October 16, 2007

10/9/2007 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. My Article on Kapparot Is the Top Link on Many Search Engines

2. Topp Meat Company Going Out of Business Due to Major Meat Recall

3. Please Consider Attending Hazon’s Food Conference and Helping Represent JVNA?

4. Will Our Future Involve “Meat Without Livestock”?/How Should We Respond to Such Efforts?

5. “Less Meat Means Less Heat”/An Effective Vegetarian Slogan?

6. Interested In Receiving a Weekly Environmental D’var Torah From Canfei Nesharim?/Environmental Lessons from Parshat Noach (From Their Collection)

7. Climate Change Has Been a “Mega-Disaster” This Year

8. The Top 100 Effects of Global Warming

9. Recent Book Has Articles by Richard Schwartz, Roberta Kalechofsky (Director of Jews fof Animal Rights) and Nina Natelson (Director of “Concern for Helping Animals in Israel”)

10. Eco-Kashrut –Necessary for Planetary Sustainability?

11. Global Warming Threatening Island Nations

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. My Article on Kapparot Is the Top Link on Many Search Engines

Thanks to animal rights and environmental activist Adam Weissman for sending me the following message:

I just websearched Kapparot-- and your article on it from My Jewish Library is the top link on multiple search engines!

That's great!


Wetlands Activism Collective, PO Box 344, New York, NY 10108
Phone: (347) 293-2217 Email: activism@wetlands-preserve.org

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2. Topp Meat Company Going Out of Business Due to Major Meat Recall

*Breaking News: Topps Meat is going out of business!


South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com

*Prevent E. coli by changing your diet

October 5, 2007

By Susan Levin

Worried about beef? If the Topps Meat recall made you think twice about biting into a burger, you aren't alone. The company recently recalled almost 22 million pounds of frozen hamburger [the second largest meat recall in U.S. history] because of possible E. coli contamination, which has been linked to more than 25 reported illnesses in more than half a dozen states, including Florida.

Despite well-publicized efforts by the American Meat Institute to increase food safety standards, contaminated meat still finds its way into our grocery stores and restaurants. In fact, in June of this year, the United Food Group recalled 5.7 million pounds of beef, which was blamed for an E. coli outbreak in Western states.

The figures are grim. Every year, Escherichia coli 0157:H7 is responsible for approximately 60 deaths and more than 70,000 infections in the United States, and more E. coli infections in this country have been caused by eating ground beef than any other food. It's a critical public health issue, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and meat companies don't seem to be able to solve the problem.

As a dietitian, I think it's time for consumers to face the facts: Burgers can bite you back in a big way. And E. coli is not the only problem. There are other dangers associated with meat that even the most diligent food inspector can't protect the public from. Our high-fat, meat-heavy diets are creating a public health disaster.

Meat contributes to obesity and heart disease, and it has been linked to several forms of cancer, especially colon cancer. In fact, people who eat red or processed meat are 50 percent more likely to develop colon cancer.

Think chicken is a healthier or safer alternative? Think again. Last year,
/Consumer//Reports/ reported that 83 percent of chicken sampled from supermarkets, natural food stores, and gourmet groceries tested positive for campylobacter and/or salmonella, two leading causes of food-borne illness. And in 2002, the USDA announced that 1.8 million pounds of turkey sent to schools and other food program recipients were recalled for possible contamination with the deadly listeria bacteria.

Even at its leanest --- white meat, no skin, no added fat --- chicken gets about 23 percent of its calories from fat. That's not much lower than lean beef, at 28 percent, and much higher than beans, rice, fruits, and vegetables, which usually derive less than 10 percent of their calories from fat. A substantial amount of the fat in chicken is artery-clogging saturated fat, and chicken is loaded with cholesterol: USDA figures show that a 3.5-ounce portion of beef has about 86 milligrams, and the same portion of skinless, white meat chicken has 85 milligrams.

Americans need to understand that meat consumption and intensive animal agriculture play key roles in the E. coli problem. Meat can become contaminated during animal slaughter, when E. coli bacteria can spread to various cuts of meat, equipment, and workers' hands. Animal agriculture can also contaminate vegetable crops, as occurred last year when spinach tainted with E. coli by manure from a nearby cattle ranch killed three people.

The Topps Meat recall will likely shame the USDA and the American Meat Institute into calling for more testing in slaughterhouses and meat-processing plants. But the best solution is to simply leave meat out of our diets.

People who follow meatless diets tend to have lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels than meat-eaters. They also tend to be slimmer and have a lower risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. And staying disease-free also means lower health care costs.

Today, Americans can enjoy a wide variety of meatless options, ranging from beans and rice to vegetable-based soups to veggie hot dogs and veggie burgers. Why take risks associated with meat when a vegetarian diet can help eliminate the risk of food-borne illness, improve overall health, and prevent disease?

Susan Levin is a staff dietitian with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, DC.

Copyright © 2007, South Florida Sun-Sentinel http://www.sun-sentinel.com/

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3. Please Consider Attending Hazon’s Food Conference and Helping Represent JVNA?

