July 16, 2009

7/16/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. My Interview on Community TV Is Now On the Internet

2. Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism

3. My Experiences at the 2009 North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest

4. Article About My Jewish Vegetarian Activities To Be Published

5. Article About My Relating Mathematics to Vegetarian and Environmental Issues To Be Published

6. Plans Started to Make US Meat-Free One Day Per Week

7. New American Dietetic Association Report Commends Vegetarian Diets

8. Some of My Recent Letters Sent To Editors

9. Little Progress on Global Warming at Recent G-8 Meeting

10. How Climate Change Threatens All of Civilization

11. Hazon Food Conference Scheduled

12. Guide to Animal Rights Published

13. “Cool Cuisine” Book Links Climate Change and Dinner

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

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

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

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. My Interview on Community TV Is Now On the Internet

Please take a look at my one-hour interview on Queens Community TV at

http://blip.tv/file/2261876/ and please let me know what you think. A segment from “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World” is shown. The video should soon be downloaded to the audio and video talks and interview section at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz soon.

MANY thanks to Leo Fishman for his excellent work in getting my interview onto the internet. He was previously responsible for getting our documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World” onto You Tube.

I am eager to appear on other radio and TV programs to discuss Jewish teachings on vegetarianism and related issues and, even more, to engage in dialogs and debates on “Should Jews Be Vegetarians?” If you have any suggestions about this, including people and groups I should contact, please let me know. Thanks.

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2. Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism

With Tisha B'Ab on July 29-30 this year, once again I recommend using this holiday to help spread vegetarian and related messages. In previous newsletters, my articles relating Judaism to vegetarianism were included. So, in this newsletter, I am including a sample letter (Below). To read my articles relating Tisha B'Av to vegetarianism and relating Tisha B'Av to current environmental threats, please visit the holidays section at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz. Please use the material for drafting your own letters and talking points. Thanks.

Dear Editor:

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the month of Av) which we commemorate this year on July 29 - 30, reminds us that over 2,000 years ago Jews failed to heed the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, which resulted in the destruction of the first Temple in Jerusalem.

Now the entire world, not just Jerusalem, faces destruction according to many climate scientists and environmentalists -- modern day “Jeremiahs.” Some noted climate experts, including James Hansen of NASA, are warning that global warming could reach a tipping point and spin out of control within a few years, with catastrophic consequences, unless major changes are soon made.

Israel is also endangered since it already is facing the worst drought in its history and global climate change could further reduce the rainfall that Israel is so dependent on and could cause heat waves and severe storms and a rise in the Mediterranean Sea, threatening the 60 percent of Israelis who live in its coastal plain. Israel also has other major environmental problems. More Israelis die from air pollution than from terrorism and automobile accidents combined and Israeli rivers are badly polluted.

This Tisha B'Av, we should heed the holiday's basic lesson that failure to respond to proper admonitions can lead to catastrophe. The Jewish people must make tikkun olam (the repair and healing of the planet) a major focus in Jewish life today, and consider personal and societal changes that will start to move our precious, but imperiled, planet to a sustainable path. By doing this, we would be performing a great kiddush Hashem (sanctification of God's Name).

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3. My Experiences at the 2009 North American Vegetarian Society's Summerfest

I had a very pleasant and meaningful experience at the NAVS Summerfest. Here are some of the highlights from my perspective.

a. Through my initiative, NAVS adopted a resolution urging dietary switches to avoid disasters from global climate change.

The resolution below, which I drafted, was approved by all of the members of the NAVS Hall of Fame who were present at their Summerfest and then by the NAVS leaders and read at the final plenary session. Many vegetarian groups that were present at the Summerfest endorsed the resolution and attendees were asked to contact NAVS and let them know that they supported the initiative.

I am urging leaders of the AR2009 conference which starts this week to consider a similar resolution for approval at the conference. Please help spread the word about the resolution and please urge other groups to endorse similar resolutions. Thanks.

Global Warming Resolution Adopted at the NAVS 2009 SUMMERFEST

Whereas the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats; and

Whereas a major societal shift to plant-based diets is an essential part of the necessary responses;

The North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) will do everything possible to make governments, groups and individuals aware of these realities and will urge them to act according to this awareness.

Several groups at the SUMMERFEST, including Friends of the Earth (FOE), Compassion Over Killing (COK) and Responsible Policies for Animals (RPA), endorsed the resolution.

b. I attended the wedding of JVNA advisor and longtime vegetarian activist Rae Sikora to another long-time vegetarian activist Jim (JC) Corcoran. It was a pleasure attending an event where all the attendees and the couple were vegetarian supporters, and the statements by the couple and their vows to each other were very moving.

