May 18, 2008

5/15/2008 Special JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

This special Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) Online Newsletter has some important items that were too big to include in regular JVNA newsletters but are important that you be aware of. It also has a recent article about this Sunday's Veggie Pride Parade in Manhattan and a repeat of our important press release connecting animal-based diets to the recent spike in food prices.

It has the following items:

1. Article in New York Sun on Sunday's Scheduled Veggie Pride Parade in New York

2. JVNA Press Release on the Global Food Crisis and Other Current Crises

3. Great Summary of Reasons to Become a Vegetarian/Organizd by Topic

4. Myths About Vegans

5. Irritating Statements From Meat-Eaters

6. Is Civilization Facing a Last Chance?

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. Article in New York Sun on Sunday's Scheduled Veggie Pride Parade in New York

Forwarded message from Pamela Rice. She deserves accolades for her splendid work in organizing this important event:

[NOTE: In hard-copy newspaper edition, a blurb with page location for article appears above the fold on page 1. Also, next to the article is a picture of Penelo Peas Pod. INFO: ]

article and link follow...

'Give Peas a Chance,' Veggie Priders Will Say

Staff Reporter of the Sun
May 15, 2008

Vegetarians will be saying "Give Peas a Chance" as they march through Greenwich Village Sunday during the first Veggie Pride Parade.

Beginning in the meatpacking district, of all places, the celery celebrants will wend their way to Washington Square Park for a rally featuring music and exhibitor tables.

The parade organizer, Pamela Rice, thinks big. Veggie Pride "will be the Woodstock of the 21st century," she says. Ms. Rice has spent hundreds of hours preparing for the event, which she says has a serious purpose: "We want people to understand the ramifications of their food choices."

Marchers may pepper the parade route with chants such as "What do we want? Vegan options in our schools! When do we want it? Now!" and carry eye-catching placards such as "Eating Meat: So 20th Century."

After speeches and awards for best slogan and costume, the afternoon will culminate in a wedding of two mascots: People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals's orange-clad Chris P. Carrot will marry VivaVegie Society's 7-foot-tall Penelo Pea Pod. Ms. Rice said Chris P. Carrot was "finally settling down." She mused whether the pair would need a marriage license.

The Vegetarian Resource Group, a nonprofit that educates the public about vegetarianism, conducted a poll in 2006 that found 6.7% of Americans 18 or older say they never eat meat. While the parade numbers are difficult to estimate, Ms. Rice wants Veggie Pride to attracts meat lovers, too. "We welcome nonvegetarians as long as they behave," Ms. Rice said with a laugh. The parade will have 10 marshals in bright orange vests to keep the peace and 10 outreach volunteers in bright yellow vests.

One might overhear chatting about vegan marshmallows or Rastafarian fare at the expo, where attendees will learn about a variety of vegetarian organizations and have an opportunity to purchase books and other literature. "New York is a mecca for vegetarian restaurants and vegan food. No question about it," Ms. Rice said. An attorney and City Council candidate, Yetta Kurland, said one of her favorite places to eat vegetarian cuisine is Miyagi, the Japanese restaurant on West 13th Street. A speaker at the upcoming event who lives in Chelsea, Ms. Kurland said: "For me, living a vegetarian lifestyle is about humane treatment of animals and about responsibility."

Driving in from Texas in a van will be New Jersey-born guitarist and singer Cheryl Hill, whose band will be performing. One specially prepared tune will be "Get Your Green On," which she described as a rock song with a "funk disco vibe." The official song for the event, it begins: "I like vegetables/ I like fruits/ Their sexy colors/ And their healthy attributes."

Ms. Rice said Veggie Pride NYC was inspired by a Veggie Pride parade in Paris that began in 2001; it is not affiliated with the New York event. She said that while the annual French event has traditionally tended to focus more on animal rights, the emphasis at the New York event is aiming to focus also on environmental and health concerns. The event will show that there has been an entire culture that has grown up around vegetarianism in the past few decades, she said.

Asked what that culture included, she offered the example "potluck" meals that are popular among vegetarians, perhaps more in suburban settings than in the city. She also offered a tip to anyone hosting a vegetarian potluck: Ask attendees to list ingredients with the food.

Ms. Rice said vegetarians really cross all lines culturally in America. She summed up her basic goal for Veggie Pride day by saying she wanted it to help dispel misconceptions and make vegetarianism "just a little more tenable" in society.