This is a very important conference, involving about 200 people discussing food-related issues. There is a chance, I might attend, but I expect there to be many opportunities to attend events where we can show our documentary A SACRED DUTY and have discussions based on it, once it is released in November. And, at 73 years of age (although thankfully in good health), and feeling that I can often accomplish more doing other things such as reaching out through email and the Internet, I am trying to minimize my traveling and speaking to events where no one else can represent JVNA. So, please consider attending and helping represent JVNA. I plan top contact some key JVNA experts to see if they might be willing to attend and speak on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?” as part of a panel and to lead a discussion after a showing of A SACRED DUTY. But, we can use help in speaking to attendees re arranging showings in their local areas and about other vegetarian-related issues, and possibly to present the basic Jewish vegetarian case, after consulting with me and others, if necessary.

Hazon is not a vegetarian group, but many of the attendees will be vegetarians. Although we have protested and suggested a video of a slaughterhouse be shown, Hazon is looking at the possibility of slaughtering a sheep or a goat at the event to show ritual slaughter and to make attendees the realities of slaughter, with the thought that this might discourage some from further consumption of meat.

Basic information about the event is below, and additional information about it can be found at www,hazon.org. Please let me know if you are interested in attending this event. It would be very helpful and much appreciated. JVNA might be able to provide some financial support towards your fees.
Material re the Hazon Food conference

Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center – Falls Village, CT
Thursday, December 6 – Sunday, December 9
Shabbat Chanukah 5768

Jewish food traditions are rich and ancient. From rabbis discussing the finer points of kashrut to Jewish holidays being in tune with the agriculture seasons, food is at the very core of Judaism. However, more than this, today growing numbers of Jews are also beginning to think more responsibly about food - about sustainable agriculture, about genetically modified produce and about nutrition. The Hazon Food Conference is the place to learn about these contemporary food issues in a uniquely Jewish light.

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-friendly activities, an inclusive Shabbat and Chanukah celebration, and delicious, consciously prepared food.

At the 2nd Annual Hazon Food Conference you will:

* Learn where your food comes from and about the role of sustainable agriculture
* Discover a distinctly Jewish flavor to healthy eating and better nutrition
* Explore the connection between food justice and the choices we make about food
* Delve into historical and contemporary Jewish culinary traditions from around the world
* Learn from and with leaders and innovators in the new Jewish food movement, including chefs, nutritionists, rabbis, farmers, and educators.

Planting Seeds for the New Jewish Food Movement

Join fellow foodies, chefs, writers, home cooks, educators, food activists and farmers for this inspiring event. Make new friends and explore the many ways in which food touches our lives.

Cooking demos, discussions, singing, text study, celebrating Chanukkah, connecting with community, enjoying the Farmers Market. Come alone or with your family.

This event is expected to sell out quickly so register soon! For more information visit us online or email Judith Belasco at judith@hazon.org

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4. Will Our Future Involve “Meat Without Livestock”?/How Should We Respond to Such Efforts?


[An important web site on this topic is:

The Portal* "Future Food - Meat without Livestock" focuses on possibilities for replacing animal products with products that are not derived from animals. These products can be divided into two groups:

Vegetarian Meats, Non-Dairy Milk Drinks and Egg Replacements

These products simulate or copy the animal derived products. There is a wide variety of these products currently available on the market. We use the terms, “vegetarian meat”, “non-dairy milk drinks” and “egg replacements”.

"In-Vitro Meat" or "Cultured Meat"

Future Technology:
The point with this group of foods is that actual meat is produced without the use of animals, not “just” products which are copies of meat. This process is still largely in the research stages and therefore, for the time being, still a dream.

Money/Huge Market Potential

Meat: worldwide 250 billion US $ every year !!

That is approximately the worldwide annual turnover reached by using animal derived meat as raw material. With a product that is better, i.e. healthier, cheaper, less resource intensive, without animal suffering, without endless amounts of liquid manure, without animal epidemics and so on, than animal derived meat a huge market is just waiting to be seized!

Eggs / Egg products: Worldwide between 4 and 8 billion US $ per year!

The whole eggs that we know and eat as boiled eggs will probably be around for some time to come, but, it should soon be possible to replace egg products used for industrial baking, such as powdered egg white and yolk with a better substitute.

Our challenge to companies in the food industry: There are simply not enough internationally available vegetarian meats and egg replacement products on the market! Cultured meat could capture a vast future market. Invest a tiny fraction of the market potential in research today so that you do not find yourself at a disadvantage later!

“It’s time to stop killing meat and start growing it” (William Saletan)

The aim is to bring an end to animal suffering, environmental pollution, starvation, health risks and so on, by no longer using billions of domestic animals as meat, milk and egg machines, and to replace these products with ones which are healthier and are produced via more environmentally friendly and ethical means. Developing an alternative is always an important additional element to any ethically progressive step. The end of slavery in the USA, for example, would have been hard to imagine without the development of agricultural machinery.

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5. “Less Meat Means Less Heat”/An Effective Vegetarian Slogan?


The Sydney Morning Herald - September 13, 2007 -

Limit meat eating to tackle climate change: study

by Liz Minchin

Less meat means less heat. It's a slogan that leading scientists hope will catch on worldwide, part of a call for people to reduce consumption of meat and dairy products to slow the pace of climate change. Writing in the medical journal The Lancet, a team of international health experts led by Tony McMichael warns that the world's growing appetite for meat is increasing greenhouse gas emissions, as vast areas of rainforest are bulldozed for grazing land and as more sheep and cattle burp. Professor McMichael teaches at the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health at the Australian National University, Canberra.

The study says that people in wealthy countries should more than halve their daily meat intake - particularly red meat - over the next 40 years to stop emissions rising even further, with the long-term goal of cutting average meat consumption worldwide to 90 grams a day by 2050. Agriculture contributes nearly a quarter of the world's greenhouse pollution, overwhelmingly from livestock production.

