January 13, 2009

1/13/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

1/13/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter
Shalom everyone,

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

1. My Videotaped Talk at the Flatbush Center on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?” Is Now On the Internet

2. YOU Can Represent JVNA as a Speaker/Here Is How

3. My Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama/Please Help Get Our Message Out

4. Chicago Health Chief Urges Switch to Vegetarian Diets/How Arthur Poletti is Building On This In Contacting President-Elect Obama

5. Building Vegetarian Outreach Around Tu B'Shvat/Also A Correction


7. Organizing a Vegetarian Activity as Part of the National Day of Service on Monday, January 19th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

8. Responding to Some Myths About Global Warming

9. Article by Paul Watson (Director Sea Shepherd, an Anti-Whaling Group) on Global Warming Threats

10. John Robbins a Victim of Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme/Help Needed

11. Major Vegetarian Events Planned for 2009/Volunteers Needed

12. Billions Face Food Shortages, Study Warns

13. Major Jewish Food Blog (“The Jew and the Carrot”) Seeks Editorial/Writing Help

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 Videotaped Talk at the Flatbush Center on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?” Is Now On the Internet

Please visit:

to hear my complete talk on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?” preceded by an introduction by the synagogues Rabbi Shlomo Segal and followed by my responses to several questions.

If the above link does not work, please try:


Suggestions welcome.

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2. YOU Can Represent JVNA as a Speaker/Here Is How

As I have often indicated, we have truth, justice, morality and other positive values, but we are limited in financial resources. Hence, we have not been able to get our message out effectively.

Here is where you come in. How about arranging to speak at your local synagogues, JCCs, yeshivas and other Jewish schools, Hadassahs and other Jewish groups, etc. Many of these groups are looking for speakers.

You can easily come up with enough facts, as there is very little knowledge in the general Jewish (and general) public re Jewish teachings on vegetarianism and on the realities of factory farming and other aspects of our food system. You can view my video talk at the URLs mentioned in the item above. Also, you can gain much information from my over 130 articles at JewishVeg.com, including “What Diet Does G-d Prefer for Humans?” and “Eighteen Reasons Jews Think They Should not Be Vegetarians (and Why They Are Wrong).” Especially valuable is the extensive background material for a talk on “Judaism and Vegetarianism” at: http://jewishveg.com/schwartz/talk.html

Please let me know if you are interested in being a speaker and if we might help in any way. Many thanks.

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3. My Open Letter to President-Elect Barack Obama/Please Help Get Our Message Out

In my new position as director of the “Veg Climate Alliance,” I have composed the draft below of an open letter to Barack Obama.

Please suggest improvements and use the material in this letter and in the next item for letters to editors, articles, calls to radio programs and/or talking points. Many thanks.
January 13, 2009

President-Elect Barack Obama
Office of the President-Elect
451 6th Street NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear President-Elect Barack Obama:

On behalf of the Veg Climate Alliance (www.vegclimatealliance.com), a group that represents the views of many environmental, health-related, vegetarian, animal rights and other groups in promoting a societal shift to plant-based diets as an essential step in responding to global warming and other current threats, I want to join many other people of good will in congratulating you on your historic election and wishing you the best of luck in all of your future activities.

In this critical time, when the US and the entire world face so many serious problems, we, along with so many others have been very impressed by your initial efforts to address today's urgent issues, and we wish you continued success.

We would like to very respectfully suggest an action that is seldom considered by our leaders, but one that can help dramatically help in responding to many of today's threats -- that you (and possibly your wonderful family) seriously consider switching toward a vegetarian diet and that you urge the American people to also sharply reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products. This would be consistent with your desire to stress prevention and the recent statement of Chicago Health Commissioner Terry Mason, whom you know, encouraging everyone to join him in going vegetarian for at least January, 2009.

In your response to Nikki Benoit, that young lady in the “Vegan Outreach” T-shirt (http://vegclimatealliance.org/video-obama-tackles-agribusiness/), you showed that you are well aware of the issues. As you pointed out in that response, “Americans would benefit [health wise] from a change of diet.” At a time when there is an epidemic of diseases related to animal-based diets and medical costs are soaring, a shift to plant-based diets would reduce medical costs, help reduce the massive budget deficits that are currently projected and help enable you to carry out your objectives of providing tax cuts and improving our nation's infrastructure.

In your response, you also indicated that current food system is under enormous pressure in that so much grain is being fed to animals at a time when hunger is spreading, food prices are soaring and there have already been food riots in Haiti and other poor countries. In addition, at a time when droughts are spreading and increasing numbers of people will soon live in areas chronically short of clean water, an animal-based diet requires up to 14 times as much water as a vegan diet. Perhaps most important, as we increasingly see the effects of global climate change and when some climate scientists are projecting that global warming could spin out of control within a few years, with potentially disastrous consequences, unless major changes soon occur, a 2006 UN report “livestock's Long Shadow” indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, planes, ships and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18% vs. 13.5%). That UN report projects that the number of farmed animals will double in the next 50 years, with the result that the increased greenhouse gas emissions would negate many positive changes and make it almost impossible to reach the greenhouse gas emission reductions that you and others seek.

As you know, in 2007, eleven retired U/S. generals and admirals indicated that global warming, by increasing the number of hungry, thirsty refugees fleeing global warming-related droughts, storms, flooding, diseases and wildfires, makes instability, violence, terrorism and war more likely. Hence, a societal shift toward plant-based diets could help you accomplish your desire to reduce terrorism and reach a more peaceful, harmonious world.