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2. JVNA Press Release on the Global Food Crisis and Other Current Crises

[Please help spread this message.]

May 5. 2008
For Immediate Release
Contact person: Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) (; Phone (718) 761-5876; web sites: and


The Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) today released the following statement:

A major shift toward veganism would be a significant step in effectively responding to the current food crises and other societal problems. Please consider:

* At a time when food prices are soaring, when there have been recent food riots in at least a dozen countries, when an estimated 20 million of the world's people die annually due to hunger and its effects, over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over 40 percent of the grain produced worldwide is fed to animals destined for slaughter.

It takes up to 16 pounds of grain in a feedlot to produce one pound of beef.

* In a period of increasing droughts and with over half of the world's people expected to be living in areas chronically short of water by the middle of this century, it takes up to 14 times as much water to produce a typical western animal-centered diet than a vegan diet.

* While energy prices are soaring and it is expected that we will soon start running out of oil, it takes up to ten times more energy on an animal-based diet than a vegan diet.

* While the world is heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming, a 2006 UN Food and Agricultural Organization report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the world's cars, trucks, ships, planes and other means of transportation combined (18% vs. 13.5%).

Making the situation even more critical for each of the above issues, the same UN FAO report projects a doubling in the amount of animal products consumed globally in 50 years, and this would negate the effects of many other positive changes that are currently being considered.

An additional important factor is that the production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

For all of the above reasons, JVNA will respectfully urge rabbis and other Jewish leaders to actively address the many moral issues related to animal-based diets. It hopes that Jewish religious leaders will engage in a respectful dialogue/debate on "Should Jews Be Vegetarians Today?"

Putting these issues squarely on the Jewish agenda would save many lives, move our imperiled planet to a more sustainable path, and show the relevance of Judaism's eternal teachings in addressing current critical issues, and thus help revitalize Judaism.

Because the issues are so urgent and are generally not being sufficiently addressed, the JVNA has produced a one-hour documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD. It can be viewed in its entirety at JVNA will send a complimentary DVD to people who contact JVNA ( and indicate how they might help promote the movie.
Further information about the JVNA and its campaign to get vegetarianism onto the Jewish and other agendas may be obtained by contacting Dr. Schwartz or the JVNA (;


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3. Great Summary of Reasons to Become a Vegetarian/Organizd by Topic

From: nanci baren


[JVNA advisor Pam Rice has produced several pamphlets and a book also entitled “101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian.”}


Every year in the UK we feed our livestock enough food to feed 250,000,000 people while in the world 30,000,000 people die of starvation

20 vegetarians can live off the land required by one meat eater

Every 3 seconds a child dies of starvation somewhere in the world

If Americans reduced their meat consumption by 10% it would free 12,000,000 tons of grain - enough to feed 60,000,000 people (the population of Great Britain)

If all Americans became vegetarian, it would free enough grain to feed 600,000,000 people (the population of India)

Intensification in animal farming has displaced 1,000,000's of people from their traditional lands - e.g.. indigenous people in South & Central America, native americans in North America & crofters in Great Britain - this is continuing today

People displaced from their lands into cities succumb to dietary deficiency, diseases, parasites & opportunistic diseases

In third world countries 1 in 10 babies die before their first birthday

The UK imports ?46,000,000 worth of grain from third world countries to feed our livestock

Due to overgrazing 850,000,000 people live on land threatened by desertification & over 230,000,000 already live on land so severely desertified that they are unable to sustain their existence & face imminent starvation

1,000,000,000 people in the west gorging on meat & dairy leave 1,000,000,000 to waste away & 3,500,000,000 teeter on the brink


If they continue to clear American forests to raise cattle at the present rate, in 50 years there will be none left

1 acre yields 165 lbs of beef or 20,000 lbs of potatoes

8/10 of cultivated land in the UK is used to grow food for animals (14,732,000 hectares)

It takes 16lbs of high protein soya to produce 1 lb of beef

Since 1945 in the UK we have lost 95% of flower meadows, 50% of ancient woodlands, 40% of heathlands, 50% of wet lands & 224,000 km of hedgerows all due to animal farming

Pressure on land due to meat farming leads to soil erosion; 6 billion tons/year in the USA

If everyone went vegetarian up to 90% of land used for animal farming could be taken out of production & used to replant woodlands, leisure activities etc.