People living in developed countries such as Australia eat roughly their own weight in meat every year, consuming more than 80 kilograms each, or about 224 grams a day. That is the equivalent of almost two quarter-pounder burgers every day. The daily average in developing countries is 47 grams. Professor McMichael and his colleagues argue that "for the world's higher-income populations, greenhouse-gas emissions from meat eating warrants the same scrutiny as do those from driving and flying". Their study does not advocate that people stop eating meat entirely, but recommends reducing red meat consumption and switching to chicken and fish.

The study also points out that reducing red meat consumption would have health benefits for many Westerners, including potentially lowering the risk of several types of cancer.

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6. Interested In Receiving a Weekly Environmental D’var Torah From Canfei Nesharim?/Environmental Lessons from Parshat Noach (From Their Collection)

Forwarded message:

Canfei Nesharim is proud to present Eitz Chayim Hee: A Torah Commentary for Environmental Learning and Action. Each weekly drash is sent to subscribers by email and will also be posted here. [www.canfeinesharim.org]

Receive a weekly environmental Torah teaching! Canfei Nesharim's Eitz Chayim Hee Torah Commentary for Environmental Learning and Action will be sent to subscribers by email starting on Tuesday, October 2nd. The first teaching, on Bereishit/Genesis, was written by Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, chief rabbi of England. The weekly Torah-based materials are excellent for personal and communal learning and are designed to help you deepen and act on your understanding of Jewish environmental wisdom. Subscribe now to the free weekly email list by visiting www.canfeinesharim.org

Below is the most recent dvar Torah that Canfei Nesharim sent out.]

Oct 07, 2007 25 Tishri 5768 Canfei Nesharim
Canfei Nesharim

For Your Community / Parshas HaShavua

Parshat Noach:
A Paradigm for Environmental Consciousness

by Shimshon Stüart Siegel

Shimshon Stüart Siegel is studying for Rabbinic Ordination at the Bat Ayin Yeshiva in the Judean Hills. He has a B.S. in film from Boston University and a Master of Hebrew Letters.

The Sefer of Bereishis is dedicated in memory of Jacob Cohen by Marilyn and Herbert Smilowitz and family.

While still in the Garden of Eden, humans, animals and plants lived in harmony, according to G-d's desire for the world. After the Fall, maintaining this harmony became a great toil: the earth outside the Garden was thorny and tough; man and beast became adversaries. After a few generations all life on the planet had “corrupted (hishchis) its way on the earth.”[1] In our Torah portion (parsha), G-d decided to wash the slate clean and begin creation over from scratch: “I will blot out from the earth the men whom I created... for I regret that I made them.”[2] But one man's righteousness compelled G-d to spare a small sector of life: “But Noach [Noah] found favor with the Lord.”[3]

Although environmental issues are not directly expressed in the parsha, when we take a deeper look at Noach, seeing him through the eyes of the Midrashim and various rabbinic commentaries, we can discover a portrait of a man who spent his life innovating a lifestyle of environmental harmony and Divine awareness. Environmental awareness is an aspect of the mitzvah known as Bal Tashchit- Do Not Destroy. Noach, the one man who had not corrupted (hishchis) the world, became the pioneer of Bal Tashchis in the world when he built the ark, the vessel that would preserve the planet's animal life in the face of the total destruction of the environment. Noach and his family faced incredible hardship and challenge as they fought the tide of destruction. A fresh look at the life of Noach can provide us many lessons as we strive to bring our world back to a state of holy balance. What can we learn from Noach’s efforts?

The Patient Educator

Caring about the environment requires patience and forethought. The Midrash says that, 120 years before the Flood, Noach actually planted the trees from which he would take the wood for the ark (no old-growth logging here)![4] Aware of the massive resources that his project would demand, Noach tried to be as self-sustaining as possible.

Noach hoped that his example could help inspire others to live more conscious and righteous lives. According to one opinion, Noach spent 52 years building, deliberately working slowly so that the people would take note, repent of their destructive ways and prevent the coming catastrophe.[5]

Hands-on Dirty Work

Protecting Hashem’s world requires hard, sometimes unpleasant work. Noach didn't just load up the ark and sail worry-free-- he worked without rest during the entire year of the Flood. For example, according to the Midrash Tanhuma, “throughout those twelve months, Noach and his sons did not sleep, because they had to feed the animals, beasts and birds.”[6]

But feeding thousands of animals was the cushy job. As the Talmud explains, the ark had three levels, one for Noach and his family, one for the animals, and one for the waste-- tons upon tons of animal droppings.[7] The rabbinic sources debate the layout of the ark and the design of Noach's waste-management system, but one thing remains clear-- Noach's family spent a lot of their time shoveling manure.[8] Whether they systematically removed it from the ark, stored it in a designated waste facility or found practical use for it, we see that Noach toiled to maintain the cleanliness of the ark. While such work is not always enjoyable, Noach’s lesson teaches that the benefits of a clean, healthy living space over a filthy, foul-smelling environment are certainly worth the effort.

