to remember animals when exercising their religious ideals of compassion and mercy.

The program was launched in early October to coincide with the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi, who Catholics revere as the patron saint of animals. It's about the same time many churches hold animal-blessing ceremonies to pray over beloved pets.

The Humane Society wants to tap the faithful's political resources, too.
Since food is such a big part of the religious life of congregations,
Gutleben suggests adopting more humane food policies. Farm animals are
the most abused animals in the United States, she said, and the way they are treated is largely invisible.

Most farm animals are raised in cages or crates that confine their movements.

Learn about the industrial animal agricultural practices used to produce food, she said, and find better alternatives, like eggs produced by cage-free hens.

"Cage-free eggs is a great starting point," said Gutleben. "It creates an awareness in the community that can grow and continue to develop in policy."

The Humane Society is already working with communities that want to
develop "eco-kosher" or "eco-halal" policies. Once people start thinking about how meat gets to their plates, "things will begin to change," Gutleben said.
Many vegans follow the concept of "ahimsa," a Sanskrit word meaning
"without hurting," according to Freya Dinshah, president of the American Vegan Society, based in Malaga.

"Ahimsa" is common to a number of religions, especially in India, Dinshah said. Jainists, for example, are vegetarian for religious reasons.

"Those are the people who are going to stick with it the longest," said Dinshah. "When they've really got a conviction that we shouldn't be killing or hurting animals, it's like a vow. That's how you base your life."

Keeping the Faith looks at religion and spirituality in South Jersey.
The column appears Saturdays. Reach Kim Mulford at (856) 251-3342 or

full story:

[I have sent my “Judaism and Vegetarianism” book and related material to Christine.]

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13. Excerpts From the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership Newsletter

News and Thoughts

Rosh Hashana 5758

from the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership

Hike the Israel National Trail - Join us in March 2007!

Just launched - Details of an unforgettable 4-day hike from northern Israel to the Sea of Galilee, hosted by the Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership and Hazon. You are invited to join us to hike a section of the Israel National Trail, 23-27 March 2007.

Highlights will include:
• Through the spring flowers of the Upper Galilee
• Up to the peak of the highest mountain in the Galilee
• Into the running streams of Nahal Amud
• Up to the ancient city of Tzfat
• Down through the canyon of Nahul Amud
• And winding up at the shores of the Kinneret
Full details of the hike are on the web at www.hikeisrael.org

American Friends of Heschel - Israel study tour 2007

In March 2007 a group from American Friends of Heschel took part in a five-day study tour called "Building a sustainable society: Israel through the eyes of the Heschel Center." The densely-packed study tour included visits to Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, many towns and villages in the north of Israel and stimulating seminars with Heschel staff, Environmental Fellows, Members of Knesset, and other activists and educators who are playing a major role in finding solutions to Israel's environmental and sustainability challenges. A short film about the Heschel Center's impact can be viewed here.

Some highlights included visits with:

Hussein Tarabiah Environmental Fellow and founder-director of the Regional Center for Environmental Education and R&D (TAEQ) in the Beit Natofa Basin near Sakhnin. The Sakhnin Center is home now to an international model project that will bring advanced wastewater treatment to rural areas across the Middle East. Now with funding from the EU, the systems developed at the Center can be replicated in other arid areas cost effectively, bringing safe irrigation water to rural towns and villages.

There is much valuable material in the newsletter and at the web site of this valuable Israeli environmental group. For more information, please go to http://heschel.org.il/eng/.

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14. Vegetarian Times Article Outlines 15 Reasons for Vegetarianism

15 Reasons To Stop Hiding from Vegetarianism

Vegetarian Times. Posted October 25, 2007.

Live longer, lower your weight, slash pollution and twelve other good reasons to start cutting meat out of your diet.


People are drawn to vegetarianism by all sorts of motives. Some of us want to live longer, healthier lives or do our part to reduce pollution. Others have made the switch because we want to preserve Earth's natural resources or because we've always loved animals and are ethically opposed to eating them.

Thanks to an abundance of scientific research that demonstrates the health and environmental benefits of a plant-based diet, even the federal government recommends that we consume most of our calories from grain products, vegetables and fruits. And no wonder: An estimated 70 percent of all diseases, including one-third of all cancers, are related to diet. A vegetarian diet reduces the risk for chronic degenerative diseases such as obesity, coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and certain types of cancer including colon, breast, prostate, stomach, lung and esophageal cancer.

Why go veg? Chew on these reasons:

1. You'll ward off disease. Vegetarian diets are more healthful than the average American diet, particularly in preventing, treating or reversing heart disease and reducing the risk of cancer. A low-fat vegetarian diet is the single most effective way to stop the progression of coronary artery disease or prevent it entirely. Cardiovascular disease kills 1 million Americans annually and is the leading cause of death in the United States. But the mortality rate for cardiovascular disease is lower in vegetarians than in nonvegetarians, says Joel Fuhrman, MD, author of Eat to Live: The Revolutionary Formula for Fast and Sustained Weight Loss. A vegetarian diet is inherently healthful because vegetarians consume no animal fat and less cholesterol and instead consume more fiber and more antioxidant-rich produce -- another great reason to listen to Mom and eat your veggies!

2. You'll keep your weight down. The standard American diet -- high in saturated fats and processed foods and low in plant-based foods and complex carbohydrates -- is making us fat and killing us slowly. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and a division of the CDC, the National Center for Health Statistics, 64 percent of adults and 15 percent of children aged 6 to 19 are overweight and are at risk of weight-related ailments including heart disease, stroke and diabetes. A study conducted from 1986 to 1992 by Dean Ornish, MD, president and director of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito, California, found that overweight people who followed a low-fat, vegetarian diet lost an average of 24 pounds in the first year and kept off that weight 5 years later. They lost the weight without counting calories or carbs and without measuring portions or feeling hungry.

3. You'll live longer. If you switch from the standard American diet to a vegetarian diet, you can add about 13 healthy years to your life, says Michael F. Roizen, MD, author of The RealAge Diet: Make Yourself Younger with What You Eat. "People who consume saturated, four-legged fat have a shorter life span and more disability at the end of their lives. Animal products clog your arteries, zap your energy and slow down your immune system. Meat eaters also experience accelerated cognitive and sexual dysfunction at a younger age."

Want more proof of longevity? Residents of Okinawa, Japan, have the longest life expectancy of any Japanese and likely the longest life expectancy of anyone in the world, according to a 30-year study of more than 600 Okinawan centenarians. Their secret: a low-calorie diet of unrefined complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, and soy.

