March 24, 2009

3/22/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Will Israel Become Fur Free?

2. Chabad Rabbi Writes On “Judaism and Vegetarianism”/Two Responses Follow

3. Teva Learning Center Schedules Variety of Environmental Programs

4. Proposal to use Advertisements in Publications to Get the Jewish Vegetarian Message Out to Wider Audiences

5. Jewish Funders Group Offering Grants for Israeli Environmental Projects

6. Campaign to Get Land Grant Colleges Out of the Meat Industry

7. Conference on Animals and Religion/Volunteer to Represent JVNA Sought

8. Widening Water Crisis Threatens Humanity

9. Global Warning Action Planned

10. Jerusalem Post Columnist Pooh Poohs Global Warming/My Interspersed Response

11. My Letter Published in the Irish Sunday Times

12. Global warming Poses Great Threats To Human Health

13. Major NY Times Article on the “Food Revolution”/Signs of Hope

14. Interested in Representing JVNA at This New Jersey Event?

15. If You Live In Michigan and Would Like to Talk To a Reporter …

16. Historic Bill to End Canadian Seal Slaughter Introduced/Support Sought

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. Will Israel Become Fur Free?

Thanks to animal rights activist Batya Bauman for sending us the press release below:


On Behalf Of Jane Halevy - Anti-Fur Coalition

Sent: Friday, March 20, 2009

For immediate release: March 20th

[Please see my article, “Is Fur a Jewish Issue,” in the section on animal issues at]



- Israel creates a precedent by submitting the world's first nationwide bill “Prohibiting the Industry of Fur”. Knesset member Nitzan Horowitz proposed on March, 18th 2009 a bill to prohibit the fur industry in its entirety, including all importation, production and all sales in Israel; illuminating that his intention is "not to lend a hand to this cruelty towards animals.”

In light of this bill, Israel takes a giant leap forward; from having no existing law concerning fur; to becoming the first nation on the planet to completely protect all fur bearing animals from the suffering and death inflicted upon millions of animals at the hands of the fur industry the world over.

"The International Anti-Fur Coalition' thanks MK Nitzan Horowitz for his proposal and we call all MKs to support this bill," said Jane Halevy, Director of the 'International Anti-Fur Coalition'. "We hope that Israel will inspire other countries and they too will propose comparable bills throughout the world".

Last month, a report on Israel's channel 10, led by SPCA Israel and International Anti-Fur Coalition, had revealed that items from the top fashion chain stores to cheap toys in bazaars, that what was being sold as fake fur was indeed real fur. Lab tests had shown that several articles taken from leading Israeli brands and sold as fake fur were made of dog and rabbit fur!

Each year millions of animals are brutally killed for their fur throughout the world. Animals live in tiny cages made only of wire, before being gassed, electrocuted or even skinned alive! Footage shows that some of them fight against death for up to 10 minutes in total anguish after being skinned alive!
About the International Anti-Fur Coalition:

The International Anti-Fur Coalition is a collective of more than 50 organizations from around the world that fight against the fur industry. This coalition, created in 2006, organizes on a regular basis international days of action against the fur industry. For more information, please visit:

Jane Halevy
International Anti-Fur Coalition

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2. Chabad Rabbi Writes On “Judaism and Vegetarianism”/Two Responses Follow

Thanks to Israeli vegetarian activist Tova Saul for alerting us to this article:

You can view it by visiting:

One conclusion of the article:

According to this approach, it may be cruel to not eat meat, because doing so robs the animal of its chance to serve a higher purpose.

My post:

Posted: Mar 20, 2009
Article fails to address important issues

Rabbi Davidson fails to address several important issues:

* animal-based diets are contributing to an epidemic of diseases;
* animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (18% in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined (13.5%), and global warming threatens all of humanity.
* The production and consumption of meat and other animal products violate basic Jewish mandates to protect human health, treat animals with compassion, preserve the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people and pursue peace.

[I also mentioned A SACRED DUTY, but they cut that.]

Tova Saul's post:

Holy Cow! Spare me! This was a rationalization to ease people's guilt over the modern meat industry.

1. Google "factory farming" and "cruelty" and click on "video" and see/learn how cruel the industry is today. We orthodox obsess about meat's hechsher and yet blind ourselves to the tza'ar 'ba'alei chayim of the industry. Men + animals + money ALWAYS = extravagant greed and cruelty.
2. The raising of cattle for us billions entails ongoing destruction of enormous amounts of S. American forests, resulting in ongoing extinctions of many of Hashem's wondrous species. Vast rangelands out west also crowd out wildlife.
3. We have turned meat into a snack. We can eat a lot less of it and learn how to cook with the many grains, veggies, spices, and herbs to make great meals which didn't harm flesh and blood creatures. If you can't be a vegetarian, at least save meat for special occasions.
Slaughtering animals does them a favor? What narcissism! And a turn off to Jews you are trying to reach!

[Please visit the web site above and consider also posting a comment. Thanks.]

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3. Teva Learning Center Schedules Variety of Environmental Programs

Forwarded message form the Teva Institute:

Come join Torah scholars, farmers, educators, students and scientists to engage in contemporary topics of Jewish environmentalism. Meet, learn, pray and share with others passionate about the stewardship of Creation. Participants will leave with curriculum, connections and skills to run programming in their own community.

June 1-4, 2009

Cold Spring, NY

Early bird registration ends April 3rd

God Looked into the Torah and created the World
(Genesis Rabbah)

Join us for programming in:

* Sustainable simchas
* Eco-Israel
* Havdalah gardens
* Making any Jewish holiday an eco-celebration
* The dirt on compost & seed saving principles
* Energy assessments
* Eco-crafts


* Two stories of Genesis
* Ecology of Kashrut
* Judaism & sustainability

Sleep under the stars & do early morning yoga

Cook over a one-match fire

Jump aboard the Topsy Turvey bus tour & build a solar oven

Experience Hitbodedut & teaching Torah on the trail

and much more!

Choose the curricular track that's right for you: Congregational Education, Camp & Wilderness, Ethics & Texts, Organic Agriculture and Educational Gardening.

For more information contact Leora at or (917) 939-9841

The Teva Learning Center is a program of Surprise Lake Camp and a beneficiary of UJA Federation of New York.
Thank you to our Partners:
Jewish Farm School
Hebrew College
Isabella Freedman Jewish Retreat Center
With Financial Support from:
Lisa and Maury Friedman Foundation

Confirmed Educators:

Rabbi David Seidenberg- Founder of NeoHasid

Debra Kolodny- Executive Director of ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal
Rabbi Jill Hammer- Director, Tel Shemesh

Rabbi Jonah Steinberg- Associate Dean, Hebrew College
Leiba Chaya David- Ru'ach HaSviva, Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel

Nati Passow- Founder and Co-Director, Jewish Farm School

Nili Simhai- Director, Teva Learning Center

Noam Dolgin- Executive Director, Green Zionist Alliance
Rabbi Shmuel Simenowitz- Executive Director, Project Ya'aleh V'Yavo, Inc.

Sarah Chandler- Director of Jewish Learning and Family Life, West End Synagogue

Yoni Stadlin- Eden Village Camp

Become a certified Jewish Environmental Educator - Establish yourself as a professional in the field!

* Scholarship deadline Friday, May 15th, 2009

The Teva Learning Center is proud to offset the costs of the Teva Seminar though Good Energy Initiative and JNF GoNeutral. Participants will have the opportunity to offset their travel carbon.

Teva Learning Center: 307 7th Ave, Suite 900, New York, NY 10001

Teva Learning Center
307 7th Avenue
Suite 900
New York, New York 10001

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4. Proposal to use Advertisements in Publications to Get the Jewish Vegetarian Message Out to Wider Audiences

As I have often indicated, we have truth, justice and morality on our side, but we are having a difficult time breaking through and getting our message out. Nina Natelson, Director of Concern for Helping Animals in Israel (CHAI), has suggested we use ads in various publications to help spread our message. Great idea and I plan to follow through. But, so far we are very limited financially to do this. If you would like to make a tax-deductible contribution to JVNA for this purpose, please let me know. Also, please also let me know if you have suggestions re this, including possible funding sources. Many thanks.

I hope to have some drafts of possible ads soon. Suggestions welcome re this also. Thanks.

