September 6, 2009

9/2/2009 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. World Vegetarian Week Scheduled/JVNA Actively Involved

2. Getting Documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World” to Wider Audiences

3. Report on Vegetarian Rabbi's Talk at a Los Angeles Synagogue

4. Wholistic Approach to Health Care Reform

5. Immediate Action in Response to Climate Change Urged

6. Time Magazine Has Cover Story on “The Hidden Costs of Cheap Meat”

7. Book Published on Catholic Views on Compassion to Animals

8. Podcast: Joseph Puentes Reads Noam Mohr's Article on Global Warming

9. Israeli Defense Forces Taking Steps to Reduce Pollution

10. Update on Podcast Project

11. Security Threat From Climate Change Must Be Addressed

12. Los Angeles Vegetarian Group Organizing 30 Days of Vegetarian Events

13. “100 Must-Have Web Sites for Vegetarians, Vegans and Locavores”

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. World Vegetarian Week Scheduled/JVNA Actively Involved

JVNA was actively involved in the formulation of the press release below.

If you are involved in a group that would like to be listed as a supporter of the initiative, please contact Mateus Medes at Also, please consider organizing events during World Vegetarian Week. It overlaps Sukkot, which is a nature-related holiday, so perhaps combined events consistent with Sukkot might be held. Thanks.

For Immediate Release
Subject: World Vegetarian Week 2009

October 1-7 is World Vegetarian Week (WVW), supported by vegetarian, animal rights, environmental and other groups, to reduce the environmental, medical and many other problems associated with meat, milk and other animal products.

This period was chosen because it includes several annual related celebrations,” stated WVW organizer Mateus Mendes. “These include: World Vegetarian Day on October 1, World Farm Animal Day and International Day on Non-violence on October 2 and World Animal Day on October 4.”

The goal of this initiative is to highlight for everyone an easy way to better personal and environmental health. Vegetarianism is a choice being made by increasing numbers of people due to its comprehensive advantages.

Director of Veg Climate Alliance Dr. Richard Schwartz says that a vegetarian week is more important than ever as “it is increasingly apparent that the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from climate change and other environmental threats."

"A 2006 UN report indicated that animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined (18% vs. 13.5%)," stated Jens Holm, former member of the European Parliament.

According to Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, "the 18% figure is an underestimate; it's a low estimate and in actual fact it's much higher." According to Dr. Colin Campbell, professor emeritus of nutritional sciences at Cornell University, "new figures now indicate that at least half of the greenhouse gases... and maybe considerably more are due to livestock

“There would be many other benefits from a major shift to non-animal diets,” stated medical doctor António Paiva, “including a reduction of heart disease, several types of cancer, diabetes and other chronic and degenerative diseases as well as swine flu and other infectious diseases that very likely originate in animal farming and the meat industry."

World-famous author John Robbins, whose best-sellers include “The Food Revolution” and “Diet for a New America,” will be patron of this year's WVW.

There's a lot to get involved with on WVW: vegetarian talks, workshops, panel discussions and video viewings; meetings with society leaders, educators and others; organizing campaigns such as calling for a meat- free day per week; preparing vegetarian meals for friends and family; offering vegetarian gifts or discounts for vegetarian products; or
simply distributing leaflets.

For more information about WVW and getting involved visit

This Press Release is endorsed by (list in formation):

World Vegetarian Week

Veg Climate Alliance

Agire Ora Network, Italy

Centro Vegetariano, Portugal


Global Meat Free Petition

Jewish Vegetarians of North America, USA

Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians, USA

Schweizerische Vereinigung für Vegetarismus, Switzerland

Veg Dinning

VEGAN 2050

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2. Getting Documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World” to Wider Audiences

Due to the dedicated efforts of an anonymous volunteer, we are now able to produce DVDs of our acclaimed documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World” for only about 35 cents per DVD.

Hence, we have a great opportunity to get DVDs to many people relatively inexpensively. And “A Sacred Duty” has the potential to make a major difference in revitalizing Judaism by showing its relevance to current issues and to help shift our very imperiled world to a sustainable path.

So, please consider: do you know of rabbis, Jewish educators, JCC leaders, Jews and others interested in the environment, animal issues, nutrition, etc., vegetarians, and others who might be interested in seeing the movie? You can tell them they can see the entire movie at At this web site, they can also read blurbs, reviews and questions and answers about the movie and request one or more complimentary DVDs. Or, you can let me know if you would like some complimentary DVDs to distribute to people who would be interested in viewing the film. Many thanks.

Because the issues are so urgent, we have already distributed over 25,000 complimentary DVDs.