So, in many ways, a dietary shift by you and an education campaign to increase awareness of the urgency of a major shift toward plant-based diets would be a great step toward reaching many of your goals.

In addition, your response mentioned the importance of getting more fruits and vegetables into school lunch programs and subsidizing healthier plant-based foods rather that animal products and processed foods, so we also hope you will follow up on these important initiatives.

One other thought: as you get a dog for your wonderful daughters, they would probably be happy to know that switching to nutritious, delicious plant-based foods can reduce the current mistreatment and slaughter of ten billion farmed animals in the US annually.

Thank you for your kind consideration. We would be very happy to provide further information and/or help in any other way. We believe that the future of the US and, indeed of all future generations depends on your putting our suggestions into practice.

Very respectfully,

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.
Director, Veg Climate Alliance

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4. Chicago Health Chief Urges Switch to Vegetarian Diets/How Arthur Poletti is Building On This In Contacting President-Elect Obama

Thanks to JVNA advisor Arthur Poletti for forwarding this article to us AND for his strong letter and message that has been placed after the article. Please help spread these messages. Many thanks.

City health chief's food fight targets meat. He encourages vegetarian diet for January
By Deborah L. Shelton
Chicago Tribune reporter
January 9, 2009

Chicago health commissioner Dr. Terry Mason has a message for Chicagoans who enjoy devouring meat in all its fat-dripping, artery-clogging glory: Don't do it._
As part of his campaign to slim down waists and lower blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol citywide, Mason is encouraging everyone to join him in going vegetarian for January."

For the entire month, I'm not eating any meat," he has told listeners to his Sunday morning radio show, "Doctor in the House," on WVON-AM. "If it walks, runs, hops, flies, swims, crawls or slithers, I won't eat it. If it has eyes, I won't eat it. If it had a momma and a daddy, I won't eat it. . . . I'm going to focus on eating a healthy and delicious variety of fresh vegetables and fresh fruit. . . . And I want you to do the same.

"In a city famous for Italian beef, Polish sausage and deep dish pizza, his call for a meatless month may sound downright blasphemous. But Mason, a physician who has a medical practice in urology, appears undaunted, and for good reason.

In this food fight, Mason has been amassing troops to his side.

On a blustery, snowy night this week, his call to good health drew dozens to the Soul Vegetarian East restaurant on East 75th Street. During his talk on healthy eating, Mason asked how many planned to go meatless all month, and a packed room of hands flew up.

Score one for broccoli.

In some circles, vegetarianism wouldn't seem like such a radical idea. But a meal without meat is not something that has caught on with many urban blacks, the group Mason is making a special effort to target. African-Americans suffer disproportionately from diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and many other health problems linked to high-fat foods.

This is Mason's fourth year campaigning for a meatless January. Paul Ellison, 71, of the Far South Side enlisted in the healthy eating crusade three years ago and then decided to forgo meat for good. "

It hasn't been that hard either," said Ellison, who has lost 40 pounds on a vegetarian diet.

For Mason, animal fats are enemy No. 1. He has stared down this enemy and it looks a lot like pork chops smothered with dressing, rib tips dripping in greasy barbecue sauce and hamburgers heaped with cheese.

Mason said his vegetarianism lasted seven months last year and he plans to stay with it for good this time. Mason suffers from high cholesterol and had a coronary stent implanted in 2005. Both of his parents died young of cancer-his mother at 51 and his father at 39. In the crowd this week at Soul Vegetarian East were Dorothy Carpenter of Roseland, an education consultant, and Carpenter's daughter Raegan Tall, a child welfare specialist who lives in West Pullman. The two hung on Mason's every word.

Carpenter said she fell into a diabetic coma for 11 days in 2007, and her doctor told her it was a miracle she survived. She admits to a lifetime of bad eating habits and figures she needs to lose at least 100 pounds.

Tall, recently married, wants to get pregnant one day but would like to lose weight first to ensure a healthy pregnancy and healthy offspring."

We've done a lot of diets, but it really is a lifestyle change," Tall said. "We aren't scared to try." Mason chose January to launch his campaign, which he calls Re-Start, because "we have just finished a season of gluttony," he explained. "We started in Thanksgiving and went right through Jan. 1. That's when we ate more, drank more, did all the mores that we shouldn't have.

"Walking around the room Wednesday night, he asked people why they came to the meeting. "I came to get a jump start on eating right," one woman said. "I don't do bad but I could do a whole lot better. " Another woman said simply: "I love my life and want to live longer. " Next week, the group heads to Farmers Best Market on West 47th Street, where they will learn how to select the freshest fruits and vegetables and tell the difference between slick mustard greens and curly mustard greens, among other things. The following week, an exercise physiologist will teach safe and effective exercises for getting in shape.

Andrea Giancoli, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, praised Mason's efforts.

"Typically a vegetarian diet is a healthier diet," said Giancoli, a registered dietitian. "People who follow more plant-based diets have better health outcomes-lower rates of chronic disease and lower rates of obesity. We all need to be moving more toward a plant-based diet." Giancoli said cutting back on animal foods doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing proposition. For example, she noted the benefits of getting omega-3 fatty acids from fish. "I tend to err on the side of caution and include this in the diet," she said. Mason has advised the soon-to-be-meatless to drink at least a half-gallon of water daily and eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables, beans and peas. He said some people might need vitamin B-12 supplements. "I'd love to see people stick with it and make it a lifestyle," Mason said of vegetarianism. "But the goal is to help people see the benefits of a plant-based diet.