4. You'll build strong bones. When there isn't enough calcium in the bloodstream, our bodies will leach it from existing bone. The metabolic result is that our skeletons will become porous and lose strength over time. Most health care practitioners recommend that we increase our intake of calcium the way nature intended -- through foods. Foods also supply other nutrients such as phosphorus, magnesium and vitamin D that are necessary for the body to absorb and use calcium.

People who are mildly lactose-intolerant can often enjoy small amounts of dairy products such as yogurt, cheese and lactose-free milk. But if you avoid dairy altogether, you can still get a healthful dose of calcium from dry beans, tofu, soymilk and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, kale, collards and turnip greens.

5. You'll reduce your risk of food-borne illnesses. The CDC reports that food-borne illnesses of all kinds account for 76 million illnesses a year, resulting in 325,000 hospitalizations and 5,000 deaths in the United States. According to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), foods rich in protein such as meat, poultry, fish and seafood are frequently involved in food-borne illness outbreaks.

6. You'll ease the symptoms of menopause. Many foods contain nutrients beneficial to perimenopausal and menopausal women. Certain foods are rich in phytoestrogens, the plant-based chemical compounds that mimic the behavior of estrogen. Since phytoestrogens can increase and decrease estrogen and progesterone levels, maintaining a balance of them in your diet helps ensure a more comfortable passage through menopause. Soy is by far the most abundant natural source of phytoestrogens, but these compounds also can be found in hundreds of other foods such as apples, beets, cherries, dates, garlic, olives, plums, raspberries, squash and yams. Because menopause is also associated with weight gain and a slowed metabolism, a low-fat, high-fiber vegetarian diet can help ward off extra pounds.

7. You'll have more energy. Good nutrition generates more usable energy -- energy to keep pace with the kids, tackle that home improvement project or have better sex more often, Michael F. Roizen, MD, says in The RealAge Diet. Too much fat in your bloodstream means that arteries won't open properly and that your muscles won't get enough oxygen. The result? You feel zapped. Balanced vegetarian diets are naturally free of cholesterol-laden, artery-clogging animal products that physically slow us down and keep us hitting the snooze button morning after morning. And because whole grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables are so high in complex carbohydrates, they supply the body with plenty of energizing fuel.

8. You'll be more "regular." Eating a lot of vegetables necessarily means consuming more fiber, which pushes waste out of the body. Meat contains no fiber. People who eat lower on the food chain tend to have fewer instances of constipation, hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.

9. You'll help reduce pollution. Some people become vegetarians after realizing the devastation that the meat industry is having on the environment. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), chemical and animal waste runoff from factory farms is responsible for more than 173,000 miles of polluted rivers and streams. Runoff from farmlands is one of the greatest threats to water quality today. Agricultural activities that cause pollution include confined animal facilities, plowing, pesticide spraying, irrigation, fertilizing and harvesting.

10. You'll avoid toxic chemicals. The EPA estimates that nearly 95 percent of the pesticide residue in the typical American diet comes from meat, fish and dairy products. Fish, in particular, contain carcinogens (PCBs, DDT) and heavy metals (mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium) that can't be removed through cooking or freezing. Meat and dairy products can also be laced with steroids and hormones, so be sure to read the labels on the dairy products you purchase.

11. You'll help reduce famine. About 70 percent of all grain produced in the United States is fed to animals raised for slaughter. The 7 billion livestock animals in the United States consume five times as much grain as is consumed directly by the American population. "If all the grain currently fed to livestock were consumed directly by people, the number of people who could be fed would be nearly 800 million," says David Pimentel, professor of ecology at Cornell University. If the grain were exported, it would boost the US trade balance by $80 billion a year.

12. You'll spare animals. Many vegetarians give up meat because of their concern for animals. Ten billion animals are slaughtered for human consumption each year. And, unlike the farms of yesteryear where animals roamed freely, today most animals are factory farmed -- crammed into cages where they can barely move and fed a diet tainted with pesticides and antibiotics. These animals spend their entire lives in crates or stalls so small that they can't even turn around. Farmed animals are not protected from cruelty under the law -- in fact, the majority of state anticruelty laws specifically exempt farm animals from basic humane protection.

13. You'll save money. Meat accounts for 10 percent of Americans' food spending. Eating vegetables, grains and fruits in place of the 200 pounds of beef, chicken and fish each nonvegetarian eats annually would cut individual food bills by an average of $4,000 a year.

14. Your dinner plate will be full of color. Disease-fighting phytochemicals give fruits and vegetables their rich, varied hues. They come in two main classes: carotenoids and anthocyanins. All rich yellow and orange fruits and vegetables -- carrots, oranges, sweet potatoes, mangoes, pumpkins, corn -- °©owe their color to carotenoids. Leafy green vegetables also are rich in carotenoids but get their green color from chlorophyll. Red, blue and purple fruits and vegetables -- plums, cherries, red bell peppers -- contain anthocyanins. Cooking by color is a good way to ensure you're eating a variety of naturally occurring substances that boost immunity and prevent a range of illnesses.

15. It's a breeze. It's almost effortless these days to find great-tasting and good-for-you vegetarian foods, whether you're strolling the aisles of your local supermarket or walking down the street at lunchtime. If you need inspiration in the kitchen, look no further than the Internet, your favorite bookseller or your local vegetarian society's newsletter for culinary tips and great recipes. And if you're eating out, almost any ethnic restaurant will offer vegetarian selections. In a hurry? Most fast food and fast casual restaurants now include healthful and inventive salads, sandwiches and entrées on their menus.

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15. Action Alert: Reducing Fur Sales

Thanks to animal rights activist Batya Bauman for the following:

Please contact Land's End and let them know that you
do not appreciate their selling fur. http://tinyurl.com/2tp6wb

Here is a response from Lands End, together with Batya’s response to them.


Dear Kathy,

I hope you will let me know when you discontinue these objectionable
items. We would like to resume buying from Lands End’s wonderful catalog at that time.


Batya Bauman
Amherst, MA
On Oct 25, 2007, at 3:21 PM, landsend@landsend.com wrote:

Dear Ms. Bauman:

Thank you for taking the time to write and share your concerns.

I am sorry that we have disappointed you with the fur trim on a few of our products. Your past loyalty has been appreciated and I apologize that we have let you down. We do understand that these products are not for everyone, which is why we offer a wide range of products.

However, I will be sure to share your comments with our merchandising teams and I知 sure they will keep them in mind as we develop product for future seasons.

We are always interested in listening to our customers and your thoughts and requests are an integral part of our decision-making process. Thank you for helping us improve our product offerings.

Once again, thank you for sending us your comments. Your past patronage is valued and it is my hope that we will continue to have an
opportunity to serve you.