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5. Jewish Funders Group Offering Grants for Israeli Environmental Projects

Forwarded message:

FN offering environmental matching grants

March 16, 2009

NEW YORK (JTA) -- The Jewish Funders Network will give $750,000 in matching grants to first-time gifts for environmental projects in Israel.

The 900-member JFN, which made the announcement Sunday, is open to individuals and foundations granting at least $25,000 annually to Jewish and/or secular causes.

The Jewish Funders Network/Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund Matching Grant Initiative for the Environment in Israel are open only to JFN members and will be given to match either first-time gifts or gifts that are at least double a donor's previous gift to an Israeli environmental nonprofit.

Applications for matching grants will be accepted online through July 31.

“The need for protecting Israel's environment is a growing challenge, even as natural resource depletion and clean water shortages escalate,” said Richard Goldman, founder and president of the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund. “There is a pressing need to proactively and effectively address the environmental impact of rapid industrialization and population growth."

Over the past four years, JFN's matching grant initiatives have generated more than $60 million in new funds for a range of causes.

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6. Campaign to Get Land Grant Colleges Out of the Meat Industry

Forwarded message from David Cantor, Director of Responsible policies for Animals (RPA):

Governors: Stop Ecodestructive University Training!

March 2009

Contact: David Cantor,

Arriving at all 50 states' governors' offices in mid-March, a special request: Get our land-grant universities (LGUs) out of the meat industry.

Environmentalists recognize the meat industry as extremely ecodestructive - including fish, dairy, eggs, feed crops with their massive use of water & topsoil and toxic runoff killing rivers and oceans, and the killing of billions of free-living animals to protect farmed animals and feed crops. Many say you can't eat meat and be an environmentalist.

Responsible Policies for Animals' (RPA's) mailing to the 50 states' top executives reflects RPA's innovative approach. Finding that decades of consumer education hasn't slowed meat-industry growth or eco-destruction and that universities powerfully influence what people eat, RPA has been demanding that the colleges of agriculture at our LGUs stop forking over billions of dollars worth of training, research, and public relations to the meat industry.

“Many people mistakenly think whether to eat from animals is a free choice based on taste and considerations like health, environment, and treatment of animals,” says David Cantor, founder & director of RPA, which sent a letter and two fact sheets to the 50 governors on March 11th. Not true, says Cantor. “Compared with our big, popular, prestigious universities, even the most important facts about food have little impact on whether people eat from animals.”

“Animal science” - distinct from zoology, the science of Earth's millions of animal species - is what LGUs call meat-industry courses, including slaughtering animals, making ice cream, the full range of meat-linked endeavor. But, says Cantor, “'animal science' rejects scientific knowledge: that humans are natural herbivores and did not evolve as hunters as formerly believed; eating from animals is linked to the most widespread and devastating chronic diseases; and more.”

RPA's letter urges the governors to help solve the problem by addressing it with LGU trustees and state legislatures; ensuring that their states' school systems teach the truth about food, nutrition, original human nature, and ecology; and ensuring that the National Governors Association addresses the problem.

RPA launched its 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign to get our universities out of the meat industry in 2003. Many of the LGUs have replied, some of them many times. But no LGU has yet put its meat-industry courses on the course of ultimate extinction. Copies of all 10,000 Years Is Enough mailings and other details are available at or by request. Also recommended: and

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7. Conference on Animals and Religion/Volunteer to Represent JVNA Sought

Forwarded message:

My name is Zandra Wagoner and I'm one of the planning committee members of the upcoming interreligious Conference, “Do Unto Others: A Conference on Animals and Religion,” April 24, 2009 at Chapman University in Orange, CA. I am writing for two reasons.

First, at the conference, we are planning to have an exhibit space and would like to let participants know about the many “animals and religion” organizations that exist. We would like to provide an opportunity for your organization to have a presence in the exhibit space, if you are interested. It can be as simple as a flyer advertising your organization, or business cards, or as elaborate as sending multiple exhibit materials and resources. If you would like to have materials present at the conference, please send materials either through email (we can make copies of short documents) or through regular mail (if you are sending business cards or multiple copies of materials). We expect that the conference will have 50-100 people, so 25 - 50 copies of any document will be plenty. Email and mail address:

Zandra Wagoner
Miller Hall
University of La Verne
1950 Third Street
La Verne, CA 91750

[I sent her some books and DVDs and arranged for booklets and flyers to be sent to her.]

Second, I also wanted to send the following press release to you regarding the “Do Unto Others Conference.” If you are able to send this out to your constituents or post of your website, that would be great! Here is the press release:

“Do Unto Others” is Southern California's first interreligious conference focused on animals and religion. The purpose of the conference is to promote greater kindness and compassion toward animals by engaging with a variety of religious, ethical, and spiritual perspectives that extend compassion beyond the human species and empower faithful action. The conference features two keynote speakers: Jay McDaniels, prominent eco-theologian and writer, will open the conference with “You Purr Therefore I am: The Role of Animals in Human Spirituality,” and Karen Dawn, author of the popular book Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way We Treat Animals, will provide the closing address at the upbeat vegan banquet. The program also includes workshops and panels, an interreligious ceremony, exhibits and a bookstore. Conference registration is $25.00 (students are free) and the closing banquet is $25.00 ($15.00 for students). For more information and registration, please visit the following website:

Please feel free to be in touch with me if you have any questions or comments.

Zandra Wagoner, Ph.D.
Planning committee member

[If you would like to represent JVNA at this conference, please let me know. JVNA can help with expenses, if necessary.]

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8. Widening Water Crisis Threatens Humanity

Forwarded article:

Water Scarcity "Now Bigger Threat Than Financial Crisis"

Geoffrey Lean, The Independent UK: "Humanity is facing 'water bankruptcy' as a result of a crisis even greater than the financial meltdown now destabilizing the global economy, two authoritative new reports show. They add that it is already beginning to take effect, and there will be no way of bailing the earth out of water scarcity."

Water Scarcity "Now Bigger Threat Than Financial Crisis"
Sunday 15 March 2009

by: Geoffrey Lean | Visit article original @ The Independent UK

By 2030, more than half the world's population will live in high-risk areas.

Humanity is facing "water bankruptcy" as a result of a crisis even greater than the financial meltdown now destabilising the global economy, two authoritative new reports show. They add that it is already beginning to take effect, and there will be no way of bailing the earth out of water scarcity.

The two reports - one by the world's foremost international economic forum and the other by 24 United Nations agencies - presage the opening tomorrow of the most important conference on the looming crisis for three years. The World Water Forum, which will be attended by 20,000 people in Istanbul, will hear stark warnings of how half the world's population will be affected by water shortages in just 20 years' time, with millions dying and increasing conflicts over dwindling resources.

A report by the World Economic Forum, which runs the annual Davos meetings of the international business and financial elite, says that lack of water, will "soon tear into various parts of the global economic system" and "start to emerge as a headline geopolitical issue."

It adds: "The financial crisis gives us a stark warning of what can happen if known economic risks are left to fester. We are living in a water 'bubble' as unsustainable and fragile as that which precipitated the collapse in world financial markets. We are now on the verge of bankruptcy in many places with no way of paying the debt back."

The Earth - a blue-green oasis in the limitless black desert of space - has a finite stock of water. There is precisely the same amount of it on the planet as there was in the age of the dinosaurs, and the world's population of more than 6.7 billion people has to share the same quantity as the 300 million global inhabitants of Roman times.

Water use has been growing far faster than the number of people. During the 20th century the world population increased fourfold, but the amount of freshwater that it used increased nine times over. Already 2.8 billion people live in areas of high water stress, the report calculates, and this will rise to 3.9 billion - more than half the expected population of the world - by 2030. By that time, water scarcity could cut world harvests by 30 per cent - equivalent to all the grain grown in the US and India - even as human numbers and appetites increase.

Some 60 per cent of China's 669 cities are already short of water. The huge Yellow River is now left with only 10 per cent of its natural flow, sometimes failing to reach the sea altogether. And the glaciers of the Himalayas, which act as gigantic water banks supplying two billion people in Asia, are melting ever faster as global warming accelerates. Meanwhile devastating droughts are crippling Australia and Texas.