We all Share the Same Lifeboat (or Ark)

Another lesson we can learn from Noach is that it helps to see the world as a closed, integrated system. Noach and his eight-person crew maintained a sort of proto-BioDome inside the ark, struggling to preserve a functional level of ecological balance in the most challenging of situations.[9] Within such a system, every action has a significant impact and ramification, and individual elements can be aligned so as to strengthen and assist one another. For example, composting food waste reduces landfill volume and then creates rich soil for home-grown, organic vegetables. Using public transportation in congested areas reduces pollution while cutting down on frustrating traffic. Less traffic, cleaner air and time to relax on the bus or train all contribute to less personal stress. Riding a bicycle to work does all these as well as significantly improving health.

Partnership with the Land

Noach's construction of a giant, floating ecosystem was proof enough of his excellence as an environmental innovator. After the Flood, he reinvented himself again as an agricultural pioneer. At his birth, Noach's father predicted that Noach would relieve mankind from the curse on the land that came with Adam and Eve's expulsion.[10] Genesis says that “Noach began to be a man of the soil” after he left the ark.[11] The Midrash Aggadah explains that Noach revolutionized farming techniques to soften the backbreaking toil that had been the way of the land since the Fall. Noach may have used the massive stores of dung on the ark to compost and revitalize the land, which had lost its top 12 inches of topsoil in the Flood.[12] By thus easing the burdens of man and the soil, he truly earned his name, “rest.”[13] Overall, Noach's relationship with the land was harmonious and productive, not adversarial or injurious to the planet or to his own well-being.

As beneficiaries of the earth's produce and descendants of Noach, we should ensure that the world's agricultural workers are supported by both modern technologies and modern social values. Like Noach, modern farmers can promote agricultural techniques that keep the land viable for future generations. We must not fill our breadbasket via the suffering of those less fortunate than ourselves, or at the expense of a healthy, fruitful future. The fact that we can eat meat does not necessarily mean that we must, and certainly does not mean that we must eat it every day! Exploring the fruits and vegetables of the land, like Noach, can be exciting and creative while promoting our own health. When we do eat meat, it should be from farms that share our concerns for a healthy world and that respect God's creatures, all of whom live under the sign of the rainbow.

Faith in Humanity

While Noach strove for a gentle environmental harmony, the people of the earth arrogantly saw themselves engaged in a battle with God and the forces of nature. When they saw him building the ark, the people told Noach, “if God brings the Flood up from the earth, we have iron plates with which we can cover the earth!”[14] In spite of such skepticism, Noach stayed the course, and even maintained faith in humanity. We see from the Torah that he did not board the ark until after the Flood had already begun, hoping that people would change their ways and thus prevent the destruction.[15]

For Noach, the ark was an unfortunate but necessary solution to a global crisis. Even when all signs were grim, he maintained his faith, greeting every challenge with further innovation. So too must we continue to strive for a better tomorrow, educate others about environmental issues, and believe that our actions, on every level, can make a difference. When we step outside after a rainstorm and see the rainbow in the sky, we remember God's promise to Noach, and we know that we are not alone in our efforts.

Suggested Action Items: [from the article’s author]

1. We’ve eaten plenty of meat over the last month. This week, consider changing one meal that would have consisted of meat to one that does not include meat. Try a new fruit or vegetable, or prepare it in a new way, to “explore the fruits of the land. ”
2. Noach’s hard work paid off for future generations (us). Identify an action that you could take in your life that would make a difference for your children or future generations (whether environmental, educational, or otherwise).
3. If you are not ready to commit today to that change, identify a time in the future when you will commit to it, and mark that time on your personal calendar so you will remember it when it comes.

[1] Genesis 6:12 (all Biblical translations are JPS)

[2] Genesis 6:7

[3] Genesis 6:8

[4] Genesis Rabbah 30:7

[5] Pirke d'Rabbi Eliezer 22

[6] Midrash Tanhuma 58:9. emphasis by the author

[7] Sanhedrin 108b

[8] This interpretation, like much of this drash, relies on a very literal reading of the Biblical text. Alternatively, the Ramban explains on Genesis 6:19 that, according to reason, we know that it would be impossible for any human being to construct a vessel large enough to contain two of all species of animals. He asserts that it is a hidden miracle that enabled this unrealistic feat to occur. Along the same lines, it would not be possible for Noach and his sons to keep up with all the feeding and waste management of the ark. If we can then expand on the Ramban, perhaps Noach and his sons did all they can and were assisted from Heaven to complete the rest.

[9] The fascinating question of food on the ark, especially food for carnivores, is beyond the scope of this drash. Some have theorized that he kept the carnivores satiated with cow's milk. Another theory suggests that large carnivores may have hibernated for the year.

[10] Genesis 3:17-19, 5:29

[11] Many translations say “Noach, the man of the earth, debased himself.” While this is a possible reading, connected to ensuing events, the simple translation is as we have given it.

[12] Rashi on Genesis 6:13

[13] Midrash Aggadah, v. 29 (as cited by JewishEncyclopedia.com - http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=318&letter=N&search=noah. )

[14] Sanhedrin 108b

[15] This unique interpretation of Genesis 7:7 (also, v.11-13) is in contradiction to the major Midrashic tradition, which states that Noach delayed boarding the ark because he doubted that God would make a Flood (as seen in Genesis Rabbah 32:6). It was told by Rav Zev Rosen in the name of the Gaon of Vilna, and by Reb Yitzhak, the Vorker Rebbe as well (see Maayanah Shel Torah).

