August 8, 2009

7/29/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. All of My Book “Judaism and Vegetarianism” Can Now Be Freely Read on the Internet

2. How You Can Use My Writings To Become a Key Spokesperson on Jewish Teachings on Vegetarianism and Related Issues

3. Recently Found New Review of My Book “Judaism and Global Survival”

4. My Interview by Gary Null

5. Vegetarian Week (October 1 -7) Plans Going Forward

6. Latest Re the “Global Climate Healing Shabbat” on October 23-24, 2009

7. Message Respectfully Challenging Rabbis Re Animal-Based Diets

8. Global Petition Advocating Meat-Free Days Established

9. Major Effort to Get Vegetarianism Onto the Agenda at the Copenhagen Global Climate Change Conference Organized

10. Interfaith Manifesto on Climate Crisis Proclaimed

11. Letter from JVNA Advisor Published in the June 28, 2009, New York Times Online Edition

12. Some of My Recent Postings and Messages

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.



Note: Best Wishes for a Meaningful Tisha B'Av

Tisha B'Av starts at sundown this evening.

Over 2,000 years ago, Jews failed to listen to the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah and the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed. Today, it is not just Jerusalem but the entire world that is threatened by global warming and other environmental problems, and each of us should play the role of a modern Jeremiah - warning the world that substantial changes are essential very soon, including a major shift to plant-based diets, in order to help shift our very imperiled planet to a sustainable path.

Please take a look at my articles on Tu B'Shvat connections to vegetarianism and to environmental activism at the holiday section at, and please use them to increase awareness. Thanks

1. All of My Book “Judaism and Vegetarianism” Can Now Be Freely Read on the Internet

All of my book “Judaism and Vegetarianism” can now be read using the following link:

Please feel free to pass this information on to others. More on this in the next item.

Return to Top

2. How You Can Use My Writings To Become a Key Spokesperson on Jewish Teachings on Vegetarianism and Related Issues

By reading my book, “Judaism and Vegetarianism” (see item above), you can become an expert on Jewish teachings on vegetarianism and related issues. By also reading some of my articles at and viewing my talk at the Flatbush Jewish Center and my community TV interview and/or listening to some of my talks and other interviews at, you can become a leading spokesperson for JVNA and for the Jewish and general vegetarian causes in general. As you know, we have a very powerful case for vegetarianism, based on Jewish values, and we can certainly use help in getting our messages out more widely and more effectively. Using the material mentioned above, you can, in effect, take a short course on “Judaism and Vegetarianism,” and help us shift our imperiled world to a sustainable path.

Please let me know if you are interested and I will be happy to help in any way that I can.

Please note that you can also read all of the chapters of my other Judaica book, “Judaism and Global Survival,” also at Please see the review of that book that I just became aware of in the next item. Thanks.

Return to Top

3. Recently Found New Review of My Book “Judaism and Global Survival”

Book Review
Judaism and Global Survival (New Revised Edition). Richard H. Schwartz, Lantern Books, New York, 2002, xxv + 252 pages, ISBN 1- 930051-87-5

This challenging, timely book discusses social and environmental challenges facing humanity today and how Jewish teachings can effectively address these issues and thus promote sustainable living. The author uses biblical and non-
biblical sources, as well as his personal experiences (and conviction), to argue for application of Jewish ethics, values, attitudes, morals and perspectives, by both Jews and non-Jews so as to realize tikkum olam (restoring and redeeming the earth) for the immediate and future good of humans, non-humans and the environment in general. He uses practical day-to-day current examples to prove that although Jewish teachings admonish humans to choose life, the world today is often choosing death.

The book consists of thirteen chapters and five appendices. In a three-page Afterward, the author calls for respect for the human rights and equality of all peoples, including Israel, so that alliances and partnerships can be forged for the promotion of (Jewish) ethical practices, which in turn can help solve the social and environmental problems facing humanity.

Chapter 1 shows that Judaism advocates active involvement in social issues like resisting social injustice. Jewish history is full of cases of individuals who have actively pursued social justice, and these are examples worth emulating. Piety demands going beyond placid inactive concentration on mere religious rituals to actively resist moral evils.