The World Water Development Report, compiled by 24 UN agencies under the auspices of Unesco, adds that shortages are already beginning to constrain economic growth in areas as diverse and California, China, Australia, India and Indonesia. The report, which will be published tomorrow, also expects water conflicts to break out in the Middle East, Haiti, Sri Lanka, Colombia and other countries.

"Conflicts about water can occur at all scales," it warns. "Hydrological shocks" brought about by climate change are likely to "increase the risk of major national and international security threats."

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9. Global Warning Action Planne

Environmental Defense Action Fund

Operation: Climate Vote

Dear Richard,

We need your help!

Take action-demand global warming action.
Visit Operation: Climate Vote-our climate action hub.

On Operation: Climate Vote, you will find new features including:

The Truth Squad-debunking our opponents' lies about global warming.
Climate Cast-influential players in climate politics.
Local heroes-everyday people making a difference.

And the latest action opportunities!

If you are looking for a reason to contact Washington today to demand action to cap carbon and other greenhouse pollution, here are several:

$450 million: Amount spent on lobbying and political contributions by opponents of global warming action in 2008.

52: public spokespersons engaged by polluters and the ideological right to spread disinformation about global warming online and in the media.

2,340: Number of paid lobbyists working in Washington on climate change in 2008.

7 in 8: Proportion of climate lobbyists advocating against climate action.

$45 million: Amount spent on global warming denial advertising by the coal industry in 2008.

0: Number of retractions and/or corrections published by the Washington Post after running a column by George Will containing demonstrably false claims about global warming.

Just last week, scientists announced that we are experiencing the worst case scenario in terms of global warming's devastating effects.

And yet we are witnessing an unprecedented all-out campaign by polluters and ideologues to prevent meaningful action.

Please take action and tell your elected officials you support President Barack Obama's plan to pass strong legislation this year to cap America's global warming pollution.

In the coming weeks and months we will need your support and advocacy like never before.

We must pass landmark global warming legislation this year. Our economy needs new green jobs. Our planet needs a pollution reprieve. And you and your family need a future not powered by polluting fossil fuels.

Please demand action on capping carbon.

We can't win this without your help.

Yours sincerely,
Sam Parry
Director, Online Membership and Activism

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10. Jerusalem Post Columnist Pooh Poohs Global Warming/My Interspersed Response

The article below by Israeli Orthodox Jerusalem Post columnist Jonathan Rosenblum is an indication of why we are having difficulties getting through to the Jewish establishment that the world is heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe and that major changes are necessary to prevent it. I have found that the columnists' views are very common among religious Jews and many people with conservative views.

I think we have to seek ways to get the facts re global warming and other environmental threats out more effectively, in order to counteract such incorrect and misleading views.

My comments are interspersed below, beginning with ****. Comments and suggestions are very welcome.

Many thanks,

Richard (Schwartz)


Think Again: Not quite 10 minutes to doomsday

Mar 12, 2009 14:54 | Updated Mar 17, 2009 21:04

My son recently asked me an interesting question: If global warming is preeminently an empirical issue, why do positions on the magnitude of the threat hew so closely to ideology? Those on the Left tend toward global warming alarmism; those on the Right tend to be far more skeptical.

**** Yes, I have found this to be true.

For those on the Left the answer is easy: The doubters are either congenital idiots, hostile to science, or have sold their souls to Big Business. For the skeptics, the key lies in the Left's desire for rule and to impose its social vision by any means possible.

**** quite an oversimplification. Part of an all-too-common approach of demonizing enemies, rather that seeking common ground and solutions.

Those on the Left are convinced that they are more intelligent and more moral, and those twin conceits cause them to view democracy - which gives equal weight to the votes of the unintelligent and unenlightened - as basically irrational. (For a similar reason, they tend to view markets, which treat the decisions of all consumers equally, as irrational compared to central economic planning by "experts.") From Karl Marx to Tommy Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas, the Left has busied itself explaining the "false consciousness" of the masses, who consistently fail to recognize their own best interests.

**** This seems like a great oversimplification. With a view like this, I doubt if there will be objectivity re the pertinent facts. To Rosenblum, the Left is the enemy, so no reason to pay attention to their arguments.

That unease with democracy is reflected in a preference for rules that negate the power of the "stupid party" - presumed to be a majority - in representative democracies. Expansive judicial power to determine basic societal norms on issues like abortion and single-sex marriage is a more benign expression of that preference; Pol Pot's reeducation camps a less benign one. One of the favorite causes of the original Progressives (the Left's preferred name for itself today) was eugenics - the most radical solution to the problem of too many stupid people.

Crises, whether real or imagined, are another device for transferring power to societal wise men. That is what White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel meant when he said that no crisis should ever be allowed to go to waste. Thus the current world economic crash - which is quite real - has been used to press for a dramatic transformation of the American economic system to a European welfare state model, even though those economies were sclerotic before the crash and are doing even worse than America's today. But at least they are more centrally controlled.

**** Re no crisis going to waste, I think president Obama and his appointees mean that we should take advantage of the crisis to improve the educational system, use energy more efficiently and improve the health care system, while creating badly needed jobs.

SO IT IS with the hysterical and unfounded scenarios of ocean levels rising precipitously and washing away coastal cities all around the world propounded by Al Gore. (When George Stephanopoulos pointed out to Gore that no oceanologist or climatologist agrees with his projections, Gore, who is wont to claim that there is no scientific debate on the threat of global warming, replied, "[Scientists] don't know... They just don't know.")

**** I would love to see this in context. Recent reports have indicated that melting is occurring faster than projected and major floodings are increasingly likely. I find it hard to believe that Al Gore stated this, since he shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), composed of the world's leading climate scientists, and they share his views on global warming. That no climatologist agrees with Al Gore's projections is simply not true.

David Schoenbrod, a former lawyer with the Environmental Defense Fund, sums up the matter well: "The distinction between a problem and a catastrophe is critical to the psychology of the environmental movement. A problem presents us with choices about its priority in relation to other problems. A looming catastrophe impels us to do whatever the 'experts' tell us we must do to avert it."

**** The reality is that there is a looming catastrophe, and there should be more discussions re how to avoid it. Rosenblum's article certainly does not help re addressing the issues.

In his inaugural speech, President Barack Obama promised to return "science to its rightful place" - i.e., as the ultimate arbiter of contested issues, unfettered by moral concerns such as those expressed by the "stupid" George W. Bush over the harvesting of embryonic stem cells. At the height of the embryonic stem cell debate, hysterical claims were made that any limitations on federally-supported research would deny Christopher Reeve the ability to walk again. Then - inconveniently for proponents - scientists in Japan and America discovered that they could create stem cells no different than those harvested from human embryos.

**** President Obama did not call George W. Bush stupid, as implied above. But, Bush certainly downplayed science and ignored global warming for 8 years. And it is completely ridiculous to imply that Obama will be “unfettered by moral concerns.

Many scientists believe that science alone can determine all policy and ethical issues. Gavin Schmidt, a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, declares "the issue of global warming is... a scientific issue. It's not a political one." Such claims tend to both grossly exaggerate the degree of scientific unanimity and ignore the policy choices that remain.

**** The vast majority of climate scientists do believe that global warming is real, it is here, it is a great threat and we must soon respond.

LIKE 99 PERCENT of those who weigh in on the global warming debate, I'm not a scientist. But I smell a rat when told that the debate is over. World temperatures have always been in a state of flux. That itself makes it ridiculous to speak of an optimal temperature. In a 2003 survey of climate scientists by Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, four times as many agreed as disagreed with the proposition that global warming might bring substantial benefits.

**** I would love to see a source for this. It sounds incredible to me. Perhaps they indicated that, yes, there will be benefits, but the negatives would far outweigh the positives.

Moreover, the mechanisms for climate change are poorly understood and involve a multitude of factors, including volcanic activity and sunspots. Even over the past century, during which there has been an overall temperature increase of about one degree Fahrenheit, the rise in temperatures has not paralleled increased atmospheric carbon dioxide.

**** this is simply not true, as carbon dioxide levels have increased as the temperature has increased. It has already reached about 385 ppm, far higher than the 350 ppm that many scientists think is a limit if major climate problems are to be avoided, and it has recently been increasing at about 2 ppm per year.

Four of the hottest recorded years ever were in the 1930s;

**** Again, simply not true, as almost all of the warmest years in recorded history have occurred in the past 25 years.

from 1940 to the early '70s temperatures decreased, leading to hysteria about the coming ice age (about which there was also said to be scientific consensus),

**** There was nothing like the scientific consensus that there is today re global warming.

and have remained flat since 1998.

