May 31, 2009

5/31/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. New Internet Web Site for Jewish Social Justice Sources Established

2. My Open letter to President Obama Urging Him To Become a Vegetarian

3. Statement by JVNA Activist to Her Discussion Group re Eating Meat

4. Green Zionist Alliance Collection of Videos on Israel's Environmental Problems

5. Environmentally-Friendly Community Being Built in Israel

6. Powerful Vegetarian Documentary Released

7. You Can Sign a Petition That Advocates That People Stop Rating Meat

8. Global Warming Threatens Public Health

9. Documentary Considers All Phases of Meat Production

10. Quotation Provides Food for Thought

11. New Group Stresses Immediate Actions Needed to Address Climate Change

12. New Podcasts Have Interviews With Leading Vegetarian Activists Howard Lyman and David Cantor

13. New Journal on Animal Ethics Seeks Articles and Reviews

14. Global Climate Change Leadership Summit Scheduled

15. More on Weekly Veggie Day in Ghent, Belgium

16. Global Climate Event Scheduled for October 24/Make it a Global Warming Shabbat?

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

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

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

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. New Internet Web Site for Jewish Social Justice Sources Established

Subject: Announcing On1Foot: Jewish Texts for Social Justice

Original Message ----- From: "American Jewish World Service"

This looks like a great source for information and also for spreading vegetarian messages. My quick scanning did not reveal many vegetarian-related quotes, but there are possibilities for our inputs.

Thanks to JVNA Founder and president Jonathan Wolf for making us aware of this valuable new site.
Forwarded message:

As we prepare to celebrate Shavuot, the holiday that marks the receiving of the Torah, AJWS is proud to present On1Foot (, an educational resource that will help the Jewish community apply the Torah's wisdom to the pursuit of social justice.

On1Foot is an online, open source database of Jewish social justice texts. We invite you to visit to explore this exciting new resource for Jewish social justice education.

On1Foot allows users to:

* Search and browse hundreds of biblical, rabbinic and contemporary Jewish > texts about social justice
* Upload new texts
* Comment on existing texts
* Create custom source sheets using the texts and suggested discussion > questions

We hope that On1Foot enriches your learning and teaching about Judaism and > social justice and look forward to your active participation on the site!

On1Foot is a project of American Jewish World Service and is co-sponsored by AVODAH: The Jewish Service Corps, Hazon, Tzedek, Mechon Hadar and Uri L'Tzedek.

American Jewish World Service
45 West 36th Street, New York, NY 10018
Tel: 212.792.2900

Copyright American Jewish World Service 2009. All rights reserved.

Return to Top

2. My Open letter to President Obama Urging Him To Become a Vegetarian

Please consider writing similar letters. Thanks,.

January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama
Office of the President
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. NW
Washington, DC 20006

Dear President Barack Obama:

On behalf of the Veg Climate Alliance (, 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 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 re duce diseases by stressing prevention and the recent statement of Chicago Health Commissioner Terry Mason, whom you know, encouraging Chicagoans 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 (, 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, and thereby help reduce the massive budget deficits that are currently projected and help enable you to carry out your objectives of providing tax cuts, improving our nation's infrastructure, and creating good jobs.

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 incr ease 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 to Nikki Benoit mentioned the importance of getting more fruits and vegetables into school lunch programs and subsidizing healthier plant-based foods rather than 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 charming 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 all future generations depends on your putting our suggestions into practice.

Very respectfully,

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Return to Top

3. Statement by JVNA Activist to Her Discussion Group re Eating Meat

Please use the material below as a model to start chats on vegetarianism with your discussion groups and other groups. Thanks.

Forwarded message from vegetarian activist Sheila:

Hi Richard, I sent your press release "Animal-based Diets are Madness and Sheer Insanity" to my discussion group and it started an interesting discussion, during which I was able to make significant points about the importance of a switch toward vegetarianism. The idea is that this latest statement is based on the totally urgent situation regarding our planetary survival, so it's something new and very worthy of attention and careful consideration. I just think one thing is important, and that is to always give sources that they can access. And to keep things positive, like not being judgemental. Backing up the statements on global warming with sources, I thought mainstream press like Time magazine is best. Giving suggestions as to different veg material they can access, like lists of veg restaurants in the city, is very good.