Chapter 2, discussing human rights and obligations, and shows that Judaism condemns discrimination, since all humans are created in God's image. It therefore calls upon humans to imitate God's attributes of mercy, compassion, kindness, justice and righteousness. Eliminating the violation of human rights, particularly the right to fulfill basic needs, can help individuals lead dignified lives.

Chapter 3 is on social justice. Judaism emphasizes pursuit of, and application of, justice for and by all through such actions as giving charity, loving kindness and observance of business ethics. That way poverty and related material inequity can be dealt with.

In chapter 4 on Ecology, the author notes that the "it is very good" picture of creation in biblical Genesis has been marred by the selfish negative anthropogenic impacts. Ecology is part of Jewish history, culture, worship and everyday life - a factor that points to the Jewish (and Jews') responsibility for protecting nature. Current ecological threats are a testimony to the realities of economic and production systems that are contrary to Jewish values. Jews should reactivate these values to realize tikkun olam.

Chapter 5 discusses current environmental issues in Israel and notes that although a lot has been achieved in development, environmental problems have arisen due to anthropogenic neglect and ruthless exploitation. Nevertheless, there are significant gains in the legal and policy fronts to tackle these environmental problems. If existing Jewish teachings on environmental management could be applied, more success might be recorded.

Chapter 6 discusses hunger. The author notes that feeding the hungry is fundamental to Judaism. Widespread and growing global hunger and malnutrition are likely to promote rebellion and violence. The causes of global hunger are not overpopulation, bad weather, lack of technology, ignorance or lack of agricultural capacity, although these can worsen the problem. Rather the cause lies in an "unjust and wasteful production and distribution system that is rooted in inequality, injustice and greed," contrary to Jewish values. The Jewish solution to this is speaking out and supporting more just and environmentally sustainable agricultural policies, sharing with the less fortunate and living simplified lifestyles, such as eating less wasteful diets.

Chapter 7 discusses Judaism's emphasis on peace. Where war and violence occur the cause is generally injustice and oppression. This explains the Talmudic teachers reinterpretation of biblical texts to remove their violent aspects and tendencies. But can a Jew reject possibility of violence and remain passive before terror, tyranny and injustice? The solution here is taking not a pacifist but a pacifoid position.

In chapter 8 on international concerns, poverty is depicted as a reality in our world today whereby the gap between the rich and the poor is wide and growing. Malnutrition, illiteracy, poor health, infant and child mortality, lack of basic necessities and powerlessness are felt in developing countries. These issues are now being aggressively addressed, thanks to international movements. Although globalization has helped nations to address diverse development issues, the process is likely to have negative economic effects since the values and objectives therein undermine efforts to realize global equity, justice and well-being. This is particularly so in developing countries. The book explains why we have had protests against globalisation. The way forward is promotion of international justice by adoption of Jewish values so that we can meet the needs of all the world's people and at the same time achieve global sustainability.

In chapter 9 the author notes that selecting a proper energy path - between the hard and the soft ones - is an uphill task in the US. Advocates of each side seem to have convincing reasons why their choice is the best. But a sound choice should include Jewish values on social and environmental justice. This way we can have a more just, simpler, healthier, safer and more stable world with less social and economic problems. Such energy policies need to be promoted.

In chapter 10 the author notes that the causes of the current rapid global climate change resulting in such effects as global warming are largely anthropogenic. The cure to these human and environmental threats lies in adoption of the Jewish teachings discussed in the previous chapters. Different Jewish groups have been in the forefront in urging nations to adopt these values. This is an uphill task since some nations like USA are blatantly brushing aside the seriousness of the issue. However, where there is a will there is a way.

Although rapid population growth (chapter 11) is more a result of poverty, inequality and injustice, it is still a serious issue that needs to be addressed. This is particularly so in developing countries where means to sustain these growing numbers are limited, hence heightening chances of increased poverty, malnutrition and civil unrest, not to mention the environmental dangers and degradations. Although campaigns to reduce global population growth are gaining momentum there is reluctance among Jews to heed to this call. . Nevertheless, it is the author's considered opinion that Jews should support population control programmes consistent with Jewish teachings. Sustainable population can be achieved through pursuit of peace and justice as well as fair and equitable resource distribution.