Kathy Nondorf
Customer Communications
Batya’s original message:

I am appalled that Land's End is selling rabbit fur. PLease cancel my catalog subscription until you discontinue this abominable practice. I shall, in turn, defer any Land's End purchases I make until such a time.

Thank you,
Batya Bauman
Amherst, MA 01002

Please contact Land's End and let them know that you do not appreciate their selling fur. http://tinyurl.com/2tp6wb

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16. Web Site Provides Useful Information For Spiritual/Ethical/Environmental/Vegetarian Investing

Dear Richard:

Thank you for kind words! Here is a brief description of what Investing for the Soul is all about, both for your newsletter and SERV members.

For the spiritual, vegetarian, or ethical investor, Investing for the Soul (www.investingforthesoul.com) is unique in offering relevant global news, insightful commentary, resources and services. If you are a vegetarian and an investor who wishes to grow spiritually while minimally harming the earth that sustains us, it is imperative that we employ our higher spiritual values in investing decisions. Consider that when we invest in a company, or many companies in the case of a mutual fund, we share in the responsibility for the activities of those companies as well as participate in the outcomes of their corporate actions. Such actions have a direct influence on our personal and spiritual development as well as that of our beloved earth!

So let us invest in companies whose activities we believe are most helpful to us spiritually, ethically, and for life, generally! By investing this way, a better life, and even potentially higher profits, awaits us all. Indeed, the accumulating masses of reports and studies (see our Article Archives) suggest that outperformance of portfolio returns is frequently possible by employing spiritually and ethically oriented investing strategies."

Again, thank you and best wishes, Ron

Ron Robins, MBA
Founder & Analyst
Investing for the Soul
"Resources for spiritually or ethically oriented investors and investment professionals."
Website: www.investingforthesoul.com
E-mail: ronr@investingforthesoul.com
Phone: 705-635-3034
Address: PO Box 6500, Huntsville, ON Canada P1H 2J8

Media that have featured our activities include: Report on Business Television's Business Morning; CBS MarketWatch; The Financial Post; Rogers Television's Money Line; CBC Radio One's Metro Morning; 680 News Radio; New Directions Magazine; The Catholic Register; and Environmental News Network Radio.

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17. My Old Article on “Mad People Disease” Posted by the European Vegetarian Union News Agency


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** Fair Use Notice **

The material on this site is provided for educational and informational purposes. It may contain copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. It is being made available in an effort to advance the understanding of vegetarian, environmental, nutritional, health, economic, social justice and human rights issues etc. It is believed that this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have an interest in using the included information for educational or research purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond 'fair use', you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. The information on this site does not constitute legal, technical or medical advice.

10/28/2007 Special JVNA Newsletter on Evidence of a Very Imperiled Planet

Shalom everyone,

This special/ Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter focuses on the widening threats from global warming. I think the many recent items below indicate that the world is increasingly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe, and it shows why our efforts are so essential.

The newsletter has the following items:

1. New UN Report Shows Seriousness of Environmental Crises

2. Landmark UN Report Warns: Save the Planet - It Is Now Or Never

3. Responding to Global Warming and Other Environmental Crises Urged

4. Is California Burning Due to Global Scorching?

5. Indications That the Earth is Drying Up

6. Chile One More Country Threatened by Global Warming

7. Eminent Scientist Claims Global Warming Already Irreversible

8. Atmospheric CO2 Rises More Than Expected Since 2000

9. Rising Seas Will Swamp America's Shores

10. “60 Minutes Report: Does Global Warming Fuel Major Wildfires?"

11. Are Major Power Outages Ahead?

12. Global warming May Fuel Massive Species Extinctions

13. Some Additional Reports on Global Warming and Its Effects

14. Should We Let Uncertainties Re Global Warming and Its Effects Prevent Us From Acting?

Some material has been deferred to a later update/newsletter to keep this one from being even longer.

[Materials in brackets like this [ ] within an article or forwarded message are my editorial notes/comments.]

Opinions expressed do not necessarily represent the views of the JVNA, unless otherwise indicated, but may be presented to increase awareness and/or to encourage respectful dialogue. Also, material re conferences, retreats, forums, trips, and other events does not necessarily imply endorsement by JVNA or endorsement of the kashrut, Shabbat observances, or any other Jewish observances, but may be presented for informational purposes. Please use e-mail addresses, telephone numbers, and web sites to get further information about any event that you are interested in. Also, JVNA does not necessarily agree with all positions of groups whose views are included or whose events are announced in this newsletter.

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. New UN Report Shows Seriousness of Environmental Crises

U.N. Warns of Rapid Decay of Environment


Published: October 26, 2007


PARIS, Oct. 25 - The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage to the environment that could pass points of no return, according to a major report issued Thursday by the United Nations.

Climate change, the rate of extinction of species, and the challenge of feeding a growing population are putting humanity at risk, the United Nations Environment Program said in its fourth Global Environmental Outlook since 1997.

“The human population is now so large that the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available at current consumption patterns,” Achim Steiner, the executive director of the Environment Program, said in a telephone interview.

Many biologists and climate scientists have concluded that human activities have become a dominant influence on the Earth's climate and ecosystems. But there is still a range of views on whether the changes could have catastrophic impacts, as the human population heads toward nine billion by mid-century, or more manageable results.

Over the last two decades, the world population increased by almost 34 percent, to 6.7 billion, from 5 billion. But the land available to each person is shrinking, from 19.5 acres in 1900 to 5 acres by 2005, the report said.

Population growth combined with unsustainable consumption has resulted in an increasingly stressed planet where natural disasters and environmental degradation endanger people, plants and animal species.

Persistent problems include a rapid rise of “dead zones,” where marine life no longer can be supported because pollutants like runoff fertilizers deplete oxygen.

But Mr. Steiner, of the Environment Program, did note that Western European governments had taken effective measures to reduce air pollutants and that Brazil had made efforts to roll back some deforestation. He said an international treaty to tackle the hole in the earth's ozone layer had led to the phasing out of 95 percent of ozone-damaging chemicals.

“Life would be easier if we didn't have the kind of population growth rates that we have at the moment,” Mr. Steiner said. “But to force people to stop having children would be a simplistic answer. The more realistic, ethical and practical issue is to accelerate human well-being and make more rational use of the resources we have on this planet.”

Mr. Steiner said parts of Africa could reach an environmental tipping point if changing rainfall patterns turned semi-arid zones into arid zones and made agriculture much harder. He said another tipping point could occur in India and China if Himalayan glaciers shrank so much that they no longer supplied adequate amounts of water.

He also warned of a global collapse of all species being fished by 2050, if fishing around the world continued at its current pace. The report said that two and a half times more fish were being caught than the oceans could produce in a sustainable manner, and that the level of fish stocks classed as collapsed had roughly doubled over the past 20 years, to 30 percent.

