July 25, 2009

7/23/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Interested in Helping Spread JVNA messages and Related Material Through MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Blogs, Etc.?

2. Dan Brook's Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism in TIKKUN Magazine

3. Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism

4. Scientific Study: Global Warming Projected to be Worse Than Expected

5. Major Talk on Judaism and Vegetarianism Scheduled in Los Angeles

6. Update on Efforts to Ban Fur in Israel

7. Still Another Very Alarming Report About Global Climate Change

8. Will Overuse of Pesticides Render Products as Non-Kosher?

9. NAACP resolves to fight climate change/ A model for Jewish groups?

10. Article Makes Strong Case for Veganism

11. Major Green Economy Forum Scheduled

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. Interested in Helping Spread JVNA messages and Related Material Through MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, Blogs, Etc.?

If so, please contact me. It is past time that we started using modern technology even more effectively. Thanks.

Also, if you are willing to volunteer in other ways, also please contact me. Remember, we have truth, morality, justice and many other positives on our side, and we have a very important message re shifting our imperiled planet to a sustainable path. We just have to break through the denial, apathy, ignorance and resistance and get our messages out more effectively. So, voluntary help can really make a difference.

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2. Dan Brook's Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism in TIKKUN Magazine

Please see author, professor and JVNA advisor Dan Brook's very comprehensive and insightful article (in the July/August issue of Tikkun magazine)

The Planet-Saving Mitzvah: Why Jews Should Consider Vegetarianism at http://www.tikkun.org/article.php/2009062311592221

Then, please consider posting a comment there. I already did and I also sent a letter to the editor commending them and Dan and stressing how important a major societal shift to vegetarianism is.

Important! On Monday, July 27, at 9 PM Eastern (6 PM Pacific Time, etc.), Dan will be interviewed for 20 minutes and then will take questions from callers. To listen and possibly ask a question, please call 1-888-346-3950 (for free) and enter the code 11978.

Check www.tikkun.org for full schedule of interviews and other details.

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3. Tisha B'Av and Vegetarianism

Tisha B'Av (the 9th day of the Hebrew month of Av) begins at sundown on July 29 this year. Today, it is not just Jerusalem that is threatened (both Temples in Jerusalem were destroyed on Tisha B'Av), but the whole world, from global climate change and other environmental threats. So, I hope we can use this holiday and every other opportunity to stress that it is essential that there be a major shift to vegetarianism (and preferably veganism) to avoid the unprecedented catastrophe that the world is rapidly approaching. Please see my articles at JewishVeg.com for connections between Tisha B'Av and vegetarianism and also environmental threats. Thanks.

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4. Scientific Study: Global Warming Projected to be Worse Than Expected

Forwarded message from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) web site:

Public release date: 14-Feb-2009

Climate change likely to be more devastating than experts predicted, warns top IPCC scientist

Without decisive action, global warming in the 21st century is likely to accelerate at a much faster pace and cause more environmental damage than predicted, according to a leading member of the Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

IPCC scientist Chris Field of Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science points to recent studies showing that, in a business-as-usual world, higher temperatures could ignite tropical forests and melt the Arctic tundra, releasing billions of tons of greenhouse gas that could raise global temperatures even more-a vicious cycle that could spiral out of control by the end of the century.

"There is a real risk that human-caused climate change will accelerate the release of carbon dioxide from forest and tundra ecosystems, which have been storing a lot of carbon for thousands of years," said Field, a professor of biology and of environmental Earth system science at Stanford, and a senior fellow at Stanford's Woods Institute for the Environment. "We don't want to cross a critical threshold where this massive release of carbon starts to run on autopilot."

Field will present his findings Saturday, Feb. 14, at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Chicago during a symposium titled, "What Is New and Surprising Since the IPCC Fourth Assessment?"