Congratulations Rae and JC, and best wishes for a long, healthy, happy, successful life together.

c. There was a very nice non-denominational service led by Reverend Frank Hoffman at 6:30 AM on the Sunday of the conference. It was inspirational to sing non-denominational hymns and hear readings and sermons with a group of like-minded people. JVNA advisor Roberta (Robbie) Schiff read her very nice poem at the service.

d. I gave two talks on (1) “Judaism and Vegetarianism” and (2) “Toward a Vegetarian-Conscious World by 2012.” I stressed the urgency of a major shift to plant-based (vegan) diets in order to help shift our very imperiled world to a sustainable path.

e. There was a showing of “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish values to Help Heal the World.” Unfortunately, it was scheduled during the last slot on Sunday afternoon when most people had already left, so the attendance was small. However, I gave out over 150 complimentary DVDs during the conference.

f. I attended a talk on global warming. It was informative, but I was very disappointed that only about a dozen people out of the 600 people at the conference attended. I had many discussions with Summerfest attendees re the importance of a major shift to veganism to effectively respond to global climate change. All agreed with my analysis and I hope some will become active on the issue. This is why I am so happy that NAVS endorsed the resolution above.

g. I attended many other sessions and plenary talks, including very good ones given by Drs. Hans Diehl, Alan Goldhamer and Michael Gregor and by vegetarian activists George Eisman, Rae Sikora and Victoria Moran.

h. I met and had some interesting chats with David Cantor, JVNA advisor and director of Responsible Policies for Animals.

i. It was good to see Israel and Eva Mossman again. For many years, they coordinated JVNA and edited its quarterly newsletter.

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4. Article About My Jewish Vegetarian Activities To Be Published

Vegetarianism and Religion: Judaism

By Krista Scott-Dixon

In North America at least, few other faiths are as well-known for their culinary gifts as Judaism. This is, perhaps, due to the centrality of food in Jewish life. Indeed, a Jewish comedian wisecracks that most Jewish holidays revolve around the following concepts: “They tried to kill us. They failed. Let's eat.”

“Food is very important in Jewish life,” agrees Richard Schwartz, PhD. As the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, the President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV), he's spent a lot of time thinking about food. [note: environmental material elsewhere]

“There are blessings to be recited before eating certain foods and blessings after meals. There are special foods associated with all of the Jewish festivals. There are also a number of fast days.” There are many symbolic foods eaten throughout the yearly festivals and observant times, such as apples and honey during Rosh Hashanah or hamantaschen (triangular pastries) during Purim.

Whether it's lamb and gefilte fish at Passover, cholent (meat stew) for the Saturday shabbat meal, or even the quotidian classic chicken soup with matzo balls (see Spezzatino vol 4 for our recipe and interview with Barry Silver at Yitz's Deli), for many observant Jews, meat is a central part of both celebratory rituals and the daily menu.

Although there is some debate about finer points, Jewish dietary laws, or kashrut, are relatively explicit in their instructions. Kosher dietary restrictions generally focus on avoiding particular foods during particular times (such as leavened grains at Passover); certain animal components (such as blood and some organ meats); or some animals altogether (such as shellfish or pork). Mixing milk and meat is forbidden, and many aspects of food production are closely supervised.

While vegetarianism per se does not appear to be explicitly described in these laws, according to Schwartz, “Rabbi Abraham Kook, first Chief Rabbi of pre-state Israel felt that these many restrictions implied a reprimand and were designed to bring the Israelites back to their original vegetarian diet… God's first dietary law (Genesis 1:29) was strictly vegetarian and, according to Rav Kook and others, God's permission to people to eat meat was a reluctant concession, and the Messianic period will be vegetarian.” (See the section on Christianity for a fuller discussion of the Genesis 1:29 passage.)

For Schwartz, vegetarianism is part of a broader agenda that incorporates Jewish principles about ethical living. Modern meat production and consumption “contradicts many Jewish teachings and harms people, communi ties, and the planet.”

First, he notes, “Judaism mandates that people should be very careful about preserving their health and their lives. Numerous scientific studies have linked animal-based diets directly to heart disease, stroke, many forms of cancer, and other chronic degenerative diseases.”

Jews are instructed to care for others besides themselves. “Over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter,” reports Schwartz, “while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger and its effects each year. While Judaism stresses that we must seek and pursue peace and that violence results from unjust conditions, animal-centered diets, by wasting valuable resources, help to perpetuate the widespread hunger and poverty that eventually lead to instability and war.”

Care extends to all living beings. As Schwartz notes, “Judaism forbids tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals.” The current state of meat production, he says, in which animals are typically confined, drugged and treated as commodities, certainly constitutes undue suffering.

Indeed, Judaism's broad principle of care and responsibility implies “that we are to be God's partners and co-workers in preserving the world” and “mandates bal tashchit, that we are not to waste or unnecessarily destroy anything of value, and that we are not to use more than is needed to accomplish a purpose. Animal agriculture requires the wasteful use of food, land, water, energy, and other resources.”