This was my first email to the rabbi, to ask him if I could put it in: This is the latest release of Dr. Richard Schwartz. I would like to put it in the group chat. Would you feel fine about me putting this in? The situation is getting more urgent every day vis-a-vis global warming, and we must all do whatever we can now. This statement was released in on-line Tikkum. Thanks so much,

The rabbi asked me to introduce myself before I put the statement in, so this is what i sent:

Hi Friends, I am Sheila ______, who Rebbe David kindly invited to join this chat awhile ago. I have immensely enjoyed getting the emails of your synagogue, and it seems like so much of intelligence and goodness is going on.

I have been a vegetarian for a long time. Since it is becoming increasingly clear that impact of global warming was greatly underestimated, and we are facing the most serious threat to our global survival that has ever been known, we are all, I am sure, looking for the solutions. By many scientific reports, it is clear that the animal industry is hugely responsible for the greenhouse gas emissions, especially the very dangerous methane. The solution is also very clear: that the world population needs to become vegan preferably, and if not, vegetarian, very quickly. I am sending this latest press release from Dr. Richard Schwartz of Jewish Vegetarians of North America. He has been fully dedicated for many years to showing the Jewish mandate for vegetarianism. I think the point is now that because of the urgency of the situation, it is the time not only to be vegetarian, but to convince as many people as possible that this is the only sane path. I think we could adapt his suggestions to Canada, and send letters to Prime Minister Harper.Thanks so much, and all best wishes, Sheila
This is my initital response to the woman who said she liked the idea, but it wasn't likely. Hi Celia, Thanks so much for your reply. I can understand that habit is deep, and people are reluctant to change. However, given the urgency of the situation, if people clearly see animal agriculture's contribution to global warming, I think they would prefer to forsake meat rather than give up our beautiful planetary home. That's really how serious it is! We just have to rely on people's intelligence to realize the truth. The reason the statement is made that a true environmentalist has to be a vegetarian, is because the connection between the meat industry and global warming is so strong. And it's the one thing we can do now, without any government action, is to just vote with our forks. Yes, I want to save this beautiful planet for present and future generations. The most important thing I can do is give up meat --- I will do it! If so many esteemed scientists and people that have researched the topic deeply come to this conclusion, and the evidence is so clear, that we do not have long now to keep talking about it. So many scientists are saying that the reality is much more serious than the worse case scenario we were earlier given. Since so much of global warming is caused by the meat industry, I will not support it anymore. We are relying on people's innate goodness and intelligence to save this incredible planet. Please help by adopting a vegetarian, and if possible, vegan diet. Thank you! Best wishes,Sheila

This is in reply when the rabbi said he found a new veg friendly supermarket, and another woman said she is veg and loves to take her friends to veg restaurants.
Hi Kim and Reb David, Introducing friends to vegan and veg food is great! Vancouver is such a veg-friendly city, you can find everything, and many of the substitutes are just like meat. There is a list of veg restaurants put out yearly by Earthsave, (, which can be downloaded an. Also, there are internet sites like Happy Cow ( that list veg restaurants according to cities, and are happy to have updates. Also, there are many free resources as to veg recipes. One of them is with daily cooking shows that can be downloaded free of charge. A peaceful vegan world, that would be paradise!! Let's do it together! All the best, Sheila

Return to Top

4. Green Zionist Alliance Collection of Videos on Israel's Environmental Problems

The first (top) video is a portion of A SACRED DUTY that has environmental scenes related to Israel..

Message from Noam Dolgin, director of the Green Zionist Alliance:

This is part of a series of materials on Israel's environment we are trying to pull together for the Green Zionist Alliance website. Please let me know if you have any materials, programs, etc., that you think we should include. {I sent 2 articles.]


Noam Dolgin
Green Zionist Alliance

Return to Top

5. Environmentally-Friendly Community Being Built in Israel

For information, please visit:

This is not an endorsement, since we know little about the builder, the area, etc. But many of the ideas for reducing environmental impacts seem very good.

Return to Top

6. Powerful Vegetarian Documentary Released

I have seen the moivie “A Delicate Balance,” and I highly recommend it! Background material about the movie is below. It dramatically and effectively presents many insights on vegetarianis and related issues.

A Delicate Balance - The Truth is a feature length documentary that reveals the links between the consumption of animal proteins and the onset and development of significant diseases of affluence, such as Cancer, Heart Disease and Diabetes, to name a few. This film also highlights the connection between animal agriculture and climate change, revealing how the production of certain foods has a vast impact on our environment. Created by first-time Australian director Aaron Scheibner, A Delicate Balance features prominent and respected professionals who highlights their research and findings to scientifically and medically support the information presented in the film.