Nobel Prize

Established by the United Nations in 1988, the IPCC brings together hundreds of experts from around the world to assess the science and policy implications of climate change. In 2007, the IPCC and Al Gore were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Field was among 25 IPCC scientists who attended the award ceremony in Oslo, Norway.
Since 1990, the IPCC has published four comprehensive assessment reports on human-induced climate change. Field was a coordinating lead author of the fourth assessment, Climate Change 2007, which concluded that the Earth's temperature is likely to increase 2 to 11.5 degrees Fahrenheit (1.1 to 6.4 degrees Celsius) by 2100, depending on how many tons of greenhouse gases are released into the atmosphere in coming decades.

But recent climate studies suggest that the fourth assessment report underestimated the potential severity of global warming over the next 100 years. "We now have data showing that from 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing countries, like China and India, saw a huge upsurge in electric power generation, almost all of it based on coal," Field said.

This trend is likely to continue, he added, if more developing countries turn to coal and other carbon-intensive fuels to meet their energy needs. "If we're going to continue re-carbonizing the energy system, we're going to have big CO2 emissions in the future," he said. "As a result, the impacts of climate change will probably be more serious and diverse than those described in the fourth assessment."
IPCC assessment reports are organized into three working groups. In September 2008, Field was elected co-chair of Working Group 2, which is charged with assessing the impacts of climate change on social, economic and natural systems. One of his major responsibilities is to oversee the writing and editing of the "Working Group 2 Report" for the IPCC fifth assessment, which will be published in 2014.
"In the fourth assessment, we looked at a very conservative range of climate outcomes," Field said. "The fifth assessment should include futures with a lot more warming."

Forest-carbon feedback

Of particular concern is the impact of global warming on the tropics. "Tropical forests are essentially inflammable," Field said. "You couldn't get a fire to burn there if you tried. But if they dry out just a little bit, the result can be very large and destructive wildfires."

According to several recent climate models, loss of tropical forests to wildfires, deforestation and other causes could increase atmospheric CO2 concentrations from 10 to 100 parts per million by the end of the century. This would be a significant increase, given that the total concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere is currently about 380 parts per million, the highest in 650,000 years.

"It is increasingly clear that as you produce a warmer world, lots of forested areas that had been acting as carbon sinks could be converted to carbon sources," Field said. "Essentially we could see a forest-carbon feedback that acts like a foot on the accelerator pedal for atmospheric CO2. We don't exactly know how strong the feedback could be, but it's pretty clear that the warmer it gets, the more likely it is that degradation of tropical forests will increase the atmospheric CO2."
The ocean is another vital reservoir for carbon storage. Recent studies show that global warming has altered wind patterns in the Southern Ocean, which in turn has reduced the ocean's capacity to soak up excess atmospheric CO2. "As the Earth warms, it generates faster winds over the oceans surrounding Antarctica," Field explained. "These winds essentially blow the surface water out of the way, allowing water with higher concentrations of CO2 to rise to the surface. This higher-CO2 water is closer to CO2-saturated, so it takes up less carbon dioxide from the atmosphere."

Tundra thawing

Climate scientists also worry that permafrost in the Arctic tundra will thaw, releasing enormous amounts of CO2 and methane gas into the atmosphere. According to Field, the most critical, short-term concern is the release of CO2 from decaying organic matter that has been frozen for millennia. "The new estimate of the total amount of carbon that's frozen in permafrost soils is on the order of 1,000 billion tons," he said. "By comparison, the total amount of CO2 that's been released in fossil fuel combustion since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution is around 350 billion tons. So the amount of carbon that's stored in these frozen soils is truly vast."

Much of the carbon is locked up in frozen plants that were buried under very cold conditions and have remained in deep freeze for 25,000 to 50,000 years, he added. "We know that the Arctic is warming faster than anyplace else," he said. "And there is clear evidence that these frozen plants are very susceptible to decomposition when the tundra thaws. So melting of permafrost is poised to be an even stronger foot on the accelerator pedal of atmospheric CO2, with every increment of warming causing an increment of permafrost-melting that shoots an increment of CO2 into the atmosphere, which in turn increases warming.

