May 19, 2011

05/17/2011 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Are We Living in the Century of Disasters?/Why Our Efforts are So Important

2. Letter to the Editor on Shavuot and Vegetarianism

3. A New Approach for the Vegetarian Movement? Stressing that Animal-Based Agriculture is a Major Contributor to Climate, Environmental, Food, Water, and Energy Crises

4. Major Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism

5. Are the Mississippi’s Historic Floods Due to Climate Change?

6. Food Day Scheduled/Let Us Use it To Help Spread the Jewish Vegetarian Message

7. Message From Long-Time Environmentalist Noam Dolgin On Upcoming Events and Opportunities

8. Campaigns to End Government Subsidies for Meat and Dairy Products Launched

9. Article in the Jerusalem Post Discusses Jewish Teachings on Sustainability

10. Major Article on Test-Tube Meat in the New Yorker Magazine

11. Requiem Ceremony for Animals Scheduled

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

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

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

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. Are We Living in the Century of Disasters?/Why Our Efforts are So Important

Forwarded message:

Spirituality and Ecological Hope
The century of disasters
Posted: 16 May 2011 01:41 PM PDT

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today from Margaret Swedish:

I didn’t make up that headline. I know I am often grim, but this one is not mine. However, it is about a story that backs up what I try to communicate in some of my speaking and writing and retreat work:

The world is changing. We have crowded the planet. We have created conditions for ongoing disasters. We have lived wrongly within the Earth and its eco-communities. We will pay a high price. We face some real challenges over the course of this century. How well we survive and with what quality of life depends on the decisions we make now. We have already run out of time to keep the changes and disasters from coming. They are here. But, again, how we live through them, what kind of human beings we decide to be as we face the consequences of our species’ presence here, that can still affect the outcome for humans and our fellow beings, that can still decide how bad things are going to get.

Then my niece sent me this article:

The Century of Disasters: Meltdowns. Floods. Tornadoes. Oil Spills. Grid Crashes. Why disasters are becoming more frequent and what we can do about it, by Joel Achenbach.

Not cheerful reading. Not the kind that gets your day off to a high-energy start as you sip your morning coffee. More like, staring at the wall with eyes glazed over trying to take it in.

In the same way that the 20th century was the century of world wars, genocide, and grinding ideological conflict, the 21st will be the century of natural disasters and technological crises and unholy combinations of the two. It’ll be the century when the things that we count on to go right will, for whatever reason, go wrong.

I know he’s right. This is not a stunning breakthrough in journalism, just a good summary of what the research (and our actual experience if we got off our computers and iPhones and back into our bodies) has been trying to tell us for some time now. We have already passed many tipping points, and we have recklessly attached ourselves to risky technologies for delivering many basic necessities (like our dependence on satellites for the delivery of electricity or communications with one another) even though there is a growing risk, therefore, of catastrophic breakdowns in the event of the inevitable failures to come (like the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, or the potential for a solar storm to disrupt our satellite communications).

Carbon emissions 800,000-year record. Source: US Global Change Research Program

We are beyond the Earth’s biocapacity – it can’t carry us as we are living now much longer; we have already changed climate and therefore weather patterns; we have already set melting of glaciers and ice sheets on a course that will cause sea levels to rise and inundate coasts; we have already set in motion a population rise that is not sustainable unless we scale down the human project drastically and stop an industrial process that is depleting all the natural resources we need for life – well, I could go on.

As I wrote last week, add the historic Mississippi River floods to the disasters list already this century, a perfect example of all that is wrong with how humans have tried to engineer the planet to suit us.

Just wanted to hang my head in despair with Obama’s announcement that the feds will speed up oil and gas drilling off our Atlantic Coast, the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, caving in to political pressures, another sign that we as a political culture are incapable of responding appropriately to the mounting crises.

Speaking of politics, let me add into the mix here what it means that our governments at the federal and state level are coming increasingly under the control of super-rich corporate plutocrats who are purchasing it right out from under us. Want to read something really scary? Maybe not, but it’s something you need to know – the extent to which David and Charles Koch and Koch Industries are becoming CEOs of the corporate power grab over all things government, and all the policy tools and resources we would need if we really wanted to make government responsive to all these current and looming threats.

You Thought the Koch Brothers Were Bad? Turns Out They’re Even Worse Than You Thought.

Okay, I’m just trying to be the messenger here. Democracy depends upon a well-informed citizenry, something we don’t have right now, not to the extent needed, that’s for sure. This stuff should be on the news every day; good journalists ought to be doggedly following this most crucial story of our times. But mostly they won’t because the mainstream media is pretty much owned by them, too. And people might get very, very angry with them if they try to tell this most unpopular truth. ‘Dancing with the Stars’ is more fun anyway, right? and gives you something to talk about with your neighbors.