**** This is incredibly wrong as most of the warmest years in recorded history have occurred in recent decades.

Two University of Wisconsin researchers recently concluded that global warming has entered a decades-long remission.

**** Incredible statement as recent reports are that polar ice caps and glaciers are melting faster than recently projected and temperatures are rising faster than projected.

Mars, Jupiter and Pluto are currently experiencing warming, presumably without any contribution of human-produced fluorocarbons. Finally, the theoretical computer models upon which the hysterical predictions are based have consistently failed to find support in observational evidence.

**** Again, completely false, because as indicated, climate-related changes have been occurring faster than projected.

The late political scientist Aaron Wildavsky argued that global warming hysteria feeds a particular environmentalist dream of "an egalitarian society based on rejection of economic growth in favor of a smaller population eating lower on the food chain, consuming a lot less and sharing a lower level of resources more equally."

**** Certainly, with the many current economic, environmental and other problems, considering ways to improve things should not be out of order.

Note that President Obama never speaks about expanded use of nuclear energy as an antidote to fossil fuels, even though nuclear energy is the cheapest, cleanest and most plentiful.

**** First of all, President Obama has spoken of nuclear energy, with improved safety standards, as a part of an energy mix to meet future energy demands, while responding to global warming and other energy-related considerations. And, of course Rosenblum ignores many problems related to nuclear energy. That it is the cheapest and cleanest energy source is certainly highly debatable.

But nuclear energy is not part of the small-is-beautiful mantra. That vision, in which Mother Nature prior to the advent of man is the ideal, flies directly in the face of the biblical account of man as the height of creation, who is commanded to fill the world and conquer it.

**** This ignores Jewish teachings on responsible stewardship.

Dutch statistician and former Greenpeace activist Bjorn Lomborg argued in The Skeptical Environmentalist that the vast regulatory apparatus required by the Kyoto Accords would cost $150 billion annually in reduced economic activity, while having only an infinitesimal impact on world temperatures. For the amount saved in one year by ignoring Kyoto, he concluded, we could eliminate forever the unsanitary drinking water that kills two million annually.

**** Rosenblum ignores that there could be many environmental benefits from efforts to respond to global warming. Also, that global warming is contributing to droughts that are resulting in far more thirsty people/

That message was not sufficiently in tune with the anti-human, anti-growth, pro-regulatory bias of the environmental movement.

**** So environmentalists are anti-human? Rosenblum fails to understand that Judaism has many very powerful environmental teachings, so that Jews should be environmentalists to be consistent with Jewish teachings.

Science and Scientific American initially refused to print Lomborg's response to critiques, and the latter threatened legal action if he continued to post their critique with his devastating rebuttal. Such attempts to squelch scientific debate themselves prove that there is no scientific consensus.

**** Perhaps Lomberg's article lacked scientific proof. I wonder if Rosenblum was also critical of the Bush administration's censorship pf global warming facts.

The real answer to my son lies in the biblical account of the Tower of Babel. Then too, men infatuated with their own intelligence set out to do battle with God and impose their own moral vision on the entire world, with unhappy results.

**** This is quite a stretch to compare environmentalists to the builders of the Tower of Bable.

In summary, Rosenblum's analysis has many misstatements, and considers environmentalists as anti-human and in many other negative ways.

I think it is urgent to get these issues onto the Jewish agenda.

Suggestions very welcome.

Many thanks again,


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11. My Letter Published in the Irish Sunday Times

Editor, Sunday-Times

Dear Editor:

RE "Hypocrisy of animal rights campaigners" (March 8, 2009 Sunday-Times)

As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA), I want to point out that our organization opposes all slaughter of animals for food. Animal-based diets are devastating to human health and are a major contributor to global warming and other environmental problems that threaten all of humanity. At a time when climate scientists, including James Hansen of NASA, are warning that global warming may spin out of control in a few years, with disastrous consequences if major changes do not soon occur, we should note that a 2006 UN report indicatd that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (18% in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, planes, ships and oher means of transportation worlwide combined. That same report projects that the number of farmed animals will doube in the next 50 years, adding greatly to greenhouse emissions and making the necessary total reductions of greenhouse gases very difficult, if not impossible.

Also, anyone who thinks that religious, ritual slaughter is far worse than other types should read the book Slaughterhouse by Gail Eisnitz to learn about the many horrors at conventional slaughterhouses.

For a healthier, more humane and more environmentally sustainable world, it is essential that there be a major shift to plant-based diets.

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12. Global warming Poses Great Threats To Human Health

"Future climate change could exacerbate a number of current health problems, including heat-related mortality, diarrheal diseases, and diseases associated with exposure to ozone and aeroallergens."

-- U.S. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, 3/18/09

Environmental Defense: Finding the Ways that Work

Dear Richard,

Global warming is a direct threat to the health of our children.

Help us enact landmark cap and trade legislation while we can still make a difference.

Please make an urgent donation today.

I just received a disturbing briefing from our chief scientist Dr. John Balbus, who also oversees our environmental health work.

As the impacts of global warming accelerate, we are placing our health and particularly the health of our children at increasing risk.

Just last month, Dr. John authored a sweeping letter co-signed by 22 medical experts calling on climate scientists to pay much closer attention to the significant human health risks that come with a warming planet.

The letter made three key points:

* We know it will be bad, but we don't yet know how bad. A warmer nation will mean more deaths from asthma, heart disease, heat stroke and diarrheal diseases. But we have not devoted sufficient study to understand the extent of the problem.
* It's already happening. Doctors and public health professionals largely agree that we are already witnessing more suffering and death attributable to warming.

* We are not prepared. Even a moderate increase in warming-related diseases could strain America's public health system beyond the breaking point. That was the key finding from a comprehensive survey of public health officials we released last year.

Please donate today to help us enact landmark climate legislation before it is too late to make a difference.

This news comes amidst a flurry of scientific reports, all with bad news.

The science points to a rapidly accelerating warming trend, with some level of catastrophic ecological consequences "locked in."

The general consensus is that we have little time left, certainly no more than a few years, to curb the most dramatic consequences by reducing global warming pollution.

Denial and Deceit -- The Opposition

You'd think this terrifying wave of discoveries would galvanize all of us to take drastic action today.

Instead, we are witnessing an unprecedented propaganda blitz by polluters and global warming deniers to stop legislation and confuse the public. Consider these few highlights of what they're up to:

* They are spending hundreds of millions of dollars in lobbying, political contributions alone -- with hundreds of millions more in paid ads.

* The number of lobbyists working to block global warming action has increased 300% in recent years, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
They've landed an army of talking heads on the political talk shows to drive the debate among the Beltway crowd. Their message is as simple as it is false. A cap on global warming pollution is a "hidden energy tax" (which it is not) and that "we can't afford to act in the current economic crisis" (which is not true).

Please donate now to help us fight back.

We must pass legislation this year that caps carbon in order to stop global warming.

Thank you for your support and activism.


David Yarnold
President, Environmental Defense Action Fund

P.S. What really makes me angry are the claims that in a recession we "can't afford" to cap carbon. The opposition has it backward. Capping carbon is our last best hope to avoid the worst consequences of warming. And it is an investment in our economy that will transform our energy sources and create millions of new jobs.

Please donate now to help pass global warming legislation.

You can update your email address, set your message frequency, and unsubscribe from messages by adjusting your subscription options.

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13. Major NY Times Article on the “Food Revolution”/Signs of Hope

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14. Interested in Representing JVNA at This New Jersey Event?

To whom it may concern:

The Whole Earth & Food Fest 2009 (presented by Reconstructionist Temple Beth Israel), is being held at the Maywood Senior Center, 145 West Magnolia Avenue, Maywood, New Jersey on Sunday, May 3 from 11AM to 4PM. This event is designed for people to celebrate, have fun and learn about healthy living through information about how to protect and celebrate our bodies and our planet, and by sampling delicious vegetarian food in a buffet-style array of tantalizing treats.

We love to have you participate in this grand event! It is a super opportunity to directly reach your target demographic. Please contact me at your earliest convenience.