"While Mason's approach is more smiling cheerleader than stern lecturer, he had his moments, such as when he admonished men who insist on filling their car's tank with the highest grade gasoline but fill their bellies with greasy rib tips and fries. "You put the good fuel in your car and put the bad fuel in your bodies," Mason chided. "What sense does that make?"
Letter by JVNA advisorArthur Poletti in response

[Please help Arthur spread this important message. Thanks.]

Dear Dr. Terry Mason:

May I extend my sincere congratulations!!

I am very impressed and gratified with the fact that you have had the courage to let everyone know that you are a vegetarian and recommend that everyone gives it a serious try.

You are the CHANGE you want to see in the world!!

I hope that since you know President Elect Barack Obama that you will be able to communicate with him and be able to persuade him to seriously
consider the countless reasons he would be very wise to seriously consider vegetarianism, no matter what anyone thinks or says.

There is no change that President Elect Barack Obama could support and promote that could ultimately be as big or more beneficial to all humans, all animals, the earth, and the earth's atmosphere.

Dr. Mason, like you, do you think President-Elect Obama is also capable of being wiser and braver than Al Gore and Oprah Winfrey have been?

Will the future leader of America make a decision that could potentially provide the urgently neededi nspiration that could CHANGE and improve
the world as never before?

For the biggest and most beneficial *CHANGE* imaginable "to actually happen" let us all work together on your behalf to persuade President
Elect Barack Obama to become a VEGETARIAN.


In my opinion, I truly believe that if President Elect Barack Obama knew and considered the real truth about the catastrophic disasters that are related to the livestock industry, ranging from major health problems, the number one cause of global warming, and the unnecessary brutal treatment and deaths of millions of animals everyday, he would immediately become a vegetarian.

Dr. Mason, let me repeat myself by saying that you could definitely play a large role in helping to persuade the future leader of the United States to make the most important decision of his Presidency that could result in the biggest and most beneficial changes in history.

Dr. Mason, please devote one hour of your life to view the free one hour major masterpiece documentary titled: *A Sacred Duty* that can be viewed online for free at YouTube:

I have a supply of the free DVD version of this incredible film and would be pleased to send you ... several copies.

I think you will agree, after viewing *A Sacred Duty*, that President Elect Obama and his family should make sure they also view the finest free documentary film of its kind ever produced, which clearly reveals the urgent challenges and monumental disasters that have been caused by or promoted by the livestock industry which until recently have been the best kept secrets in the world.

Global warming heads the list!!

I have forwarded the message from Tim Hadac about your effort to several hundred people and many organizations. I hope you get a positive response from some or possibly many of them.

Thank you for all you have done and will do to improve the health and welfare of as many people and animals as possible.

You are the CHANGE you want to see in the world!!

Arthur Poletti

Further message from Arthur Poletti:


I am going to use this opportunity to promote A Sacred Duty. I will send an email to several hundred addresses throughout the world announcing the breaking news about Dr. Mason and will I use *A Sacred Duty* as a major point of interest.

Maybe we will get lucky and create more widespread interest in the finest one hour documentary film of its kind ever produced.

I actually believe that our efforts will result in Barack Obama viewing *A Sacred Duty* Only God knows what may happen then.

I will unload the heavy artillery soon.

Thank you.

Arthur Poletti.

Another message from Arthur Poletti:

Dear Care2 News:




Every one of the 10 million plus members of Care2 should read the following news flash and imagine what will happen when Health Chiefs in every major city are made aware of the brave and bold announcement made by the Chicago Health Chief?

I hope you will spread the following news far and wide, especially to Care2 member Deepak Chopra.

Thank you.
Arthur Poletti
Western Springs, Illinois

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5. Building Vegetarian Outreach Around Tu B'Shvat/Also A Correction

Recently a special JVNA newsletter was sent to you with a press release draft, many articles, lists of Tu B'Shvat-related resources, a sample letter and sample invitations to a Tu B'Shvat seder.

Please use this material to help promote our campaign to turn Tu B'Shvat into a Jewish Earth Day. In view of the great threats from global warming and other environmental problems, it is urgent that tikkun olam (efforts to heal and repair the world) become a major focus in Jewish life today.

Special thanks to JVNA founder and founding president for suggesting this idea many years ago and promoting it in many ways.


In the recent special newsletter, the press release had a paragraph that should have read:

Consistent with the fact that all the foods at the traditional Tu B'Shvat seder are from plants, JVNA also urges rabbis and other Jewish leaders to make Jews aware of how plant-based diets are most consistent with basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources and help hungry people.

The original version had “animal-based diets.”

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Thankfully, our documentary has received much praise. We would like the movie to be seen by as many people as possible, so we are continuing to give away free DVDs. Please use the message and sample article below to help make people aware that they can get complimentary copies of A SACRED DUTY and also see the complete movie at ASacredDuty.com. Many thanks.

I would like to offer you a complimentary DVD with our recently released documentary A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD, if you have not received one yet. It has a strong, unique, universal message re global warming and other environmental threats, health issues, the treatment of animals and much more, and has the potential of moving our imperiled planet to a sustainable path. I think it would make an excellent program, in showing the relevance of eternal religious values to current environmental threats.

Please see the article below for more information about the movie.

The movie is receiving a very favorable response (please see the blurbs under the article below, or at ASacredDuty.com)).

If you are interested in receiving a DVD, please email your mailing address to me. If you would like more than one free DVD, to share with others, please let me know.

The movie may also be seen on the internet at:


There is also much background material, including questions and answers about the movie at that web site.