I swear, it feels that dysfunctional these days.

Where do I find gift and grace? Well, still there is friendship, family, playtime with my goddaughter – and still, no matter how badly we have abused this most intimate lover of ours, there is still the Earth’s beauty. If we could just turn off all the noise and distractions and wake up again into what is most real, lasting, essential, we might find what we need to carve out a new path even as the old crumbles, even as we face disaster after disaster.

Yesterday we had what can only be called a day and night long gale, a classic Lake Michigan gale. I braved it briefly in the afternoon, gusts up to 50 mph coming directly off the water. I let a tree give me just enough protection to hold my hand steady to take a couple of photos of the waves crashing over the breakwater.

It’s hard to describe the thrill of being on the shore during one of these gales – the deafening deep howl of the wind, the nearly constant crashes of waves that make the ground seem to tremble, the expanse of waves and white caps all the way to the horizon. Many others were out (most parked in their cars) and it always gives me some reassurance to know that there are folks who take time in their day to watch something like this.

I know that when our technology and industrial civilization faces all sorts of crises and collapses, these gales will still rise up; this lake will still roar at times like a wild animal full of fury, humbling us one more time, reminding us yet again that we are not in charge here.

I wish we learn this as the disasters mount; I wish we learn this lest the disasters become more than we can bear.

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2. Letter to the Editor on Shavuot and Vegetarianism

Please consider using my letter below and/or my article “Shavuot and Vegetarianism,” which is in the holiday’s section at, to compose your own letter to the editor of a Jewish publication. Thanks.

Dear Editor,

Since Shavuot, which begins on Tuesday evening June 7 this year, commemorates the Jewish people receiving the Torah, many religious Jews stay up that entire night engaged in Torah study. As president of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I believe that this provides a good opportunity to consider if we are properly applying Torah values:

* Since the Torah mandates the avoidance of tsa’ar ba’alei chaim (causing unnecessary pain to animals), shouldn't there be far greater concern in the Jewish community about the horrible treatment of animals (10 billion annually in the US alone) on factory farms?

* Since the Torah stresses that we should very diligently guard our health, shouldn't we consider the many negative health effects of animal-based diets?

* Since the Torah teaches that we are to be shomrei adamah (guardians of the earth – Genesis 2:15), why are the many current severe environmental threats (all of which are significantly worsened by animal-based agriculture) not being adequately addressed by the Jewish community?

* Since the Torah mandates that we are not to waste resources (bal tashchit – Deuteronomy 20: 19, 20), shouldn't the Jewish community address the fact that animal-based agriculture requires far more land, water, energy, and other agricultural resources than plant-based agriculture?

* Since the Torah mandates that we are to share with hungry people, shouldn't the Jewish community address the fact that 70% of the grain produced in the United States is being fed to animals destined for slaughter, while an estimated 20 million people die from malnutrition and its effects annually?

Let us make this Shavuot a time to begin truly applying Torah values in order to produce a more humane, healthy, environmentally sustainable, just and compassionate world.

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3. A New Approach for the Vegetarian Movement? Stressing that Animal-Based Agriculture is a Major Contributor to Climate, Environmental, Food, Water, and Energy Crises

Below is my article that was submitted to the group planning this year’s World Vegetarian Week:


There are many reasons for people to consider becoming vegetarians, including concerns for their health, how animals are treated, and environmental impacts. This article considers why a major societal shift to plant-based (vegan) diets is essential to avoid impending climate, environmental, food, energy, and water crises.

Climate Change

There are increasing indications that the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented climate catastrophe. The year 2010 tied 2005 as the warmest year in recorded history and was also the wettest. The previous decade was the warmest on record. Glaciers and polar ice sheets are melting far faster than even the worst-case projections of climate scientists. In January 2011, Australia had the worst cyclone in its history. There have been recent floods of almost biblical proportion in many countries, including China, Brazil, and Pakistan. Many countries, including China and Israel are facing severe long-term droughts, and this has led some climatologists to call this century, “the Century of Drought.” While many people are in denial about climate change, there is a very strong scientific consensus that climate change is happening, that it poses a major threat to humanity and that human activities are the primary cause as indicated by many peer-reviewed articles in respected science journals and statements by science academies all over the world.