Thus, says Schwartz, “in view of these important Jewish mandates to preserve human health, attend to the welfare of animals, protect the environment, conserve resources, help feed hungry people, and pursue peace, contrasted with the harm that animal-centered diets do in each of these areas, committed Jews (and others) should sharply reduce or eliminate their consumption of animal products. One could say dayenu (it would be enough) after any of the arguments above, because each one constitutes by itself a serious conflict between Jewish values and current practice that should impel Jews to seriously consider a plant-based diet. Combined, they make an urgently compelling case for the Jewish community to address these issues.”

Some might argue that given the importance of preserving Jewish traditions, switching to vegetarianism risks losing one's heritage. Schwartz himself recollects being a “meat and potatoes person” thirty years ago, and has fond memories of his mother's roasts and turkey at Thanksgi ving. But in the late 1970s, he began investigating vegetarianism while teaching a course on mathematical analyses of global issues as a Professor of Mathematics at the College of Staten Island. “Increasingly, as I learned how the production and consumption of animal products threaten human health and the health of our imperiled planet, I have come to see vegetarianism as not only a personal choice, but as a societal imperative - an essential component in the solution of many societal problems.”

A move toward vegetarianism, he argues, “is actually a return to Jewish traditions, to taking Jewish values seriously. A movement toward vegetarianism can help revitalize Judaism. It can show that Jewish values can be applied to help solve current world problems... Hence, rather than a movement away from Jewish traditions, it would have the opposite effect.”

Schwartz sees no conflict between vegetarianism and Torah principles, only congruence. “Rather than rejecting Torah values, Jewish vegetarians are challenging the Jewish community to apply Torah values to their diets in a daily meaningful way. They are respectfully challenging Jews to live up to Judaism's splendid teachings. They are arguing that vegetarianism is a fulfillment of Judaism, not a curtailment.

“What is really advocated is a return to Jewish values of showing compassion, sharing, helping the needy, preserving the environment, conserving resources, and seeking peace. Also, rabbinic enactments consistent with Jewish values and teachings to meet changing conditions have historically been part of Judaism.”

In fact, proposes Schwartz, “in many ways, becoming a vegetarian makes it easier and less expensive to observe the laws of kashrut. This might attract many new adherents to keeping kosher, and eventually to other important Jewish practices. As a vegetarian, one need not be concerned with mixing milchigs (dairy products) with fleichigs (meat products), waiting three or six hours after eating meat before being allowed to eat dairy products, storing four complete sets of dishes (two for regular use and two for Passover use), extra silverware, pots, pans, etc., and many other considerations incumbent upon the non-vegetarian who wishes to observe kashrut.”

But most importantly, he argues, “Global survival today requires the application of Torah values to our diets, as well as other aspects of our lives… Everything connects to everything else. We can't focus on just one or a few issues. Someone who takes religious values and ethical values seriously has to be concerned about health issues, hunger issues, environmental issues, energy issues, etc. and try to come up with approa ches and actions that will be beneficial in all areas or at least as many as possible. Vegetarianism has benefits in all the areas mentioned and more and is also consistent with the highest of religious values.”

Thus, Schwartz suggests, Jewish vegetarianism blends a deep understanding of Jewish heritage and teaching with an informed approach to problems that we all now face.

“My hope,” he says, “is to be able to keep learning, writing, and speaking about vegetarianism, to help bring closer that day when, in the words of the motto of the International Jewish Vegetarian Society, “no one shall hurt nor destroy in all of God's holy mountain.” (Isaiah 11:9)

Further reading

[will add links/publication info to these]

Judaism and Vegetarianism

Judaism and Global Survival

Mathematics and Global Survival

Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) http://www.JewishVeg.com

Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV) http://www.serv-online.org

A Sacred Duty asacredduty.com

Veg Climate Alliance www.vegclimatealliance.org

Krista Scott-Dixon, PhD
Editor-in-Chief, Spezzatino
Research Director, Healthy Food Bank
800.497.4925 x707

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5. Article About My Relating Mathematics to Vegetarian and Environmental Issues To Be Published

Plant-By-Numbers: How mathematics is the language of nature

By Krista Scott-Dixon

Non-mathematicians may be tempted to assume that mathematics is a cold, hard science of abstractions that has little to do with nature's egotistical caprices. After all, organic beings are lopsided and lumpy, with nary a perfect cube among them. Along with a vacuum, nature also appears to abhor a straight line. And many technical-minded people have lamented the apparent illogic and inefficiency of social interactions.

Yet many mathematicians feel quite the opposite. As the mathematician protagonist in the movie Pi observes, mathematics is the language of nature.

For instance, in 1202 the mathematician Fibonacci created a number sequenc e, based on the breeding of rabbits. The Fibonacci sequence led to the development of what is known as the golden ratio, or the golden mean, which has a value of about 1.618.

Others have observed that this golden ratio is abundant in nature - for example, in the spirals of Nautilus shells, the petal configuration of many flowers, and the arrangement of pine cones. And who could deny the power of geomery when gazing at the spirals atop a Romanesque cauliflower? By 1754, mathematician-biologists such as Bonnet were certain of the mathematical basis of leaf arrangement on plant stems, a phenomenon known as phyllotaxis.