In the spirit of the United Nations report, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France outlined plans on Thursday to fight climate change.

He said he would make 1 billion euros, or $1.4 billion, available over four years to develop energy sources and maintain biodiversity. He said each euro spent on nuclear research would be matched by one spent on research into clean technologies and environmental protection.

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2. Landmark UN Report Warns: Save the Planet - It Is Now Or Never

From: AFP.com | Agence France-Presse, a global news agency


Save the planet? It's now or never, warns landmark UN report

NAIROBI (AFP) - Humanity is changing Earth's climate so fast and devouring resources so voraciously that it is poised to bequeath a ravaged planet to future generations, the UN warned Thursday in its most comprehensive survey of the environment.

The fourth Global Environment Outlook (GEO-4), published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), is compiled by 390 experts from observations, studies and data garnered over two decades.

The 570-page report -- which caps a year that saw climate change dominate the news -- says world leaders must propel the environment "to the core of decision-making" to tackle a daily worsening crisis

"The need couldn't be more urgent and the time couldn't be more opportune, with our enhanced understanding of the challenges we face, to act now to safeguard our own survival and that of future generations," GEO-4 said.

The UNEP report offers the broadest and most detailed tableau of environmental change since the Brundtland Report, "Our Common Future," was issued in 1987 and put the environment on the world political map.

"There have been enough wake-up calls since Brundtland. I sincerely hope GEO-4 is the final one," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

"The systematic destruction of the Earth's natural and nature-based resources has reached a point where the economic viability of economies is being challenged -- and where the bill we hand on to our children may prove impossible to pay," he added.

Earth has experienced five mass extinctions in 450 million years, the latest of which occurred 65 million years ago, says GEO-4.

"A sixth major extinction is under way, this time caused by human behaviour," it says.

Over the past two decades, growing prosperity has tremendously strengthened the capacity to understand and confront the environmental challenges ahead.

Despite this, the global response has been "woefully inadequate," the report said.

The report listed environmental issues by continent and by sector, offering dizzying and often ominous statistics about the future.

Climate is changing faster than at any time in the past 500,000 years.

Global average temperatures rose by 0.74 degrees Celsius (1.33 Fahrenheit) over the past century and are forecast to rise by 1.8 to four C (3.24-7.2 F) by 2100, it said, citing estimates issued this year by the 2007 Nobel Peace co-laureates, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

With more than six billion humans, Earth's population is now so big that "the amount of resources needed to sustain it exceeds what is available," the report warned, adding that the global population is expected to peak at between eight and 9.7 billion by 2050.

"In Africa, land degradation and even desertification are threats; per capita food production has declined by 12 percent since 1981," it said.

The GEO-4 report went on to enumerate other strains on the planet's resources and biodiversity.

Fish consumption has more than tripled over the past 40 years but catches have stagnated or declined for 20 years, it said.

"Of the major vertebrate groups that have been assessed comprehensively, over 30 percent of amphibians, 23 percent of mammals and 12 percent of birds are threatened," it added.

Stressing it was not seeking to present a "dark and gloomy scenario", UNEP took heart in the successes from efforts to combat ozone loss and chemical air pollution.

But it also stressed that failure to address persistent problems could undo years of hard grind.

And it noted: "Some of the progress achieved in reducing pollution in developed countries has been at the expense of the developing world, where industrial production and its impacts are now being exported."

GEO-4 -- the fourth in a series dating back to 1997 -- also looks at how the current trends may unfold and outlines four scenarios to the year 2050: "Markets First", "Policy First", "Security First", "Sustainability First".

After a year that saw the UN General Assembly devote unprecedented attention to climate change and the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC and former US vice president Al Gore for raising awareness on the same issue, the report's authors called for radical change.

"For some of the persistent problems, the damage may already be irreversible," they warned.

"The only way to address these harder problems requires moving the environment from the periphery to the core of decision-making: environment for development, not development to the detriment of environment."

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3. Responding to Global Warming and Other Environmental Crises Urged

Hold Politicians' Feet to the Fire


Posted on Oct 23, 2007 Truthdig

By Amy Goodman

Fires rage through Southern California. Massive rainstorms drench New Orleans. The Southeast U.S., from Tennessee across the Carolinas and into Georgia, is in the midst of what could be the worst drought on record there. Atlanta could run out of water. While the press does an admirable job bringing us live images of extreme weather, it doesn't explain why these events are happening. What links these crises? Global warming. Two words that have all too often been vacuumed off government Web sites and erased from government scientific studies.

If the press isn't making the connection, Bill McKibben is. In 1989, he wrote the book “The End of Nature,” one of the first books to describe global warming as an emerging environmental crisis. Now, almost 20 years later, he is leading a campaign to draft mass grass-roots participation to publicize the potential catastrophe of climate change and to demand federal action to “Step It Up.” The first Step It Up day of action, April 14, 2007, organized in local communities through a central Web site, saw 1,400 coordinated activities pulled together in just three months. The second day of action is planned for Nov. 3, organized through the Web site stepitup2007.org.

“What's important to remember and the reason that we spend all our time organizing now, trying to change all this, is that so far human beings have raised the temperature of the planet about one degree Fahrenheit,” says McKibben. “The computer modeling makes it very clear that before the century is out, unless we take very strong action, indeed, we're going to raise the temperature of the planet another five degrees Fahrenheit. So, take whatever you see now, multiply it by five, and then toss in all those cascading effects that come, as we exceed one threshold after another.”

The cascade effect is what is so important to understand. How could one degree Fahrenheit make such a big difference? One immediate, measurable impact of that seemingly slight temperature rise, according to University of Arizona scientist Tom Swetnam, is the increase in the frequency and duration of large wildfires in the U.S. West. Swetnam and his team have linked a warming, drying trend since the 1980s to the incidence of fires, like the more than a dozen that are raging out of control in Southern California.

The predictions are not good. Trees take in carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas, releasing oxygen. In his August 2006 Science article, Swetnam reports that western U.S. forests remove 20 percent to 40 percent of the carbon dioxide in the U.S. As forests burn, McKibben notes, carbon is released into the atmosphere. Fewer trees then remain to take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, making warmer conditions, supporting more and longer fires, and so on, creating a positive feedback loop. A central warning of the scientific community is this: At some point, if Earth's temperature rises much more, maybe three degrees, maybe six degrees, an irreversible feedback loop will overwhelm the planet's climate, with cascading impacts leading to a warmer and warmer planet.