"There's a vicious-cycle component to both the tundra-thawing and the tropical forest feedbacks, but the IPCC fourth assessment didn't consider either of them in detail. That's basically because they weren't well understood at the time."
For the fifth assessment report, Field said that he and his IPCC colleagues will have access to new research that will allow them to do a better job of assessing the full range of possible climate outcomes. "What have we learned since the fourth assessment? We now know that, without effective action, climate change is going to be larger and more difficult to deal with than we thought. If you look at the set of things that we can do as a society, taking aggressive action on climate seems like one that has the best possibility of a win-win. It can stimulate the economy, allow us to address critical environmental problems, and insure that we leave a sustainable world for our children and grandchildren. Somehow we have to find a way to kick the process into high gear. We really have very little time."


News Service website:
Stanford Report (university newspaper):
Most recent news releases from Stanford:

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5. Major Talk on Judaism and Vegetarianism Scheduled in Los Angeles

Forwarded message from Janine Laura Bronson:

Conscience and a Vegetarian Rabbi

When: Sunday, August 2, 2009 10:00 am - 12:00 noon
Where: Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue
15739 Ventura Blvd. N.E. corner Densmore St. free parking Encino, CA 91436

Who: International Jewish Veg'n And Ecological Society - Los Angeles featuring Rabbi Paul Steinberg
What Subject: Conscience and A Vegetarian Rabbi

Which Issues: among the topics that will be considered will be Jewish teachings on health, compassion to animals, the environment, global warming, and other thoughts about how the production and consumption of meat and other animal products impinge on these teachings.

When: Sunday 2 Aug 2009
What Time: 10:00 - Noon

Why: Casual meeting, do please come yourselves, and utilize the opportunity to ask any pertinent questions you can think of, and listen to responses and invite more participants and possible future guest speakers to upcoming events!

How Much: Free, but suggestion donations up to $5, $3, $1, or 25 cents or anything in between.

Where: Valley Beth Shalom Synagogue Ventura Blvd Encino please call for exact address and directions RSVP to: Janine 1-310-358-9941

Who is Rabbi Paul Steinberg: Rabbi Steinberg joined the VBS rabbinic team in July of 2008 and is the Head of the Etz Chaim Learning Center. Rabbi Steinberg graduated from the University of Arizona with masters degrees in both education and rabbinic studies and was ordained by the Ziegler School of Rabbinic Studies in 2004. He has published four books including, Study Guide to Jewish Ethics (JPS, 2003). Curriculum model developer in both Jewish Studies and Hebrew, and vibrant initiative called “The Ethical Covenant,” Rabbi Steinberg stresses Judaism's emphasis on the transformational power of study and its approach to living a moral life. He is married to Maureen Sweeney, an attorney, who now devotes her time to raising their three daughters Rina, Nili, and Liora. Some interesting discussion might include answers to the following questions (feel free to add your own!):

1. What prompted your becoming first interested in veganism?

2. How do you see it relating to the significance it might have in the future of connecting a Vegetarian (Jewish, of course) Rabbi to our source, the Torah, through this question of cruelty that weighs on every Jew's conscience, (or only on those of some individuals)?

3. If so, then should we as Jews be concerned that animal-based diets have been linked to many chronic, degenerative diseases, including heart disease and many types of cancer?

4. Are we ignoring our conscience when we fail to treat animals with compassion, like the concern for avoiding cruelty to animals?

5. Does Jewish teaching include protecting the environment as a duty such as reducing global warming?

6. What Jewish tradition covers conserving natural resources and helping hungry people?

7. Should we as citizens of the world be concerned that animal-based agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other transportation worldwide combined?

8. Should we consider that the two most important ideal periods in the Jewish tradition (the Garden of Eden and the Messianic period) are both pictured to be periods of vegan lifestyle fruit of the tree, herb yielding seed, fruit of the land?