More information can be found at The film is available for online viewing for only $4.95. The website is soon to launch a goal of 4000 online viewings to be reached before August 1st, in an attempt to support film promotion and social education. If this goal is not reached the film will not be as readily available in its present state. Be part of this cause by watching the film online, or set up a local screening. If you want to set a up a screening email Tara Lomax at

Return to Top

7. You Can Sign a Petition That Advocates That People Stop Rating Meat

I and author and JVNA advisor Dan Brook have just read and signed the petition: Stop eating Meat, Fleischverbot, Contre la viande, No a la carne

You can view this petition at:

Message from Dan Brook:

Hi, I signed the petition "Stop eating Meat, Fleischverbot, Contre la viande, No a la carne". I'm asking you to sign this petition to help us reach our goal of 10,000 signatures.
----- provides tools and empowers individuals to make a difference and effect positive change through online activism. Get connected with the causes you care about, take action to make the world a better place, and start your own petition at! is powered by Care2, the largest and most trusted information and action site for people who care to make a difference in their lives and the

Return to Top

8. Global Warming Threatens Public Health

Public Health Leaders Stress Climate Risk

by Ben Block on May 20, 2009

Thanks to JVNA advisor Ron Landskroner for forwarding this material:

When seasonal rains lift from the Mali skies, meningitis often follows. Dust-filled winds can elevate the disease's effects by damaging tissue in a person's nose or throat. If longer droughts become more common, as expected across the Sahel, the epidemic could intensify, researchers say.

Connections between climate change and public health are not unique to West Africa. Worldwide, generations are expected to suffer as a result of historical and future greenhouse gas emissions, and the poor are most at risk.

Last week, a leading medical journal urged society's caretakers to better adapt to a warmer planet, calling climate change "the biggest global health threat of the 21st century."

"We call for a public health movement that frames the threat of climate change for humankind as a health issue," The Lancet said in an editorial on Friday. "Apart from a dedicated few, health professionals have come late to the climate change debate."

Heat waves and the spread of tropical disease are often mentioned as the leading health risks associated with climate change. But it was the indirect effects of water scarcity, shifting food resources, and extreme weather that led The Lancet, in collaboration with the Institute for Global Health at University College London, to sound the alarm. These threats now cause an estimated 150,000 deaths each year in low-income countries, according to the World Health Organization.

The editorial is a significant statement for the public health community. With few comprehensive assessments of the effects of climate change on health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, researchers often disagree about the extent that human-caused climate change affects health, said Susan Polan, the associate executive director of theAmerican Public Health Association.

In addition to a renewed public health advocacy movement, The Lancet recommended that global leaders expedite development efforts in the poorest countries. The advice echoes the suggestions of an independent report on adaptation released by a Stockholm-based commission at the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development last week.

The Commission on Climate Change and Development, comprised of international development, research, and governmental leaders, urges donor countries to add $1-2 billion to their total spending on foreign aid (a rarely actu alized commitment of 0.7 percent of gross national income). The funding should be targeted to vulnerable low-income countries, especially in Africa and small island states, for technical support, institutional coordination, and climate warning systems, the Commission said.

"Money is needed now, and more will be needed in the future to help developing countries adapt," the report stated [PDF]. "If we fail, [the next generation] will be worse and will be more limited. If we succeed, we will have provided them at least a better chance."

The funds requested by the commission match what developed countries already promised for least-developed countries in 2001. The voluntary agreement, however, has so far attracted less than $200 million, none of which is from the United States, which did not ratify the treaty.

"It's sad to me that the richest country, the biggest [historical] contributor to climate change, has not dedicated one penny to this fund," said Saleemul Huq, a senior fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development,at an adaptation conference in Washington, D.C., in April.

As public health concerns swirl around the specter of a flu pandemic, Friends of the Earth International Chair Meena Raman said that rising sea levels, displaced communities, and additional climate change effects posed an even larger threat to society's health.

"The pandemic is likely to be a pimple compared to the pandemics worldwide likely to be caused by the diseases of climate change," Raman said. "Those of us who have the capacity should not be asking, 'Are we ready?' but 'What should we do?'"

Ben Block is a staff writer with the Worldwatch Institute. He can be reached at

This article is a product of Eye on Earth, Worldwatch Institute's online news service. For permission to reprint Eye on Earth content, please contact Juli Diamond at

Return to Top

9. Documentary Considers All Phases of Meat Production

Thanks to JVNA advisor Ron Landskroner for forwarding this information:

From one of the best, all-time documentary filmmakers. Timelier than ever. [even though it was produced many years ago.]