Many thanks, and best wishes,

Richard (Schwartz)
President, Jewish Vegetarians of North America

Richard H. Schwartz

Because the world is heading rapidly toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats, Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) has produced a documentary, A SACRED DUTY: APPLYING JEWISH VALUES TO HELP HEAL THE WORLD, to address these threats from a positive Jewish perspective. JVNA will send a free copy to anyone who will help arrange a screening or help promote the movie in some other way.

Almost daily there are reports of severe droughts, floods, storms or wildfires, of the melting of glaciers and polar icecaps and other indicators of global warming. It is frightening that, while these effects are due to an increase in temperature of less than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 100 years, the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a group composed of hundreds of the world's climate scientists, is projecting an increase of 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 100 years. Even more ominous is that some climate scientists, including James Hansen of NASA, are warning that global warming may reach a tipping point and spiral out of control within a decade, with disastrous consequences, unless major changes are soon made. Israel is especially vulnerable to global climate change, in terms of reduced rainfall, severe storms and flooding from a rising Mediterranean Sea.

A SACRED DUTY is a Jewish response to these realities. It reminds us that it is our sacred duty to become aware of current threats and our responsibility to apply Jewish teachings to how we obtain our food, use natural resources, and live among other creatures whom God created. It offers simple, practical measures for reducing our impact on the planet, including “an inconvenient truth” that even Al Gore has not yet acknowledged.

Produced by the highly acclaimed, multi-award-winning film maker, Lionel Friedberg, A SACRED DUTY reinforces the messages in Al Gore's AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH and Leonardo di Caprio's, THE ELEVENTH HOUR about the dangers of global warming. However, it goes beyond these films, by showing how religious responses can make a major difference and why a shift toward plant-based diets is an essential part of efforts to reduce global climate change and other environmental threats. It also challenges people to consider the many moral issues related to our diets, including Torah teachings on how animals are treated on factory farms and the effects on human health and the environment.

Although it is primarily intended for a Jewish audience, A SACRED DUTY speaks to people everywhere about the ethics of our relationship to the natural world in which we live. The movie's universal message will appeal to anyone interested in such topics as biblical teachings, Israel, the environment, health, nutrition, vegetarianism, hunger and resource usage. The movie may be said to be like Levy's Jewish Rye bread - you do not have to be Jewish to appreciate it.

The documentary features interviews with leading Israeli and American environmental, health, vegetarian and animal rights activists as well as Orthodox, Conservative, Reform, Reconstructionist and secular leaders.

Interviewees include: Rabbi Shear Yashuv Cohen, Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Haifa; Rabbi David Rosen, Former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and International Director of Interreligious Affairs of the American Jewish Committee; Dr. Yeshayahu Bar-Or, Chief Scientist: Israel Environmental Ministry and many other rabbis and Jewish leaders and activists.

Biblical passages are read by the acclaimed Jewish star of Broadway and screen Theodore Bikel

A SACRED DUTY and the many activities being planned around it have the potential to help move our imperiled world toward a sustainable path. But only if the movie is widely viewed and discussed. So, please order your FREE copy and please consider taking one or more of the following actions after viewing the movie: have viewings for family, neighbors and friends; try to schedule showings at a local school, a synagogue and/or other houses of worship, a community center or other communal site, etc.; share the DVD with local rabbis and other religious leaders, teachers, politicians and other local influential people.

You can request a free DVD to share by sending your name and mailing address to JVNA's secretary/treasurer John Diamond (jdiamond4@cox.net). If you feel that you can profitably use more than one DVD, just let John know, with a brief description of how you plan to use them. Additional information about the movie may be found at www.asacredduty.com.

JVNA plans to build a major campaign around the movie to get tikkun olam (the repair and healing of the world) to become a central focus in Jewish life today, with a shift toward plant-based diets as an essential part of the changes that can help move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path. If you would like to be involved in the campaign or have suggestions, please contact Richard Schwartz at President@JewishVeg.com.
Blurbs Supporting A SACRED DUTY

They can all be seen at ASacredDuty.com.

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7. Organizing a Vegetarian Activity as Part of the National Day of Service on Monday, January 19th, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Forwarded message from the Sierra Club:

Dear Richard,

[Recently], President-elect Obama called for a National Day of Service on Monday, January 19th, which is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and the day before the presidential inauguration. The Sierra Club is answering President-elect Obama's call to service.

Will You Organize a Service Event?

More than 115 years ago, the Sierra Club was founded on the idea and value of volunteerism and service -- and it's a legacy that's still very much alive today. We're made up of more than a million volunteers, members, and supporters who are proud to participate in Barack Obama's National Day of Service.

Will you organize a service event on January 19th as part of Obama's National Day of Service? The Sierra Club community is organizing all sorts of events, from hosting toxic mercury hair-testing clinics to stream clean-ups over inauguration weekend.

You can sign up your event, or search for one near you by clicking here: http://usaservice.org/content/home/

Organizing a service event is a powerful and fun way to join in this historic inauguration weekend. If you're already involved in an ongoing service project -- you can simply sign up the event so others in your town can join in. If you're not sure what service event you'd like to organize, check out the tool kits and resources we've put together for you.

Most service events are scheduled for Monday, January 19th, but you can also organize events over the inauguration weekend. Please do list your event as a Sierra Club activity when you sign up your service event.

President-elect Obama's call for service is a reminder that he needs our help to make real change happen.