25% of Central America's forests have been destroyed for cattle
grazing since 1960

Between 1966-1983 38% of the Amazon rain forest was destroyed for cattle grazing

90% of cattle ranches established on cleared forest land go bankrupt in less than 8 years as the land becomes barren due to nutrient loss & overgrazing

Overgrazing by cattle is destroying the land & increasing desertification, nearly 430million acres in the USA alone has suffered a 25-50% reduction in yield since first grazed

An inch of topsoil takes 200-1000 years to develop - yet in the USA they have lost around 1/3 of their prime topsoil in 200 years (around 7 inches) due to animal farming

Land will be lost due to rises in sea level due to global warming due to animal farming


The destruction of the rainforest by cattle farmers is destroying the lungs of the planet & reducing the worlds capacity to replenish our oxygen supply

The 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas & leads to global warming)

Burning of forests, grasslands & agricultural waste associated with animal farming releases 50-100,000,000 tons of methane per year

Combining these figures, 25% of methane emissions are due to animal farming (not including the billions of sheep, pigs & poultry so the real figure is much higher)

Fertilizer used to grow crops to feed to animals releases nitrous oxide - thought to account for 6% of the greenhouse effect

Fertilizer, weed killer & pesticides sprayed on crops enter the atmosphere creating a noxious carcinogenic cocktail

CFCs are released into the air from refrigeration units used to store decomposing flesh (meat), milk & butter - CFCs are destroy the ozone layer

Ammonia from animal urine also pollutes the atmosphere

CO2 is released by burning oil & petrol in lorries, ships, abattoirs, dairies, factories etc. associated with meat & dairy production

Emissions from large chemical plants which produce fertilizer, weed killer & other agricultural chemicals are also poisoning our air


25 gallons of water to produce 1lb of wheat & 2500 gallons to produce 1lb of meat

UK farm animals produce 200,000,000 tonnes of slurry (liquid excrement) every year, the majority of which ends up in our rivers

Bloody waste water from abattoirs ends up in our rivers

In the USA every second, humans produce 12,000 lbs of effluent while farmed animals produce 250,000 lbs

Nitrates & pesticides used on crops grown to feed livestock end up in our rivers

Meat & dairy farming uses 70 litres of water per day per animal in the UK or 159,250,000, 000 litres per year in total

The water used to produce 10 lbs of steak is equivalent to the average consumption of water for an entire household for an entire year

Depletion of groundwater reserves to grow crops for animals & to supply abattoirs will lead to greater water shortages

Aquafers (stores of underground water) in the San Joaquin valley in the USA are being drained at the rate of 500,000,000, 000 gallons/year to produce meat

18% of all agricultural land in the world is irrigated & as global warming increases (partly due to animal farming) it will cost $200,000,000 to keep these systems going

The water used to produce a 1000 lb beef steer is enough to float a Destroyer battleship

The liquid waste from the various parts of the meat & dairy industry flow into the rivers & from there into the seas polluting them & encouraging huge algal blooms to grow


To produce 1calorie of energy from meat takes 60 calories of petrol, whereas growing grains & legumes to directly feed people produces 20 calories for each calorie of fuel used (that's 1200 times more efficient)

Meat & dairy farming uses billions of gallons of oil to run tractors, fuel ships & lorries (to move animal feed & animals), pump billions of gallons of water to irrigate fields & run slaughterhouses, power refrigeration units to prevent the corpses from decomposing & to power sewage plants to clean up some of the pollution produced

Cattle convert only 6% of their energy intake (mainly grains & soya) into flesh, the remaining 94% is wasted as heat, movement (which is why they keep many animals in very close confinement), hair, bones, faeces etc

1lb of beef takes 1 gallon of petrol to produce

A family of four eating beef for a year uses enough petrol to run a car for 6 months (obviously depending on how far you drive!)