Canfei Nesharim | 111 Eighth Avenue, 11th Floor | New York, New York 10011-5201 | info@canfeinesharim.org

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7. Climate Change Has Been a “Mega-Disaster” This Year

Climate Change Disaster Is Upon Us, Warns UN

By Julian Borger
The Guardian UK

Friday 05 October 2007


Emergency relief chief calls for swift action. 12 out of 13 "flash" appeals in 2007 related to weather.

A record number of floods, droughts and storms around the world this year amount to a climate change "mega disaster," the United Nation's emergency relief coordinator, Sir John Holmes, has warned.

Sir John, a British diplomat who is also known as the UN's under-secretary-general for humanitarian affairs, said dire predictions about the impact of global warming on humanity were already coming true.

"We are seeing the effects of climate change. Any year can be a freak but the pattern looks pretty clear to be honest. That's why we're trying ... to say, of course you've got to deal with mitigation of emissions, but this is here and now, this is with us already," he said.

As a measure of the worsening situation, Ocha, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs - part of the UN secretariat that employs Sir John - has issued 13 emergency "flash" appeals so far this year. The number is three more than in 2005, which held the previous record.

Two years ago only half the international disasters dealt with by Ocha had anything to do with the climate; this year all but one of the 13 emergency appeals is climate-related. "And 2007 is not finished. We will certainly have more by the end of the year, I fear," added Sir John, who is in charge of channelling international relief efforts to disaster areas.

More appeals were likely in the coming weeks, as floods hit west Africa. "All these events on their own didn't have massive death tolls, but if you add all these little disasters together you get a mega disaster," he said.

The only one of this year's emergency appeals not connected to the climate was an earthquake in Peru, in August. The others arose after an unprecedented string of catastrophic floods across much of Africa, south Asia and North Korea, and followed severe drought in southern Africa, Nicaragua's category-five hurricane, and extreme climate conditions in Bolivia, which brought both drought and floods.

The Ocha appeals represent the tip of an iceberg since they are launched only with the agreement of the affected country. India was badly affected by floods that hit the rest of the Asian region in July. But unlike its neighbour, Pakistan, India did not call on the UN for help.

Ocha believes that 66 million people were made homeless or were otherwise affected across south Asia. The lives of several million more people were turned upside down across Africa. Sudan, Mozambique, Madagascar, Zambia and Uganda experienced disastrous floods, and Swaziland and Lesotho declared emergencies because of severe drought that reduced harvests by half.

The latest appeal from Ocha was launched yesterday, to try to raise emergency relief funds for Ghana, where more than 400,000 people are reported to be homeless as a result of flooding. Appeals may also be started for Togo and Burkina Faso.

"The flooding in Africa just now is the worst anyone can remember," Sir John said, expressing frustration at how little media attention in the west was being devoted to what he terms creeping climatic catastrophe.

Flooding is likely to be common for a warming planet, and climate change has a double effect - causing an increase in the frequency of storms, while higher atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide curb the ability of plants to draw groundwater.

A climate-change summit is to be held in Bali in December, with the aim of agreeing the principles of a new international treaty to replace Kyoto, the accord that expires in 2012. But the talks face determined US opposition to mandatory emissions targets, and most climate negotiators doubt a real breakthrough can be achieved before the Bush government leaves office in 2009.

Sir John argues that whatever is done on greenhouse gas emissions, money has to be spent now on mitigating the impact that climate change is already having. "You can't actually stop disasters happening but you can do a lot to reduce their impact and reduce people's vulnerability to them by making sure people don't live on the coast or river plains, and that roads are raised and dams are in reasonable shape."

According to the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is leading research on the issue, global warming will disrupt and potentially devastate the lives of billions of people.

And, just as global warming starts to make itself felt, there are signs that "donor fatigue" has set in. Of about $338 million (£166 million) requested for Ocha's 13 flash appeals this year, only $114 million has so far come from donors.

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8. The Top 100 Effects of Global Warming


Thanks to author and JVNA advisor Lewis Regenstein for forwarding the above link to much valuable information. I think everyone should read these 100 effects and consider what must be done to avoid or at least reduce them. Some related to environmental, health and security/strategic issues are below.

Global Warming Kills the Planet

Greenland’s Melting

Greenland is melting at a rate of 52 cubic miles per year—much faster than once predicted. If Greenland’s entire 2.5 million cubic kilometers of ice were to melt, it would lead to a global sea level rise of 7.2 meters, or more than 23 feet. [LA Times]

Less Ice in the Arctic
The amount of ice in the Arctic at the end of the 2005 summer “was the smallest seen in 27 years of satellite imaging, and probably the smallest in 100 years.” Experts said it’s the strongest evidence of global warming in the Arctic thus far. [Washington Post]

The Northwest Passage Becomes a Reality
Remember the “Northwest Passage”? For centuries, explorers were obsessed with the almost-mythical idea of northern sea route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific. Well...it’s here. So much of the ice cover in the Arctic disappeared this summer that ships were able to take recreational trips through the Arctic Sea, and scientists say so much of the ice cover will disappear in upcoming years that the passage could be open to commercial shipping by 2020. [CNN]

Ice Shelf in Antarctica Bites the Dust
In 2002, a chunk of ice in Antarctica larger than the state of Rhode Island collapsed into the sea. British and Belgian scientists said the chunk was weakened by warm winds blowing over the shelf ... and that the winds were caused by global warming. [ENS]

Ice Shelf in Canada Bites the Dust
In 2005, a giant chunk of ice the size of Manhattan broke off of a Canadian ice shelf and began free floating westward, putting oil drilling operations in peril. [Reuters]