Thanks for all you do to protect the planet,

Natalie Foster
Online Organizing Director, Sierra Club

p.s. Check out the Sierra Club's National Day of Service resource page, including service project tool kits here: http://www.sierraclub.org/ndos/

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8. Responding to Some Myths About Global Warming

Think Again: Climate Change

by Bill McKibben

06 January 2009


Act now, we're told, if we want to save the planet from a climate catastrophe. Trouble is, it might be too late. The science is settled, and the damage has already begun. The only question now is whether we will stop playing political games and embrace the few imperfect options we have left.

"Scientists Are Divided" [Myth 1]

No, they're not. In the early years of the global warming debate, there was great controversy over whether the planet was warming, whether humans were the cause, and whether it would be a significant problem. That debate is long since over. Although the details of future forecasts remain unclear, there's no serious question about the general shape of what's to come.

Every national academy of science, long lists of Nobel laureates, and in recent years even the science advisors of President George W. Bush have agreed that we are heating the planet. Indeed, there is a more thorough scientific process here than on almost any other issue: Two decades ago, the United Nations formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and charged its scientists with synthesizing the peer-reviewed science and developing broad-based conclusions. The reports have found since 1995 that warming is dangerous and caused by humans. The panel's most recent report, in November 2007, found it is "very likely" (defined as more than 90 percent certain, or about as certain as science gets) that heat-trapping emissions from human activities have caused "most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century."

If anything, many scientists now think that the IPCC has been too conservative-both because member countries must sign off on the conclusions and because there's a time lag. Its last report synthesized data from the early part of the decade, not the latest scary results, such as what we're now seeing in the Arctic.

In the summer of 2007, ice in the Arctic Ocean melted. It melts a little every summer, of course, but this time was different-by late September, there was 25 percent less ice than ever measured before. And it wasn't a one-time accident. By the end of the summer season in 2008, so much ice had melted that both the Northwest and Northeast passages were open. In other words, you could circumnavigate the Arctic on open water. The computer models, which are just a few years old, said this shouldn't have happened until sometime late in the 21st century. Even skeptics can't dispute such alarming events.

"We Have Time" [Myth 2]

Wrong. Time might be the toughest part of the equation. That melting Arctic ice is unsettling not only because it proves the planet is warming rapidly, but also because it will help speed up the warming. That old white ice reflected 80 percent of incoming solar radiation back to space; the new blue water left behind absorbs 80 percent of that sunshine. The process amps up. And there are many other such feedback loops. Another occurs as northern permafrost thaws. Huge amounts of methane long trapped below the ice begin to escape into the atmosphere; methane is an even more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

Such examples are the biggest reason why many experts are now fast-forwarding their estimates of how quickly we must shift away from fossil fuel. Indian economist Rajendra Pachauri, who accepted the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize alongside Al Gore on behalf of the IPCC, said recently that we must begin to make fundamental reforms by 2012 or watch the climate system spin out of control; NASA scientist James Hansen, who was the first to blow the whistle on climate change in the late 1980s, has said that we must stop burning coal by 2030. Period.

All of which makes the Copenhagen climate change talks that are set to take place in December 2009 more urgent than they appeared a few years ago. At issue is a seemingly small number: the level of carbon dioxide in the air. Hansen argues that 350 parts per million is the highest level we can maintain "if humanity wishes to preserve a planet similar to that on which civilization developed and to which life on Earth is adapted." But because we're already past that mark-the air outside is currently about 387 parts per million and growing by about 2 parts annually-global warming suddenly feels less like a huge problem, and more like an Oh-My-God Emergency.

"Climate Change Will Help as Many Places as It Hurts"

Wishful thinking. For a long time, the winners-and-losers calculus was pretty standard: Though climate change will cause some parts of the planet to flood or shrivel up, other frigid, rainy regions would at least get some warmer days every year. Or so the thinking went. But more recently, models have begun to show that after a certain point almost everyone on the planet will suffer. Crops might be easier to grow in some places for a few decades as the danger of frost recedes, but over time the threat of heat stress and drought will almost certainly be stronger.

A 2003 report commissioned by the Pentagon forecasts the possibility of violent storms across Europe, megadroughts across the Southwest United States and Mexico, and unpredictable monsoons causing food shortages in China. "Envision Pakistan, India, and China-all armed with nuclear weapons-skirmishing at their borders over refugees, access to shared rivers, and arable land," the report warned. Or Spain and Portugal "fighting over fishing rights-leading to conflicts at sea."

Of course, there are a few places we used to think of as possible winners-mostly the far north, where Canada and Russia could theoretically produce more grain with longer growing seasons, or perhaps explore for oil beneath the newly melted Arctic ice cap. But even those places will have to deal with expensive consequences-a real military race across the high Arctic, for instance.

Want more bad news? Here's how that Pentagon report's scenario played out: As the planet's carrying capacity shrinks, an ancient pattern of desperate, all-out wars over food, water, and energy supplies would reemerge. The report refers to the work of Harvard archaeologist Steven LeBlanc, who notes that wars over resources were the norm until about three centuries ago. When such conflicts broke out, 25 percent of a population's adult males usually died. As abrupt climate change hits home, warfare may again come to define human life. Set against that bleak backdrop, the potential upside of a few longer growing seasons in Vladivostok doesn't seem like an even trade.

"It's China's Fault" [Myth 3]

Not so much. China is an easy target to blame for the climate crisis. In the midst of its industrial revolution, China has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest carbon dioxide producer. And everyone has read about the one-a-week pace of power plant construction there. But those numbers are misleading, and not just because a lot of that carbon dioxide was emitted to build products for the West to consume. Rather, it's because China has four times the population of the United States, and per capita is really the only way to think about these emissions. And by that standard, each Chinese person now emits just over a quarter of the carbon dioxide that each American does. Not only that, but carbon dioxide lives in the atmosphere for more than a century. China has been at it in a big way less than 20 years, so it will be many, many years before the Chinese are as responsible for global warming as Americans.