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3. Report on Vegetarian Rabbi's Talk at a Los Angeles Synagogue

Subject: Article that explains what occurred when a Rabbi spoke on “Conscience and a Vegetarian Rabbi”

Vegetarianism and Judaism: A Matter of Conscience

by Janine Laura Bronson

With American waistbands growing increasingly larger and global warming becoming a greater concern there seems to be valid arguments in favor of vegetarianism. There are many reasons people are vegetarians. However, there is one often overlooked reason some choose a vegetarian lifestyle-religion. Many Jewish teachings regarding health, compassion for animals, and global warming support a vegetarian lifestyle.

In a recent talk entitled “Conscience and a Vegetarian Rabbi” for the International Jewish Vegetarian and Ecological Society of Los Angeles, Rabbi Paul Steinberg, author and head of Valley Beth Shalom Etz Chaim Learning Center, spoke on how conscience and religion led him to become a vegetarian.

“I did not want to become a vegetarian,” exclaimed Rabbi Steinberg. “The world demanded that I be one.”

Rabbi Steinberg said he believes the vegetarian diet goes hand-in-hand with Jewish principles. He explained that although Judaism gives us intellectual freedom, it also emphasizes behavioral conformity. As Rabbi Steinberg said, “Jewish behavioral conformity is intended to help us to live responsibly as a community, to one another and the world around us.”

This concept is reiterated by Dr. Richard Schwartz, Professor Emeritus at College of Staten Island, author, and President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America. Dr. Schwartz argues that saving a life and preserving health are paramount in the teachings of the Talmud. In his article, “Judaism's Ideal Diet,” Dr. Schwartz states, “if it could help save a life, one generally must (not may) violate the Sabbath, eat non-kosher foods, and even eat on Yom Kippur.”

Dr. Schwartz also points to Isaac Arama, author of “Akedat Yitzhak,” who assessed that after 40 years of health on a vegetarian diet of Manna the Israelites were struck with a great plague once they began eating meat. The inference is that the consumption of meat negatively affects health. This message has transcended hundreds of years from Arama's time to today. Scientists are increasingly studying the benefits of a vegetarian diet. In a 2009 study, the American Dietetic Association found that a well-balanced vegetarian diet can aid in the prevention and treatment of certain diseases.

During Rabbi Steinberg's lively discussion many inferences were drawn from a variety of Torah teachings. In addition to the health benefits of vegetarianism, Rabbi Steinberg also discussed how nature and the status of animals are emphasized in the Hebrew literature. Some sources for further study include the Halacha, the Aggadah, the Biblical commentaries and Jewish philosophy, the Kabbala and Rabbinic Responsa.

According to Rabbi Steinberg, Kashrut and the ethical treatment of animals continue to be important issues. He discussed how they relate to traditional Jewish teachings such as chasing the hen away before taking the eggs, not seething a goat in its mother's milk and discouraging hunting and fishing for sport. Even with the Conservative Movement's Heksher Tzedek, which insures rights to employees, kosher certification must continue to evolve with the unremitting environmental, agricultural, and industrial waste that affects our culture and diet.

Rabbi Steinberg also discussed how the concept of preserving the environment and preventing pollution is paramount to the Talmud and its teachings. He pointed out that our continuously growing carbon footprint is directly related to animal agriculture, necessitating a change to a more environmentally-sustainable diet.

According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, livestock farming contributes more to global warming than the total worldwide travel sector. Nevertheless, this is still generally ignored in most discussions about climate change. This UN report, therefore, highlights important facts regarding the connection between animal-based diets and climate change.

Factory farm animal agriculture, including fisheries, generates 33 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than transport (in carbon dioxide equivalents). It is also a major source of land and water degradation. Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has said, “Please eat less meat. Meat is a very carbon intensive commodity."

Rabbi Steinberg's discussion raised many interesting questions around the issues of vegetarianism and religion as it pertains to health, compassion for animals and the environment. How do you feel about dietary issues, now that you have a better understanding of some of the detrimental impacts of meat production on climate change? Is this a scientific or religious issue, or does it relate to both fields? Should we examine our beliefs more closely? What has “Kosher” become, in your viewpoint? How can we define it today, and learn further from this discussion?

Dr. Richard Schwartz who was not in attendance commented on the event hosted by the International Jewish Vegetarian and Ecological Society of Los Angeles saying, "I am happy about the efforts by your group to get rabbis to discuss vegetarianism and related issues and ways to help shift our imperiled planet to a sustainable path."

Discussing these issues and opening the floor for debate helps to create consciousness around vegetarianism as it relates to religious beliefs. Let's continue to exercise our intellectual freedom to modify our behavior and examine our conduct by asking more questions and by acting according to our consciences.

Janine Laura Bronson is the President of the International Jewish Vegetarian and Ecological Society of Los Angeles. The group welcomes the entire community to attend its casual monthly meetings, held on the first Sunday of every month. For more information, please contact Janine at (310) 358-9941 or Comments are also welcome. Please email Janine@a11massage.comand your message will be considered for our next publication.

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4. Wholistic Approach to Health Care Reform

The article below discusses many important issues that are not generally being considered in the current health care debates.