Along with translating nature's language, can understanding mathematics lead to a greater appreciation for the environment… and even a plant-based diet? Richard Schwartz, Professor Emeritus, Mathematics, College of Staten Island, and author of Mathematics and Global Survival, thinks so. He's taught a course called Mathematics and the Environment for over 30 years.

“The results of mathematical calculations can lead to consideration of many important questions,” he argues. “Are we running out of resources? What are the social and economic costs of the arms race? How serious is recent rapid population growth? What are the environmental consequences of wastefulness in the United States and other wealthy countries?”

The answers, in theory, aren't hard to figure out. The challenge is understanding the big picture - how all the pieces relate together. Using data from relatively accessible reference sources like the Statistical Abstract of the United States and the United Nations` Statistical Yearbook of Economic and Social Affairs, Schwartz has compiled a vast array of mathematical insights into the true costs - financial and otherwise - of ecological destruction.

“The magnitude of world hunger is staggering,” he says. “More than a billion people, over one out of 6 people in the world, are chronically hungry.” For example, he says, by his estimate using proxy measures of body weight, half of people in India are going hungry. “Hunger is found in the wealthier countries as well. The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that in 1998, some ten percent of U. S. households were hungry, on the edge of being hungry, or threatened by hunger.”

And yet, he argues, based on his calculations, “Hunger is not due to insufficient food production… [T]he world produces enough grai n alone to provide every person with 3,500 calories a day, enough to make most people gain weight.” And that's just grain: when Schwartz adds in fruits, vegetables, nuts, root crops, dairy products, and non-grain-fed meat, he calculates that each person should have 4.3 pounds of food every day. In other words, things aren't adding up.

Why? For one thing, notes Schwarz, the production of animal-based agriculture costs tremendous resources. More than “one third of the world's grain is currently fed to animals destined for slaughter” - a number that climbs to a staggering 70 percent in the United States.

In the United States, people “consume about five times as much grain per person (mostly by eating meat from grain-fed animals) than the average person in poorer countries. It takes up to sixteen pounds of grain to produce one pound of edible beef in a feedlot. Half of U.S. farm acreage is used to produce feed crops for livestock. Animal-centered diets require up to 21 times the land area per person than would be required for a vegan diet. Modern intensive livestock agriculture also requires tremendous inputs of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, irrigation water, and fuel, commodities which are becoming very scarce worldwide.

“In view of these negative effects of animal-based agriculture, it is scandalous that U.S. meat conglomerates, aided by the World Bank and other international financial institutions, are promoting food policies and trade agreements that would double world production and consumption of meat and other animal food products in the next 20 years. Most of this expansion would take place in less developed nations, through massive factory farming operations similar to these currently being used in the developed world. This would have very severe consequences for the poor countries and worldwide: more hunger, more poverty, more pollution, more animal suffering, less self-determination for the people in low-income nations, and less water for everyone.”

Fundamentally, he says, “There is great poverty and hunger in less developed countries because the social and economic inequalities prevalent in these countries prevent people from making an adequate living.” However, he proposes, reducing our meat consumption is a good formula for solving the problem. “If Americans reduced their beef consumption by 10 percent, it would free up enough grain to feed all of the world's people who annually die of hunger and related diseases.”
Sounds like a plant-based diet sums it up just right.

6 out of 7 billion: tons of eroded soil in the United States that has been lost because of cattle and feed lot production.

90 | 13 : The percent of U.S. cropland that is losing soil at a rate at least 13 times faster than the sustainable rate.

2:1 Ratio of bushels of topsoil lost in Iowa for every bushel of corn grown there, most of which is fed to animals. Lower yields are occurring in many areas due to erosion and the reduction in soil fertility that it causes.

60 - Percent of US rangelands that are overgrazed by animals and thus vulnerable to erosion. Cattle production is a prime contributor to every one of the causes of desertification: overgrazing of livestock, over-cultivation of land, improper irrigation techniques, deforestation, and prevention of reforestation.

1.4 billion tons | 90,000 lbs/second | 130 times the amount excreted by the U.S. human population: amount of manure produced by cattle and other farmed animals raised in feedlots in the US, which washes into and pollutes streams, rivers, and underground water sources.

5 | 2: American livestock contribute five times more organic waste to the pollution of our water than do people, and twice as much as does industry.

_: Proportion of US water pollution caused by fertilizers and pesticides.

400: Percent increase in the quantity of pesticides and other synthetic poisons used since 1962 when Rachel Carson wrote Silent Spring, the book that so eloquently sounded the alarm about the dangers of pesticides to human health, rivers, and wildlife.