9. What kind of water should we be drinking, structured more alkalanized water, and would it be better to be cleaning surfaces with more acidic water?

Timothy McChesney will bring free samples of Kangan water for us to taste the difference. It is much easier to drink more glasses of water when it tastes good and clean, isn't it?

Blessings, Janine 1-310-358-9941

Age Range: unlimited
Attire: casual
Target Audience: everyone
Event Speaker: Rabbi Paul Steinberg
Website: http://www.rawfood.meetup.com/317
Other Sponsors: International Jewish Veg'n & Ecological Society Los Angeles
Contact: Janine Laura Bronson
(310) 358-9941

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6. Update on Efforts to Ban Fur in Israel

Forwarded message from the International Anti-Fur Coalition:

Subject: Israel temporally postponed the July 22 vote to ban fur

Sunday 19th July 2009

On Sunday, 19 July 2009, the Ministerial Committee on Legislation met to decide the fate of the bill proposed by MK Nitzan Horovitz and other coalition and opposition MKs aiming to place a total ban on the manufacturing and trade in fur products in Israel.

Due to of the opposition of the two MKs; Minister of the Treasury Yuval Steinitz and Minister of Justice Yaacov Neeman, MK Horowitz has decided to temporally postpone the vote on his bill while the Knesset adjourns for the summer next week. He plans to appeal his bill before the Knesset when it reconvenes in October. We and the plentiful local and international supporters remain optimistic for it is understood that bills often go through fine tuning before they are passed and this bill with all it's strong support is expected to pass into law.

MK Horovitz has so far received thousands of letters from 70 countries in support of his bill, both from private individuals and animal rights organisations.

The children of Israel showed their support for the bill by sending MK Horovitz hundreds of letters and drawings expressing their feelings about the need to protect animals.

Israeli major rabbis also support the ban on the fur trade, among them the Chief Rabbi Yona Metzger and Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, who both emphasized that the Torah doesn't tolerate the abuse of animals. [Many years ago, the late Chief Rabbi of Tel Aviv Halevi issued a rabbinic statement stating that Jews should not manufacture or wear fur.]

The bill was promoted with help from the International Anti-Fur
Coalition - an alliance of over 60 organizations from all over the world, which act together to stop the fur industry's cruelty.

Each year, hundreds of millions of animals are cruelly killed for
their fur. These animals spend their lives in small wire cages up to the moment when they're electrocuted or even skinned alive. Video evidence shows that some of them continue fighting death for up to ten minutes after having been skinned.

MK Horovitz: “The fur industry is a cruel one indeed, and it's about time we put an end to it. There are excellent, inexpensive substitutes for fur. Israeli society wishes to stop the use of real fur, and it's time to get this done through formal legislation. Once this bill becomes law, Israel and its citizens will be highly praised. I call on the government to adopt this bill and put an absolute stop to the manufacturing and trade in all kinds of furs in Israel".

For more details:

International Anti-Fur Coalition - http://www.antifurcoalition.org

Jane Halevy +972-50-2005411 - jane.halevy@antifurcoalition.org

Jane Halevy
International Anti-Fur Coalition

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7. Still Another Very Alarming Report About Global Climate Change

Forwarded article:

The planet's future: Climate change 'will cause civilisation to collapse'

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 slightly 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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8. Will Overuse of Pesticides Render Products as Non-Kosher?

Thanks to author and JVNA advisor Lewis Regenstein for forwarding this item to us.

Overspraying pesticides could revoke kashrut

July 21, 2009 Jewish Telegraphic Agency


JERUSALEM (JTA) -- Israel's chief rabbi wants to revoke kosher certificates from fruit and vegetable growers who use too much pesticide.

Rabbi Yona Metzger will meet with the Chief Rabbinate's kashrut committee to test the waters, Ynet reported Tuesday. If the committee authorizes the initiative, it would mean that a kosher certificate could be withheld for a condition not directly related to the laws of kashrut.