Chapter 12 argues that consumption of animal products contradicts Jewish teachings: promotion of diseases related to animal-based diets; inflicting unnecessary pain on animals; promoting environmental degradation; wasteful use of resources; wasting grain by feeding it on animals while millions of people are starving; and perpetuation of widespread hunger and poverty, eventually leading to instability and war. The author advocates for a vegetarian diet which, according to the Torah, was God's initial diet intended for His people. Thus, a panacea to the above negative impacts of animal-products based diet can be rediscovered.

The last chapter (13) extols the values of Judaism and what Judaism stands for: stewardship of world's resources by humans; lovingkindness to fellow humans; hunger reduction; promotion of/seeking peace; pursuit of justice; and active resistance to oppression, injustice and idolatry. The book ends with a call to all, Jews and non-Jews alike, to warn the world of imminent global oblivion if humans don't change their wasteful, unjust behaviour.

Although it's title bears the term Judaism, this book is very important for both Jews and non-Jews. It is a handy resource and therefore a useful reference for planners, policymakers, environmentalists, politicians, educators and, indeed, every person. Those who would dare take seriously and implement the simple and down-to-earth Jewish teaching herein can make a significant contribution to bringing about social and environmental justice and thus help promote sustainable living for the good of current and future generations.

Reviewed by: Dr. Abraham G. Ndung'u Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science, School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Kenyatta University, P. O. Box 43844, Nairobi, Kenya. Email: or

Return to Top

4. My Interview by Gary Null

I was interviewed by Gary Null on July 28. You can hear it at:

My interview starts at about the 40 minute mark:

Return to Top

5. Vegetarian Week (October 1 -7) Plans Going Forward

Forwarded message:

Go Vegetarian, promote the vegetarian week

Our eating habits impact on the environment and our health.

A vegetarian diet helps a great deal.

Go Vegetarian, promote the vegetarian week: With nearly daily reports of severe droughts, floods, storms and wildfires, and climate scientists predicting increasingly warm temperatures, it is urgent to shift the world from its present unsustainable path to avoid a huge catastrophe. Many reports have shown the significant contributions of animal-based diets to global warming, so it is essential to get the urgency of dietary shifts onto the world's agenda.

Everyday is an excellent day to be a healthy and conscious vegetarian, but October 01 to 07 is a nice opportunity to double our efforts and campaign towards a better world...

Source: Our eating habits impact on the environment and our health. A vegetarian diet helps a great deal. Go Vegetarian, promote the vegetarian week :-)
Link: October 01 to October 07 is the World Vegetarian Week

Date: 2009-07-26

Return to Top

6. Latest Re the “Global Climate Healing Shabbat” on October 23-24, 2009

Forwarded message from Rabbi Arthur Waskow:

Dear chevra, [Friends]

Wanted to share with you the good news below about Conservative Jewish co-sponsorship of Shabbat Noach. I also talked today with Evonne Marzouk of Canfei Nesharim, and we agreed that they will encourage their network in the Orthodox community to observe Shabbat Noach with an earth-healing/ environmental outlook that includes and is somewhat broader than the climate question.

Shabbat shalom! --

I just want to let you know that the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism will co-sponsor Shabbat Noach [“Global Climate Healing Shabbat] and will advertise the program to our member congregations. Thank you for putting this together and building the broad coalition you have put together. Lenny

Rabbi Leonard Gordon
Germantown Jewish Centre
400 West Ellet Street
Philadelphia, PA 19119

[Please contact your local rabbis and other Jewish leaders and please urge them to take part in this special Shabbat and to help increase awareness and involvement in responding Jewishly to global warming threats. Thanks.]

Return to Top

7. Message Respectfully Challenging Rabbis Re Animal-Based Diets

[I recently sent the following message to many Orthodox, Conservative and Reform rabbis. No responses so far. Please feel free to forward my message to others. Thanks.]

Shalom, Rabbi,

Since you are properly concerned about applying Jewish teachings to all aspects of life, I hope you will consider how meat consumption and the ways in which meat is produced today conflict with Judaism in at least six important areas. Modern mass production, factory farming techniques are far removed from traditional farming practices depicted in the Torah, and are inhumane, unhealthy, inefficient and unsustainable, threatening all of humanity.