If the full ecological cost of meat was passed onto the consumer - the price would be quadrupled (at least)

The EC spends ?100,000,000' s to subsidise animal production resulting in lakes of unwanted milk & mountains of unwanted meat & butter. This money could be better spent encouraging organic fruit, vegetable & grain production

In the USA in 1979 145,000,000 tons of crops were fed to cattle resulting in only 21million tons of animal bodies - the cost of the wasted crops was $20,000,000, 000

Between 1950 & 1985 grain production in Europe & the USA increased massively but 2/3 was fed to animals

70% of all grain is fed to animals

Eating vast quantities of animal flesh, eggs, milk & butter is a luxury that most of the planet can not afford


Fishing with drift (and other modern) nets weakens & destroys ecosystems by indiscriminately killing billions of sea creatures & disrupting the sea bed

Fishermen's nets kill 10 times as many other animals as the fish they are hoping to catch

Fish caught in nets die an agonising slow death of suffocation

Each year 15,000,000,000 land animals are slaughtered for food & an unknown but much larger number of sea creatures (including 1000's of dolphins caught accidentally)

Chickens are crammed into battery cages with upto 3 other birds, they are unable to even spread their wings & many can not even stand up

Unwanted male chicks (because they can't lay eggs) are gassed or pulped while their sisters go to the battery sheds

Chicks are debeaked without anaesthetic to prevent them injuring each other in the unnaturally confined conditions they are kept in - this is equivalent to having your fingernails pulled out without anaesthetic

Modern farming methods using growth hormones & artificial lighting mean that many chickens out grow their bones, resulting in fractured & broken legs

Sows are kept tethered in stalls 1.3 x 1 metre on concrete or slatted floors - they can not even turn around

Poultry raised for meat are kept in windowless broiler sheds, with around 20-30,000 in each shed, they live in an area of 10-20 cm square - fighting due to overcrowding is common & like battery hens they commonly suffer from supperating bed sores

Broilersheds are artificially lit 23 hours a day to produce rapid growth

Animals travel between farms & to slaughter in overcrowded transporters with no food or water - resulting in stress, injuries & deaths - legal requirements are widely ignored

95% of poultry suffer injuries before being killed & 30% suffer broken bones

Problems with stunning practices mean that many animals have their throats slit while still conscious (around 6% of cattle or 200,000 per year) & are then dipped in tanks of scalding water (to loosen feathers, bristles etc.) again while fully conscious

4000 animals die spurting their blood out every minute in a British slaughterhouse

Calf leather comes from animals killed at just 2 weeks old

Cows were fed on the ground up remains of other cows & sheep - the result is thought to be BSE (mad cow disease) in the USA cattle are fed partly on recycled plastic pellets

Cows only give milk for 10 months after they have a calf - so they are routinely artificially inseminated (ie. mechanically raped) to keep them pregnant & milking - their calves are taken away (usually at 12 hours old) for meat or export to veal crates

Cows would naturally live up to 20 years but are slaughtered after 5-7 years when their milk production begins to fall

In the UK animals are killed by first being stunned with electricity or a captive bolt gun (ie. a bolt is fired into their heads) before having their throats slit & being plunged into boiling water - all this happens on a production line with the animals being hung upside down from a moving conveyor belt - this is factory farming

"Animals are those unfortunate slaves & victims of the most brutal part of mankind" - John Stewart Mill (philosopher)

Veal calves are confined in stalls in the dark, unable to move & are fed on pigs blood , chocolate & dried milk (we are drinking the rich fresh milk of their mothers)

Cows naturally produce 5 litres of milk per day for their calves - under the intensified systems of modern farming they produce 25-40 litres per day - resulting in swollen & inflamed udders - at this rate they are soon worn out

Large areas of land are under monoculture to grow crops to feed to animals - these areas are wildlife deserts supporting fewer & fewer species.


Vegetarians have a 20% lower rate of mortality from all causes (ie. they live longer & don't get sick as often)

Meat is full of traces of antibiotics, hormones, toxins produced by stress & pesticide residues that become concentrated from all the crops they have eaten

Fish contain heavy metals & other pollutants - many of which originated on farms

world health organisation recommends a diet low in saturated fat, sugar, salt & with plenty of fibre - exactly what you get on a vegan/vegetarian diet

Farmed animals contain up to 50% saturated fat in their bodies

Vegetarians have 24% reduced risk of getting heart disease & Vegans a 57% reduction (heart disease is the biggest killer in the UK, accounting for 50% of deaths)
Obesity is rare in vegetarians, obesity is related to many diseases
Vegans & vegetarians have lower blood pressure & cholesterol levels
- high levels are associated with heart disease, strokes & kidney

Vegetarians have a 50% reduced risk of dying of diabetes

Vegetarians have a 40% reduced level of cancer than the general population thought to be because they have a higher intake of vitamins A,C & E