_ lb : 55 ft2 Each imported quarter-pound fast-food hamburger patty requires the destruction of 55 square feet of tropical forest for grazing. Half of the rainforests are already gone forever and at current rates of destruction the rest will be gone by the middle of this century. What makes this especially ominous is that half of the world's fast disappearing species of plants and animals reside in tropical rain forests. We are risking the loss of species which might hold secrets for cures of deadly diseases. Other plant species might turn out to be good sources of nutrition. Also, the destruction of rain forests is altering the climate and reducing rainfall, with potentially devastating effects on the world's agriculture and habitability.
Data source:

Schwartz, Richard. Mathematics and Global Survival (Ginn Press, 1993) and Judaism and Global Survival (Lantern Books, 2002)
Other references:

Aronofsky, Darren (dir.) Pi. Artisan Entertainment, 1998.
Fibonacci. Liber Abaci. (Book of Calculations)1202.
Jean, Roger. Phyllotaxis: A Systemic Study in Plant Morphogenesis. Cambridge University Press, 1994.

Krista Scott-Dixon, PhD
Editor-in-Chief, Spezzatino
Research Director, Healthy Food Bank
800.497.4925 x707
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6. Plans Started to Make US Meat-Free One Day Per Week

Thanks to Leron (see web sites below) and JVNA secretary/treasurer John Diamond for forwarding this message:

Subject: USA going meat free soon - you can make that happen

You know that government officials in Ghent, Belgium have shown leadership and recognized the importance of promoting vegetarianism as a solution to addressing climate change.

Now's your chance to encourage the United States Government to also join in participating in "Meat Free Monday". Simply sign the USA petition and have your voice heard. http://www.gopetition.com/online/29413.html

Please share the good news with everyone you know, regardless of where they reside.

If you have any questions please contact me [Leron, using the web sites below.].

all the best,







http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFBiQY3pgLY {This has his question for President Obama.]

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7. New American Dietetic Association Report Commends Vegetarian Diets

Forwarded message:

Appropriate Planned Vegetarian Diets Are Healthful, May Help in Disease Prevention and Treatment, Says American Dietetic Association

Media contact: Jennifer Starkey
800/877-1600, ext. 4802


CHICAGO - The American Dietetic Association has released an updated position paper on vegetarian diets that concludes such diets, if well-planned, are healthful and nutritious for adults, infants, children and adolescents and can help prevent and treat chronic diseases including heart disease, cancer, obesity and diabetes.

ADA's position, published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, represents the Association's official stance on vegetarian diets:

It is the position of the American Dietetic Association that appropriately planned vegetarian diets, including total vegetarian or vegan diets, are healthful, nutritionally adequate and may provide health benefits in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases. Well-planned vegetarian diets are appropriate for individuals during all stages of the life-cycle including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood and adolescence and for athletes.

ADA's position and accompanying paper were written by Winston Craig, PhD, MPH, RD, professor and chair of the department of nutrition and wellness at Andrews University; and Reed Mangels, PhD, RD, nutrition advisor at the Vegetarian Resource Group, Baltimore, Md.

The revised position paper incorporates new topics and additional information on key nutrients for vegetarians, vegetarian diets in the life cycle and the use of vegetarian diets in prevention and treatment of chronic di seases. “Vegetarian diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle,” according to ADA's position. “There are many reasons for the rising interest in vegetarian diets. The number of vegetarians in the United States is expected to increase over the next decade.”

Vegetarian diets are often associated with health advantages including lower blood cholesterol levels, lower risk of heart disease, lower blood pressure levels and lower risk of hypertension and type 2 diabetes, according to ADA's position. “Vegetarians tend to have a lower body mass index and lower overall cancer rates. Vegetarian diets tend to be lower in saturated fat and cholesterol and have higher levels of dietary fiber, magnesium and potassium, vitamins C and E, folate, carotenoids, flavonoids and other phytochemicals. These nutritional differences may explain some of the health advantages of those following a varied, balanced vegetarian diet.”

The position paper draws on results from ADA's evidence analysis process and information from the ADA Evidence Analysis Library to show vegetarian diets can be nutritionally adequate in pregnancy and result in positive maternal and infant health outcomes. Additionally, an evidence-based review showed a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease.

A section in ADA's paper on vegetarian diets and cancer has been significantly expanded to provide details on cancer-protective factors in vegetarian diets. An expanded section on osteoporosis includes roles of fruits, vegetables, soy products, protein, calcium, vitamins D and K and potassium in bone health. “Registered dietitians can provide information about key nutrients, modify vegetarian diets to meet the needs of those with dietary restrictions due to disease or allergies and supply guidelines to meet needs of clients in different areas of the life cycle,” the authors said.

The American Dietetic Association is the world's largest organization of food and nutrition professionals. ADA is committed to improving the nation's health and advancing the profession of dietetics through research, education and advocacy.

Source: Appropriate Planned Vegetarian Diets Are Healthful, May Help in Disease Prevention and Treatment, Says American Dietetic Association
Link: Visit the American Dietetic Association

Date: 2009-07-08

A related article:


Thanks to JVNA advisor Ron Landskroner for the above link.