Corporate America is feeling the heat. Carbon-emitting industries like the oil companies, chastened by the experience of Big Tobacco and asbestos, see that in the future they might be held accountable-especially since they are funding junk science and “Astroturf” (i.e., fake grass-roots groups) to cast doubt about the effects of global warming. Insurance companies can't afford to ignore the consequences of global warming, as extreme weather causes billions of dollars in damage.

McKibben and the Step It Up campaign lay out three basic demands:

-Green jobs now, for all: 5 million green jobs conserving 20 percent of our energy by 2015. Green jobs are those created by transforming the economy from a coal- and oil-burning one to a sustainable economy built on a new set of energy sources, ensuring that the same people left behind by the last economy are not left behind again.

-Cut carbon 80 percent by 2050: Freeze climate pollution levels now and cut at least 80 percent by 2050, and 30 percent by 2020.

-No new coal: a moratorium on new coal-fired power plants.

McKibben explains: “We need a movement as strong, as willing to sacrifice, as morally urgent, as passionate as the civil rights movement was a generation ago. If we don't get it soon-and we have a real time limit here-if we don't get it soon, then we're not going to be able to force the changes that we need over the power of the very strong vested interests that would like to keep things the way they are, even though it's now destabilizing the planet in the most powerful and most tragic ways.”

People are taking action. On Monday, 60 people were arrested in Washington, D.C., as part of the No War, No Warming days of action, linking the war in Iraq, post-Katrina recovery and climate change, and demanding action from Congress, holding elected officials' feet to the fire. Humans are causing global warming. For a short time, we have a chance to limit the damage. But time is running out. Step it up.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 500 stations in North America.

© 2007 Amy Goodman

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4. Is California Burning Due to Global Scorching?

Forwarded message from Rabbi Arthur Waskow and the Shalom Center:

California Burning: Dammit, Global SCORCHING!

Dear friends,

I'm sorry that I can't use HTML here to put that headline in Fiery Red, as it should be.

As I watch the California firestorms on TV, I can see a line of trees, tufts of grass, a house begin to scorch at the edges, then go up in flames. That is what is beginning to happen to the whole state of California, and to our country - our planet.

It is NOT that pleasant sense of "warming," that feeling we have in the arms of a beloved, or as we drift to sleep, or as we listen to delicious music.

We should stop calling it "global warming." It is global scorching; we face not the cool prospect of "climate change" but "climate crisis."

Despite the danger, is there hope? YES.

Just yesterday, Tuesday, The Shalom Center held a meeting of climate activists from New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington. Among us, expert Jewish lobbyists and community organizers talked about the Congressional scene and the readiness of the Jewish community to act. They emphasized the need to remind the secular Washington environmental lobbyists to insist on equity and justice in addressing the climate crisis.

Indeed, that outlook draws on the ancient Jewish commitment to social justice that should be intertwined with the revived Jewish concern for the earth.

Why are equity and justice so important?

This morning, 500,000 "evacuees" - most of them, temporarily fleeing their homes. In the years ahead, unless we act, hundreds of millions of refugees - fleeing permanently from lands where the drinking water has dried up, where the coastlines have been flooded, where new diseases have moved into new regions and plagues are spreading.

The California fires are not just a metaphor; they are global scorching already, in microcosm. The terrible droughts that have dried the forests, the uniquely high temperatures, are connected with our climate crisis.

The California firestorms are no more a "natural" disaster than was Hurricane Katrina. There, global scorching heated up the Gulf waters to make a moderate hurricane ferocious. And there, oil drills and wells smashed the precious wetlands that have absorbed much of the fury of previous hurricanes.

Meanwhile, the NY Times reports that global scorching has dried the Great Lakes to the point where ships that once moved easily now can't sail through them at all. So the price of food and all sorts of other materials is rising.

It is a raging disregard for the earth AND FOR OTHER HUMAN BEINGS that has fueled - and I use that word deliberately -- these disasters.


Not just polar bears. Mostly, the poor.

Adam - the human race - and Adamah - the earth - are in fact as intertwined as those Hebrew words sound.

Yesterday we also explored how to build around the fact that there will be an International Day of Climate Action on December 8 -the Shabbat of Hanukkah.

For Jews that moment can be one for rabbis and synagogues to teach and learn from each other.

And the whole eight days of Hanukkah can be time for families to deal with the personal changes AND the public advocacy that we need, to avert climate disaster.

We need cool shuls.

Check out our Green Menorah Covenant campaign on http://.www.shalomctr.org

And write Rabbi Jeff Sultar at Greenmenorah@shalomctr.org

The Shalom Center is now developing specific proposals for Hanukkah programs in home and shul. We will get them out to you very soon.

And please help us work on this by making your special tax-deductible contributions. Please click on the Donate Now button below.

MANY MANY THANKS -- With blessings of healing for adam and adamah, for California now and all humanity and earth -


[Unfortunately, this initiative, as valuable as it is, has not addressed connections between animal-based diets and global warming/scorching. I have contacted the group several times in the past re this. Below is a letter from JVNA advisor and secretary/treasurer John Diamond. Please also contact the group and urge that they put dietary considerations on their agenda. Thanks.]
Dear Rabbi Waskow,

You would do an incredible Kiddush Hashem in bringing to everyone's attention that the factory farming of over 50 Billion animals worldwide, to satisfy he "Carnivorous Gluttony" of both Jews and non-Jews is the PRIMARY cause of global warming and that a switch to plant-based diets is absolutely essential today to prevent the ULTIMATE CATASTROPHE of HUMAN EXTINCTION.

Very respectfully,

John K. Diamond
Secretary/Treasurer (JVNA)

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5. Indications That the Earth is Drying Up

Jon Gertner | The Future Is Drying Up


The New York Times Magazine's Jon Gertner writes: "Last May, Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the United States government's pre-eminent research facilities, remarked that diminished supplies of fresh water might prove a far more serious problem than slowly rising seas. When I met with Chu last summer in Berkeley, the snowpack in the Sierra Nevada, which provides most of the water for Northern California, was at its lowest level in 20 years. Chu noted that even the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30 to 70 percent of the snowpack will disappear. 'There's a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster,' Chu said, 'and that's in the best scenario.'"

The Future Is Drying Up

By Jon Gertner

The New York Times Magazine

Sunday 21 October 2007

Scientists sometimes refer to the effect a hotter world will have on this country's fresh water as the other water problem, because global warming more commonly evokes the specter of rising oceans submerging our great coastal cities. By comparison, the steady decrease in mountain snowpack - the loss of the deep accumulation of high-altitude winter snow that melts each spring to provide the American West with most of its water - seems to be a more modest worry. But not all researchers agree with this ranking of dangers. Last May, for instance, Steven Chu, a Nobel laureate and the director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, one of the United States government's pre-eminent research facilities, remarked that diminished supplies of fresh water might prove a far more serious problem than slowly rising seas. When I met with Chu last summer in Berkeley, the snow pack in the Sierra Nevada, which provides most of the water for Northern California, was at its lowest level in 20 years. Chu noted that even the most optimistic climate models for the second half of this century suggest that 30 to 70 percent of the snow pack will disappear. "There's a two-thirds chance there will be a disaster," Chu said, "and that's in the best scenario."