Say Farewell to Glaciers
“In Glacier National Park, the number of glaciers in the park has dropped from 150 to 26 since 1850. Some project that none will be left within 25 to 30 years.” [AP]

The Green, Green Grass of Antarctica
Grass has started to grow in Antarctica in areas formerly covered by ice sheets and glaciers. While Antarctic hair grass has grown before in isolated tufts, warmer temperatures allow it to take over larger and larger areas and, for the first time, survive through the winter. [UK Times]

The Swiss Foothills
Late last summer, a rock the size of two Empire State Buildings in the Swiss Alps collapsed onto the canyon floor nearly 700 feet below. The reason? Melting glaciers. [MSNBC]

Giant “Sand Seas” in Africa
Global warming may unleash giant “sand seas” in Africa—giant fields of sand dunes with no vegetation—as a shortage of rainfall and increasing winds may “reactivate” the now-stable Kalahari dune fields. That means farewell to local vegetation, animals, and any tourism in the areas. [National Geographic]

Florida’s National Marine Sanctuary in Trouble
Global warming is “bleaching” the coral in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, killing the coral, tourism, and local fish that live among the coral for protection. [Washington Post]

The Oceans are Turning to Acid
It sounds like a really bad sci-fi movie, but it’s true: The oceans are turning to acid! Oceans absorb CO2 which, when mixed with seawater, turns to a weak carbonic acid. Calcium from eroded rocks creates a “natural buffer” against the acid, and most marine life is “finely tuned” to the current balance. As we produce more and more CO2, we throw the whole balance out of whack and the oceans turn to acid. [CS Monitor]

Say Goodbye to the Great Barrier Reef
According to the U.N., the Great Barrier Reef will disappear within decades as “warmer, more acidic seas could severely bleach coral in the world-famous reef as early as 2030.” [CBC News]

Mediterranean Sea? Try the Dead Sea.
Italian experts say thanks to faster evaporation and rising temperatures, the Mediterranean Sea is quickly turning into “a salty and stagnant sea.” The hot, salty water “could doom many of the sea's plant and animal species and ravage the fishing industry.” [AP]

A Sacred River Dries Up
The sacred Ganges River in India is beginning to run dry. The Ganges is fed by the Gangotri glacier, which is today “shrinking at a rate of 40 yards a year, nearly twice as fast as two decades ago.” Scientists warn the glacier could be gone as soon as 2030. [Washington Post]

Disappearing African Rivers
Geologists recently projected a 10 percent to 20 percent drop in rainfall in northwestern and southern Africa by 2070. That would leave Botswana with just 23 percent of the river it has now; Cape Town would be left with just 42 percent of its river water. [National Geographic]

Suddenly Vanishing Lakes
What happened to the five-acre glacial lake in Southern Chile? In March, it was there. In May, it was ... gone. Scientists blame global warming. [BBC News]

Goodbye to the Mangrove Trees
Next on the global warming hit list: Rising sea levels linked to climate change mean we could lose half of the mangrove trees of the Pacific Isles by the end of the century. [UNEP]

Volcanoes Blow Their Tops
British scientists warn of another possible side effect of climate change: A surge of dangerous volcanic eruptions. [ABC News Australia]

More Hurricanes
Over the past century, the number of hurricanes that strike each year has more than doubled. Scientists blame global warming and the rising temperature of the surface of the seas. [USA Today]

More Floods
During the summer of 2007, Britain suffered its worst flood in 60 years. Scientists point the finger directly at global warming, which changed precipitation patterns and is now causing more “intense rainstorms across parts of the northern hemisphere.” [Independent]

More Fires
Hotter temperatures could also mean larger and more devastating wildfires. This past summer in California, a blaze consumed more than 33,500 acres, or 52 square miles.
[ABC] [AP]

More Wildfires
Global warming has also allowed non-native grasses to thrive in the Mojave Desert, where they act as fast-burning fuel for wildfires. [AP]

Thunderstorms Get Dangerous
Hurricanes aside, NASA scientists now say as the world gets hotter, even smaller thunderstorms will pose more severe risks with “deadly lightning, damaging hail and the potential for tornadoes.” [AP]

Higher Sea Levels
Scientists believe sea levels will be three feet higher by the end of the century than they are now. [National Geographic]

Burning Poo
As “shifting rainfall patterns” brought on by global warming “have made northern Senegal drier and hotter,” entire species of trees (like the Dimb Tree) are dying out, making it harder for natives to find firewood. As a result, more people are having to burn cow dung for cooking fires. [MSNBC]

A New Dust Bowl
Calling Mr. Steinbeck. Scientists this year reported the Southwest United States is "expected to dry up notably in this century and could become as arid as the North American dust bowl of the 1930s," a process which has already started. [ABC News]


Global Warming Threatens Our National Security

IISS: “A Global Catastrophe” For International Security
A recent study done by the International Institute for Strategic Studies has likened the international security effects of global warming to those caused by nuclear war. [On Deadline]

U.N.: As Dangerous As War
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said this year that global warming poses as much of a threat to the world as war. [BBC]

Center for Naval Analyses: National Security Threat
In April, a report completed by the Center for Naval Analyses predicted that global warming would cause “large-scale migrations, increased border tensions, the spread of disease and conflicts over food and water.” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer]

Genocide in Sudan
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon charges, “Amid the diverse social and political causes, the Darfur conflict began as an ecological crisis, arising at least in part from climate change.” [Washington Post]