Vegetarians have a reduced risk of developing gall & kidney stones

80% of food poisoning is due to infected meat (feces, bacteria etc.) after all meat is decomposing flesh - most of the rest is due to salmonella in eggs

Osteoporosis due to calcium loss from bones is mainly due to the sulphur content in meat & casein protein in milk that cause calcium to be lost in the urine - the countries with the highest meat & dairy consumption are those with the highest levels of brittle bones

50% of people do not have the enzyme to digest milk properly & milk allergy is related to asthma & eczema

Meat eaters have double the rate of Alzheimer's disease as Vegans & Vegetarians - some people also think that Parkinson's disease is also linked to meat eating

Egg yolk is a dense concentration of saturated fat & the white is high in albumin protein associated with leaching calcium into your urine. Butter is 80% saturated fat, cream is 40% saturated fat & cheese is 25-40% saturated fat

Meat eaters are two and a half times more likely to get bowel cancer than Vegetarians

The cling film used to wrap meat in supermarkets & butchers contains chemicals linked to falling sperm counts in men

Chinese people (living mainly on a vegetarian diet) consume 20% more calories than Americans but Americans are 20% fatter

Of 2,100,000 deaths in the USA in 1987, 1,500,000 were related to diet (i.e.. meat & dairy)

AND ONE COULD GO ON ! If you've read this far, I hope that you are beginning to see that the Meat & Dairy industry is a major contributor to misery on this planet. It is destroying the health of people in rich countries, starving those in poor countries; it is torturing & killing billions of animals every year and in the meantime, it is one of the major factors in the destruction of the environment - so what does the meat & dairy industry have to say in it's defense?

Well their only real point is usually "Meat is tasty" - fair enough a lot of people enjoy the taste of meat - but there are plenty of delicious alternatives (just consider the huge range of vegetarian dishes in Indian cooking - one of the oldest & most sophisticated cuisines in the world) and if you really crave meat & dairy, nowadays there are plenty of healthy non animal alternatives - just look in the
supermarket & health food shop. So I hope you will agree it's pretty pathetic to consider all the evidence & then say "well I know you're right about the environment & health & the animals - but I just love my meat"

Check out my website......

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4. Myths About Vegans

Forwarded message

10 myths about vegans
Nov1 (who I once bought some shoes from) emailed me today to tell me it's world vegan day and to share with me an advert for their shoes and things, cunningly wrapped in a "10 Myths about Vegans" list. They know bloggers love lists, like free London papers, like made up opinion polls, and will republish them at every opportunity, so here goes:

1. Vegans are the pale anemic bunch

No way Jose! Get yourself a bucket of cold water before you click into Vegan bodybuilders. Olympic champion Carl Lewis, gorgeous Alicia Silverstone and hot Joaquin Phoenix are amongst famous vegan hotties. You may find the list of vegan celebs at

2. If you want to know what's in fashion, don't bother asking a vegan

The best fashion accessory for Vegans is the one matching their beliefs. The mainstream has now caught on that "Green is the new Black" and compassion in fashion is in vogue. Stella McCartney is one among many designers who refuses to use fur or leather in any of her pret-a-porter collections.

3. Vegans are Fruit loops

There may be a few fruit loops amongst them but there are a few rather brilliant minds too. Mr Janez Drnovsek, president of Slovenia, is vegan, and just to name few revered veggie brains - Mahatma Gandhi, Albert Schweitzer, Albert Einstein and Leonardo Da Vinci. Maybe tofu is the next brain food …

4. Vegans live on rabbit food

Vegans love their rabbit food but they also love to tantalize their taste buds with scrumptious cuisines from around the world. Does the sound of Brazil Nut Choc Temptation sound too good to be vegan? Go to for this recipe and more. For delectable ice cream, try B'Nice Rice Cream.

5. Vegan = Stylish footwear = Oxymoron ….. not any more!

Happy Vegan feet can now step out in style with stores like Bourgeois Boheme, Footwear and accessories for both men and women are ethically sourced from around the world. Look out for the new collection under their own label coming out in the vegan month of November.

6. Vegans love animals more than people

The furry, scaly and warty ones are their passion but high on their priorities too is the welfare of their fellow 2-legged Homo sapiens variety too. Wherever possible, vegans look out for fair trade produce; see The Fair Trade Foundation for further information.