Ivan Salinas
Event Producer

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15. If You Live In Michigan and Would Like to Talk To a Reporter …

If you live in Michigan and would like to talk to a reporter from the Detroit Free Press who is doing an article related to Judaism and vegetarianism, please contact Mr. N. Warikoo at both and


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16. Historic Bill to End Canadian Seal Slaughter Introduced/Support Sought

Forwarded message from Activist J. Terdiman:

care2 petition site action Alert

Thanks to a courageous Canadian Senator, Marc Harb, there is now a Bill to end Canada's commercial seal hunt, which is expected to take the lives of more than 250,000 baby seals this year alone.

Support the historic Bill to stop the hunt! »

Imagine a world in which there are no more baby seals hooked and dragged onto boats while still conscious. No more seals as young as three weeks old skinned alive. No more needless slaughter of hundreds of thousands of seals each year.

With the proposed seal product ban in the EU and Russia's recent ban on hunting harp seals less than a year old, this dream can soon be made a reality. The momentum to end Canada's commercial seal hunt has never been stronger.

Senator Harb wants to fill the Senate with messages of support for his Bill. Please sign the petition today! »

Take action link:

Thanks for taking action!


Support The Historic Bill
to End Canada's
Commercial Seal Hunt
We Can Permanently End Canada's Commercial Seal Hunt
Take Action!
Canada's seal hunt is unnecessary and economically nonviable. The time has come to transition Canadian sealers into new and more rewarding industries that do not involve cruelty to animals., Inc.
275 Shoreline Drive, Suite 300
Redwood City, CA 94065

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** Fair Use Notice **

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

March 15, 2009

3/15/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Passover and Vegetarianism

2. Interfaith Environmental Leadership Program Set Up

3. “A Sacred Duty” has Copyrighted Scenes from “The Animals Film”

4. Can Switch to Vegetarianism Help Reduce Massive Budget Deficits?

5. Seas Worldwide Rising Faster Than Expected

6. Thoughtful Article on Our Ecological Future

7. Op-Ed Article by George Will on Problems with Animal-Based Agriculture

8. Our Messages Keep Spreading to New Groups

9. HBO to Present Movie that Addresses Factory Farming Abuses

10. Looking for a New Way to Connect Environmentally to Israel?

11. New Edition of “Prisoned-Chickens-Poisoned-Eggs” Published

12. Effects of Animal Agriculture on Western Range Lands

13. Scientists Warn of 'Irreversible' Changes

14. EarthSave Florida Leader Discusses Vegetarian Connection to Environmental Issues

15. Liberal UK Jewish Group Actively Addressing Climate Change

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. Passover and Vegetarianism

Because it is becoming increasingly clear that a major shift to vegetarianism, and preferably veganism, is an essential step in trying to move our imperiled planet to a sustainable path, thus avoiding the unprecedented catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching, we must try to increase awareness in every way that we can. Hence, please use my article “Passover and Vegetarianism” at the holidays section at, and please consider using it as a basis of your articles, letters to editors and talking points. Thanks.

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2. Interfaith Environmental Leadership Program Set Up

Forwarded message:

GreenFaith Fellowship Program Seeks Applicants

Interfaith Environmental Leadership Education and Training

Is God calling you to become a religious-environmental leader?

GreenFaith, an interfaith environmental coalition, announces the opening of the application process for the third class of the GreenFaith Fellowship Program for clergy and laity from diverse religious traditions. The Program is the only comprehensive US training program to turn lay and ordained leaders from diverse traditions into environmental leaders. Application materials for this national program are at, and the deadline for applications is June 1.

“This is a fantastic program,” said LeeAnne Beres, GreenFaith Fellow and Executive Director of Earth Ministry, a Seattle-based ecumenical Christian group. “It's well suited to clergy or lay leaders looking to strengthen their environmental ministry, and provides a well-rounded curriculum of eco-theology, environmental justice, and practical application.”

Creating a Cadre of New Leaders

Each year, the GreenFaith Fellowship Program gives a new class of clergy and laity the unique tools they need to become effective environmental leaders.

Each Fellow attends three residential retreats focused on eco-spirituality, environmental justice, and sustainability. Fellows also write their own eco-theological statement, and carry out an environmental leadership project. “There is a shortage of religious leaders in the United States who are speaking out on environmental issues,” said Dr. Mary Evelyn Tucker, Director of the Forum on Religion and Ecology at Yale University. “The GreenFaith Fellowship Program is indispensable.”

Fellows are selected through a competitive application process. GreenFaith strongly encourages applicants from the African American, Asian, Latino, Jewish, Islamic and Catholic communities.

Join a Leader

Founded in 1992, GreenFaith is an interfaith environmental coalition which educates and mobilizes people of diverse religious backgrounds as environmental leaders.

GreenFaith is widely recognized as a leader in the international religious-environmental movement. Through a range of innovative programs, GreenFaith helps diverse religious institutions put their beliefs into action for the earth. From eco-themed worship services and religious education to 'green' facility management and environmental justice advocacy, GreenFaith provides a unique variety of resources and opportunities for religious-environmental action. To find our more about GreenFaith, see

GreenFaith is grateful to the Richard Oram Charitable Trust, the Kendeda Fund, the Edgebrook Foundation, and to GreenFaith members for the support that makes the Fellowship Program possible.

For further information about the Fellowship Program or to request an application form, contact Rabbi Lawrence Troster, Fellowship Program Director, at or 732-565-7740, ext. 302.

Rabbi Lawrence Troster

Director, Fellowship Program,
GreenFaith: Interfaith Partners for the Environment
201 833-5166

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3. “A Sacred Duty” has Copyrighted Scenes from “The Animals Film”

It has come to our attention that scenes of hens being debeaked that we have in “A Sacred Duty” were provided to us by an animal rights group which excerpted the scenes from a British documentary entitled 'The Animals Film' (Beyond the Frame Ltd., Copyright 1981) and we inadvertently used that material without first obtaining permission from the original producers.

It is essential that you DO NOT DUPLICATE that footage for any video without FIRST obtaining permission from them. (Address: Beyond the Frame Ltd., 27 Old Gloucester Street, London WC1N 3XX, England. Tel 44-(0)208 201 9820)

The Animals Film is a pioneering, highly acclaimed documentary on abuses of animals on factory farms, laboratories and many other settings. We strongly recommend it. Some tributes to the enduring value of the movie are at:


If you would like to purchase a copy, please visit

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4. Can Switch to Vegetarianism Help Reduce Massive Budget Deficits?

Thanks to author and JVNA advisor Lewis Regenstein for his thoughtful comments below:

On NBC's Meet the Press today, Obama's Budget Director, OMB head Peter Orszag was quoted as saying that "the principal long term driver of our rising deficits is health care costs."

CNBC's financial reporter Erin Burnett replied, "health care is the one thing more likely to bankrupt the economy."

Here is a chance for us to stress that reducing/eliminating meat, dairy, & other high fat, high cholesterol junk food is the or a main cause of our epidemics of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, strokes, & the other degenerative diseases that are a primary cost of health care.

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5. Seas Worldwide Rising Faster Than Expected

** Sea rise 'to exceed projections' **

global sea level looks set to rise far higher than forecast because of changes in the polar ice-sheets, a team of researchers has suggested.

Scientists at a climate change summit in Copenhagen said earlier UN estimates were too low and that sea levels could rise by a metre or more by 2100.

The projections did not include the potential impact of polar melting and ice breaking off, they added.

The implications for millions of people would be "severe", they warned.

Ten per cent of the world's population - about 600 million people - live in low-lying areas.

The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), in its 2007 Fourth Assessment Report, had said that the maximum rise in sea level would be in the region of 59cm.

Professor Konrad Steffen from the University of Colorado, speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, highlighted new studies into ice loss in Greenland, showing it has accelerated over the last decade.

Professor Steffen, who has studied the Arctic ice for the past 35 years, told me: "I would predict sea level rise by 2100 in the order of one metre; it could be 1.2m or 0.9m.

"But it is one metre or more seeing the current change, which is up to three times more than the average predicted by the IPCC."

"It is a major change and it actually calls for action."
Dr John Church of the Centre for Australian Weather and Climate Research added: "The most recent research showed that sea level is rising by 3mm a year since 1993, a rate well above the 20th century average."