In order to sell bug-free fruits and vegetables, which give them a higher level of kashrut since bugs are not kosher, some growers use large amounts of insecticide instead of using other special growing methods.
Metzger said the potential health issues make overspraying "a purely halachic consideration," Ynet reported.

"Such fruits truly endanger those who eat them, he told Ynet. "You cannot grant kashrut to poison."

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9. NAACP resolves to fight climate change/ A model for Jewish groups?

By Emily Gertz


The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People celebrated its centennial last week by jumping into the policy debate over global warming. Delegates at the storied civil rights organization's annual meeting in New York voted to adopt a resolution supporting clean energy development, curbs on greenhouse gas emissions, and policies to foster green collar jobs.

Dale CharlesDale Charles of NAACP's Arkansas chapter was a leader in getting the climate change resolution approved by the civil rights organization.Photo courtesy Dale Charles“This is a policy that was passed unanimously at our convention,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the director of NAACP's Washington, D.C., bureau.

According to Shelton, the association will be making climate change policy a priority in coming weeks and months, at both the grassroots and federal levels. “With this new resolution, this gives us even more emphasis to push our units to be more actively engaged,” he said, by getting educated on the issues, meeting with legislators, writing op-eds for local newspapers, and more.

With about twice as many blacks as whites out of work across the nation, 25 percent of the nation's 41 million blacks living below the poverty line, and 20 percent lacking health insurance, issues like rising energy costs, curbing air pollution, and creating green collar jobs are not abstract issues.

“African Americans have been disproportionately affected by pollution, from water, to toxic waste being dumped in our communities, to air quality,” said Dale Charles, president of the NAACP's Arkansas chapter, whose Little Rock branch sponsored the climate change measure. “This resolution will help establish policies to eliminate or slow down that process of putting those types of elements in our environment, where our people have to live and our children have to breathe.”

NAACP is taking on global warming in partnership with the National Wildlife Federation. When it comes to climate change, this 73-year old, 4-million-member strong bastion of the mainstream environmental movement is better identified with polar bears stranded on melting icebergs than with communities of color fighting against air pollution, or for jobs programs.

But there's no inherent contradiction in the alliance, said Marc C. Littlejohn, NWF's manager of diversity partnerships. “Communities of color are normally, when it comes to global warming, the first and worst impacted.”

Colombia Law professor Ted Shaw noted that the NAACP is hardly new to tackling environmental issues. “The NAACP has been involved in environmental justice issues,” said Shaw, who litigated such cases during his 20-odd years with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, a separate but allied organization. “This is ratcheting [that] up.”

Judging from some of the coverage of last week's convention in the mainstream media, there is a widespread debate that the NAACP's political relevance may be fading. “A century ago, when the NAACP was founded, black America was under siege-lynchings were common, race riots had rocked major cities and Jim Crow segregation was being codified throughout the South. Today, all of that is fast-receding history,” wrote Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. “Some critics have wondered whether there is still a role for an organization like the NAACP.”

Shaw said he thinks the association, which has a membership of just over half a million, can still have a lot of influence when it wants to.

“I think that the membership, the level of consciousness of the membership, is probably similar to the consciousness of most Americans” about global warming, he says. Some people think it's a significant problem, and some people don't. But “when the NAACP as an organization decides to make this priority,” says Shaw, “the rank and file members will have a much higher consciousness of it, and will get behind it.

“I'm not telling you that this is the 1960s, and it has the prominence it had in the civil rights movement,” Shaw said. “But it's a group that periodically flexes its muscles-and it can be formidable.”

Dale Charles is confident that the association can have a big impact on climate legislation. “NAACP, through its hundred years of advocacy, our longstanding work in human rights and civil rights-we have a track record, the ability to mobilize people across the country and address certain issues and make our voices heard,” he said.