War in Somalia
In April, a group of 11 former U.S. military leaders released a report charging that the war in Somalia during the 1990s stemmed in part from national resource shortages caused by global warming. [Washington Post]

A study by IISS found that reduced water supplies and hotter temperatures mean “65 countries were likely to lose over 15 percent of their agricultural output by 2100.” [Yahoo]

Large-Scale Migrations
Global warming will turn already-dry environments into deserts, causing the people who live there to migrate in massive numbers to more livable places. [MSNBC]

More Refugees
A study by the relief group Christian Aid estimates the number of refugees around the world will top a billion by 2050, thanks in large part to global warming. [Telegraph]

Increased Border Tensions
A report called “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” written by a group of retired generals and admirals, specifically linked global warming to increased border tensions. “If, as some project, sea levels rise, human migrations may occur, likely both within and across borders.” [NY Times]

“Developing countries, many with average temperatures that are already near or above crop tolerance levels, are predicted to suffer an average 10 to 25 percent decline in agricultural productivity by the 2080s.” [Economic Times]

Global warming will cause longer, more devastating droughts, thus exacerbating the fight over the world’s water. [Washington Post]

The Poor Are Most at Risk
Although they produce low amounts of greenhouse gases, experts say under-developed countries—such as those in sub-Saharan Africa—have “the most to lose under dire predictions of wrenching change in weather patterns.” [Washington Post]

Your Checkbook
A report done last year by the British government showed global warming could cause a Global Great Depression, costing the world up to 20 percent of its annual Global Domestic Product. [Washington Post]

The World’s Checkbook
A study by the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University found that ignoring global warming would end up costing $20 trillion by 2100. [Tufts]

This piece is from the Center for American Progress Action Fund's Mic Check Radio. To speak with our experts on climate change and its effects, contact:

For TV, Sean Gibbons, Director of Media Strategy
202.682.1611 or sgibbons@americanprogress.org
For print or radio, John Neurohr, Press Assistant
202.481.8182 or jneurohr@americanprogress.org
For web, Erin Lindsay, Online Marketing Manager
202.741.6397 or elindsay@americanprogress.org

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9. Recent Book Has Articles by Richard Schwartz, Roberta Kalechofsky (Director of Jews fof Animal Rights) and Nina Natelson (Director of “Concern for Helping Animals in Israel”)

Forwarded message from the book’s editors: Murray Polner & Stefan Merken

Peace, Justice, and Jews: Reclaiming Our Tradition
Murray Polner, Stefan Merken Eds.
* Hardcover: 338 pages
* Publisher: Bunim & Bannigan Ltd; Ill edition (July 1, 2007)

* ISBN-10: 1933480157
* ISBN-13: 978-1933480152

From Publishers Weekly
Unabashedly left-leaning, but by no means homogenous, this literate, thought-provoking collection examines from all angles, in some four dozen essays, the idea that editors Polner and Merken believe "reflects the most basic attitude in our Jewish heritage": Shalom, "much more than the absence of war... it encompasses wholeness, grace, and truth." Covering everything from scriptural imperative to Israel to Arab-Jewish relations to animal rights, this is an excellent addition for libraries and classrooms. Standouts include Kenny Freeman's Middle East dispatches, in which friendships with Arabs illustrate how "Jews and Arabs could live together... if their primary allegiance was to a unified Holy Land, rather than to their own nationalist needs." Claudia Freeman contributes a remarkable elegy, recalling trips to Germany on which she pieced together the story of 14 family members killed by the Nazis. Helen Fein's vital essay addresses the false "Articles of Faith" that form part of the Holocaust's legacy, such as the lingering myths that "our existence is always in peril," and that Jewish victims "went dumbly... to their deaths, 'like sheep to the slaughter.' " Calls to action include Richard Schwartz admonishing readers "not to wait for the right opportunity to come along... but to actively seek opportunities to practice justice." Though some essays feel slight-especially in the opening section, "What We Believe"-there is much to learn here for anyone, Jew or Gentile, interested in global issues of peace and justice.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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10. Eco-Kashrut –Necessary for Planetary Sustainability?

Thanks to vegetarian, environmental and animal rights activist Jeff Tucker for sending us his talk below that he recently delivered at his Temple:

“Eco-Kosher for survival”

When we consider the human race is responding to Global Warming as a crisis of epic proportions, and that our very survival may be at stake, I marvel at the repetitive emphasis placed on Vegetarianism/Veganism as a solution. In the context of planet-wide problems: World Hunger, Energy Crisis, economic instability, disease epidemics, wouldn’t personal dietary choices and supermarket selections be quite insignificant? Are they?

Each time I address the hot topic “ECO-KOSHER” it gets easier. Why? Because the issues are growing more prevalent, more relevant, more urgent. The Yom Kippur liturgy at Temple Beth Or, Miami draws from the siddur “Unhewn Stones” (by Rabbi Rami Shapiro.) It contains an astounding number of references to eco-kosher-related issues; Rabbi Rebecca Lillian’s sermon focused on ethical food choices and the popular book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma.” Thus the road is widened for dialogue at Beth Or. It is a happy coincidence that our sanctuary was just retrofitted with high-efficicency CFL bulbs as part of the Green Menorah program advocated by the Shalom Center. As Rabbi Arthur Waskow says, "If we are to heal the earth from the climate crisis of global scorching, we must renew that miracle (i.e., the Chanukah oil lasted 8 days.) We must end our addiction to the over-use of oil and coal, and by 2020 America must be using only one-eighth the amount of oil we use today.