I would very much welcome your comments on the arguments below.

1) While 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.

2) While Judaism forbids tsa'ar ba'alei chayim, inflicting unnecessary pain on animals, most farm animals -- including those produced for kosher consumers -- are produced on "factory farms" where they live in cramped, confined spaces, and are often drugged, mutilated, and denied fresh air, sunlight, exercise, and any enjoyment of life, before they are slaughtered and eaten.

3) While Judaism teaches that "the earth is the Lord's" (Psalm 24:1) and that we are to be God's partners and co-workers in preserving the world, modern intensive livestock agriculture contributes substantially to soil erosion and depletion, air and water pollution, overuse of chemical fertilizers and pesticides, the destruction of tropical rain forests and other habitats, global warming, and other environmental damage.

4) While Judaism 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 grain, land, water, energy, and other resources.

5) While Judaism stresses that we are to assist the poor and share our bread with hungry people, over 70% of the grain grown in the United States is fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people worldwide die because of hunger and its effects each year.

6) 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.

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, and since animal-centered diets violate and contradict each of these responsibilities, 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.

In view of the above, will you help to make Jews aware of how animal-based diets and agriculture violate basic Jewish mandates to preserve human health, treat animals compassionately, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, help hungry people and seek peace.

If you disagree with this analysis, please let me know.

I would be happy to send you a complimentary DVD with our acclaimed documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World.” It has a very positive Jewish message re environmental threats. The complete movie can also be seen at

Further information about these issues can also be found at, where I have over 140 articles and 20 podcasts.

Many thanks, and kol tuv,

Richard (Schwartz)
President, Jewish Vegetarians of Norrh America

Return to Top

8. Global Petition Advocating Meat-Free Days Established

Forwarded message from Leron, who is doing great work in promoting this initiative:

Hi there,
I'm not sure if I've shared this with you yet...but we have a global meat free petition site

A few more exciting features will be added so check back soon....

Richard feel free to use that URL in your newsletter as it houses all the petitions (Israel, Japan, Korea) that are all in the works :)

All the very best,

Return to Top

9. Major Effort to Get Vegetarianism Onto the Agenda at the Copenhagen Global Climate Change Conference Organized

Forwarded message:

[Thanks to Carolin, a leader of Veg Climate Alliance, for writing the following message.}

Join Friends of the Earth's Flood for Climate Justice in Copenhagen! Make it a Tide of Compassion!

December 12, 2009 is Global Day of Action of the Global Climate Campaign (, and Friends of the Earth International is inviting people to 'flood' Copenhagen in a call for climate justice.

From December 7-18, 2009, the 15th UN climate conference (COP-15) will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark. Measures to tackle global warming will be on top of the agendas of government representatives from all over the world.

Friends of the Earth International is asking activists from all around the globe to call for urgent responses to the climate crisis, including cuts of greenhouse gas emissions by the rich industrialised countries:

“We invite everyone who shares our vision to join the exciting spectacle on December 12, when we will use our bodies and our voices to create a message that decision-makers and lobbyists cannot ignore:

The Flood Is Coming!“

Further info:

With the kind permission of Friends of the Earth International, the Veg Climate Alliance is urgently calling on pro-vegetarian and pro-vegan organizations from all over the world as well as all likeminded individuals to join the Human Flood for Climate Justice, supporting its vision through a call for Veg Climate Justice and a Veg Solution to Global Warming.

Here are some facts to consider:

- One sixth of humanity is undernourished, more than one billion people are hungry, more than 25,000 people - mostly children, who generally live in 'developing countries' - die each day from malnutrition. The countries in the Global South are the ones most severely affected by climate change, which is mostly caused by the greenhouse gas emissions of the rich industrialized countries.

- Every year 56 billion land animals (in addition to many billions of sea animals) are raised and slaughtered for food worldwide, and the number is expected to double by 2050. If the worldwide agricultural production were shifted from livestock feed to food grains, there would be enough food for all the world's hungry people.