Charles would like to hear some raised voices when it comes to targeting federal recovery dollars to jobs for African Americans. “In my state we're going to spend millions on highway construction,” he said. “We don't have black firms big enough to bid on those projects. So none of that money is going to come back to the black community.”

Obama needs to wake up to this situation, said Charles. “Right now it seems to be that the same people who had control of the money before are going to have control of this money,” he said. “It's not going to trickle down to Main Street the way Barack Obama intended. Green jobs won't get to African Americans if business as usual continues.”

Shelton agreed. “When we talk about climate change, we also have to talk about how strategies, programs, and initiatives that are being implemented to address problems of climate change are also very sensitive to the issues of people who live on Back Street” but aspire to become solid middle class residents of Main Street. “Those are NAACP's constituents,” he said.

Until people perceived the living-wage job opportunities inherent in transitioning to a low-carbon economy, said Shelton, conservation issues were often framed as having to give something up. “Are you going let a company come in that was going to pollute the air, pollute the ground, and probably pollute the water? But they're going to bring 400 new jobs that pay a living wage? That was the framing: you sacrifice for a clean environment and don't have jobs, or you have the jobs and sacrifice the environment?”

But now the solutions to climate change and to African-American poverty are coalescing. “Now, we can say yes to the creation of new forms of energy, jobs that maintain those new forms of energy, yes to clean air, yes to jobs that pay a fair wage and include health insurance,” Shelton said.

Green collar jobs will include manufacturing jobs in hybrid automobiles and renewable energy, as well as weatherizing homes and other skilled service professions, Littlejohn said. But equal priority must be given to cultivating new generations of black professionals, “getting college students to invest in jobs that are going to be more productive or innovative for clean energy: engineering, architecture and LEED certification.”

The NAACP's resolution urges lawmakers “to ensure that the response to climate change can take a higher ground than business as usual - one that ensures that we capture real public benefits from the new energy economy.”

Given the iffy prospects for strong carbon-capping legislation in the Senate, the time has come for a more colorful grassroots climate coalition.

“I'm happy that this is not an issue that people will continue to see as one of these white liberal causes that doesn't connect to their lives,” says Shaw. “Because this issue is connected to all of our lives. Climate change doesn't know anything about segregation.”

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10. Article Makes Strong Case for Veganism

by M. Butterflies Katz

Thanks to Dan Brook for forwarding the article to us:



It's a widely held belief that people need animal products for survival and good health, even though there are many long-time vegans who are very often healthier than the omnivorous majority. Any country whose economy is largely based on animal exploitation results in its people believing that there's little left to eat if you don't eat animal products. When people find out that I'm vegan, they ask me, 'But what is left to eat?' I tell them that I eat from the vast variety of plants found in the New Four Food Groups; grains, legumes, vegetables and fruit as recommended by the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, rather than from the food group charts that were produced by those who profit from dairy and meat consumption. It's time for change; even The American Dietetic Association now states in their 2009 report: "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." (Source: Eat Right - American Dietetic Association).

Because of 'milk mustache commercials' and other economic propaganda, many people still believe that they need animal products for their well-being and survival, despite the overwhelming evidence that the very opposite is true; that in fact, a vegan diet protects us from many diseases that plague the human race. New studies are finding that a low-fat vegan diet can treat type 2 diabetes. (Neal Barnard, M.D.'s study).

Other studies have found a plant-based diet can reverse heart disease and prostate cancer. Dr. Dean Ornish showed serum from patients following a low-fat vegan diet inhibits the growth of cultured prostate cancer cells eight times more than serum from a standard diet group. Dr Ornish, founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research, found that patients on a low-fat, plant-based diet experience a significant decrease in PSA levels, a marker for prostate cancer progression. Dr. John McDougall claims that "consuming meat, poultry, fish and dairy products is at the root of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and intestinal problems."