Several comments on the movie follow:

“MEAT” is a study of one of America's largest feed lots and packing plants, and both is and isn't what you expect it to be. Wiseman shows us how cattle are auctioned, the operations of a feeding lot, the care and feeding of the animals, the storage and packing of meat, and even union meetings and pricing arrangements. As always he treats his viewer as a person of intelligence who can put together his own pattern of meaning without narration. And as always he leads us to probe ourselves to see how we feel about what we are seeing on the screen. Like Wiseman's earlier films, MEAT is disturbing, revealing, surprising - and masterful cinema.

-Ken Wlaschin, London Film Festival Programme, 1976

MEAT's commonplace inferno is the most extraordinary visual material in any of Wiseman's 10 films on American institutions.

-David Denby, The Boston Phoenix

Wiseman's most visually lacerating documentary…

-James Wolcott, The Village Voice

Return to Top

10. Quotation Provides Food for Thought

Whenever a new discovery is reported to the scientific world, they say first, "It is probably not true." Thereafter. when the truth of the new proposition has been demonstrated beyond question, they say, "Yes, it may be true, but it is not important." Finally, when sufficient time has elapsed to fully evidence its importance, they say, "Yes, surely it is important, but it is no longer new."

Return to Top

11. New Group Stresses Immediate Actions Needed to Address Climate Change


The time is now to solve climate change.

On December 7th, 2009, our leaders meet in Copenhagen with an historic opportunity. We've come together across organisations and generations-as grandparents, parents and children-to show global support for a fair and equitable deal to solve the climate crisis.

We Say Yes!
Thanks for adding your voice to show global support for a bold deal to sol ve the climate crisis.

Help grow the campaign by telling a friend.

Be sure to add our email ( to your contact list so that our updates get to you.

The time is now to solve climate change.

We say yes to our leaders for bold action on climate change.
We show support connecting across the generations.
We all do our part, pursuing lifestyle changes to lower our impact.

About the campaign

The 'tck tck tck' campaign aims to organize mass public support for a fair and equitable outcome at the UN's Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 15) in Copenhagen, December 2009.

A child affected by climate changeThe climate crisis is reaching its peak. Our actions will determine the future of our planet, and the 'tck tck tck' campaign is urging everyone to join the movement to prevent catastrophic impacts from global warming.

The 'tck tck tck' campaign brings together an unprecedented alliance of faith groups, NGOs, trade unions and individuals at this crucial time to call for a new international treaty that will save the planet from the dangerous effects caused by climate change. As world leaders prepare to strike a climate deal in Copenhagen in December, tcktcktck will harness the voices of the people to demand an ambitious, fair and binding new international agreement that reflects the latest science. Time is running out. Show your support by joining the campaign.

“The 'tck tck tck' campaign is a call to action - a rallying cry for everyone to get involved. We want people to feel a sense of ownership - it's a movement in which everyone has a chance to get involved.”


tck tck tck is a global movement for a unified voice against climate change. The combined efforts of millions of people, including you, and our member organizations will deliver a clear message that we demand meaningful leadership and action against climate change.

Return to Top

12. New Podcasts Have Interviews With Leading Vegetarian Activists Howard Lyman and David Cantor

New Audio for the VSSE podcast:

Howard Lyman and Jerry Cook have a conversation about the effects on the environment associated with our current day animal production. (factory farming). They also chatted about swine flu, the subsidies associated with the fast food hamburgers, transportation associated with feed lots
and our foods, effects of deforestation and a bit about Mad Cow Disease. More info at p://

There are also links to three other Howard Lyman Interviews by the Animal Voices Podcast:


The VSSE podcast has a Facebook presence. You can send me your friend suggestions and join the group here: Please spread the word that the podcast exists; share with your "Environmentalist" friends. Alsowe have a FB Event for the Howard Lyman and Jerry Cook Discussion:


David Cantor the Executive Director of Responsible Policies for Animals is Interviewed in English/Spanish by Susan Soltero of Radio WALO:

Cristina Sebastian has submitted another Spanish Language podcast on the subject of "The Livestock industry and climate" Part 2. And next month we'll have part 3. Please make sure to pass these great audio messages along to your Spanish Speaking friends:

The International Languages Vegetarian podcast has a great new podcast by Cristina Sebastian: If you
speak Spanish or have friends that speak Spanish have them give the podcast a listen. Also In English Cristina included this information on an important report we should all read "The Livestock industry and climate. EU makes bad worse":

If you know of people that speak other languages please refer them to me so we can search for existing Vegetarian Podcasts in their language so I can link to them or we can create Audio Messages on Vegetarianism in their language if not exist. You can refer them to:


I need help with with the VSSE podcast. This podcast is a community effort and the project can definitely benefit with the liberal sharing of "YOUR VOICE." I have material waiting to be read on the Environmental Reasons the world needs to TRANSITION toward a plant based diet so please contact me ( so we can discuss how you can
read for the podcast. Here is more material on this subject:


keep it in mind that the best way to listen to the audio is to subscribe to the free podcast by downloading a free copy of the iTunes program at: You would then proceed to insert the VSSE RSS feed ( into iTunes to
complete the free subscription process. If you don't feel like doing that just click on the individual links at the site and listen directly from the internet or right click, save to your computer and upload to your mp3 player.

Forwarded message from RPA Director David Cantor:

Share Freely

Responsible Policies for Animals Members & Friends!

By clicking on the International Languages Vegetarian Podcast page --

-- you can now here the April 13th radio interview I did with Susan Soltero of WALO Radio in Puerto Rico!

The show is called "Aciencia Cierta" -- "True Science" -- because I explain how our land-grant universities' meat-industry programs ("animal science") promote delusional thinking resulting in inhumane treatment of animals, poor human health, and ecocatastrophe. Science shows that humans evolved as herbivores and reveals massive problems linked to meat.

The interview runs about 25 minutes. If you do not know Spanish, don't worry -- I don't, either, so the questions are put to me in English. You'll hear the first question not long into the show.

Many thanks to Joseph Puentes for making it possible to share the interview beyond the reach of WALO's airwaves! Below are some additional UR L's reflecting Joseph's crucial work promoting plants-only eating, peace, and other vital causes.

Enjoy! Keep well! Donate when you can!

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

Return to Top

13. New Journal on Animal Ethics Seeks Articles and Reviews

Forwarded message:

Journal of Animal Ethics

The new multidisciplinary and international Journal of Animal Ethics will be published in 2010 by the University of Illinois Press in partnership with the Ferrater Mora Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics. This will be a journal of inquiry, argument, and exchange dedicated to exploring the moral dimension of our relations with animals. Its aim is to put animals on the intellectual agenda and to stimulate discussion within academic and professional institutions. It will be multidisciplinary in nature and international in scope, as well as peer-reviewed. It will cover theoretical and applied aspects of animal ethics -- of interest to academics from the humanities and the sciences, as well as professionals working in the field of animal protection. The Journal will comprise: full-length scholarly articles, shorter articles, "Argument" pieces in which authors will advance a particular perspective (usually related to current affairs) or respond to a previous article, review or research report, as well as review articles and reviews. The Editors will be Professors Andrew Linzey and Priscilla N. Cohn, who are looking for articles (3-5,000 words), "Argument" pieces (1-2,000 words), reviews and review articles that have relevance to the ethics of our treatment of animals. Guidance for authors will shortly appear on the Centre's website:

Contributions should be sent via email to the co-editor, Professor Andrew Linzey, at, who would also be pleased to discuss potential contributions. Books for review should be sent to the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, 91 Iffley Road, Oxford OX4 1EG.

Return to Top

14. Global Climate Change Leadership Summit Scheduled

Local Government Climate Change Leadership Summit

On 2-4 June 2009, local politicians and senior local government officials from almost 160 countries and representatives from national governments will gather in Copenhagen for the Local Government Climate Change Leadership Summit. They will meet at the Summit with a view to engage in a national-local dialogue and to offer a partnership to reduce GHG emissions. The Summit is a milestone in the Local Government Climate Roadmap.
************************************************************Leadership Summit
On 2-4 June 2009, local politicians and senior local government officials from almost 160 countries and representatives from national governments will gather in Copenhagen for the Local Government Climate Change Leadership Summit. They will meet at the Summit with a view to engage in a national-local dialogue and to offer a partnership to reduce GHG emissions. The Summit is a milestone in the Local Government Climate Roadmap.

It is the position of local government organisations, such as United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG), ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI), Metropolis, the C40 Climate Leadership Group, and the World Mayors Council on Climate Change (WMCCC), that a post-2012 agreement should contain language urging national governments to better integrate, adequately equip and strategically support local governments in efforts ameliorate climate change and its effects.