While not all changing weather patterns can be attributed to global warming, most are consistent with projections for a warmer world. Since these events have occurred during an average temperature increase of slightly more than 1 degree Fahrenheit in the past 100 years, it is very alarming that global climate scientists, including those with the Nobel Prize-winning IPCC, are projecting an increase of from 2 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 100 years if we continue on our present course of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. If this increase is more than 4 degrees Fahrenheit ­-- a change that is increasingly likely as atmospheric GHG levels keep rising ­-- there is a consensus of concern among climate scientists, biologists and social scientists that this would have devastating effects on humanity and the current balance of life on the planet, in terms of severe droughts, storms, floods, wildfires, and other negative effects.

Many climate experts, including James Hansen, director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, believe that a safe threshold value for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million (ppm). We are already at 390 ppm and growing by at least 2 ppm per year, another indication that major changes are needed very soon.

What has Hansen and other climate scientists especially worried is that climate change could soon reach a tipping point, unleashing a vicious cycle of rapid climate change leading to disastrous consequences -- melted sea caps, flooded cities, mass species extinctions and spreading deserts, among other events -- unless major changes in how humanity uses energy soon occur.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threat

It may seem naïve to argue that a mere change of diet could be a potent prescription for combating climate change, but the evidence is incontrovertible, and slowly the public is getting the message.

Much of global warming discussions by governments, environmental groups and individuals over the past 20 years has focused on implementing changes in energy use and given little attention to the impact of our diets. This trend changed somewhat upon publication of a landmark 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), estimating that livestock production globally is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs, in CO2 equivalents) than the emissions from all of the world's cars, planes, ships, and all other means of transportation combined.

The FAO report, Livestock’s Long Shadow, also projected that the world's current annual consumption of almost 60 billion land-based animals will double by mid-century if current human population growth and dietary trends continue. The resulting increase in GHGs would largely negate reduced GHG emissions from conservation and improved efficiencies in transportation, electricity and other sectors, making it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach the GHG reductions that climate experts believe essential to avoid a climate disaster. While that doubling may not occur, it is troubling that in the face of livestock’s strong role in warming the planet, many countries are encouraging the expanded consumption of animal products.

More recently, an in-depth analysis, “Livestock and Climate Change,” by World Bank Group environmental specialists Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang was published in the November/December 2009 issue of World Watch magazine. The authors argue that there are sources of GHGs from the livestock sector that were overlooked, underrepresented or placed in the wrong sectors in the FAO report, and concluded that the livestock sector is responsible for at least 51 percent of all human-induced GHGs.

Goodland and Anhang call for the replacement of livestock products with plant-based alternatives, based on the rationale that this would result in quick reductions in atmospheric GHGs, while also reversing on-going world food and water crises.

Leading climate specialists have focused increasingly on the role of food in global warming, pointing out that there is no more powerful environmental action that any individual can take than adopting a plant-based diet.

Environmental Crises

The raising of 60 billion farm animals for slaughter worldwide annually is creating many environmental threats. These include deforestation, desertification, rapid species extinction, air and water pollution, and many more.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threats

Modern agricultural methods used in meat production are a prime cause of the environmental crises facing the United States and much of the rest of the world today. Some examples include:

1. Over 85 percent of soil erosion is caused by animal grazing and feed lot food production.

2. Cattle production is a prime contributor to every one of the causes of desertification: overgrazing of livestock, over-cultivation of land, improper irrigation techniques, deforestation, and prevention of reforestation.

3. Mountains of manure produced by cattle raised in feedlots wash into and pollute streams, rivers, and underground water sources.

4. The tremendous amount of grain grown to feed animals requires extensive use of chemical fertilizer and pesticides, which cause air and water pollution. Various constituents of fertilizer, particularly nitrogen, are washed into surface waters. High levels of nitrates in drinking water cause illnesses to people, as well as animals.

5. Demand for meat in wealthy countries leads to environmental damage in poor countries. Largely to turn beef into fast-food hamburgers for export to the U.S., the earth's tropical rain forests are being bulldozed at a rate of a football field per second. Each imported quarter-pound fast-food hamburger patty requires the destruction of 55 square feet of tropical forest for grazing.

Food Shortages

We appear to be at the start of major food shortages that have great potential to worsen. Prices for grain have risen to record levels recently. One reason is that a tremendous heat wave in Russia – temperatures in July 2010 averaged 14 degrees Fahrenheit above the norm – caused a loss of almost 40 percent of the Russian wheat crop. The severe drought currently afflicting China, its worst in 60 years, threatens its wheat crop, and, since China has over 20 percent of the world’s people, this could cause another major spike in grain prices. Already, nearly a billion of the world’s people are chronically hungry and an estimated 20 million people die annually worldwide due to hunger and its effects.