7. Vegans will not rest until they convert the entire world into Vegans

They would love everyone to be vegan of course but they do understand that this is the real world. Another way around is to set up a little country of vegans! One group hopes to purchase an island to establish their very own vegan island community.

8. Vegans are all crazy animal rights activists

There are many passive ways to be the voice for animals and to have fun at the same time. One such "cheeky" way is getting for them to get their gear off and run nude along the streets of Pamplona. Intrigued? Go to PETA's (People for the Ethical treatment of Animals) for more details.

9. Vegans are tree huggers

Indeed they are and they love hugging lots of other things too! Actually, veganism and environmentalism go hand in hand. Did you know that farmed animals, cow's flatulence for one, produce more greenhouse gas emissions (18%) than the world's entire transport system (13.5%)? Go to the Vegan Society for further interesting facts.

10. Vegans have a chip on their shoulders

"Let's say you were stranded on a deserted island and your only food source was a turtle, would you eat it..?"

Vegans are bombarded with such absurd scenarios everyday; it's not surprising that they may snap back! If you really want to know what vegetarian ethics is about go to Vegetarians International Voice for Animals website.

So there you go, that's what all vegans think and what all vegans are like and that's A FACT!

(Also, just for the record, as it has been proved above that all vegans are high achieving and intelligent and attractive, don't even think about coming back at me with "Hitler was a vegetarian", no he wasn't)

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5. Irritating Statements From Meat-Eaters

Being a vegetarian is fun. If you do not harm, you will not be harmed, is my philosophy. But there are some people that really make me ill.

1. People from vegetarian families who, tucking into a meat air line meal, say , I never eat meat at home

2. People who say, yes, we are vegetarians but when we go abroad, it is so difficult to find a decent vegetarian meal so we eat meat

3. People who say I can't stand meat so I usually take the vegetables out of the meat stew and eat them

4. If I say I don't drink milk because it is really bad for the body, people who ask, what about paneer and dahi ?

5. People who say, its only one life, you spend it sacrificing everything, eating only ghaas phoos. You have to have real food.

6. People who remark when you say you are vegetarian ," but you look so healthy"

7. People expect you to be humorless, strident, and out to convert them. They will bring up the subject themselves and then say you are obsessive

8. People who say , food is a personal choice, it should not be discussed or condemned I wish they'd ask the animal !)

9. People who serve meat at Indian weddings

10. People who think that you have to be a radical or extremist to be vegetarian

11. People who are asked whether they are veg or non-veg reply "both"

12. People who say ," I am gradually leaving meat as I grow older."

13. People who say " I want to be vegetarian but my in laws won't let me."

14. People who offer you salad dishes as an alternative to meat. People who offer you steamed carrots with peas and baby corn as a main dish.

15.When you tell someone that you're a vegetarian, they tell you that they really want to eat healthier and then go into all the reasons why its hard and they can't. But you weren't interested in having the conversation go that direction, and you can't seem to get them to get off it.

16.People who tell you that they are vegetarian on Tuesdays

17.Lots of times I am just standing somewhere, minding my own business, and a meat eater comes up and start arguing, saying that pork isn't cruel, blah blah blah!

18.People who think that you must be very religious if you are vegetarian or that you can have no hobbies or interests apart from the promotion of vegetarianism. Sports - totally out !

19. People who make the lunch you bring to work the topic of conversation...EVERY DAY!

20. People who point out that vegetables are alive too!

21. People who make me restrain myself every time I hear "I couldn't do it" as the closing argument on every discussion of the merits of veganism.

22.People who argue that "But the animals would take over the earth if we didn't eat them!"

23. People who attempt to be scientists and economists "It is obvious that a plant-based diet is good for health and the environment, but the economy would suffer greatly and people would lose their jobs if everyone stopped eating meat."

24. People who say that , if we didn't eat animals, they would die from starvation anyway.

25. People who apologise for eating meat in front of you and carry on eating anyway.

26. People who suddenly back away from you when you mention that you are vegan in polite conversation ,the way they do when avoiding beggars.