- Animal agriculture is the main source of methane, which accounts for almost 50 % of human-induced global warming and is a 72 times more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide when a 20-year period is considered. Methane only stays in the atmosphere for 9 - 15 years, while CO2 stays in the atmosphere for 100 to 10,000 years. If everyone went vegan, or at least sharply reduced their consumption of animal products, global warming would be stopped from spiralling out of control very quickly.

- Animal agriculture also contributes significantly to the destruction of habitats, species extinction, an enormous waste of water (taking up 70 % of the overall freshwater supply), pollution and deforestation (mostly to create pastures for livestock and fields for growing feed), the latter causing nearly 20 % of CO2 emissions.

- According to recent reports, global warming is occurring much faster than expected,
and scientists agree that rapid mitigation is required to avoid an unprecedented climate catastrophe. Greenhouse gas emissions have already reached 387 ppm, while 350 ppm is considered to be the safe upper limit of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

- According to James Hansen, director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, world leaders have only a few years to act before a major tipping point may be reached, with catastrophic consequences for the global climate and species survival.

- Sea levels are now estimated to be rising 50 per cent faster than projected by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). If a global temperature increase of about 4C is reached, sea levels could rise around seven meters, which would result in utter devastation. A one-meter sea level rise would lead to the submergence of numerous low-lying islands like the Maldives, the loss of coastal cities and farmland all around the world and the contamination of fresh water supplies. Climate change could create 200 million refugees by 2050.


Join the Human Flood to tell world leaders and industries to stop this madness!

- Use your body, your voice and your creativity to call for truly sustainable agricultural policies: (organic) vegetable farming instead of wasteful and environmentally destructive meat and dairy production and overfishing, which is rapidly depleting the oceans!

- Call on world leaders to stress the importance of a major societal shift to plant-based diets as part of the Copenhagen Climate Treaty!

- Call on them to take action NOW, forsaking all protocol! Cutting down on greenhouse gas emissions is no longer a matter of climate politics. It has become a matter of survival!

- Call on the world to stand together as one big family and be part of the veg solution in this urgent time of global crisis!

In the name of global climate justice and solidarity with the world's poor!
In the name of compassion for billions of innocent animals!
In the name of love and responsibility for our beautiful planet, the protection and preservation of all lives and the well-being of future generations!


For further information on how to join the Human Flood contact Carlos from Friends of the Earth International at:
For further info on the work of the Veg Climate Alliance see or write to

The world is heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe and a major global shift toward vegetarianism is an essential part of what is necessary to prevent it. So, please help us spread this message.

Return to Top

10. Interfaith Manifesto on Climate Crisis Proclaimed

Forwarded message from Rabbi Arthur Waskow, director of the Shalom Center and organizer of the “Global Climate Healing Shabbat”:

In the light of the discussions on interfaith responsibility for the environment and for sustainability that we had at the Vienna follow-up committee meeting to the Madrid conference, and the suggestions made by two of the workshops there for joint interfaith action leading up the Copenhagen conference, I thought you might be interested in this Manifesto adopted by an Interfaith Conference on the Climate Crisis last fall, called by the Church of Sweden.

Shalom, salaam, peace - Rabbi Arthur Waskow

Interfaith Manifesto on Climate Crisis

Hope for the Future!

The Uppsala Climate Manifesto 2008
Faith traditions addressing Global Warming

[This Manifesto was signed by more than 40 religious leaders from around the world, including Rabbi Arthur Waskow of The Shalom Center, at an Interfaith Summit on the Climate Crisis called by the Church of Sweden. The signers and a number of supporting leaders gathered in Uppsala, Sweden, in meetings chaired by the Archbishop of Sweden and addressed by the Crown Princess of Sweden, a vice-president of the European Union, and James Hansen, the scientist who first defined and publicized the actuality and causes of global climate heating. The Archbishop is carrying the Manifesto to the governments assembled in Poznan Poland, to the Swedish government as it prepares to chair the European Union, and to the new administration in the United States. ]

As religious leaders and teachers from the entire globe, gathered in Uppsala 2008, we call for effective leadership and actions in view of the global threat to the climate. From the major religious traditions, with different approaches to religious life, we come together at this moment in time to assure the world of what we have in common. We all share the responsibility to be conscious caretakers of our jewel home, planet Earth. We have reflected on the concerns of scientists and political leaders regarding the alarming climate crisis. We share their concerns.
The major world religions are a source of empowerment for change of lifestyles and patterns of consumption. The positive religious force is far greater than many imagine. We undertake this mission in a spirit of responsibility and faith.