Ice flow

Professor Eric Rignot, a senior research scientist at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that results gathered since the IPCC showed that melting and ice loss could not be overlooked.
"As a result of the acceleration of outlet glaciers over large regions, the ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are already contributing more and faster to sea level rise than anticipated," he observed.

Professor Stefan Ramstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said: "Based on past experience, I expect that sea level rise will accelerate as the planet gets hotter."

UK could face storm surge future

The forecasts by the team of scientists are critically important for coastal communities.

At Lowestoft, on the UK's east coast, the Environment Agency official in charge of coastal protection, David Kemp, said that even small rises in sea level could be overwhelming.

"Put bluntly, if it's 10cm below the height of the defence, then there's no problem," he told me.

"But if it's 10cm above the defence, then we could be looking at devastation

"It looks very benign today but the North Sea can turn into a very ferocious beast."

** BBC Daily E-mail **

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6. Thoughtful Article on Our Ecological Future

[I thought this essay by environmental activist Margaret Swedish was especially insightful, so I am including it in this newsletter. Comments welcome, as always.]

Spirituality and Ecological Hope

That feeling of urgency

Posted: 10 Mar 2009 03:00 PM PDT

Fostering Ecological Hope Today
from Margaret Swedish:

I have so much on my mind today. The drivers behind all these dramatic changes in our world - changing climate, collapsing economies, millions of newly unemployed, millions of home foreclosures, ecosystem depletion, changes in behaviors of species, of flora and fauna, rapid population growth, overconsumption, and on and on - the drivers, the energy behind them, are/is picking up steam. It is all happening faster than we can keep up, much less take the time to figure out how to live through such a crisis. Meanwhile, the whole political process is woefully slow, inadequate, not to mention the economic models and institutions, which, though in critical need of transformation, may be the last to change.

I just came back from a lecture by Dr. George Stone, who teaches climate, energy, geology, and earth sciences at the Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC). It is the second in the lecture series sponsored this month by the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, entitled Sustaining the World, Sustaining Our Souls.

Good title for the series, because we are going to need to do the latter in order to do what we need to do to accomplish the former.

Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Anyway, Dr. Stone scared me to death, which is what often happens when a good climate scientist gives a good lecture on global warming. Basically, he presented in stark terms what is the growing consensus among those scientists - that warming is happening at a rapidly accelerating pace, that we are going to exceed the dire predictions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in their Fourth Assessment released in 2007, that we are already committed to dangerous levels of warming, that our CO2 emissions are increasing at an increasing rate, and that we better start figuring out what we are going to do - and soon.

Even the next international meeting to hammer out a climate agreement among the world's nations in Copenhagen later this year feels way too slow, and then the years to hammer out the agreement, get it approved by legislatures, and get it working. By that time, we will likely have exceeded 400ppm of CO2 in the atmosphere. James Hansen, climate scientist with NASA, says a safe level - to keep a planet close to the one we know - is below 350ppm.

Just to remind us of how scary things are getting, check out this short article from AFP, which lays it out in pretty stark terms: Sea levels to surge 'at least a meter by century end.

Ready to replace your vehicles with clean cars yet? Ready to turn down your thermostats in the winter and turn them up in summer? Ready to fight so-called 'clean coal' technology? Ready to stop flying all over the places on your vacations and to your meetings and conferences? Ready to stop eating broccoli in February? Ready to stop consuming things and start spending time with your friends and family over meals cooked slowly and from locally produced food, or to play on swings in the park or stroll amidst nature, rather than go to the shopping mall and sit in front of home entertainment centers? Ready to stop eating beef?

Okay, you get my point. It is precisely the resistance of our entire culture, our human so-called 'civilization,' that is the reason things are getting so scary. It doesn't matter how we feel about it; unless we sharply cut back right now on the three fossil fuels - oil, coal, and natural gas - and then eliminate them as quickly as possible, we are headed for a terrible future.

A bit of a list of some of those things coming across my 'news desk:' Unbearable warming: Heat and drought may make U.S. southwest uninhabitable. Reports Says Economy Will Shrink Worldwide - “In one of the bleakest assessments yet… " Right, by the World Bank.. The global economy is collapsing, which is not surprising because it was all built on the same house of cards as our own phony economy of securities and derivatives and credit cards and overvalued home equity and not paying for what we buy and not being able to afford what we bought on credit - from the largest financial institutions to the individual consumer.

Meanwhile, so-called global warming 'skeptics' gather under the umbrella of the anti-science, pro-fossil-fuel-industry Heartland Institute for what they bill as an 'international conference on climate change,' or how to do everything you can to keep people trying to save life on the planet from saving life on the planet. One of my favorite environmental issues journalists, Andrew Revkin, wrote about it yesterday. We just don't have time for these people anymore.

Well, you know, I read the news and comment on it, and then I reach deep within to find the reflections, to help create the resources, from which we can find ecological hope and the spirituality that can nurture it. There is so much hunger for this. It's something we all must do, or participate in - articulating that spirituality and way of life that can help turn us in another direction, and fast.

Sorry for this long bleak post. As I said, I had a lot on my mind today…

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7. Op-Ed Article by George Will on Problems with Animal-Based Agriculture

Will: 'National eating disorder' is Vilsack's problem, too


Wer'e from I-o-way, I-o-way,
State of all the land
Joy on evry hand ...
Thats where the tall corn grows.
-- Iowas unofficial song

Tom Vilsack, Iowas former governor, calls his the most important department in government, noting that the Agriculture Department serves education through school nutrition programs and serves diplomacy by trying to wean Afghanistan from a poppy-based (meaning heroin-based) economy. But Vilsacks department matters most because of the health costs of the American diet. If Michael Pollan is right, the problem is rooted in politics and, in a sense, Iowa.

Pollan, author of The Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food, says that after World War II the government had a huge surplus of ammonium nitrate, an ingredient of explosives -- and fertilizer. Furthermore, pesticides could be made from ingredients of poison gases. Since 1945, the food supply has increased faster than Americas population - faster even than Americans can increase their feasting.

Agricultural commodity prices generally fall. But when a rare surge in food prices gave the Nixon administration a political scare, government policy, expressed in commodity subsidies, has been, Pollan writes, to sell large quantities of calories as cheaply as possible, especially calories coming from corn.

All flesh is grass says Scripture. Much of the too-ample flesh of Americans (three of five are overweight; one in five is obese) comes from corn, which is a grass. A quarter of the 45,000 items in the average supermarket contain processed corn. Fossil fuels are involved in the planting, fertilizing, harvesting, transporting and processing of the corn. Americas food industry uses about as much petroleum as America's automobiles do.

During World War II, when meat, dairy products and sugar were scarce, heart disease plummeted. It rebounded when rationing ended. When you adjust for age, Pollan writes, rates of chronic diseases like cancer and type 2 diabetes are considerably higher today than they were in 1900. Type 2 diabetes -- a strange epidemic: one without a virus, bacteria or other microbe -- was called adult onset diabetes until children began getting it. Now it is a $100 billion-a-year consequence of, among other things, obesity related to a corn-based diet, which is partly because steaks and chops have pushed plants off the plate.

Four of the top 10 causes of American deaths -- coronary heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer -- have, Pollan says, well-established links to diet, particularly through the superabundance of cheap calories of sugar and fat.

What he calls America's national eating disorder is not just the fact that Americans reportedly eat one in five meals in cars (gas stations make more from food and cigarettes than from gasoline) and that one in three children eats fast food every day.

He also means the industrialization of agriculture, wherein we developed a food chain that derives too much of its calories -- energy -- not from the sun through photosynthesis but from fossil fuels.


Will is a Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist, based in
Washington, D.C. (

Brought to you by the

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8. Our Messages Keep Spreading to New Groups

Shalom Professor Schwartz,

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for allowing the use of your material for the educational CD we prepared on Masorti Judaism and the Environment. The CD is now complete. It was officially introduced at the Rabbinical Assembly convention in Jerusalem last month and was received with great enthusiasm and praise. Advance copies of the CD have already been viewed by many of our colleagues both here in Israel and abroad. Everyone who has seen it has indicated their gratitude to us - and of course to you - for preparing this exciting and very useful resource on such an important and relevant topic. They are looking forward to using the material in their home communities.