27. People who lapse into an awkward silence when you finally get around to mentioning you're a vegan.

28. People who ask " What about soup, what about chocolate till they go down a whole list and use up all the time you have

29. People who use doctors who supposedly said that they have to have eggs and meat to stay healthy in order to buttress their own appetite for meat

30. People who say : but animals were invented for us to eat"

31. People you eat out with get exasperated when you try to determine what exactly is in the food you are ordering. (If it were an allergy, it would be fine, but since it's a choice, it's weird.)

32. People who hear you are vegetarian, he says, "Oh, what about your son. Is he normal?"

33.People who tell you that when their children decided to be vegetarian they put only meat on the table because once they just tasted it, they would realize meat was okay.

34.People who accuse you of holding animals in greater regard than humans because you are vegetarian People just don't understand that caring for animals doesn't mean you think they're more important than humans, just that they are AS important.

35.People who say that cows like to be milked (would YOU liked to be milked by a different species and separated from your young after they are born?)

36.People who say "God told us to eat meat."

37.People who serve a meat and veg dish and then say, "You can take the meat off and eat the rest of it"

38. You are afraid to give any bad impressions, because everyone you meet will tell somebody else, "I met a vegan. She seemed snappy and unhappy to me."

39. People who "used to be vegetarian" but "outgrew it" (i.e. began to find it inconvenient).

40. People who tell you that they are "nearly vegetarian"

41. People who expect you to be an authority on all types of health concerns, exercise, yoga eastern philosophy, agriculture and medicineand special diet restrictions( I am but that's another matter !). "Oh, you're a strict vegetarian. Do you know what causes acne?" or "What can I give my celiac and lactose intolerant daughter to snack on?"

42.Your friends introduce you as a vegetarian sometimes before your name is even mentioned.

43. Vegetarians whose little children are allowed to eat meat because "I cannot make choices for them" but will make choices about their school ,clothes, friends and everything else. Are you one of these people ?

-By Maneka Gandhi

To join the animal welfare movement contact
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6. Is Civilization Facing a Last Chance?

The World at 350: A Last Chance for Civilization

By Bill McKibben

Sunday 11 May 2008

Even for Americans, constitutionally convinced that there will always be a second act, and a third, and a do-over after that, and, if necessary, a little public repentance and forgiveness and a Brand New Start - even for us, the world looks a little Terminal right now.

It's not just the economy. We've gone through swoons before. It's that gas at $4 a gallon means we're running out, at least of the cheap stuff that built our sprawling society. It's that when we try to turn corn into gas, it sends the price of a loaf of bread shooting upwards and starts food riots on three continents. It's that everything is so inextricably tied together. It's that, all of a sudden, those grim Club of Rome types who, way back in the 1970s, went on and on about the "limits to growth" suddenly seem? how best to put it, right.

All of a sudden it isn't morning in America, it's dusk on planet Earth.

There's a number - a new number - that makes this point most powerfully. It may now be the most important number on Earth: 350. As in parts per million (ppm) of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

A few weeks ago, our foremost climatologist, NASA's Jim Hansen, submitted a paper to Science magazine with several co-authors. The abstract attached to it argued - and I have never read stronger language in a scientific paper - "if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on earth is adapted, paleoclimate evidence and ongoing climate change suggest that CO2 will need to be reduced from its current 385 ppm to at most 350 ppm." Hansen cites six irreversible tipping points - massive sea level rise and huge changes in rainfall patterns, among them - that we'll pass if we don't get back down to 350 soon; and the first of them, judging by last summer's insane melt of Arctic ice, may already be behind us.

So it's a tough diagnosis. It's like the doctor telling you that your cholesterol is way too high and, if you don't bring it down right away, you're going to have a stroke. So you take the pill, you swear off the cheese, and, if you're lucky, you get back into the safety zone before the coronary. It's like watching the tachometer edge into the red zone and knowing that you need to take your foot off the gas before you hear that clunk up front.

In this case, though, it's worse than that because we're not taking the pill and we are stomping on the gas - hard. Instead of slowing down, we're pouring on the coal, quite literally. Two weeks ago came the news that atmospheric carbon dioxide had jumped 2.4 parts per million last year - two decades ago, it was going up barely half that fast.

And suddenly, the news arrives that the amount of methane, another potent greenhouse gas, accumulating in the atmosphere, has unexpectedly begun to soar as well. Apparently, we've managed to warm the far north enough to start melting huge patches of permafrost and massive quantities of methane trapped beneath it have begun to bubble forth.