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8. Some of My Recent Letters Sent To Editors

Please use my letters (and articles and podcasts at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz) to compose your own letters and articles and talking points. Thanks.

July 8, 2009

Editor, Staten Island Advance

Dear Editor:

Your June 20, 2009 article “UN: World hunger reaches 1 billion mark” is the latest indication of the sheer insanity of animal-based diets. How can we justify feeding 70 percent of the grain grown in the US to farmed animals when an estimated 20 million of the world's people (mostly children) die of hunger and its effects annually? Especially when the consumption of animal products is a major contributor to heart disease, cancer and many other chronic, degenerative diseases, and responding to these diseases requires ever increasing medical expenditures that are contributing to major fiscal problems at all levels of government.

And isn't it irrational to continue a diet that requires up to 14 times as much water as a completely plant-based (vegan) diet, at a time when so many areas face severe water shortages in what some are calling “the century of drought?” And most important of all, when there are increasing indications that the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats, can we ignore the fact that a 2006 UN study indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars, ships, planes and other means of transportation worldwide combined?

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz


June 20, 2008

Editor, VegNews

Dear Editor:

Kudos for your unique, excellent continuing coverage of all aspects of vegetarianism.. I would like to respectfully suggest that you have the opportunity to help make people aware that a major societal shift to vegetarianism, and preferably veganism is essential to prevent the world from continuing on its present rapid path to an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats.

Since methane produced by farmed animals' digestive processes and manure is only in the atmosphere for about 15 years, compared to CO2, which is in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, it is estimated that methane has 72 times the global warming effect during its lifetime than CO2 during that period. Also the impact of CO2 is reduced by the cooling effects of aerosols, which are emitted from the same sources that emit CO2. Thus a significant decrease in the number of farmed animals, due to a major shift toward plant-based diets, is the most effective way to avoid the major potentially negative effects of global climate change.

I urge VegNews to use your splendid writing and editing resources to help spread this message widely. The fate of humanity and all of creation depends on it.

Very truly yours,

Richard H. Schwartz

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9. Little Progress on Global Warming at Recent G-8 Meeting


G8 Summit Talks on Climate Change a Bust

Developing nations refused to agree to a global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction of 50 percent by 2050. The the G5 (Brazil, China, India, Mexico, South Africa) and Egypt met with G8 countries during the summit in L'Aquila, Italy. G8 nations agreed to an 80 percent reduction by 2050, but did not have specific plans for reducing GHG emissions.

According to a Los Angeles Times article, “G8 stopped well short of pledging to take aggressive action that could curb emissions more quickly -- at the cost of higher energy prices and a feared worsening of the global economy.”

Dirk Forrister, who was chairman of the White House climate change task force under President Clinton, said, “It looks like it's going to be a pretty tough fight [in Copenhagen], based on what happened in these meetings in Italy .”

“This is a huge missed opportunity. With new leadership in the U.S. there was great optimism. It could have been20a dramatic turning point,” saidAnantha Guruswarmy of Greenpeace.

UN Secretary-General Ban ki-moon criticized the GE leaders. “The policies that they have stated so far are not enough, not sufficient enough… The G8 missed a unique opportunity on climate change,” Ki-moon said.

Developing countries disappointed with G8

If G8 countries develop specific plans to reduce their GHG emissions, developing countries may agree to reduce their emissions. An official toldReuters, “China and India don't adhere for the time being to the goal of a 50 percent cut by 2050, but there is a willingness to participate later.”

“China's not going to do anything until the developed countries send a signal that they're going to do something,” said Michael Oppenheimer, a geoscientist at Princeton University and a participant in the IPCC.

China's President Hu Jintao said, “Developed countries should make explicit commitments to continue to take the lead in emissions reductions.”

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said before the G8 summit, “What we are witnessing today is the consequence of over two centuries of industrial activity and high consumption lifestyles in the developed world. They have to bear this historical responsibility.”

“We can not be satisfied with a single long-term objective without losing all credibility,” Brazilian Foreign Minister Luiz Alberto Figuereido Machado said. “We need strong and deep reduction goals for 2020.”
Developing Countries Need Aid

Tearfund, a Christian aid agency, called for developed countries to provide at least $150 billion a year to developing countries with “no strings attached” to help them cope with climate change.

“Anything less will severely weaken relations between rich and poor nations and trigger a breakdown in trust that will block progress towards a strong and fair climate deal,” Tearfund said.

Paul Cook, Tearfund Advocacy Director said, “What part of the word urgency do G8 leaders not understand? Adequ ate finance is the sticking point currently deadlocking negotiations and so far the group has failed to put their money where their mouths are.”

Last February The Guardian reported that developing countries received less than 10 percent of the aid promised to them by developed countries to help them adapt to climate change. The richest countries in the world pledged almost $18 billion in aid in the last seven years, but less than $0.9 billion was disbursed to developing countries.