The key messages of the Local Government Climate Roadmap are:

o The Parties shall recognise the role of cities and local authorities in the implementation of National Climate Change Strategies and Action Plans.

o The Parties are committed to engage with the local authority leadership and/or their local authority associations to provide enabling structures and effective framework conditions for climate cooperation with cities and local authorities.

o The Parties shall empower cities and local authorities so that they have the abilities, the capacities and the resources required to take necessary action at the local level and to support the Parties in their efforts to meet the agreed targets and to implement local climate mitigation and adaptation strategies.

o The Parties shall include local authority delegates in the national delegation to the Conference of Parties and relevant decision making processes hereafter.

The international sections of UCLG and ICLEI, and European associations and networks of local and regional authorities such as the Council of European Municipalities and Regions (CEMR), Eurocities, Climate Alliance and Energie-Cit├ęs are also fully involved in the Road Map process. Other partners in the Summit are the European Commission, The Standing Conference of Local and Regional Authorities of Europe (CLRAE), UN-Habitat, OECD and The World Bank.

In parallel with the Summit, Local Government Denmark has developed a concept for a Google Earth facility andfor thematic stands.

Cities, municipalities and regions from the international community will be given the opportunity to present their initiatives and best practises within the areas mitigation, adaptation, clean technologies, adaptation technologies, reduction targets and reductions in greenhouse gas usage in buildings and the transport sector. The two products will be presented at the Summit and will currently be updated for COP15. in Copenhagen in December 2009 and the EXPO2010 in Shanghai.
In cooperation with the Danish municipalities, Local Government Denmark has developed a Local Climate Map, where Danish municipalities present their initiatives and best practises for a international audi ence. Additionally, and in continuation of the Summit in June, delegates will be given the possibility to visit Danish municipalities.

02/06/2009 00:00 - 04/06/2009 00:00

Return to Top

15. More on Weekly Veggie Day in Ghent, Belgium

Forwarded messages from vegetarian activists Carolin Gschwilm and Herma Caelen:

I got some interesting infos on Veggie Day in Ghent from EVA who organized it, for your reference. There are several European countries where veg societies are already trying to follow their example. In Germany, some groups like the German Veg Society and PETA are aiming at making Hamburg the first city with a weekly Veggie Day. There were already some media reports on this in German papers. Besides, some background infos on this great initiative that are worth reading, see below:


"[EVA vzw] Tobias Leenaert"
Hi people,

The powerpoint presentation i gave in Dresden on this campaign is at http: //
Some more info in English is at

Let me know if there's anything I can do. Perhaps we can try to make this into something more European or international. I could ask Dr. Pachauri if he could do something with it. He's enthousiastic about the idea.

Best wishes


Of course, the meatless Thursday in Ghent is a new and ingenious campaign but even the organizers may have felt somewhat overwhelmed by the huge media interest which the official kick-off created. We asked Tobias Leenaert from EVA about the background of the project and the enormous interest it created.
Note: We are collecting comments regarding the first official weekly meatless day

EVANA Interview with Tobias Leenaert from EVA, Belgium:
'We know that people's awareness of the issues concerning meat (and especi ally the global warming impact) is rising'

On 13 May 2009, Tom Balthazar, councilman for the health and environmental committee of Ghent, initiated the “Thursday Veggie Day” campaign, which has been organised in cooperation with the organization EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative). Almost immediately after distribution of the press release announcing the weekly meatless days, an international reaction set in which even the organizers may not have expected.

We wanted to know more about this amazing new project and asked Tobias about details regarding the campaign background, its preparation and the worldwide echo.
15 May 2009

EVANA: Tobias, first of all we would like to congratulate you and your organization on this overwhelming success of the new “Thursday Veggie Day” campaign. Did you expect this enormous level of international attention?

TOBIAS LEENAERT: Not at all. I thought that, if we'd ever do an international press release, it should be now, because it really was a very new and original thing, but I never expected this kind of attention.

QUESTION: Do you think that the amazing media frenzy could have something to do with the fact that people everywhere have been waiting for courageous politicians to take the lead in meatless initiatives? Can you tell us a bit about more about the reactions?

ANSWER: We know that people's awareness of the issues concerning meat (and especially the global warming impact) is rising, and yes, perhaps many of them realize that something really serious needs to happen, and that it can only be fastened by some political courage.