True Health Care Reform: 10 Missing Pieces

Frank Lipman
Integrative Physician

I applaud President Obama for his efforts. I too believe that everyone deserves proper healthcare and that access to healthcare must be a right for all. But I think Washington is barking up the wrong tree. They're busy arguing about what amounts to health insurance reform, while what this country needs is true health care reform.

Interestingly, what is happening in Washington mirrors much of what we do in Western Medicine. We suppress symptoms instead of dealing with the root causes of the problem. All the options on the table now only address how we pay for healthcare, rather than why we are unhealthy and how we change that. If we don't change why we are unhealthy, not only are we unlikely to secure better medical outcomes, but it will probably bankrupt us too. In terms of getting better health care or becoming a healthier nation we have to make serious changes. We will only flourish if we address the root causes of the problem.

As a nation, we're highly skilled in crisis care and the treatment of life- threatening diseases. But we're rank amateurs when it comes to the equally important issues of preventative care and the management of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, obesity and many cancers. True healthcare reform needs to provide greater support to these areas as at least 75% of our medical costs are spent on treating these chronic diseases.

Recently on Huffington Post, four physician colleagues of mine Andrew Weil, Dean Ornish, Deepak Chopra, and Mark Hyman all eloquently articulated the problems we face. I won't repeat their arguments, instead I will present some facts about our system and will offer some recommendations many of which complement their thoughts.

1) We have an outrageously expensive medical system. Our costs are more than double that of any other country.
2) In spite of the expense, over 45 million of our citizens have no coverage, whereas most other developed countries insure everyone.
3) Our system doesn't work well for preventing and treating the chronic diseases that are causing our costs to skyrocket.
4) According to the World Health Organization's rankings, the U.S. (health-care system) is 37th in overall performance.
5) Our system is not particularly safe. Millions of people are hospitalized annually or suffer from serious side effects of properly prescribed drugs or medical errors.

I don't claim to have all the answers and some of these suggestions may seem unrealistic given our current system, but to fix health care in this country we need radical change.

In addition to my strong belief that any civilized society should guarantee healthcare for all its citizens without exception, here are 10 recommendations that I feel should be an essential part of any health care reform.

1) Invest in educating the public in self care

Ultimately the most effective way to increase the health of the nation and to cut healthcare costs in the long term is if we all take responsibility for our own health and learn prevention. It has been repeatedly shown that what we eat, how we respond to stress, how much exercise we get, our exposure to chemicals and the quality of our relationships and social support systems is powerful medicine. Unfortunately most of us don't know how to do this, so training health coaches to go out and educate the public would help.

2) Motivate people by rewarding lifestyle changes that foster health.

We should encourage and reward people who take responsibility for their own health. Help pay for or give tax deductions for gym memberships, yoga classes, cooking classes, instruction in relaxation techniques, and appropriate doses of certain supplements like Vitamin D, fish oils [not recommended by JVNA] and probiotics. Visits to Healthcare Professionals for lifestyle counseling and disease prevention should be encouraged and covered.

3) Educate Doctors and other Healthcare Practitioners in nutrition, exercise, stress reduction techniques and natural remedies.

Hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted by doctors when they request unnecessary tests, over prescribe drugs (often with harmful effects), and perform unnecessary surgeries. Many of these services are reimbursed because of lobbyists and clinical practice guidelines established through industry influence or custom, not because the reasons for doing them are scientifically sound. Educating doctors to start with the least expensive, least harmful and least invasive treatments, while having a backup of the "big guns" when needed, would prevent a lot of unnecessary expense. The Institute of Functional Medicine, has a clinical model that is extremely effective for the prevention, assessment and management of chronic diseases. It has already trained over 10,000 doctors and should become part of every doctor's training.

4) Reimburse doctors for their time in preventing and managing chronic diseases.

In the current model, the reimbursement structure financially rewards crisis care and disease care, but not prevention, early intervention and effective long-term management. But we now understand that chronic diseases develop over many years because of an individual's genetic makeup combined with their lifestyle, environment and social network. The effectiveness of aFunctional Medicine approach to chronic disease has been demonstrated, so the tools we need to reduce the burden of chronic disease are available. But it requires more than just a 10 minute consultation. To encourage doctors to practice preventative care, they need to be paid not only for expensive procedures, but for the time they spend with patients supporting them through these changes. In addition, we need to train health coaches or other health care practitioners to provide this personalized, preventive and participatory medicine.

5) Practice the Precautionary Principle.

In brief, the Precautionary Principle states that: "When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically." Before chemicals or other engineered substances that may impair body functions and cause diseases are put into our food, water, soil, air, cosmetics and home products, they need to be proven safe. At the moment, our attitude to these chemicals is that they are innocent until proven guilty. They should be assumed guilty until proven innocent.

6) Protect our food supply and encourage healthy eating

The Health and Agriculture departments should work together and apply the Precautionary Principle to our food production. Harmful pesticides, additives and other chemicals should not be used in our food production until proven safe.
Food labeling should be honest, for instance, irradiated and GMO foods should be labeled as such.