In the Southwest this past summer, the outlook was equally sobering. A catastrophic reduction in the flow of the Colorado River - which mostly consists of snowmelt from the Rocky Mountains - has always served as a kind of thought experiment for water engineers, a risk situation from the outer edge of their practical imaginations. Some 30 million people depend on that water. A greatly reduced river would wreak chaos in seven states: Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California. An almost unfathomable legal morass might well result, with farmers suing the federal government; cities suing cities; states suing states; Indian nations suing state officials; and foreign nations (by treaty, Mexico has a small claim on the river) bringing international law to bear on the United States government. In addition, a lesser Colorado River would almost certainly lead to a considerable amount of economic havoc, as the future water supplies for the West's industries, agriculture and growing municipalities are threatened. As one prominent Western water official described the possible future to me, if some of the Southwest's largest reservoirs empty out, the region would experience an apocalypse, "an Armageddon."

One day last June, an environmental engineer named Bradley Udall appeared before a Senate subcommittee that was seeking to understand how severe the country's fresh-water problems might become in an era of global warming. As far as Washington hearings go, the testimony was an obscure affair, which was perhaps fitting: Udall is the head of an obscure organization, the Western Water Assessment. The bureau is located in the Boulder, Colo., offices of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, the government agency that collects obscure data about the sky and seas. Still, Udall has a name that commands some attention, at least within the Beltway. His father was Morris Udall, the congressman and onetime presidential candidate, and his uncle was Stewart Udall, the secretary of the interior under Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Bradley Udall's great-great-grandfather, John D. Lee, moreover, was the founder of Lee's Ferry, a flyspeck spot in northern Arizona that means nothing to most Americans but holds near-mythic status to those who work with water for a living. Near Lee's Ferry is where the annual flow of the Colorado River is measured in order to divvy up its water among the seven states that depend on it. To many politicians, economists and climatologists, there are few things more important than what has happened at Lee's Ferry in the past, just as there are few things more important than what will happen at Lee's Ferry in the future.

The importance of the water there was essentially what Udall came to talk about. A report by the National Academies on the Colorado River basin had recently concluded that the combination of limited Colorado River water supplies, increasing demands, warmer temperatures and the prospect of recurrent droughts "point to a future in which the potential for conflict" among those who use the river will be ever-present. Over the past few decades, the driest states in the United States have become some of our fastest-growing; meanwhile, an ongoing drought has brought the flow of the Colorado to its lowest levels since measurements at Lee's Ferry began 85 years ago. At the Senate hearing, Udall stated that the Colorado River basin is already two degrees warmer than it was in 1976 and that it is foolhardy to imagine that the next 50 years will resemble the last 50. Lake Mead, the enormous reservoir in Arizona and Nevada that supplies nearly all the water for Las Vegas, is half-empty, and statistical models indicate that it will never be full again. "As we move forward," Udall told his audience, "all water-management actions based on 'normal' as defined by the 20th century will increasingly turn out to be bad bets."

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6. Chile One More Country Threatened by Global Warming

Global warming in Chile threatens industry, water supplies

By Jack Chang | McClatchy Newspapers

Helen Hughes / MCT

Ski lifts stand over barren ground after the snow has melted in Lagunillas, Chile. | View larger image

SAN JOSE DE MAIPO, Chile - With a population of 16 million people, Chile doesn't produce much of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. But it's paying the price.

Giant glaciers are disappearing. Mudslides are becoming more common. Snow no longer falls in the spring, replaced instead by tepid rains.

Last May, an entire lake in southern Chile disappeared practically overnight after the Tempano Glacier, which had acted as a dam, melted and destabilized.

“Without a doubt, global warming is the cause,” said Gino Casassa, a researcher at the nonprofit Center of Scientific Studies and a member of the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “The only question now is what will be the effects for Chile over the next decades.”

The answers have been coming in at an alarming rate as scientists scramble to record the changes happening up and down the country's mountainous spine.

Chilean researchers have found that more than half of the 120 glaciers they monitor are shrinking, with many disappearing at twice the rate recorded just a decade ago. That includes glaciers near the capital of Santiago that provide water to the city's 6 million residents.

In central Chile, where most of the population lives, the altitude at which snow begins to fall rose by 400 feet in the winter and more than 650 feet in the summer between 1975 and 2001. Rain has fallen instead at higher altitudes, causing the snow pack to shrink and triggering erosion on many mountains.

Average temperatures in the region over the past century have risen by half a degree to 1.26 degrees over the past century, enough to melt glaciers and snow.

The rising temperatures have produced a rise in water levels in the short term, but are likely to result in long-term shortages when the glaciers are gone, Casassa said.

Adding to Chile's worries, rain levels are dropping in the Patagonian south, where many of the country's hydroelectric dams are.

“It's like we're killing the goose that lays the golden egg,” said Jorge Quinteros, 75, a veteran alpinist who researches snow and water levels for Chile's government. “Rivers are growing like they never did, and they'll continue growing for a few years, but when the glaciers are gone, then what?”

The damage isn't limited to Chile. Neighboring Argentina faces droughts near its side of the Andes due to dropping rain levels. Shrinking glaciers in Bolivia are threatening water supplies in some towns.

“What's happening in Argentina is very similar to what's happening in Chile,” said Mario Nunez, director of the Argentine Sea and Atmosphere Investigations Center. “We're all trying to prepare for an uncertain future.”

The changes have been both big and small.

Mario Martinez, 82, said the weather at his mountain lodge in the shadow of the San Jose volcano in central Chile is the same as it was - cold - when he first arrived 30 years ago. In fact, the worst winter he remembers hit recently, in 2002, when snow nearly buried his two-story house.

But the volcano is often no longer snowcapped, he said, “while the bottom part is covered.”

Jose Manquez said declining snowfall has cut the ski season from three months to one month at the Lagunillas resort he helps manage. New snow-making machines, especially on lower-altitude runs, are his only hope for drawing customers.

The country's mining industry, which produces about two-thirds of Chilean exports, is researching new ways of doing business, said mining minister Karen Poniachik. Miners use vast amounts of water to crush, screen, wash and extract minerals, and disputes over water in the country's dry north, where many of Chile's mines are, already have sparked demonstrations and violence.

“The availability of water is definitely a concern,” she said.