THE CHINA STUDY; the most comprehensive large study ever undertaken of the relationship between diet and the risk of developing disease, concluded that a plant-based diet is the healthiest for humans. The co-director of the Cornell-Oxford-China Study on Diet and Health, T. Colin Campbell, PhD, did not come from a vegan perspective prior to the study but due to the overwhelming evidence that was found, he now recommends a plant-based diet. The opening words on his web site are: "The science is clear. The results are unmistakable. Change your diet and dramatically Donald Watson, a founding father of The Vegan Society and the man who coined the word 'vegan' lived to be 95 and climbed mountains till a ripe old age. I've been vegan for 31 years. I live with 6 other vegans who are vegan as long as or longer than I, and we are very much alive and are all in excellent health. There are 'long-time healthy vegans'. It may have been reasonable to question the health benefits of a vegan diet in the last century, but now we know! The facts are in!

We are the only species that drinks the mother's milk of another species. Would anyone suck on the udder of a cow for her milk? Of course not; we would consider it unnatural. Her milk is meant to nurture her baby calf. The truth is; dairy milk for human consumption is produced in a very unnatural way: first by artificially impregnating the cow (sometimes by strapping the cows on to what the industry itself calls rape racks!), then by stealing her baby within 24 hours of birth, despite her bellowing cries. (It's horrific what will become of her calves.) This grim cycle is repeated over and over and over until the cow is no longer profitable and then she is sent off to slaughter.

For those of us who believe in God, we must ask ourselves if God would want for us to kill innocent, gentle, conscious beings, when the plant kingdom is able to supply all the nutrients needed by the human body. Perhaps at one time in history humans HAD TO eat animals for survival. But now, delicious plant-based foods are readily available almost anywhere. "I like the taste of meat" is no longer a tolerable rationale.

We are destroying our planet; choking it with too many people and all their pollution. However, we can lighten our footprint on our tired Earth by choosing to be vegan and purchasing local produce. According to a report published by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, "the livestock sector generates more greenhouse gas emissions as measured in CO2 equivalent - 18 percent - than transport. It is also a major source of land and water degradation." Henning Steinfeld, Chief of FAO's Livestock Information and Policy Branch and senior author of the report says: "Livestock are one of the most significant contributors to today's most serious environmental problems. Urgent action is required to remedy the situation." Educating ourselves about vegan options shows us that we are not powerless to change the course of the sad state we find ourselves in, but empowered, through each and every one of our everyday choices. (Livestock's Long Shadow 2006 report)

Nor is "Humane Slaughter" or "Happy Meat" the answer. "Happy meat" is an oxymoron. No conscious being is happy to have their life reduced to a commodity and violently ended. Anyone can go online and see graphic footage of animals in a slaughterhouse about to meet their death in a horrific way. It's real; yet people have not been willing to open their eyes or their hearts to the suffering they are imposing on others. Becoming vegan makes us a kinder, smarter human being than we were before taking this step; which is essential to human advancement. Becoming vegan, by definition, makes of us more compassionate human beings, and compassion is essential for human evolution. That's why Nobel Prize recipient; Albert Einstein said: "It is my view that a vegetarian manner of living, by its purely physical effect on the human temperament, would most beneficially influence the lot of mankind."

Choosing to be vegan is a major component of the solution to many forms of violence and exploitation, murder, and war. If the world's people adopted the vegan lifestyle, humanity would, naturally, become more gentle, more reasonable and more caring.

Avoiding animal products is good for people. It's good for the animals. It's good for the planet we all share. Change is in the air. Many human beings are realizing that we don't have a right to exploit, enslave, or be a part of the immense suffering inflicted on other feeling creatures. Nor do we have a right to continue a practice that is possibly the biggest contributor to global warming and the devastation of our environment. We don't have a right to perpetuate the horror that is human starvation, by using the world's grains to feed animals in order to feed our own addiction to meat. We don't have a right to over-use and pollute our diminishing water supply to sustain the farm animal business; which uses far more water than is needed for growing plants.