Local farmers and farmers markets and the consumption of fresh and seasonal foods should be actively supported and encouraged.

7) Feed our children healthily and educate them responsibly.

Serve fresh unprocessed food for school lunches, food that's nutritious instead of just cheap and convenient. Eliminate junk food and soda vending machines from all schools (and while we are at it, from all public buildings and airports).

Put organic vegetable gardens in schools especially in low-income areas. This not only provide kids with nutritious food to eat, but it also teaches them about the importance of nutrition in general and how to grow their own food.

Ban the advertising and marketing of junk food, sodas and fast food to children...$13 billion is spent annually on it. We should not be convincing children--or adults--to buy products that harm them.

Don't eliminate physical education programs from the schools as is happening now with budget cuts.

8) Subsidize healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.

Most of the billions of dollars in subsidies go to huge agribusinesses that produce feed crops, such as corn and soy. By funding these crops, the government supports the production of factory farmed meats and dairy products. Corn is also made into high fructose corn syrup. All of these contribute to our growing rates of obesity and chronic disease. Fruit and vegetable farmers, on the other hand, receive less than 1 percent of government subsidies. Switch these subsidies around.

9) Remove corporate influence from healthcare.

Corporate influence should not be what drives the system. According to The Washington Post, 1.4 million dollars a day is being spent by healthcare interests to get what they want in the new health bill. There are 4 lobbyists for every Congressman on Capitol Hill. They should be banned. Unfortunately the self interest of these parties often works against outcomes that would better serve our collective and societal good.

Stop direct-to-consumer drug advertising and radically limit the more than $30 billion that is spent by the pharmaceutical industry on marketing drugs to physicians.

10) Give everyone freedom of choice

Lastly, people should have the freedom to choose what method of treatment they want to follow, whether conventional or alternative, western or non western, traditional or non traditional.

Focusing only on how people can get access to costly disease treatment, without having the more important discussion about how lifestyle changes can be implemented to prevent these diseases in the first place, is like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. We will simply be perpetuating a flawed and costly healthcare model. For the sake of not only our personal health, but also for the financial health of the nation, we must address the causes that underlie the prevalence of chronic disease that we are experiencing. Unless we address why people are getting sick or the underlying mechanisms of their illnesses, our system will lack a solid foundation. Unless we change our disease care model to a true health care system, we are bound to both overpay and underachieve in the long run.

Frank Lipman MD, is the founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in NYC, a center whose emphasis is on preventive health care and patient education. His personal blend of Western and Eastern Medicine combined with the many other complimentary modalities he has studied, has helped thousands of people recover their energy and zest for life. He is the author of the recent SPENT: End Exhaustion and Feel Great Again (2009) and Total Renewal; 7 key steps to Resilience, Vitality and Long-Term Health (2003).

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5. Immediate Action in Response to Climate Change Urged

Forwarded message:

Subject: Climate alarm: September 21st

Dear friends,

On climate, it's now or never. We have just over 100 days left to reach a new global treaty to avert climate disaster (and unleash a new green economy) -- but we're nowhere near getting it done.

We have a choice to make: should we pull out all the stops this month to beat climate change?

Avaaz is considering a massive, network-wide push for a "global wake-up call" to world leaders on September 21st. This would be the biggest organizing effort we've ever done, aiming to bring our whole network out (peacefully!) to the streets, ringing alarms, holding massive rallies in major cities, and gathering to send wake-up messages from schools, homes, and public squares. From all these places, we would flood world leaders with phone calls, and the actual sound of these millions of voices would be recorded, condensed and presented to heads of state at the UN climate summit in New York the next day.

If we do this, Avaaz will spend the next 4 weeks almost non-stop on it, and it will take hundreds of thousands of us joining efforts to pull it together -- hosting and attending events, reaching out to our communities, using all our creativity and dedication. This is an important decision, and we need to make it together. From now until September 21 -- should we do it?

The goal of our wake-up call is a big one: to convince the world's leaders to meet at the final climate talks in Copenhagen this December and sign an ambitious, fair and binding treaty to stop catastrophic climate change.

Talks on the treaty have been building for years. Now, 100 days from Copenhagen, we're nearing a tipping point -- and a huge global roar could make the difference.

If we take this on, we won't be alone. Avaaz has been working closely with a new, massive coalition of global civil society groups, from Oxfam to WWF to Greenpeace, to multiply the world's voices for climate action. The joint campaign's name is Tck Tck Tck -- the sound of a ticking clock, as time runs short. Every group involved shares the vision of success in Copenhagen, and we can't succeed without everyone. The question is -- should Avaaz make this climate wake-up call its #1 priority through September 21?

Yes, make climate the #1 priority

No, continue on as before

You can visit to vote and/or learn more aabout this initiative.