Most of the participants at the Rabbinical Assembly convention received a copy to take home with them. Other Masorti rabbis and educational personnel will be receiving a copy from us in the near future. We are distributing the CD free of charge, with no profit to our organization, because we believe in the importance of this project. We would like to send you a copy so please send us your regular mailing address and we will mail the CD to you as soon as possible.

In addition, we are very excited to tell you that we are planning to put the material up on our website for the benefit of all our Masorti kehillot around the world. Soon everyone with access to the internet will be able to access all of this material including your contribution.

If you have additional material relevant to the topic, will be preparing such material in the future, or do not wish to have your material posted on the web, please let us know ASAP.

Once again - THANK YOU!

With very warm regards,

Rabbi Tzvi Graetz
Masorti Olami

18 Rehov Ha'Uman St
Jerusalem 93420


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9. HBO to Present Movie that Addresses Factory Farming Abuses

Forwarded message from DawnWatch

There is stunning news in the animal advocacy world, particularly for those of us who have been working in the field for years and remember the days when it was hard to find a news story that even touched on the cruelty to animals being documented by activists. This coming Monday, March 16, HBO will premier a documentary called "Death on a Factory Farm." According to the HBO synopsis, "'Death on a Factory Farm' follows the undercover investigation of Wiles Hog Farm by the animal rights group The Humane Farming Association (HFA), and the resulting court case against it." The industry magazine, "Pork," reports with apprehension that the documentary will run on HBO twenty times through till April 1.
You'll find the full schedule at -- just enter the documentary title into the search line on that page.

The Time Magazine web site currently has a terrific story on the issue -- an interview with, and photo of, 'Pete,' the undercover investigator and animal advocacy hero, who worked at the farm and videotaped the horrors. Many of us already know him from his previous undercover work that formed the basis of an earlier HBO documentary, "Dealing Dogs." The interview with Pete is on line at,8599,1883742,00.html
News outlets pay close attention to which stories get the most clicks and forwards, so please check it out and then go the bottom of the page where it says "Connect to this Time Story" and click on "Email," and email the page to all of your friends. You can also leave a comment on that page. Please do.

The HBO home page for this documentary is:
It includes links to pages where you can watch a brief preview video, read an interview with the multi award winning producers of the documentary, and read a synopsis of the film. The opening lines of the synopsis make the point that the film apparently drives home beautifully:

"Each year, ten billion animals are raised for consumption in the U.S., mostly on sprawling, industrialized farms, where virtually no federal laws mandate how the animals are treated - though guidelines exist - and state laws are ineffective. As a result, animals are frequently subjected to what many consider cruel treatment and inhumane conditions in the interest of economic efficiency."

We learn about the undercover video:

"Over the course of six weeks, Pete secretly filmed numerous disturbing scenes, including piglets being tossed into crates from across a room, impregnated sows held in pens that don't allow them to move, an unhealthy piglet being slammed against a wall to euthanize it, and a sick sow being hung by a chain from a forklift until it choked to death."

Will you forgive my turn of phrase if I write that the factory farming industry folks are crapping themselves in anticipation of this movie? (I did edit myself slightly.) The industry's general position is that the cruelty on this farm was an aberration. But while we don't yet have video from other farms of pigs being hung to death or slammed against concrete floors, some of the chronic cruelty, such as keeping the huge and intelligent animals in tiny individual pens too small to let them turn around or even lie down with their legs outstretched, is standard industry practice. Such cruelty is not limited to the pork industry -- most of us know about battery cages and veal crates, for example. Beef Magazine therefore reports at (my thanks to Mary Finelli for that link):

"For any of us the agriculture industry, this documentary sends shivers down our spines.... To put things into perspective, HBO has an estimated 35 million subscribers, and a premier program on HBO can reach between 1 to 3 percent of that audience, or about 500 thousand to 1.5 million people."


The Beef Magazine writer recommends to readers:
"I encourage all of you to tune in to this documentary, and follow up with letters of response to the producers and to HBO."

I always stress the importance of letting media outlets know how much we, the audience, appreciate their animal friendly content. With the meat industry calling for mobilization against HBO on this one, appreciative feedback from the audience becomes doubly important. Please send HBO a supersized thank you. Comments on HBO documentaries should be submitted at

You can also make sure that everybody who reads your local paper knows about the show. Some of the smaller papers publish close to 100% of letters they receive. The five minutes it takes you to send a quick note could help teach thousands of people in your area about the horrors of the modern food production system. As the show will air through the rest of the month you still have time to write now. Why not?

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

(DawnWatch is an animal advocacy media watch that looks at animal issues in the media and facilitates one-click responses to the relevant media outlets. You can learn more about it, and sign up for alerts at You may forward or reprint DawnWatch alerts if you do so unedited -- leave DawnWatch in the title and include this parenthesized tag line. If somebody forwards DawnWatch alerts to you, which you enjoy, please help the list grow by signing up. It is free.)

Please go to to read reviews and see a fun celeb-studded video and an NBC news piece on Karen Dawn's new book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of 2008."

To discontinue DawnWatch alerts go to

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10. Looking for a New Way to Connect Environmentally to Israel?