The reactions we are getting are wonderful. There's not just the worldwide press attention, but there's also congratulations from groups and individuals from all over the world. People say they are inspired to imitate this idea, and that was actually our point with the press release. I think it's great that we showed that something like this is possible, and this precedent will make it easier for other groups and cities to do the same.

QUESTION: How did the project come about? Who had the idea? How long was the preparation phase?

ANSWER: Our Thursday Meatout campaign has been running for a year and a half now. We arrived at the idea of a weekly meatout by ourselves I believe, but later found out there's already meatless Mondays and meatout Mondays in the US.

QUESTION: How did you manage to get such a constructive first contact with the administration of Ghent? Was there immediate official interest or did you have a lot of convincing to do?

ANSWER: Well, what helped was that last year, we managed to convince IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri to come to Ghent (we just asked him, if you want to know how we did that), where he talked for the very first time at length about meat and global warming. Tom Balthazar, the councilman responsible for the environment, was there, and he got more and more convinced after that. We made contact with two of his staff who were also enthusiastic, and we suggested that they asked Balthazar if he would be prepared to officially proclaim Thursdays to be veggie days.

We're also proud to say that Dr. Pachauri got inspired by our veggie day idea and has been spreading it around the world.

QUESTION: But maybe some of the politicians are already vegetarians which helped to build up this constructive cooperation?

ANSWER: Not at all. Ghent, however, is a very vegetarian friendly city. We have 13 veg restaurants on a population of 240.000 people, which is better than any western city I know of.

QUESTION: Are your political partners mainly from the public health sector or are also experts on ecology involved?

ANSWER: Tom Baltazar, the councilman, is actually responsible for the four domains that we usually name as the four good reasons to be a vegetarian: health, environment, animal welfare and north-south relationships. So he was the one we had to get to.

QUESTION: One German paper declared Ghent as 'capital of vegetarians'. Your officials must be most pleased about this kind of PR for their city?

ANSWER: Yes, they seem thrilled. Actually I just heard the mayor on the radio and he pretended the campaign was all part of his big city marketing plan :-)

QUESTION: Are there any plans for veg* tourists who want to take part in the Ghent meatless Thurdays?
ANSWER: I hope they can read our Dutch vegetarian map of the town. It shouldn't be that difficult. But they can always contact us as well.

QUESTION: Can you tell us a bit more about the 'vegetarian capital'? How did this amazing variety of vegetarian shops and eateries come about?

ANSWER: Actually, I don't really know. It IS a progressive city though, with a very high number of students.

QUESTION: What cities have made inquiries with the idea of implementing meatless days themselves?

ANSWER: In Belgium a couple so far (Hasselt and Merelbeke). The Greens will submit a proposal for Leuven. We were emailed by Germans, by Animal Aid and Peta UK for more information because they may have plans of their own.

QUESTION: What is your advice for every vegetarian organization interested in following EVA's example to establish decisive contacts with the world of decision makers?

ANSWER: The climate is good for vegetarianism (no pun intended), but on the other hand, as an organisation you need to be credible. I think we are also the only vegetarian organisation in the world which is structurally funded by its national government (we started as a volunteer organisation and got funding later - we are entirely independent, mind you). We have worked for years on a credible and professional image. It helps to not be an animal rights organisation, as mainstream organisations and institutions are more likely to be interested in health and environmental arguments.

QUESTION: Does EVA work everywhere in your country? If not, are there plans to widen its scope so that similar arrangements can be made in other Belgian regions as well?

ANSWER: We definitely want to widen the scope and get as many cities involved as possible, and who knows, perhaps we may have a national weekly vegetarian day sometime. For now, our work area is Flanders (the Dutch speaking part of Belgium).

EVANA: Tobias, we at EVANA cross our fingers that this great initiative will flourish and expand in the years to come, and I thank you very much for having taken the time to answer our questions.

Return to Top

16. Global Climate Event Scheduled for October 24/Make it a Global Warming Shabbat?

I just learned about a great global climate event on October 24th that the VCA should definitely join:
(I mean, we could all organize or join local events in our own countries and communities.)

Here the invitation letter:

The Invitation

Dear World,

This is an invitation to help build a movement--to take one day and use it to stop the climate crisis.

On October 24, we will stand together as one planet and call for a fair global climate treaty. United by a common call to action, we'll make it clear: the world needs an international plan that meets the latest science and gets us back to safety.

This movement has just begun, and it needs your help.