It has been said that if the people lead, the leaders will follow. This is our time to lead. Politicians know as well as we do that it's time for action on climate change, but they fear the consequences of doing what's right. Let's show them they've got it backwards: the world will settle for nothing less than the right thing.

It's our decision: whether to wake up the world.

With hope,

Ben, Ricken, Taren, Iain, Alice, Paula, Graziela, and the whole Avaaz team


Want to support Avaaz? We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated online team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here.

ABOUT AVAAZ is an independent, not-for-profit global campaigning organization that works to ensure that the views and values of the world's people inform global decision-making. (Avaaz means "voice" in many languages.) Avaaz receives no money from governments or corporations, and is staffed by a global team based in Ottawa, London, Rio de Janeiro, New York, Buenos Aires, and Geneva. Click here to learn more about our largest campaigns. Don't forget to check out our Facebook and Myspace and Bebo pages! You can also follow Avaaz on Twitter!

To contact Avaaz, please do not reply to this email. Instead, write to us via the webform at You can also call us at +1-888-922-8229 (US) or +55 21 2509 0368 (Brazil).

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6. Time Magazine Has Cover Story on “The Hidden Costs of Cheap Meat”

Forwarded message from Karen Dawn:

The current, August 31, edition of Time Magazine has a plastic covered packet of ground beef on the cover, which has warning label on it: "This hamburger may be hazardous to your health. Why the American food system is bad for our bodies , our economy and our environment -- and what some visionaries are trying to do about it." The headline is "The Real Cost of Cheap Food."

The story inside, by Bryan Walsh, is accompanied by pictures of animals living in disgusting conditions on factory farms. For example there is a picture of piglets, focusing on one particular sad looking little cutie, with the caption, "Stuffed Pigs. On a factory farm 10,000 or more swine are kept in tight conditions -- torture for the animals and risky for us."

A couple of weeks ago, when I blogged mostly about in vitro meat, I also plugged a superb documentary out now called Food Inc. You'll find a trailer to that film on my blog at . If it is playing in your town I hope you will go see it and take all of your friends and family. The current Time Magazine cover story might be considered to be the written alternative for people who can't see the film. It covers a lot of the same ground. I will share the first paragraph here, which will give you an idea as to the article's coverage of animal cruelty, human health issues and environmental devastation, wrought by our current food production system:

"Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon - circa 2009."

Please check out the article on line at,8599,1917458,00.html

Email it to all of your friends to spread the word, and so that it stays on the site's "most emailed" list.
And please send a letter to the editor, at

You might want to discuss any aspect of animal cruelty or sing the praises of vegan diets.

Yours and the animals',
Karen Dawn

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

Please go to for a fun celeb-studded promo video and information on Karen Dawn's book, "Thanking the Monkey: Rethinking the Way we Treat Animals," which was chosen by the Washington Post as one of the "Best Books of 2008." And check out Karen's new blog at!

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7. Book Published on Catholic Views on Compassion to Animals

Forwarded message from vegetarian activist Jan Fredericks

Subject: New Book! "The School of Compassion: A Roman Catholic Theology of Animals"

Our own Deborah Jones, PhD, has authored "The School of Compassion: A Roman Catholic Theology of Animals" which is now available through I ordered my copy!

Please visit this link for more information including the very
informative editorial review:
Peace for all,

Jan Fredericks, L.P.C., M.A.
Licensed Counselor
Chairman, Catholic Concern for Animals-USA,
P.O. Box 266
Wayne, NJ 07474

Editorial Reviews
Product Description
In The School of Compassion, Deborah M. Jones engages with the Catholic Church's contemporary attitude towards animals. This is the fullest sustained study of the subject in that faith tradition. It begins by exploring the history of the Church's ideas about animals. These were drawn largely from significant readings of Old and New Testament passages and inherited elements of classical philosophies. Themes emerge, such as the renewal of creation in the apocryphal legends, in the Desert Fathers, and in Celtic monasticism. The spirituality of St Francis of Assisi, the legal status of animals, and liturgies of the Eastern Catholic Churches also shed light on the Church's thinking. The British Catholic tradition - which is relatively favourable to animals - is considered in some detail. The second part of the book provides a forensic examination of the four paragraphs in the Catechism of the Catholic Church which relate particularly to animals. Finally, major contemporary issues are raised - stewardship, anthropocentrism, and gender - as well as key ethical theories. The revisits some teachings of Aquinas, and explores doctrinal teachings such as that of human beings created in the 'image of God', and, with a nod to the Orthodox Tradition, as the 'priests of creation'. These help form a consistent and authentically Catholic theology which can be viewed as a school of compassion towards animals. The joy of this book is that it helps Catholic Christians to re-engage with the issue of animals by utilising the riches from within their own tradition....And what Dr Deborah Jones has discovered is a remarkably more complex, infinitely richer, and considerably more animal-friendly Catholic tradition than might be supposed by the usual caricatures. This book is the fullest systematic treatment of the moral status of animals within the Roman Catholic tradition. It is the result of painstaking scholarship, wide reading, and, most of all, insightful theological exploration. It builds on the work of others, like myself, and provides a stream of fresh perspectives on our lives with God's other creatures. It is a deeply Catholic work, and I pray that it strikes a deep chord within the Catholic community here and overseas.