Eco Flyer

~~~ Yeshivat Simchat Shlomo's~~~
Eco-Activist Beit Midrash
Spring Session: May 15-June 14
Summer Session: July/August
Applications on-line
View Our On-line Clip

Ecology and Judaism Across Israel...

Our one month programs combine dynamic Jewish learning, community service and unique tiyulim [hikes] with the passion that our students and staff share for this field. The EABM brings together young Jewish people from all backgrounds with an interest in the environment for an opportunity to learn a Jewish approach to ecology, while volunteering and learning about modern environmental issues and organizations in Israel. This co-ed program is accessible and welcoming to people of all Jewish backgrounds and offers a sincere exploration of the relevance and application of Torah wisdom to one of today's most important issues.

Opening the Tradition...

Through texts of Chumash, Mishna and Gemara and teachings from Jewish philosophy and Chassidut our classes pose real questions to the original texts. Addressing, challenging and refining the understandings that are at the core of today's environmental crisis- the learning is a new branch of the Oral Torah, with the questions that modern times' demand we ask and an honest search for answers- a real living Torah program! Our staff are on the forefront of this growing field and are dedicated to making the text come alive to all. No prior Jewish learning experience is necessary- just curiosity.
Not the Learning is the Point, but the Action!!
-Pirke Avot
spray As the Saying of Our Fathers teaches, learning must lead to action- and the classroom is not our only playground. There are optional afternoon internships with local NGOs and the whole group works with Jerusalem community garden projects. This year we are happy to break ground on our own urban perma-culture project in the heart of Jerusalem, our home base. As a member of the Coalition for a Sustainable Jerusalem we are linked to a wide variety of local organizations- providing a strong network to learn and work with.

Out -and- About
dance And of course, we are in the field- walking rarely tread places of the land of Israel, meeting the plants of the TaNaCh, standing alone in Negev moonlight, meeting the Israeli environmental movement, visiting communities with goals of sustainable living- kibbutzim new and old, urban and rural and being together with the incredible group of people this program attracts.
Sign up now as registration and scholarships are limited!
Also check out the Facebook Group- Eco-Activist Beit Midrash
FMI: write to Shaul Judelman:

Email Marketing by
Sukkat Shaleym Inc | 18 Hagilboa Street | Jerusalem | 94314 | Israel

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11. New Edition of “Prisoned-Chickens-Poisoned-Eggs” Published

[This book (now beautifully re-packaged) and its author, Karen Davis, put chickens on the AR map--a monumental achievement.
-Pamela Rice]

UPC President Karen Davis Updates the Plight of Chickens, Health and Environmental Issues in Groundbreaking Book on the Poultry Industry

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Karen Davis wrote Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs in the mid-1990s to focus attention on the billions of chickens buried alive on factory farms. The book was a catalyst for animal rights activists seeking to develop effective strategies to expose and relieve the plight of chickens. United Poultry Concerns' campaign in the 1990s to reveal the U.S. egg industry's cruel practice of starving hens to force them to molt their feathers and cut the cost of egg production was decisive in shifting advocacy attention to chickens and the hidden causes of Salmonella and Campylobacter food poisoning.

The Newly Revised Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs documents what has happened since the book first appeared - the waging of high-profile campaigns to get rid of battery cages for laying hens, undercover investigations exposing the appalling cruelty to chickens and turkeys by poultry industry workers, globalization of chicken production and its effect on the environment and spread of avian influenza, and how farm animal sanctuaries have become key players in debunking industry myths with truthful accounts of the sensitive and intelligent birds being brutalized in the name of "food."

"When you pick up a chicken on the road who has fallen off a truck on the way to slaughter, the huge white bird with the little peeping voice and baby blue eyes feels like liquid cement," says Karen Davis in Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs. The birds are sick with respiratory infections and they are often rotting with diseases. This latest edition effectively explains why these birds are so ill, why eating them makes people sick, and what can be done to cure the pathology of the modern poultry industry.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Karen Davis, PhD is the founder of United Poultry Concerns, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the compassionate and respectful treatment of domestic fowl. She is the author of several books and numerous articles for the national press and was featured on National Public Radio. A major article in The Washington Post titled "For the Birds" won the 1999 Ark Trust Genesis Award for Outstanding Newspaper Feature. The article can be read by going to Karen Davis can be reached at or 757-678-7875.

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12. Effects of Animal Agriculture on Western Range Lands

Forwarded message from author Mike Hudak:

In its January 2009 issue, Audubon magazine published a glowing review of Quivira Coalition Director Courtney White's pro-ranching book Revolution on the Range. The March issue of that magazine includes George Wuerthner's letter response to that book review. I reproduce Wuerthner's letter below.

The hubris of Courtney White and others who believe that nature will fall apart if humans aren't there "managing" the land is unbelievable. All livestock production in the arid West has unavoidable ecological impacts-changes in nutrient cycles, changes in fire regimes, soil compaction, spread of weeds, competition with native herbivores, damage to riparian zones, dewatering rivers (for irrigation), and so forth. And the list of species endangered or jeopardized primarily or largely as a result of livestock production includes many animals well known to Audubon readers, including the sage-grouse. Indeed, livestock grazing is the single greatest cause of species endangerment in the West. A much clearer picture of how the livestock industry degrades our public lands and bullies public employees and activists is Mike Hudak's book Western Turf Wars.

George Wuerthner

Editor, Welfare Ranching

Livingston, MT

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13. Scientists Warn of 'Irreversible' Changes

Thanks to writer and vegetarian activist Judy Lipman for forwarding this article:

COPENHAGEN (March 12) - Hundreds of leading scientists warned Thursday that global warming is accelerating beyond the worst predictions and threatening to trigger "irreversible" climate shifts on the planet.

Saying there's no excuse for inaction, the nearly 2,000 climate researchers meeting in Copenhagen urged policy-makers to "vigorously" implement the economic and technological tools available to cut emissions of heat-trapping greenhouse gases.

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14. EarthSave Florida Leader Discusses Vegetarian Connection to Environmental Issues

FROM THE CHAIR, ARTICLE - Spring 09 EarthSave Miami Newsletter

BY: Jeffrey M. Tucker [Jeff is a long-time supporter of vegetarianism and JVNA]

EarthSave does not require everyone's oath of strict vegan adherence, nor does it operate a Food Police force. We do educate the public about a cluster of modern day issues, letting the impact of our logic, the accuracy of our information and the urgency of our recommendations generate individuals' decisions. People are prompted to continue modifying behaviors as long as satisfaction rules over frustration or doubt. Going from an occasional meatless meal to more consistent avoidance of animal products is a journey we invite everyone to experience, for their benefit, for ours collectively. To top it all off, our sustainable, plant-based diet comes with a Lifetime Warranty- see me at a Potluck for your copy of the fine print detailing how it adds life to your time, maybe even time to your life!

Because geopolitics, science and global economics have 'contracted' our modern world, scant tolerance remains for the exploitation of nature, including human nature. Deep Ecology, an emerging science and ethos, postulates a cohesive, planetary web of life. As this becomes threatened so we are spurred on to stronger and more profound actions, calling upon many disparate interest groups from religious, spiritual, academic and social domains for support and solidarity. I am truly amazed by the lopsided equation of universal vs. special interests in the Game of Global Survival.

The Woodstock Generation envisioned a peaceful planet, dominated by an intelligent, advancing civilization and sowed seeds of hope for our lifetimes. But many seeds perished upon a toxic landscape, poisoned by a 'profitable' arsenal of chemicals from agent orange to pesticides, industrial products to pharmaceuticals. As we misguidedly let grazing animals trample rainforests, let garbage contaminate the ecosphere and fostered a monstrous ethic of animal husbandry-speciesism, so we also contravened common sense and sensibilities. Perhaps Global Scorching represents the sum of all such blunders, when your accounting method omits ecological costs from the bottom line.

Ahimsa is a keyword of ethical veganism and probably the entire New Age. Living in the 'contracted' sphere of activity, people are urged to play nicely or feel the inter-connected consequences ever more acutely. In the “Live and Let Live” credo which comes first? I interpret ahimsa thusly “If we let the plants, animals and natural forces live about us so they will enable us to survive, even thrive.” Continuing to harm our partners in this fine-tuned web of life cannot fail to produce dire consequences. So, please pass the peas.

Jeff Tucker March 13, 2009

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15. Liberal UK Jewish Group Actively Addressing Climate Change

Source: Christian Aid - UK
Gillian Sandford

Reuters and AlertNet are not responsible for the content of this article or for any external internet sites. The views expressed are the author's alone.

The Jewish movement Liberal Judaism has joined forces with Christian Aid to press for a new climate change deal that is fair to the poor in developing countries who are already bearing the brunt of global warming.

The March edition of the magazine LJ Today carries co-branded pledge cards and details of how to sign up to Christian Aid's international Countdown to Copenhagen campaign on climate change.

On Wednesday March 11, co-branded campaign materials are being distributed at the Northwood and Pinner Liberal Synagogue, London, where Liberal Judaism's Chief Executive Rabbi Danny Rich will formally endorse the campaign together with LJ rabbis, from regional synagogues, ministering the faith's 10,000 members.

Taking the Copenhagen pledge includes a commitment to:

Reducing your personal carbon footprint through recycling, reusing and reducing consumption Writing to the Prime Minister and speaking to your local MP to let them know you expect the UK Government and other world to work for a new international climate change agreement that is fair to poorer countries Encouraging friends and family to sign up to the pledge

Rabbi Rich says: 'Climate change affects everyone, irrespective of religion but the poor suffer disproportionately. The threat to our world is so great that it is vital that Liberal Jews join people of other faiths to lobby for laws that cut carbon emissions.

'Liberal Judaism is proud to endorse and co-brand the pledge cards. We do this as a core part of our faith. There is also a moral imperative which finds its expression in the concept of Tikkun Olam - repairing the world.'

Christian Aid head of campaigns Paul Brannen said: 'I am delighted that Liberal Jews are showing solidarity with Christian Aid and joining us in crucial activism to stop global warming. We hope this will mark the beginning of ongoing cooperation on shared campaign issues.

'The campaign pledge at is a mouse click away and I urge all those who care about the planet and global justice to give us their support.'

The Copenhagen climate conference this December will see a new international climate deal agreed that will come into force when the first phase of the Kyoto treaty expires in 2012.

Christian Aid is calling for the rich industrialised countries to cut emissions by 80 per cent by 2050 and to pay a greater share of the cost of global cuts - on top of the actions they are taking domestically.

It wants technology that can help cut emissions shared with poorer countries and wants rich countries to support poorer ones financially in adapting to climate change. But it also says developing countries have to play their part by bringing in emission-cutting programmes that can be measured, reported and verified. - ends -

For more press information, pictures or case studies, please contact Gillian Sandford on or on 07912 407692.

Notes to Editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in 49 countries. We act where the need is greatest, regardless of religion, helping people build the life they deserve.

2. Christian Aid is a member of the Stop Climate Chaos Coalition - the UK's largest group of people dedicated to action on climate change.

3. .Liberal Judaism - one of the three major strands of Judaism in the UK with over 30 congregations and 10,000 members - seeks to make Jewish life relevant to the modern world. The main difference between Liberal Judaism and traditional (Orthodox) Judaism is in their respective attitudes to the bible. While preserving the core beliefs and practices that underpin the religion, Liberal Judaism believes that ancient laws must be interpreted to ensure that ethical values and practices take account of what we know and the world as it is today. Ethical behaviour and social action take priority over ritual.

[ Any views expressed in this article are those of the writer and not of Reuters. ]

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