The UN has called for $50 to $70 billion a year in aid for developing countries. Yvo de Boer, head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) said, “Contributions to funds have been disappointingly low and the least developed countries have received very little. Without significant finance you will not get developing country engagement [in negotiations]. Funding is key to unlocking an outcome for the talks.”

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10. How Climate Change Threatens All of Civilization

The planet's future: Climate change 'will cause civilisation to collapse'
- with commentary PDF Print E-mail

by Jonathan Owen

14 July 2009

Critical comments by Jan Lundberg: This serious sounding report is yet another assessment of Earth's and humanity's crisis that falls flat when "solutions" are offered. Many perceive the current ecological disaster as an opportunity to invest in the next generation of greener technologies -- this is the technofix. This "opportunity" serves to prevent immediate, huge cut-backs in greenhouse gas emissions. The hoped-for technologies are most often envisioned for maintaining the consumer economy.

The fantasy goal of "economic growth" remains -- something that any deep-thinking person has seen through.

Another problem with the thinking behind this "State of The Future" project is about leadership and being ruled: "the report... calls on governments to work to 10-year plans to tackle growing threats to human survival" -- as if governments are the way to solve the crisis, as if they have basic legitimacy (which they do not if we consider the 200,000 years of human society that, until the last few millennia, survived in a healthy ecosystem without government as we know it).

A most revealing statement: "Jerome Glenn, director of the Millennium Project and one of the report's authors, said: 'There are answers to our global challenges, but decisions are still not being made on the scale necessary to address them. Three great transitions would help both the world economy and its natural environment - to shift as much as possible from freshwater agriculture to saltwater agriculture; produce healthier meat without the need to grow animals; and replace gasoline cars with electric cars.'" -- the idiot sees a continued world economy (which is the world's problem in a nutshell), and just as bad he has the crazy notion that it's possible or advisable to try to replace the current car fleet with something slig htly cleaner. He knows nothing about peak oil, nor is he ecologically minded.
The planet's future: Climate change 'will cause civilisation to collapse'

Authoritative new study sets out a grim vision of shortages and violence - but amid all the gloom, there is some hope too

By Jonathan Owen

An effort on the scale of the Apollo mission that sent men to the Moon is needed if humanity is to have a fighting chance of surviving the ravages of climate change. The stakes are high, as, without sustainable growth, "billions of people will be condemned to poverty and much of civilisation will collapse".

This is the stark warning from the biggest single report to look at the future of the planet - obtained by The Independent on Sunday ahead of its official publication next month. Backed by a diverse range of leading organisations such as Unesco, the World Bank, the US army and the Rockefeller Foundation, the 2009 State of the Future report runs to 6,700 pages and draws on contributions from 2,700 experts around the globe. Its findings are described by Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the UN, as providing "invaluable insights into the future for the United Nations, its member states, and civil society".

The impact of the global recession is a key theme, with researchers warning that global clean energy, food availability, poverty and the growth of democracy around the world are at "risk of getting worse due to the recession". The report adds: "Too many greedy and deceitful decisions led to a world recession and demonstrated the international interdependence of economics and ethics."

Related articles John Rentoul: Against all odds, a step up for the planet Hamish McRae: Forget grandstanding, dear leaders, and just learn from your G8 friends

Although the future has been looking better for most of the world over the past 20 years, the global recession has lowered the State of the Future Index for the next 10 years. Half the world could face violence and unrest due to severe unemployment combined with scarce water, food and energy supplies and the cumulative effects of climate change.

And the authors of the report, produced by the Millennium Project - a think-tank formerly part of the World Federation of the United Nations Associations - set out a number of emerging environmental security issues. "The scope and scale of the future effects of climate change - ranging from changes in weather patterns to loss of livelihoods and disappearing states - has unprecedented implications for political and social stability."

But the authors suggest the threats could also provide the potential for a positive future for all. "The good news is that the global financial crisis and climate change planning may be helping humanity to move from its often selfish, self-centred adolescence to a more globally responsible adulthood... Many perceive the current economic disaster as an opportunity to invest in the next generation of greener technologies, to rethink economic and development assumptions, and to put the world on course for a better future."

Scientific and technological progress continues to accelerate. IBM promises a computer at 20,000 trillion calculations per second by 2011, which is estimated to be the speed of the human brain. And nanomedicine may one day rebuild damaged cells atom by atom, using nanobots the size of blood cells. But technological progress carries its own risks. "Globalisation and advanced technology allow fewer people to do more damage and in less time, so that possibly one day a single individual may be able to make and deploy a weapon of mass destruction."

The report also praises the web, which it singles out as "the most powerful force for globalisation, democratisation, economic growth, and education in history". Technological advances are cited as "giving birth to an interdependent humanity that can create and implement global strategies to improve the prospects for humanity".

The immediate problems are rising food and energy prices, shortages of water and increasing migrations "due to political, environmental and economic conditions", which could plunge half the world into social instability and violence. And organised crime is flourishing, with a global income estimated at $3 trillion - twice the military budgets of all countries in the world combined.