Veganism has "right" on its side. VEGANISM IS A SOLUTION to our planet's ailments. The Earth and its people are crying out for change. Veganism is the next step for humanity that will bring the change we long for.

For some helping hands, please visit my 'Vegan Links' page
M. Butterflies Katz

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11. Major Green Economy Forum Scheduled

Forwarded message:

A Series of Green Economy and Workforce Development Forums

"Imagine if every business was a green business"


Launching July 26, 2009 12:00-5:30 PM (Reception to follow)
with Speakers, Panels, Performers, Exhibitors, Roundtables, Seminars and Refreshments

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th Floor
Manhattan, New York City
Ticket Price: $15
NOTE: Advance Registration Required for Admission to Building.
Your advance ticket Payment registers you for the event. Go to www.WeTheWorld.org/greenworkspayments
If you can't pay in advance, to register send an email to GW-RSVP@WeTheWorld.org

Contact us to become a Sponsor, Exhibitor or Outreach Partner for the ongoing GreenWorks NYC series.

The Green Marketplace is exploding, but there is a dynamic missing in its growth. Information is sporadic and fragmented making it difficult to be prepared for opportunities when they arise. No one has been able to create a cross-sector collaborative platform for managing large-scale change and mobilizing actionable intelligence. Until now...

Please join us on July 26th 12:00pm to 5:30pm at the prestigious New York Academy of Sciences for the launch and inaugural roundtable of GreenWorks NYC - a multi-year effort to create an upgrade in results-driven collaboration in the Green Economy of New York.

The July 26th Program includes:

* NYC Council Member Alan J. Gerson (District One in Lower Manhattan) - Keynote Address
* Welcome from Communications Coordination Committee for the U.N.
* Panel: Opportunities and Innovation in the NY Green Economy
o Mike Gordon - C-Power - Smart Energy
o George Gosieski - Built Environment
o Whitney Smith - Social Innovation
o Douglas Lawrence - Green Real Estate Fund
o Debra Italiano - Sustainable Food Systems
o Mathew Ahrens - Environmental Law and Policy

Other Presenters include:

Scott Beall (Integral Vision Learning) - Education & Green Workforce Development
Ariane Burgess - (Regenerative Culture) - Regenerative Leadership & Community Systems
Douglas Cohen (U.S. Partnership/Education for Sustainable Development) - Leadership & Community Engagement
Rick Ulfik (We, The World) - Building local-to-global networks of collaboration
Deborah Stern (2020 Fund) - Sustainable Earth by 2020
Frank Werner - (Fordham University) - Education and the Green Economy

Special guest Al Smith from the soulful high energy musical group Blacksmith will have you singing, clapping and dancing in the aisles!

Over the next year GreenWorks NYC will:

* Convene Solutions Roundtables - Sector specific, results-driven meetings during and between major events with facilitation and web-published results.
* Create a Social Network Map, with analysis and database of the players and influencers to support decision making and solution seeking in the emerging Green Business landscape.
* Provide Education and Green Jobs Development pathways bridging K-12, Higher Education, Industry and Government.

GreenWorks NYC is:

* Presented by We, The World and New York City Council Member Alan J. Gerson
* Supporters include: Battery Park City Authority, New York Academy of Sciences, and Communications Coordination Committee for the United Nations
* Other partners include: the New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA), U.S. Partnership/Education for Sustainable Development, Sustainable Business Cmte., Climate Prosperity Alliance, Columbia University Alumni Association, Earthventure Capital, LLC, Green Map System, Green Drinks, Sustainable Strength, Evolver, the Coalition for One Voice, The Water Pod, Regenerative Culture, Planet Heart and others

Your participation is key. Please join us for the July 26th launch!

Douglas Cohen, Executive Producer
646 510-0901,

Rick Ulfik, Executive Director
212 867-0846,

This email comes from the database of: We, The World
You may contact them at:

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