Revd Professor Andrew Linzey

Deborah M Jones is general secretary of the international organisation Catholic Concern for Animals and a Fellow of the Oxford Centre for Animal Ethics, with a doctorate in animal theology. She has also worked as editor of the Catholic Herald, deputy editor of Priests & People, as a writer and lecturer, and diocesan adviser for adult religious education.

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8. Podcast: Joseph Puentes Reads Noam Mohr's Article on Global Warming

Many valuable facts and concepts are brought out by JVNA Vice President Noam Mohr. Well worth hearing.

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9. Israeli Defense Forces Taking Steps to Reduce Pollution

Forwarded article:

After years of polluting Israel, the IDF cleans up its act

By Zafrir Rinat

Environment, Idf, Israel News

Haaretz August 30. 2009

In the Israel Defense Forces Intelligence Corps base in the center of the country, every time a soldier approaches a streetlight after dark the light goes on. When the soldier moves away, the light goes off. It isn't an part of an advanced system for detecting intruders, it's an electricity-saving measure based on a movement-detection device.

Recycling and energy conservation have become bywords at today's army bases, part of the IDF's effort to prove that it is genuinely trying to come to terms with, and to change, its history as one of the country's greatest polluters and consumers of resources such as water and electricity.

For years, large quantities of nearly raw sewage flowed from IDF bases into rivers and water sources. Leaking jet-fuel pipes at the Hatzor base of the Israel Air Force caused one of the country's worst incidents of groundwater pollution. Exacerbating the situation is the fact that 40 percent of the infrastructure in the IDF's bases date from the British Mandate, which ended in 1948, and do not meet current environmental safety codes.

According to figures presented this month, by a senior official in the IDF Planning Directorate, at an IDF conference on environmental issues, problems early this month, the army imposes various restrictions on 53 percent of Israel's territory. These include barring entry to training grounds and restricting the height of buildings in more than 10 percent of the country, including in the major cities. The Defense Ministry is represented on all major planning and zoning councils.

"There are few parallels to this abroad," says geographer Dr. Amiram Oren, who co-authored "A Land in Khaki: The Geographic Dimension of Defense in Israel" (Carmel Publishing, 2008, in Hebrew). Oren recently invited experts to Jerusalem's Van Leer Institute to discuss the army's affect on land use.

The significant change seen in the IDF's approach to the environment was precipitated by a highly critical State Comptroller's report issued four years ago, which focused on pollution from army gas stations and sewage pipes.

According to IAF figures, the treatment of the jet fuel infrastructure has been improved and leaks have declined to a few isolated incidents a year. The air force is particularly pretentious when it comes to the environment. It calls its campaign "Blue goes green," a reference to its uniform colors and is planning, among other things, the construction of a large solar power station at the Nevatim base.

In response to Environmental Protection Ministry demands the IDF began with sewage runoff from bases in the Lake Kinneret catchment area. IDF officials say that matter will be dealt with through long-term planning, in accordance with budgetary restraints.

In recent years the Planning Directorate has assembled a panel of officers and noncommissioned officers with professional training in environmental issues. Some of them deal only with environmental matters, while others do so in addition to their other duties.

Sgt. 1st Class Effie Amsalem is responsible environmental quality on several bases, including the Intelligence Corps base in the center of the country. "I hate waste and decided to promote the installation of devices for saving water and electricity wherever possible," he says. Faucets are fitted with meter devices that deliver a specific amount of water, and motion detectors will soon be installed on room air-conditioners, so that they operate only when there are people in the room. Amsalem is working on replace diesel fuel with cooking gas in the water boilers. The watering system is already fitted with monitors, and Amsalem hopes to introduce both synthetic grass and solar panels for further savings in water and electricity use, respectively.

At the conference this month various IDF units presented environmentally friendly inventions developed by their officer. These include using missile storage crates to collect oil or gasoline, and using solar panels to provide electricity for fuel pumps. One senior officer presented an innovative method for breaking down obsolete explosives using bacteria, which was published in a professional journal.

Environmental Protection Ministry officials, however, say the defense establishment objects to expanding the powers of ministry inspectors to allow them to enter bases and monitor issues surrounding fuel leaks, sewage treatment and the storage of hazardous materials. "Some of the inspectors can be given a high security clearance so that they can enter even sensitive installations," Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan says. "The army wants advance coordination, but then it's not really enforcement the way we do it in civilian plants, for example."