The effects of climate change are worsening - by 2025 there could be three billion people without adequate water as the population rises still further. And massive urbanisation, increased encroachment on animal territory, and concentrated livestock production could trigger new pandemics.

Although government and business leaders are responding more seriously to the global environmental situation, it continues to get worse, according to the report. It calls on governments to work to 10-year plans to tackle growing threats to human survival, targeting particularly the US and China, which need to apply the sort of effort and resources that put men on the Moon.

"This is not only important for the environment; it is also a strategy to increase the likelihood of international peace. Without some agreement, it will be difficult to get the kind of global coherence needed to address climate change seriously."

While the world has the resources to address its challenges, coherence and direction have been lacking. Recent meetings of the US and China, as well as of Nato and Russia, and the birth of the G20 plus the continued work of the G8 promise to improve global strategic collaboration, but "it remains to be seen if this spirit of co-operation can continue and if decisions will be made on the scale necessary to really address the global challenges discussed in this report".

Although the scale of the effects of climate change are unprecedented, the causes are generally known, and the consequences can largely be forecast. The report says, "coordination for effective and adequate action is yet incipient, and environmental problems worsen faster than response or preventive policies are being adopted".

Jerome Glenn, director of the Millennium Project and one of the report's authors, said: "There are answers to our global challenges, but decisions are still not being made on the scale necessary to address them. Three great transitions would help both the world economy and its natural environment - to shift as much as possible from freshwater agriculture to saltwater agriculture; produce healthier meat without the need to grow animals; and replace gasoline cars with electric cars."

Original article at independent.co.uk

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11. Hazon Food Conference Scheduled

Forwarded message from Hazon:

{If you are interested in attending this (or another vegetarian-related conference) and help represent JVNA, Please let me know. Thanks.]

** The 2009 Hazon Food Conference **

Home of the New Jewish Food Movement

Register today

Join the thinkers and doers of the new Jewish Food Movement -- where contemporary food conversations meet Jewish traditions.

The fourth annual Hazon Food Conference is the only place in the world where farmers and rabbis, nutritionists and chefs, vegans and omnivores, come together to explore the dynamic interplay of food, Jewish traditions, and contemporary life.

Don't miss four days of do-it-yourself food workshops, cooking demonstrations, lectures, discussions, kids and family activities, joyful Shabbat celebrations, and of course, delicious and consciously-prepared food.

Thursday, December 24th - Sunday, December 27th, 2009

Asilomar Conference & Retreat Center, Monterey Coast, California

Click here to check out our plans for the 2009 Hazon Food Conference!


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12. Guide to Animal Rights Published

The PTA Practical Guide to Animal Rights

Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble

Dear Richard,

Many of us who are interested in animal rights have seen bookstores chock full of philosophical essays about animals, vegetarian cookbooks, and a plethora of activism guides, but there has never been one book that was all about animal rights, PETA style-until now.

Introducing The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights: Simple Acts of Kindness to Help Animals in Trouble, the new book by PETA President and cofounder Ingrid E. Newkirk.

The PETA Practical Guide to Animal Rights is an exciting step-by-step, issue-by-issue guide for effectively advocating for animals in your daily life. In this book, you will learn all about how PETA began, read the real life stories of animals who have been saved and animals who have been lost, learn how to eat healthfully and compassionately, read the reasons why it's vital to adopt animals rather than support puppy mills, learn how to make your vote count and change public opinion and how to switch easily to cruelty-free cosmetics and clothing, and find many more terrific suggestions for living an animal-friendly lifestyle.

Compassionate celebrities are singing the praises of this complete, all encompassing work:

"This book is the ultimate animal rights encyclopedia-chock-full of facts and resources that will guide you at home, in the marketplace, in life."
-Woody Harrelson

"A terrific book that uplifts you by showing you there are easy, sensible, clear ways to help animals that you might never have dreamt of."
-Martin Sheen

Whether you're a long-time activist looking for inspiration or new to the world of compassionate living, this book invites you to become the best advocate for animals that you can possibly be. This is animal rights the PETA way and the perfect way to help neighbors, friends, and family "get it."

Order your copy today, and then let us know what animal rights means to you by posting your comment on PETA.org.

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13. “Cool Cuisine” Book Links Climate Change and Dinner

Forwarded message:
If you're looking for some inspiring summer reading, check out Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite out of Global Warming. Coauthored by a chef (Laura Stec) and a climate scientist (Eugene Cordero), the book calls the standard American diet "a hummer on a plate." In an engaging, easy-to-read format packed with stories, recipes, and shopping tips, the book explains the connection between food and the climate and presents simple personal solutions. While they acknowledge that changing your diet won't single-handedly solve global warming, Stec and Cordero offer readers tools for evaluating the carbon "foodprint" of commonly eaten foods and a three-step plan for reducing the carbon impact of one's daily meals. Read more at http://action.ucsusa.org/site/R?i=CHXseOIu-w5rksXTIANlog.

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