With a sense of wonder we look at life on planet Earth. It is a miracle - and a gift!
Clear nights with the sky full of stars fill us with awe. It reminds us of our role in the universe. We have many reasons to be humble. Meditating at the sea shore, in the desert or in the forest brings the sensation of being united with the universe, yet we are so small. Faith traditions with diverse cultures and backgrounds converge to express our wonder and awe for the gift of life.

In the history of Earth, the climate has always varied. However, we are very concerned about the huge human impact on the Earth's very complex and sensitive climate system. For the first time in history, humanity constitutes a major force which changes the preconditions for life and welfare for most creatures on the planet. We know enough to realize that we need to act now in the interest of future generations. The situation is critical. Glaziers and permafrost are melting. Devastating drought and flooding strikes people and ecosystems, especially in the South.

Can planet Earth be healed? We are convinced that the answer is yes. Major transformations of understanding human life, lifestyles and work modes, economy, trade and technology are needed. Ethics and values are intrinsic in the development of new institutional structures and architectures of politics and finance. In the religious realm long-sightedness has always been important. More than ever before the world now needs extraordinary, long-sighted political leadership.


For the Earth, salvation is about more than new technology and green economy. Salvation is about the inner space of human beings. Life without hope is detrimental to human existence. The peoples on this beautiful precious planet need to dialogue about what it means to live together, with global empathy in a global village. Religions can contribute to this in a decisive way.

As people from the major world religions, we urge governments and international organisations to prepare and agree upon a comprehensive climate strategy for the Copenhagen Agreement. This strategy must be ambitious enough to keep climate change below 2 degrees Celsius, and to distribute the “burden” in an equitable way in accordance with the principles of “common but differentiated responsibility and respective capabilities”. ”Greenhouse Development Rights” offers a concrete model of such burden sharing. We urge all actors concerned to find politically acceptable tools to realize this.

The Copenhagen Agreement must counteract misuse of land, of forests, and of farming land, using creative incentives for landowners, users and indigenous communities to manage growing forests as carbon sinks.

We ask the global political leadership for:

o rapid and large emission cuts in the rich world. Developed countries, especially those in Europe and North America, must lead the way. In the developed countries emissions must be reduced by at least 40 per cent by 2020 and 90 per cent by 2050 against 1990 levels.

o binding cuts for the rich world on top of their domestic obligations. According to the principles of responsibility and capability quantified in “Greenhouse Development Rights”, countries should pay for international cuts in addition to their own domestic initiatives. These payments should be obligatory, rather than voluntary.

o measurable, verifiable and reportable mitigation actions by developing countries, especially big countries with fast growing economies.

o massive transfers and sharing of important technology. All countries must encourage and facilitate sharing of technology that is intrinsically important to reduce emissions. Developing countries must have viable and technologically responsible opportunities to provide for their populations.

o economic incentives for developing countries to foster cleaner development on a national scale.

o adaptation to climate change. According to the same principles of responsibility and capability, countries must ensure that poor and vulnerable communities are empowered and supported. Adaptation to climate change must not fail for want of money or other resources.


We urge political and religious leaders to take responsibility for the future of our planet and the living conditions and habit preservation of new generations. Be assured that when you do that, you can count on important and sustainable support from the faith traditions of the world.

We are challenged to review the values, philosophies, beliefs and moral concepts which have shaped and driven our behaviours and informed our dysfunctional relationship with our natural environment.

We commit to taking and sharing responsibility for providing moral leadership within our various faith traditions and to all who desire the common good. We call upon all who have influence over the shaping of both intellect and spirit to commit to a profound reorientation of humanity's understanding of itself and of the world whereby we acknowledge our estrangement and henceforth strive to live in harmony with Nature and one another.