Personally I kvell each time I notice my separate interests and value-systems come together, namely: Vegetarianism, Yoga, Taoist Tai Chi, natural hygiene and Reconstructionist Judaism. This Yom Kippur was a pure epiphany.

Now, if Mentschikite deals with relationships- social and intellectual, then I’d define Eco-Kashruth as the flip side, covering physical and biological relationships. Living healthfully/wisely for our bodies and our world neatly defines its essence. As you read off these popular slogans and buzz words can you find their Jewish ‘resonance’?:

In the Big Picture, we are addicted: governments to shortsighted policy, people to bad habits and substances. One of our biggest challenges is to un-addict. When the FDA or USDA develops a habit of marginalizing the public weal, in favor of third-party corporate high bidders, then we own the problem. When the health-care system fails to teach the root cause of health and disease we’re headed for trouble. Both Talmud and Torah are full of guidelines and stories about management of resources, land, people and animals. Modern science reeks with studies of our needs and practices, but somehow humans are sicker and on shakier (more toxified) ground than before. American kids will not outlive their parents. Cancer rates are exploding along with diabetes, heart disease, iatrogenic illness. Demands on our eco-system outpace its natural capacity, but Eco-Kosher holds the key to correcting these woes.

Eco-Kosher principles are fundamental, operate as if you were in in Gan Eden, in your town and on Planet Earth. What’s wrong with regular Kosher, you ask. Answer, it’s incomplete. In the schtetl, Kosher meant properly Jewish and the unspecified details were governed by common sense and necessity. Common sense doesn’t hold a candle to Global Corporate/Big Government decisions. If we had insisted that capitalistic democracy better manage our society, then perhaps things would be better today. But we need to delve into the meaning and application of KOSHER governance. Torah, scientists and rabbis have informed us what is good, inventoried our resources and offered motivation, but something remains rotten In our state of affairs.

Everywhere you turn, the media is surging with movies, lectures, and events forced upon us by Global Warming and political instability. On the one hand are genuine solutions, but on the other are a morass of disinformation and exploitation. Individually, we’re not to blame, but we are collectively responsible - we’ve tolerated a Holocaust of trees, streams, air, animals and most importantly - our own physiologies - our own personal temples. Americans are plagued with a level of sickness and are relying upon medicines, with a multi-trillion dollar budget that’s not getting the job done.

Rabbi Rami stressed the important role of Eco-Kashrut, and its peaceful, compassionate, life-affirming values. In his book “Minyan,” he lays out a multifaceted spiritual practice. Now numerous scholars and religious thinkers are converging on this body of knowledge, and just in time, perhaps, to avert disaster. Judaism indicates we have a Sacred Duty to live correctly and preserve our world. Earth Ethics are popping up everywhere - perhaps because we are in crisis mode and the threats have been overlooked too long already.

If we have a sacred duty to Tikkun Olam, to be Shomrai Adamah (Guardians of The Earth) then let’s find out what we’re up against, what our resources are.

Vegetarily Yours, Jeff Tucker (from a bima Speech, BethOr, 09/28/07)

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11. Global Warming Threatening Island Nations
Island Nations Warn of Warming Threat



Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Island countries from around the world warned Tuesday that despite debate over global warming and the potential for a significant increase in sea levels, there has been little concrete action to stem the climate changes that threatens their existence.

"The international community has convened numerous conferences and summits at which it has agreed on wide-ranging plans and programs of action," Foreign Minister of the Maldives Abdalla Shahid, told the U.N. General Assembly. "However ... all too often the reality of implementation has failed to match the ambitious rhetoric."

He was speaking just days after the world body convened its first-ever climate summit which sought to put new urgency into global talks to reduce global-warming emissions.

The dangerous emissions, or greenhouse gases, come primarily from the burning of fossil fuels like coal-burning power plants. Scientists and environmentalists say carbon dioxide in particular is to blame for warmer temperatures, melting glaciers and rising sea levels.

The United Nations organized last week's summit to create momentum for December's annual climate treaty conference in Bali, Indonesia, when Europe, Japan and others hope to initiate talks for an emissions-reduction agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol in 2012.

The 175-nation Kyoto pact, which the U.S. rejects, requires 36 industrial nations to reduce carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases.

The Maldives is a low-lying island nation consisting of a number of atolls in the Indian Ocean. As the flattest nation on earth — with an average height of only 7 feet above sea level — it is considered particularly vulnerable to the perils of global climate change.

Climate researchers say that many of its islands will disappear over the next century as the seas rise.

Shahid's warnings were echoed by other speakers at Tuesday's General Assembly session.

"We view associated problems of high frequency of abnormal climate, sea level rise, global warming and coastal degradation as matters affecting the economic and environmental security of all small island states," said Timothy Harris, foreign minister of the Caribbean nation of St. Kitts and Nevis.

Charles Savarin, foreign minister of nearby Dominica, said that rising sea temperatures were causing the death and bleaching of corals and a decline of fish stocks.

"Climate change is the most pressing environmental problem humankind has ever faced," he said.

And Sonatane Taumoepeau-Tupou, foreign minister of the Pacific kingdom of Tonga, urged developed nations to implement emissions reductions and help developing nations to do the same.

"Climate change is not regarded just as an environmental issue, since it has implications for economic growth and sustainable development," he said.

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