For Quinteros, who has spent decades roaming Chile's wilds, an era has already come to an end. The mountains he knew and loved have changed for good, he said, and the future doesn't look promising.

He remembers when the foothills above Santiago were covered with snow year-round instead of being bare for most of the year, as they are now. He also remembers visiting legendary glaciers in Chile's south, such as the San Rafael and the O'Higgins, before they were visibly in retreat.

“I see the changes every time I'm in the mountains,” Quinteros said. “The impact of all this has been impossible not to see.”
McClatchy Newspapers 2007

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7. Eminent Scientist Claims Global Warming Already Irreversible

The Prophet of Climate Change: James Lovelock

One of the most eminent scientists of our time says that global warming is irreversible - and that more than 6 billion people will perish by the end of the century

Jeff GoodellPosted Oct 17, 2007 2:20 PM

Thanks to JVNA advisor Steve Schuster for forwarding this article from Rolling Stone to Us:


At the age of eighty-eight, after four children and a long and respected career as one of the twentieth century's most influential scientists, James Lovelock has come to an unsettling conclusion: The human race is doomed. "I wish I could be more hopeful," he tells me one sunny morning as we walk through a park in Oslo, where he is giving a talk at a university. Lovelock is a small man, unfailingly polite, with white hair and round, owlish glasses. His step is jaunty, his mind lively, his manner anything but gloomy. In fact, the coming of the Four Horsemen -- war, famine, pestilence and death -- seems to perk him up. "It will be a dark time," Lovelock admits. "But for those who survive, I suspect it will be rather exciting."

In Lovelock's view, the scale of the catastrophe that awaits us will soon become obvious. By 2020, droughts and other extreme weather will be commonplace. By 2040, the Sahara will be moving into Europe, and Berlin will be as hot as Baghdad. Atlanta will end up a kudzu jungle. Phoenix will become uninhabitable, as will parts of Beijing (desert), Miami (rising seas) and London (floods). Food shortages will drive millions of people north, raising political tensions. "The Chinese have nowhere to go but up into Siberia," Lovelock says. "How will the Russians feel about that? I fear that war between Russia and China is probably inevitable." With hardship and mass migrations will come epidemics, which are likely to kill millions. By 2100, Lovelock believes, the Earth's population will be culled from today's 6.6 billion to as few as 500 million, with most of the survivors living in the far latitudes -- Canada, Iceland, Scandinavia, the Arctic Basin.

By the end of the century, according to Lovelock, global warming will cause temperate zones like North America and Europe to heat up by fourteen degrees Fahrenheit, nearly double the likeliest predictions of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the United Nations-sanctioned body that includes the world's top scientists. "Our future," Lovelock writes, "is like that of the passengers on a small pleasure boat sailing quietly above the Niagara Falls, not knowing that the engines are about to fail." And switching to energy-efficient light bulbs won't save us. To Lovelock, cutting greenhouse-gas pollution won't make much difference at this point, and much of what passes for sustainable development is little more than a scam to profit off disaster. "Green," he tells me, only half-joking, "is the color of mold and corruption."

If such predictions were coming from anyone else, you would laugh them off as the ravings of an old man projecting his own impending death onto the world around him. But Lovelock is not so easily dismissed. As an inventor, he created a device that helped detect the growing hole in the ozone layer and jump-start the environmental movement in the 1970s. And as a scientist, he introduced the revolutionary theory known as Gaia -- the idea that our entire planet is a kind of superorganism that is, in a sense, "alive." Once dismissed as New Age quackery, Lovelock's vision of a self-regulating Earth now underlies virtually all climate science. Lynn Margulis, a pioneering biologist at the University of Massachusetts, calls him "one of the most innovative and mischievous scientific minds of our time." Richard Branson, the British entrepreneur, credits Lovelock with inspiring him to pledge billions of dollars to fight global warming. "Jim is a brilliant scientist who has been right about many things in the past," Branson says. "If he's feeling gloomy about the future, it's important for mankind to pay attention."


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8. Atmospheric CO2 Rises More Than Expected Since 2000


The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is increasing more than expected due to less-efficient use of fossil fuels, and carbon sinks that are absorbing less carbon, according to research published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Overall, "atmospheric carbon dioxide growth has increased 35 percent faster than expected since 2000," said the British Antarctic Survey, a group involved in the research. The report said that changes in carbon levels "characterize a carbon cycle that is generating stronger-than-expected and sooner-than-expected climate forcing." In lay terms, that means many climate models may be off the mark since only the most gloomy have forecasted less-efficient carbon sinks in the present. The effect of the weakening sinks alone could translate into an increase in the global average temperature of 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, according to study coauthor Corinne Le Quere. Le Quere said it's not clear precisely where the sinks are weakening, except in the Southern Ocean. A separate study of the North Atlantic Ocean to be published in the Journal of Geophysical Research next month also suggests the world's oceans may be sequestering far less carbon dioxide than previously thought.

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9. Rising Seas Will Swamp America's Shores


According to Seth Borenstein, The Associated Press, because of rising waters caused by climate change, "In about a century, some of the places that make America what it is may be slowly erased."

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10. “60 Minutes Report: Does Global Warming Fuel Major Wildfires?"

Warming Climate Fuels Megafires


Scott Pelley, CBS News, reports: "Every year you can count on forest fires in the West like hurricanes in the East, but recently there has been an enormous change in Western fires. In truth, we've never seen anything like them in recorded history. It appears we're living in a new age of megafires - forest infernos ten times bigger than the fires we're used to seeing."

Expert: Warming Climate Fuels Mega-Fires
By Scott Pelley
CBS News

Sunday 21 October 2007

Scott Pelley reports from the American West's fire lines on the rising number of mega-fires.

Every year you can count on forest fires in the West like hurricanes in the East, but recently there has been an enormous change in Western fires. In truth, we've never seen anything like them in recorded history. It appears we're living in a new age of mega-fires - forest infernos ten times bigger than the fires we're used to seeing.

To find out why it's happening, 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley went out on the fire line to see the burning of the American West.

Last fire season was the worst in recorded history. This year is already a close second, with two months to go. More than eight million acres have burned this year already. The men and women facing the flames are elite federal firefighters called "Hotshots."

Nationwide there are 92 hotshot crews of 20 members each. 60 Minutes found a group of New Mexico hotshots in the Salmon River Mountains of Idaho. They had set up camp in a burned out patch of forest with fire raging all around. They were hitting the day, exhausted, halfway through a 14-day shift.

Leaving camp to scout out the situation, the firefighters anticipated a mess and they found it: the valley was engulfed in smoke. The flames blew through the firebreak lines they dug the day before.