We offer the gift of our various faiths as a source of empowerment for change of unsustainable lifestyles and patterns of consumption. We undertake this mission in a spirit of humility responsibility, faith and urgency.

The climate crisis is literally a question about the survival of humanity on planet Earth. At the same time, we know that the world has never before been more capable of creating sustainable development. Humanity possesses the knowledge and technology. Popular commitment is growing toward doing what can and must be done.

Now is the time to mobilise people and nations.
As people of different faiths, we make these commitments:

o to inform and inspire people in our own religious and cultural contexts to take responsibility for and to implement practical measures

o to challenge political and business leaders where we live and work to develop comprehensive strategies and action

o to focus on the struggle against global warming and draw upon our innermost religious convictions about the meaning of life. This commitment is a deeply spiritual question concerning justice, peace and hope for a future in love and solidarity with all human beings and the whole of creation.

As religious leaders and teachers, we want to counteract a culture of fear with a culture of hope. We want to face the climate challenge with defiant optimism to highlight the core principles of all major sacred traditions of the world: justice, solidarity and compassion. We want to encourage the best science and political leadership. We commit our communities to fostering a spirit of joy in relation to the greatest gift given to us all - the gift of life!

Return to Top

11. Letter from JVNA Advisor Published in the June 28, 2009, New York Times Online Edition

Kudos to JVNA advisor David Cantor for this great letter.

The New York Times

June 28, 2009
Inhumane Food Policy

To the Editor:

Thank you for Nicholas D. Kristof's plea for food-policy reform (“Lettuce From the Garden, With Worms,” column, June 21). Though factory-style production worsens it, the root problem is animal use. Since using animals is cultural, not part of our biological nature or in any way necessary, animal use is by definition inhumane - unkind where we could as a society choose kind.

It is inhumane to humans as well, E. coli or not, since animal protein and animal fat in the diet significantly increase chronic-disease risk, and using animals is a huge environmental problem regardless of method.

So the solution is simple. But our colleges of agriculture and our state and federal governments prefer the problem to the solution, responding to years of reasoned requests for change with public relations exercises.

David Cantor
Founder and Director
Responsible Policies for Animals
Glenside, PA 19038

Responsible Policies for Animals, Inc., a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization, shows people how to establish responsible policies for animals that are also responsible policies for people and ecosystems - meaningful, enforceable basic rights for nonhuman animals, the only means to humane treatment as public policy rather than personal choice.

RPA's 10,000 Years Is Enough campaign aims to end our land-grant universities' support of the meat industry -- see and

RPA's This Land Is Their Land campaign aims to protect wildlife by ending armed assaults and destructive land-use practices. See Campaigns page at

RPA's position statement opposing violence and other antisocial behavior in association with animal advocacy is available at or by request.

Donations to RPA are tax deductible as allowed by law and may be made at the above address or

Return to Top

12. Some of My Recent Postings and Messages

Richard Schwartz says:

Excellent points, because it is essential that people become aware that a major societal shift to veganism is essential if we are to avoid the unprecedented catastrophe the world is rapidly approaching and shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path. A 2006 UN report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases in CO2 equivalents than all the cars, planes and other means of transportation worldwide combined.

For more information, please see my over 140 articles and 20 podcasts at and please see the documentary that I helped produce "A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World" at

A major societal shift to plant-based diets is essential in order to reduce present global climate change, environmental, energy, health, water scarcity and other present crises.

Message to the Earth Day Network urging them to put vegetarianism onto next year's Earth Day agenda

Greetings, and kudos for your efforts toward a more environmentally-sustainable world.

In view of the 2006 UN FAO study indicating that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18% vs. 13.5%, in CO2 equivalents), how about making promoting plant-based diets a major focus of Earth Day 2010?

Please help reinforce my message. Contact informnation is below. Thanks.

Earth Day Network_Washington, D.C., USA_1616 P Street NW, Suite 340_Washington, D.C. 20036 USA_Tel: +1 202.518.0044_Fax: +1 202.518.8794
The President's Office
Kathleen Rogers, President
Susan Bass, Senior Vice President of Global Programs and Operations

Return to Top

** Fair Use Notice **

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