What's more, unlike many of their counterparts in the United States, Chinese officials have begun a concerted effort to reduce emissions in the midst of their country's staggering growth. China now leads the world in the deployment of renewable energy, and there's barely a car made in the United States that can meet China's much tougher fuel-economy standards.

For its part, the United States must develop a plan to cut emissions-something that has eluded Americans for the entire two-decade history of the problem. Although the U.S. Senate voted down the last such attempt, Barack Obama has promised that it will be a priority in his administration. He favors some variation of a "cap and trade" plan that would limit the total amount of carbon dioxide the United States could release, thus putting a price on what has until now been free.

Despite the rapid industrialization of countries such as China and India, and the careless neglect of rich ones such as the United States, climate change is neither any one country's fault, nor any one country's responsibility. It will require sacrifice from everyone. Just as the Chinese might have to use somewhat more expensive power to protect the global environment, Americans will have to pay some of the difference in price, even if just in technology. Call it a Marshall Plan for the environment. Such a plan makes eminent moral and practical sense and could probably be structured so as to bolster emerging green energy industries in the West. But asking Americans to pay to put up windmills in China will be a hard political sell in a country that already thinks China is prospering at its expense. It could be the biggest test of the country's political maturity in many years.

"Climate Change Is an Environmental Problem" [Myth 4]

Not really. Environmentalists were the first to sound the alarm. But carbon dioxide is not like traditional pollution. There's no Clean Air Act that can solve it. We must make a fundamental transformation in the most important part of our economies, shifting away from fossil fuels and on to something else. That means, for the United States, it's at least as much a problem for the Commerce and Treasury departments as it is for the Environmental Protection Agency.

And because every country on Earth will have to coordinate, it's far and away the biggest foreign-policy issue we face. (You were thinking terrorism? It's hard to figure out a scenario in which Osama bin Laden destroys Western civilization. It's easy to figure out how it happens with a rising sea level and a wrecked hydrological cycle.)

Expecting the environmental movement to lead this fight is like asking the USDA to wage the war in Iraq. It's not equipped for this kind of battle. It may be ready to save Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which is a noble undertaking but on a far smaller scale. Unless climate change is quickly de-ghettoized, the chances of making a real difference are small.

"Solving It Will Be Painful" [Myth 5?]

It depends. What's your definition of painful? On the one hand, you're talking about transforming the backbone of the world's industrial and consumer system. That's certainly expensive. On the other hand, say you manage to convert a lot of it to solar or wind power-think of the money you'd save on fuel.

And then there's the growing realization that we don't have many other possible sources for the economic growth we'll need to pull ourselves out of our current economic crisis. Luckily, green energy should be bigger than IT and biotech combined.

Almost from the moment scientists began studying the problem of climate change, people have been trying to estimate the costs of solving it. The real answer, though, is that it's such a huge transformation that no one really knows for sure. The bottom line is, the growth rate in energy use worldwide could be cut in half during the next 15 years and the steps would, net, save more money than they cost. The IPCC included a cost estimate in its latest five-year update on climate change and looked a little further into the future. It found that an attempt to keep carbon levels below about 500 parts per million would shave a little bit off the world's economic growth-but only a little. As in, the world would have to wait until Thanksgiving 2030 to be as rich as it would have been on January 1 of that year. And in return, it would have a much-transformed energy system.

Unfortunately though, those estimates are probably too optimistic. For one thing, in the years since they were published, the science has grown darker. Deeper and quicker cuts now seem mandatory.

But so far we've just been counting the costs of fixing the system. What about the cost of doing nothing? Nicholas Stern, a renowned economist commissioned by the British government to study the question, concluded that the costs of climate change could eventually reach the combined costs of both world wars and the Great Depression. In 2003, Swiss Re, the world's biggest reinsurance company, and Harvard Medical School explained why global warming would be so expensive. It's not just the infrastructure, such as sea walls against rising oceans, for example. It's also that the increased costs of natural disasters begin to compound. The diminishing time between monster storms in places such as the U.S. Gulf Coast could eventually mean that parts of "developed countries would experience developing nation conditions for prolonged periods." Quite simply, we've already done too much damage and waited too long to have any easy options left.

"We Can Reverse Climate Change" [Myth 6?]

If only. Solving this crisis is no longer an option. Human beings have already raised the temperature of the planet about a degree Fahrenheit. When people first began to focus on global warming (which is, remember, only 20 years ago), the general consensus was that at this point we'd just be standing on the threshold of realizing its consequences-that the big changes would be a degree or two and hence several decades down the road. But scientists seem to have systematically underestimated just how delicate the balance of the planet's physical systems really is.

The warming is happening faster than we expected, and the results are more widespread and more disturbing. Even that rise of 1 degree has seriously perturbed hydrological cycles: Because warm air holds more water vapor than cold air does, both droughts and floods are increasing dramatically. Just look at the record levels of insurance payouts, for instance. Mosquitoes, able to survive in new places, are spreading more malaria and dengue. Coral reefs are dying, and so are vast stretches of forest.

None of that is going to stop, even if we do everything right from here on out. Given the time lag between when we emit carbon and when the air heats up, we're already guaranteed at least another degree of warming.

The only question now is whether we're going to hold off catastrophe. It won't be easy, because the scientific consensus calls for roughly 5 degrees more warming this century unless we do just about everything right. And if our behavior up until now is any indication, we won't.