Erdan claims that currently there is an absurd situation in which his ministry prosecutes factory managers or mayors for failing to treat sewage properly, while the IDF has 150 bases with no sewage transport and treatment system. "It really is an expensive project to repair the entire infrastructure, but I don't understand this description of a long-term plan. What exactly is long-term - 100 years? - 1,000 years? This is an entity with a budget of tens of billions a year and I'm sure that they can work with the Finance Ministry to get additional funds," Erdan said.

While change is evident on certain fronts, the IDF is having much more difficulty shifting its policy governing the control of the land it needs for training and for storing equipment. In the past the IDF received public support for its control over the land, and groups such as the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel were willing to make concessions for the sake of security needs. "In the past we agreed to the construction of an air force installation in a nature reserve in the Galilee, because the air force commander explained to us that from this installation they could see every plane that takes off from Damascus," explained Yoav Sagi, a leading SPNI official. Environmental organizations also understood that the army's presence often prevents civilian construction, turning the IDF into the protector of open spaces.

This approach changed with growing civil awareness of the need for public monitoring of planning and construction procedures, and of the great damage rendered to areas near military installations, such as at Atlit.

Environmental and legal advocacy organizations and planning experts have long demanded amendments to the article in the Planning and Construction Law that addresses the defense establishment. It grants the army broad powers to build as it sees fit and to oppose civil construction plans, and its permits are issued by a special planning committee whose proceedings are classified.

Legal scholars and experts who discussed the issue at the Van Leer Institute last year recommended expanding this committee and changing its members' security clearance to improve monitoring of military construction plans. They also proposed setting time limits on expansion projects in security installations and restricting the defense establishment's veto power over civilian projects.

In response, the army, the Interior Ministry and the attorney general recently approved the "security installation procedure," according to which if the army submits a construction plan that contradicts existing plans the committee will approve it only if it is proven that the construction is either urgent or classified and therefore ineligible for the usual planning process.

The experts also propose enabling public input on military construction plans in certain cases, for the first time, albeit for a limited period of time only. In addition, the final decisions would remain with the committee.

Military planning officials say that with the exception of secret or operational installations the proposed changes would create a procedure similar to civil planning procedures. Oren says this is not enough: "The army wants to keep all the power and therefore did not act to change the law. Effectively we are in the same situation, and the proposed amendment does not in effect change the army's involvement in civilian planning. We must make changes, via legislation. Public pressure must be applied to the defense establishment so that it will request the change on its own."

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10. Update on Podcast Project

Forwarded message from Joseph Puentes, podcast coordinator:
This time we have one new Audio Presentation for the VSSE podcast:
Aryan Tavakkoli "Methane - The Hidden Danger":
The VSSE podcast has a Facebook presence. You can ADD me as a friend and send me your friend suggestions (
) and join the group here:

Please spread the word that the podcast exists and share with your "Environmentalist" friends. Also we have a FB Event at:

Related to Speech Writers: Very soon I'll be adding an area to the podcast page where various speeches will be archived. The first of these speeches are some fabulous presentations by Jamie Rivet entitled:

Harvesting animals and consuming the planet
An environmental essay, by Jamie Rivet

Variations of these speeches will be available in 2, 3, 4, and 18 minute lengths to fit various situations. Many many thanks to Jamie Rivet for his work on this project.
Are there speech writers in the group. Let's assemble an archive of "Ready To Go" speeches that anyone can use to further the cause. Email me at:

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11. Security Threat From Climate Change Must Be Addressed

Key argument:

John Kerry: Scientists tell us we have a 10-year window -- if even that -- before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and irreversible. The threat is real, and time is not on our side. The truth is that the threat we face is not an abstract concern for the future. It is already upon us and its effects are being felt worldwide, right now. Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now. Make no mistake: catastrophic climate change represents a threat to human security, global stability, and -- yes -- even to American national security.

John Kerry

U.S. Senator from Massachusetts
Posted: August 31, 2009

We Can't Ignore the Security Threat from Climate Change

On August 6, 2001, President George W. Bush famously received an intelligence briefing entitled, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S." Thirty-six days later, al Qaeda terrorists did just that.

Scientists tell us we have a 10-year window -- if even that -- before catastrophic climate change becomes inevitable and irreversible. The threat is real, and time is not on our side.

Facts, as John Adams said, are stubborn things. Here are a few you need to know: Atmospheric carbon-dioxide levels have risen 38% in the industrial era, from 280 to 385 parts per million (ppm). Scientists have warned that anything above 450 ppm -- a warming of 2 degrees Celsius -- will result in an unacceptable risk of catastrophic climate change.

The truth is that the threat we face is not an abstract concern for the future. It is already upon us and its effects are being felt worldwide, right now. Scientists project that the Arctic will be ice-free in the summer of 2013. Not in 2050, but four years from now.

Make no mistake: catastrophic climate change represents a threat to human security, global stability, and -- yes -- even to American national security.