"You know, there are a lot of people who don't believe in climate change," Pelley remarks.

"You won't find them on the fire line in the American West anymore," Tom Boatner says. "'Cause we've had climate change beat into us over the last ten or fifteen years. We know what we're seeing, and we're dealing with a period of climate, in terms of temperature and humidity and drought that's different than anything people have seen in our lifetimes."

Produced By David Gelber and Joel Bach.

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11. Are Major Power Outages Ahead?

At the End of the Climate Policy Tunnel, Will the Light Be Out?


Coral Davenport, writing for Congressional Quarterly, reports: "America may be speeding toward power shortages and rolling blackouts, according to new studies and a host of experts, as the demand for power outpaces industry's moves to meet it."

South Struggles to Cope With Drought

In The Christian Science Monitor, Patrik Jonsson says, "Kids in Jefferson, Georgia, are shutting the tap off as they brush their teeth. Adults are doing bigger, but fewer, laundry loads. And just about everybody is glancing nervously at the puddle passing for the town's reservoir."

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12. Global warming May Fuel Massive Species Extinctions

Study of fossil record predicts climate change could fuel mass extinction

Climate change may fuel a mass extinction in which half of all plant and animal species could -- how to put this delicately? -- exit stage left, according to a new study. If the past 520 million years of fossil records are any predictor of the future, a globally warmed world will not bode well for biodiversity, researchers found. "We found that over the fossil record as a whole, the higher the temperatures have been, the higher the extinctions have been," said University of York ecologist Peter Mayhew. The study also found that four of five of the world's mass extinctions occurred when the Earth was significantly warmer, and that in cooler times, biodiversity tends to be higher. Researchers warned that the Earth is on track to hit temperatures similar to the higher, extinction-correlated ones in about 100 years or so.

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13. Some Additional Reports on Global Warming and Its Effects

a. California's Age of Megafires
The Christian Science Monitor's Daniel B. Wood writes: "There's a reason fire squads now battling more than a dozen blazes in southern California are having such difficulty containing the flames, despite better preparedness than ever and decades of experience fighting fires fanned by the notorious Santa Ana winds. The wildfires themselves, experts say, generally are hotter, move faster, and spread more erratically than in the past."

b. Global Warming "Is Happening Faster"
Paul Eccleston and Charles Clover, The Telegraph UK, report: "A weakening in the Earth's ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere means that global warming is happening faster than we thought, scientists said yesterday."

c. Panel Urges Global Shift on Sources of Energy
Andrew C. Revkin, The New York Times, writes: "Energy experts convened by the world's scientific academies yesterday urged nations to shift swiftly away from coal and other fuels that are the main source of climate-warming greenhouse gases and to provide new energy options for the two billion people who still mostly cook in the dark on wood or dung fires."

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14. Should We Let Uncertainties Re Global Warming and Its Effects Prevent Us From Acting?

Climate Change's Uncertainty Principle

Scientists say they can never be sure exactly how
extreme global warming might become, but that's no
excuse for delaying action

By David Biello

October 25, 2007

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in its first report in 1990 predicted that temperatures would warm by 0.5 degree Fahrenheit (0.3 degree Celsius) per decade if no efforts were made to restrain greenhouse gas emissions. But the panel of scientists and other experts was wrong: By 2001, the group estimated that average temperatures would increase by 2.7 to 8.1 degrees F (1.5 to 4.5 degrees C) in the 21st century, and they raised the lower end to 3.6 degrees F (2 degrees C) this year in their most recent report. In essence, neither this international team of experts nor any other can say with any certainty just how bad global warming may get.

There is a simple explanation for this, says atmospheric physicist Gerard Roe of the University of Washington (U.W.) in Seattle: Earth's climate is extremely sensitive. In other words, small changes in various physical processes that control climate lead to big results. "If nothing else changed by [warming], a doubling of carbon dioxide would ultimately lead to a temperature change of about 1.2 [degrees] C," [(2.1 degrees F)] Roe says. "In fact, because of internal processes within the climate system, such as changing snow cover, clouds and water vapor in the atmosphere, our best estimate is that the actual warming would be
two to four times larger than that."

Some of these feedback processes are poorly understood--like how climate change affects clouds-and many are difficult to model, therefore the climate's propensity to amplify any small change makes predicting how much and how fast the climate will change inherently difficult. "Uncertainty and sensitivity are inextricably linked," Roe says. "Some warming is a virtual certainty, but the amount of that warming is much less certain."

Roe and his U.W. co-author, atmospheric physicist Marcia Baker, argue in Science that, because of this inherent climate effect, certainty is a near impossibility, no matter what kind of improvements are made in understanding physical processes or the timescale of observations.

"Once the world has warmed 4 degrees C [(7.2 degrees F)] conditions will be so different from anything we can observe today (and still more different from the last ice age) that it is inherently hard to say when the warming will stop," physicists Myles Allen and David Frame of the University of Oxford wrote in an editorial accompanying the article. "If the true climate sensitivity really is as high as 5 degrees C [(9 degrees F)], the only way our descendants will find that out is if they stubbornly hold greenhouse gas concentrations constant for centuries at our target stabilization level."

Therefore, waiting for more scientific certainty before acting is a mistake, Roe says. "People are comfortable with the idea that stock markets, housing prices and the weather are uncertain, and they are used to making decisions on that basis," he notes.

But this also means that targets such as stabilizing atmospheric concentrations of CO2 at 450 parts per million (nearly double pre-industrial levels) to avoid more than a 3.6 degree F (2 degree C) temperature rise are nearly impossible as well. There is no guarantee that such a target would achieve its stated goal. "Policymakers are always going to be faced with uncertainty and so the only sensible way forward to minimize risk is to adopt an adaptive policy," argues climatologist Gavin Schmidt of the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies, "which adjusts emissions targets and incentives based on how well, or badly, things are going."

It also means that scientists and other experts are going to have to monitor measures other than just atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases to catch catastrophic climate change developing. "It is essential that we designate the harbingers of abrupt and significant changes or, perhaps more importantly, the triggers and thresholds that could commit the planet to these changes well before their tell-tale signs appear," says economist and IPCC author Gary Yohe of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn. "We cannot accept the adaptive design completely without having confidence in our abilities to determine exactly what to monitor."

The IPCC has taken a crack at that, identifying 26 "key vulnerabilities" in its most recent assessment, ranging from declines in agricultural productivity to the melting of ice sheets and polar ice cover as well as determining how to judge if they are spiraling out of control. Disappearing Arctic ice is already helping to amplify global warming beyond what the IPCC had predicted in the past. "We already know about as much as we are going to about climate system's response to greenhouse gases," Roe says. "We already have the basis for making the decisions we need to make."

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