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9. Article by Paul Watson (Director Sea Shepherd, an Anti-Whaling Group) on Global Warming Threats


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10. John Robbins a Victim of Bernard Madoff Ponzi Scheme/Help Needed

Message from long-time vegetarian activist Patti Breitman:

Dear friends,

If you have ever been moved by the integrity of John Robbins' life, or if you have opened your heart to animals because of his compassion, now is the time to pay him back.

Stan and I just sent John Robbins the most generous cash gift we could afford. I am writing to ask you to consider doing the same.

Along with hundreds of celebrities, charitable organizations, universities, international banking institutions and even some small towns, John and his family are victims of the criminal, fraudulent Ponzi scheme of Bernard Madoff. The family learned last month that they have lost their entire life savings. John and his wife Deo have always lived frugally. They saved just about every dollar they could. And they thought their money was invested safely. But it turns out that their investments were stolen from them, and there is very little chance they can recover any of these funds upon which they were living. Now the Robbins family is facing a sudden and severe financial crisis.

To economize, the family has rented out every extra room in their house and every spare space on their property. Still, it is not clear if they will be able to pay their mortgage or keep the property they share with their son, his wife and their two grandsons. Both Michelle and Deo have taken on part time jobs, and Deo has also taken over the formerly paid for day care for their special needs grandchildren. John is writing a new book, but it could be many months before any income may come from that effort.

I cannot imagine a man who has had a greater positive influence on the vegetarian movement than John Robbins. Because of his books, countless people around the world have changed their way of eating, dressing, and relating to animals. Because of the integrity he has shown in his life, countless people have found the courage to turn down job opportunities and great financial gain if the work caused harm to others.

John's compassion for all beings, and his ability to share his vision through his speaking and writing, are among the greatest gifts I have witnessed in my life. I offered to send out this appeal for help when I learned of this terrible injustice to a man who has dedicated his life to ending injustice toward others.

If you can help John and his family now, please send a check for any amount made out to him. Send it to John Robbins, c/o me, Patti Breitman, 12 Rally Court, Fairfax, CA 94930, and I will send it along to him immediately without opening the envelope. (I do not want his address to be circulating on the internet, and I hope you will forward this email to everyone you know who knows of John's work and might want to help him.)

I first discovered the truth of all life being connected through John's books. And while I am saddened that this criminal financial loss has happened to him, I am thrilled to be able to pay him back in small measure for all he has given to me through his work and his life choices.. Thank you for sending the most generous contribution you can for this extraordinary man of peace whose many contributions have saved countless lives and moved countless more toward peace.

With appreciation and love,
Patti Breitman
Fairfax, CA

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11. Major Vegetarian Events Planned for 2009/Volunteers Needed

Outline Plan for 2009

as of 7 Jan 2009

Thanks to Herma Caelen of EVANA (the European Vegetarian Animal News Alliance) for compiling and sending this list. I have removed some items that are not directly connected to vegetarianism.

If you would like to volunteer to get our JVNA vegetarian messages out in conjunction with these events, please let me know. Many thanks.

My comments begin with *** .

Outline Plan for 2009_as of 7 Jan 2009
Date 31, January - World Day for the Abolition of Meat
January 31st, see http://www.nomoremeat.org
Date: 20 March 2009 - Meatout
*** This event is sponsored by FARM. We could urge FARM and other groups to stress the dietary/global warming connection,
Date: 22 March 2009 - U.N. World Water Day
Country: Belgium_Organiser/POC: Tobias Leenaert, EVA
e-mail: tobias@vegetarisme.be
Website: http://www.vegetarisme.be
*** We could stress how wasteful of water animal-based diets are.
Date: 7 April 2009 - World Health Day
*** Of course, we could stress the negative health effects of animal-based dies and point out how global warming also has health consequences._
_Date: 22 April 2009 - Earth Day
Country: USA/International
*** We could submit an open letter to environmental groups.
Date: 5 June 2009, United Nations World Environment Day
Country: USA/International
Organiser/POC: Richard Schwartz, International Veg Climate Alliance
e-mail: info@VegClimateAlliance.org
Website: http://www.vegclimatealliance.org
***We could submit an open letter to the UN, pointing out the urgency of a major dietary shift.

Date: 17-22 August 2009, World Water Week_Country:
***We could stress the huge amounts of water needed for a meat-based diet.
Date: 1 October 2009 - World Vegetarian Day
Country: USA
*** I have not added comments for the following events, but certainly we can see that there are many opportunities.
Date: 2 October 2009 - Gandhi's birthday - UN International Day of Non-Violence
Date: 4 October 2009/World Animal Day
Country: France
Organiser/POC: L214, Estiva Reus
Website: http://www.l214.com
Date: 01 to 07 October 2009, Intern. Vegetarian Week
Country: Portugal/International_Organiser/POC: Mateus Mendes, Centrovegetariano_e-mail: mmendes@centrovegetariano.org
Website: http://www.vegetarianweek.org/
Date: 15-21 October 2009 - Feed the World Week
Date: 16 October 2009 - World Food Day
Date: 1 November 2009 - World Vegan Day

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12. Billions Face Food Shortages, Study Warns


Ian Sample, The Guardian UK: "Half of the world's population could face severe food shortages by the end of the century as rising temperatures take their toll on farmers' crops, scientists have warned... The worst of the food shortages are expected to hit the poor, densely inhabited regions of the equatorial belt, where demand for food is already soaring because of a rapid growth in population."