Climate change injects a major new source of chaos, tension, and human insecurity into an already volatile world. It threatens to bring more famine and drought, worse pandemics, more natural disasters, more resource scarcity, and human displacement on a staggering scale. We risk fanning the flames of failed-statism, and offering glaring opportunities to the worst actors in our international system. In an interconnected world, that endangers all of us.

The individual data points may sometimes be murky. But the pattern they create is irrefutably clear: We don't know if Hurricane Katrina was caused by climate change, but we do know that we are rapidly heading for a world where climate change causes worse Katrinas. We don't know with certainty whether climate change pushed Darfur over the edge, but we do know that it will cause more tension just like we've seen in Darfur.

Once you accept the science, it's clear that such massive environmental change will create dislocation, destruction, chaos, and conflict. And history teaches us that we are deluding ourselves if we think that we are insulated from world events.

The people of the tiny coastal village of Newtok, Alaska offer a harbinger of the challenges ahead. Citizens there recently voted to move their village nine miles inland because melting ice shelves made their old home too dangerous.

But don't take my word for it. Anyone who doubts the reality of climate change should go to Alaska and see the melting permafrost for themselves, or listen to the state's two U.S. senators tell worrisome stories about climate change's current -- not future -- impact on their state.

Anyone who doubts the threat should talk to the 11 retired American admirals and generals who warned in 2007 that "Climate change can act as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world, and it presents significant national-security challenges for the United States."

You can even ask the security planners in the Bush Administration, whose final national-defense strategy document recognized climate change among key trends that will shape U.S. defense policy in the coming years.

Or ask the National Intelligence Council -- the U.S. intelligence community's think-tank -- has concluded "global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for U.S. national-security interests over the next 20 years."

Former CENTCOM Commander Anthony Zinni, no radical tree-hugger, put it simply: "We will pay for this one way or another. We will pay to reduce greenhouse gas emissions today, and we'll have to take an economic hit of some kind. Or, we will pay the price later in military terms. And that will involve human lives. There will be a human toll."

Nowhere is the connection between climate and security more direct than in South Asia -- home to al Qaeda. Scientists now warn that the Himalayan glaciers which supply fresh water to a billion people in the region could disappear completely by 2035. Think about what this means: Water from the Himalayans flows through India and Pakistan. India's rivers are not only vital to its agriculture but are also critical to its religious practice. Pakistan, for its part, is heavily dependent on irrigated farming to avoid famine.

At a moment when the U.S. government is scrambling to ratchet down tensions and preparing to invest billions of dollars to strengthen Pakistan's capacity to deliver for its people -- climate change could work so powerfully in the opposite direction.

Worldwide, climate change risks making the most volatile places even more combustible. The bottom line is that failure to tackle climate change risks much more than a ravaged environment: It risks a much more dangerous world, and a gravely threatened America.

Unfortunately, not everyone in Washington appreciates the stakes. It's tragic that we live at a time when if one were to dismiss the threat of terrorism, you'd be sent home in the next election. But there are no similar political consequences if you dismiss the science or the threat of climate change.

This winter, delegates from 192 nations will gather in Copenhagen to create a new global climate treaty. Between now and then, the United States Congress is expected to act on climate legislation.

The decisions we make in coming months will determine whether we meet this challenge head-on and prevail or if we are to suffer the worst consequences of a warming planet.

This time we have to connect the dots before we face catastrophe.

Follow John Kerry on Twitter:

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12. Los Angeles Vegetarian Group Organizing 30 Days of Vegetarian Events

Forwarded message from long-time vegetarian activist Janine Bronson: [I hope this will inspire people in other areas to see how they can get greater involvement in vegetarian-related events in their communities]

Blessings for a Sweet Jewish New Year, Inscription and Seal for Life, Ktiva U'Gmar Chatima Tova,

This is a happy and yet solemn observance of our very important Jewish Holidays, combined, with Yom Kippur, our day of fast!

While we reflect on this day of repentance, may we take this opportunity to challenge you to a month of going vegan?

A lot of people have said that it could never have been done, especially during the High Holy Days, but many Jewish people believing in the power of faith, have stepped up, and are now spreading the word! What better time for a new lifestyle, beginning around the start of the new year?

Starting tonight, 1st Sep 2009, at the launch party at Sun Power Natural Cafe, we will begin at least a month of vegan events that do not conflict with our High Holy Days Observance.

Would you like to join us for at least one vegan event during this month (and hopefully strive to join us again in the near future for many more such glorious celebrations) both in September, and thereafter?

Our first of such month-long events which begins tonight will be at:

Sun Power Natural Cafe
3711 W. Cahuenga Blvd.
Studio City, CA 91604
5pm-8pm 1st Sep 2009 Tuesday evening

Janine Laura Bronson

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13. “100 Must-Have Web Sites for Vegetarians, Vegans and Locavores”

Thanks to author and JVNA advisor Dan Brook for forwarding this URL for a web site that has many valuable links to vegetarian-related web sites, including that of JVNA.

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