Here's the plan: we're asking you, and people in every country on earth, to organize an action in their community on October 24. There are no limits here--imagine bike rides, rallies, concerts, hikes, festivals, tree-plantings, protests, and more. Imagine your action linking up with thousands of others around the globe. Imagine the world waking up.

If we can pull it off, we'll send a powerful message on October 24: the world needs the climate solutions that science and justice demand.

It's often said that the only thing preventing us from tackling the climate crisis quickly and equitably is a lack of political will. Well, the only thing that can create that political will is a unified global movement--and no one is going to build that movement for us. It's up to regular people all over the world. That's you.

So register an event in your community for October 24, and then enlist the help of your friends. Get together with your co-workers or your local environmental group or human rights campaign, your church or synagogue or mosque or temple; enlist bike riders and local farmers and young people. All over the planet we'll start to organize ourselves.

With your help, there will be an event at every iconic place on the planet on October 24-from America's Great Lakes to Australia's Great Barrier Reef--and also in all the places that matter to you in your daily lives: a beach or park or village green or town hall.

If there was ever a time for you to get involved, it's right now. There are two reasons this year is so crucial.

The first reason is that the science of climate change is getting darker by the day. The Arctic is melting away with astonishing speed, decades ahead of schedule. Everything on the planet seems to be melting or burning, rising or parched.

And we now now have a number to express our peril: 350.

NASA's James Hansen and a team of other scientists recently published a series of papers showing that we need to cut the amount of carbon in the atmosphere from its current 387 parts per million to 350 or less if we wish to "maintain a planet similar to that on which civilization developed."

No one knew that number a year ago-but now it's clear that 350 might well be the most important number for the future of the planet, a north star to guide our efforts as we remake the world. If we can swiftly get the planet on track to get to 350, we can still avert the worst effects of climate change.

The second reason 2009 is so important is that the political opportunity to influence our governments has never been greater. The world's leaders will meet in Copenhagen this December to craft a new global treaty on cutting carbon emissions.

If that meeting were held now, it would produce a treaty that would be woefully inadequate. In fact, it would lock us into a future where we'd never get back to 350 parts per million-where the rise of the sea would accelerate, where rainfall patterns would start to shift and deserts to grow. A future where first the poorest people, and then all of us, and then all the people that come after us, would find the only planet we have damaged and degraded.

October 24 comes six weeks before those crucial UN meetings in Copenhagen. If we all do our job, every nation will know the question they'll be asked when they put forth a plan: will this get the planet back on the path to 350?

This will only work with the help of a global movement-and it's starting to bubble up everywhere. Farmers in Cameroon, students in China, even World Cup skiers have already helped spread the word about 350. Churches have rung their bells 350 times; Buddhist monks have formed a huge 350 with their bodies against the backdrop of Himalayas. 350 translates across every boundary of language and culture. It's clear and direct, cutting through the static and it lays down a firm scientific line.

On October 24, we'll all stand behind 350--a universal symbol of climate safety and of the world we need to create. And at the end of the day, we'll all upload photos from our events to the website and send these pictures around the world. This cascade of images will drive climate change into the public debate--and hold our leaders accountable to a unified global citizenry.

We need your help-the world is a big place and our team is small. Our crew at will do everything we can to support you, providing templates for banners and press releases, resources to spread the word, and tools to help you build a strong local climate action group. And our core team is always just a phone call or e-mail away if you need some support.

This is like a final exam for human beings. Can we muster the courage, the commitment, and the creativity to set this earth on a steady course before it's too late? October 24 will be the joyful, powerful day when we prove it's possible.

Please join us and register your local event today.


Bill McKibben - Author and Activist- USA
Vandana Shiva - Physicist, Activist, Author - India
David Suzuki - Scientist, Author, Activist - Canada
Bianca Jagger - Chair of the World Future Council - UK
Tim Flannery - Scientist, Author, Explorer -Australia
Bittu Sahgal - Editor of Sanctuary magazine - India
Andrew Simmons - Environmental Advocate, St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Christine Loh - Environmental Advocate and Legislator - Hong Kong

P.S.-We need you to do something else, right away, that's pretty easy. Please forward this message to anyone you know who is even remotely appropriate. You can use our "tell-a-friend" tool import your e-mail addresses and send along this e-postcard to your friends and family:

This is such an important issue that I am planning a special press release advocating that Saturday, October 24 be considered a “Global warm ing Shabbat.” Suggestions very welcome. I plan to issue a JVNA press release, after checking with JVNA advisors. Thanks.

Return to Top

** 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.