In view of the dire projections re widespread hunger, isn't it insane to continue animal-based diets that involve 70% of the grain produced in the US and 49% of the grain produced worldwide being fed to animals? Making it worse is that animal-based agriculture, according to a 2006 UN report "Livestock's Long Shadow," emits more greenhouse gases (In CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of trabsportation worldwide combined. And still worse is that the same UN report projects that the number of farmed animals worldwide will double in 50 years, with the added greenhouse gas emissions negating the effects of many positive changes.

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13. Major Jewish Food Blog (“The Jew and the Carrot”) Seeks Editorial/Writing Help

Forwarded message from Hazon:

Dear friends,

After almost five years, The Jew & The Carrot's Editor-in-Chief, Leah Koenig, is leaving Hazon. Leah started as an intern at Hazon in the summer of 2003, then joined the staff the following year after graduating from Middlebury College. She spent the first three years running Hazon's new (at the time!) Jewish CSA program, Tuv Ha'Aretz, and ran Hazon's first Food Conference in 2006. A year and a half ago, she transitioned to part time to pursue a freelance journalism career, while being the editor of The Jew & The Carrot at Hazon. Now, with simultaneous excitement and sorrow, she is joining the illustrious “Hazon staff alumni association.”

As Leah transitions away from her position at Hazon, The Jew & The Carrot blog is also changing. From the blog's inception in December, 2006, Hazon has depended on the creative and inspiring contributions from an impressive group of volunteer contributors. Now, the blog is shifting towards an all volunteer model, and we are seeking several outstanding volunteers to help move forward the new Jewish food movement on the blogosphere. Specifically, we are looking to fill the following key volunteer roles:

Business Manager
Circulation Manager
Associate Editor
Lead Contributor

We're expecting all the roles, but particularly the three lead roles: Editor-in-Chief, Business Manager, and Circulation Manager, to be 1-year positions. We're looking for serious and committed inquiries and the capacity of volunteering at least 15-20 hours/week. This is a unique opportunity to make a difference in the world and gain experience that should stand you in great stead if you're looking to have a career in one of these fields. Applicants do not have to be from NYC, so please forward this email widely and be in touch if you're interested.
More information below, but first - a little back blog story:

The Jew & The Carrot began as an attempt to answer many questions at once. How could Hazon expand the conversations we were beginning around food, Jewish life, and sustainability to the broadest possible audience? How could we spread the impact of our food work beyond the participants who attend our Food Conference, or belong to one of our Tuv Ha'Aretz CSA communities? And how might we create a forum for people all around the world to discuss and push forward these important issues, all year round? Of course! A blog.

We officially launched The Jew & The Carrot in December 2006 at Hazon's first food conference. Our team of volunteer contributors began a conversation that continues today - one that combines healthy, sustainable food news with an inclusive, joyful Jewish community.

Since then, the blog has become an important voice in the new Jewish food movement. What started as Hazon bringing some of its thoughts about food to the larger audience grew into a true community-wide conversation, with contributors and readers chiming in from across the United States, Israel, Europe, and beyond. Some highlights from the past two years have included:

o Interviews with Jewish food thinkers like Michael Pollan, Joan Nathan, and Michael Ableman

o Extensive coverage about the raid of the Agriprocessors' kosher meat plant and its aftermath - including an exclusive interview with a former mashgiach (kosher supervisor) from the plant. Several readers commented that they turned to The Jew & The Carrot as their primary source of Agriprocessors related news.

o Innovative recipes that take healthy, seasonal twists on traditional foods like: apple cider challah, savory hamantaschen with musrooms and onions, pesto blintzes, and homemade date honey for Rosh Hashanah

o Interviews with the leaders of the new Jewish food movement: from Rabbi Morris Allen of Hekhsher Tzedek, to kosher vitner Jeff Morgan of Covenant Wines and kosher artisanal cheese maker, Alan Glustoff of 5 Spoke Creamery.

o Controversial and inspiring personal essays that push forward the conversations around kashrut and identity.

o Extensive resources and tips for “greening” Jewish holidays, making a Shabbat or Kiddush table more sustainable, or finding a farm to visit with the family.

o An ethical food advice column from the hilarious yenta, The Shmethicist.

o “Unboxed” segments that demystify seasonal produce and offer practical advice and techniques for the kitchen.

In two years, our base of readers - which ranges from Orthodox to secular, and not Jewish at all - has grown steadily, forming a community that feels tied to the blog, the conversations, and each other. Two recent comments from readers help to illustrate the diversity and closeness of the community:

I have to confess, I am obsessed with The Jew & The Carrot. My favorite procrastination method is to hop on my Google Reader, hoping, praying, that they have another witty post about contemporary Jewish issues explored through food.
I love The Jew & The Carrot - in my pretty right wing orthodox world, it's hard to find people who care about the grand and expansive impact of food in our world, both physical and spiritual, for good and bad. Thanks for bringing Michael Pollan and Torah together.

The press has also picked up on the blog's impact - in the last year, The Jew & The Carrot has received press mentions in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Jerusalem Report, and many other publications. It was also named Best New Blog and Best Kosher Food/Recipe Blog in the 2007 Jewish and Israeli Blog Awards.

Volunteer with The Jew & The Carrot

We're incredibly proud of what The Jew & The Carrot has accomplished in the last two years. But we are also incredibly excited to enable a small group of people in the coming year to strengthen and grow the blog in new directions.
For more information about applying and joining The Jew & The Carrot team, please click here. All cover letters and resumes should be sent to apply.jcarrot@gmail.com.
With thanks and best wishes,

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