And don't forget: China is building more power plants; India is pioneering the $2,500 car, and Americans are converting to TVs the size of windshields which suck juice ever faster.

Here's the thing. Hansen didn't just say that, if we didn't act, there was trouble coming; or, if we didn't yet know what was best for us, we'd certainly be better off below 350 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. His phrase was: "... if we wish to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed." A planet with billions of people living near those oh-so-floodable coastlines. A planet with ever more vulnerable forests. (A beetle, encouraged by warmer temperatures, has already managed to kill 10 times more trees than in any previous infestation across the northern reaches of Canada this year. This means far more carbon heading for the atmosphere and apparently dooms Canada's efforts to comply with the Kyoto Protocol, already in doubt because of its decision to start producing oil for the U.S. from Alberta's tar sands.)

We're the ones who kicked the warming off; now, the planet is starting to take over the job. Melt all that Arctic ice, for instance, and suddenly the nice white shield that reflected 80% of incoming solar radiation back into space has turned to blue water that absorbs 80% of the sun's heat. Such feedbacks are beyond history, though not in the sense that Francis Fukuyama had in mind.

And we have, at best, a few years to short-circuit them - to reverse course. Here's the Indian scientist and economist Rajendra Pachauri, who accepted the Nobel Prize on behalf of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year (and, by the way, got his job when the Bush administration, at the behest of Exxon Mobil, forced out his predecessor): "If there's no action before 2012, that's too late. What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment."

In the next two or three years, the nations of the world are supposed to be negotiating a successor treaty to the Kyoto Accord. When December 2009 rolls around, heads of state are supposed to converge on Copenhagen to sign a treaty - a treaty that would go into effect at the last plausible moment to heed the most basic and crucial of limits on atmospheric CO2.

If we did everything right, says Hansen, we could see carbon emissions start to fall fairly rapidly and the oceans begin to pull some of that CO2 out of the atmosphere. Before the century was out we might even be on track back to 350. We might stop just short of some of those tipping points, like the Road Runner screeching to a halt at the very edge of the cliff.

More likely, though, we're the Coyote - because "doing everything right" means that political systems around the world would have to take enormous and painful steps right away. It means no more new coal-fired power plants anywhere, and plans to quickly close the ones already in operation. (Coal-fired power plants operating the way they're supposed to are, in global warming terms, as dangerous as nuclear plants melting down.) It means making car factories turn out efficient hybrids next year, just the way we made them turn out tanks in six months at the start of World War II. It means making trains an absolute priority and planes a taboo.

It means making every decision wisely because we have so little time and so little money, at least relative to the task at hand. And hardest of all, it means the rich countries of the world sharing resources and technology freely with the poorest ones, so that they can develop dignified lives without burning their cheap coal.

That's possible - we launched a Marshall Plan once, and we could do it again, this time in relation to carbon. But in a month when the President has, once more, urged us to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, that seems unlikely. In a month when the alluring phrase "gas tax holiday" has danced into our vocabulary, it's hard to see (though it was encouraging to see that Clinton's gambit didn't sway many voters). And if it's hard to imagine sacrifice here, imagine China, where people produce a quarter as much carbon apiece as we do.

Still, as long as it's not impossible, we've got a duty to try. In fact, it's about the most obvious duty humans have ever faced.

A few of us have just launched a new campaign, Its only goal is to spread this number around the world in the next 18 months, via art and music and ruckuses of all kinds, in the hope that it will push those post-Kyoto negotiations in the direction of reality.

After all, those talks are our last chance; you just can't do this one light bulb at a time. And if this campaign is a Hail Mary pass, well, sometimes those passes get caught.

We do have one thing going for us: This new tool, the Web which, at least, allows you to imagine something like a grassroots global effort. If the Internet was built for anything, it was built for sharing this number, for making people understand that "350" stands for a kind of safety, a kind of possibility, a kind of future.

Hansen's words were well-chosen: "a planet similar to that on which civilization developed." People will doubtless survive on a non-350 planet, but those who do will be so preoccupied, coping with the endless unintended consequences of an overheated planet that civilization may not.

Civilization is what grows up in the margins of leisure and security provided by a workable relationship with the natural world. That margin won't exist, at least not for long, this side of 350. That's the limit we face.

Bill McKibben is a scholar-in-residence at Middlebury College and co-founder of His most recent book is The Bill McKibben Reader.

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