Unfortunately, meeting the food needs of the world’s people will become increasingly difficult, Demand is expected to increase because of rising population, the movement of many people up the food chain, eating more animal products that require the consumption of grain for their production, and the increasing use of corn for ethanol. And the production of grain is likely to decline because of the effects of climate change – droughts, floods, crop withering heat waves, melting glaciers, and shrinking aquifers – and by the conversion of farmland to other uses. The contamination of food by radiation from the Japanese nuclear power plants damaged by the recent powerful earthquake and tsunami will make the situation even worse.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threat

A shift to vegetarian diets can help greatly reduce world hunger. Consider these statistics:

1. It takes about eight pounds of grain to produce one pound of feedlot beef for human consumption.

2. While the average Asian consumes between 300 and 400 pounds of grain a year, the average middle-class American consumes over 2,000 pounds of grain, 80 percent of which comes in the form of meat from grain-fed animals.

3. Over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and over one-third of the world's grain production is fed to animals destined for slaughter.

4. While one hectare (about 2.5 acres) of land growing potatoes can feed 22 people, and one hectare growing rice can feed 19 people, that same area producing beef can feed only one person.

5. Making the situation even more scandalous, feeding grain to livestock wastes 90% of the protein, 99% of the carbohydrates, and 100% of the fiber of the grain, and produces a product that is high in cholesterol and saturated fat.

Energy Shortages

There are also many problems related to the world’s ability to produce enough energy to meet future needs. Many experts believe think we may soon reach a time of peak oil, when oil production will start to decline. The recent nuclear disasters in Japan caused by the major earthquake and tsunami show the dangers of relying on nuclear power. And coal-burning power plants are a major source of greenhouse gases. It is essential that there soon be a major increase in the production of renewable sources of energy as well as major efforts to reduce the demand for energy.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threat

Animal-based diets waste much energy. In the United States, an average of 10 calories of fuel energy is required for every calorie of food energy produced; many other countries obtain 20 or more calories of food energy per calorie of fuel energy. To produce one pound of steak (500 calories of food energy) requires 20,000 calories of fossil fuels, most of which is expended in producing and providing feed crops. It requires 78 calories of fossil fuel for each calorie of protein obtained from feedlot-produced beef, but only 2 calories of fossil fuel to produce a calorie of protein from soybeans. Grains and beans require only two to five percent as much fossil fuel as beef. The energy needed to produce a pound of grain-fed beef is equivalent to one gallon of gasoline.


Water Shortages

The world is also experiencing increasing water shortages. As mentioned above, climate change is causing severe droughts in many parts of the world. Trying to grow adequate food for the world’s people through irrigation is causing aquifers to shrink in many countries, and some may soon be depleted. In addition, glaciers that provide replenishment water to rivers in the spring are receding rapidly. Already about one-sixth of the world’s people lack access to safe drinking water. And the worldwide demand for water is projected to double within 20 years.

How a Shift to Vegan diets Can Reduce the Threat

The standard diet of a meat-eater in the United States requires 4,200 gallons of water per day (for irrigation of feed crops, animals' drinking water, meat processing, washing, cooking, etc.) A person on a purely vegetarian (vegan) diet requires only 300 gallons per day.

Animal agriculture is the major consumer of water in the U.S. According to Norman Myers, author of Gaia: An Atlas of Planet Management, irrigation, primarily to grow crops for animals, uses over 80 percent of U.S. water. Almost 90 percent of the fresh water consumed annually in the U.S. goes to agriculture, according to agriculture expert David Pimentel. The production of only one pound of edible beef in a semi-arid area such as California requires as much as 5,200 gallons of water, as contrasted with only 25 gallons or less to produce an edible pound of tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, or wheat. Newsweek reported in 1988 that "the water that goes into a 1,000 pound steer would float a (naval) destroyer."

Security Concerns Related to the Above Crises

Many military leaders and security experts are increasingly concerned about the national security implications of climate change and the other threats discussed above. In 2007, eleven retired United States generals and admirals issued a report indicating that millions of hungry, thirsty, desperate refugees fleeing from droughts, floods, heat waves, storms, wildfires and other effects of climate change will make instability, violence, terrorism and war more likely. Military and intelligence strategists in many countries are revising their planning to take climate change effects into account.


When we consider all of these negative environmental and climate-change effects, and then add the harmful effects of animal-based diets on human health, it is clear that animal-centered diets and the livestock agriculture needed to sustain them pose tremendous threats to global survival. It is clear that a major societal shift toward veganism is imperative to move our precious but imperiled planet away from its present catastrophic path.

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4. Major Article on Judaism and Vegetarianism

This article, “Vegetarianism From a Jewish Perspective,” by non-vegetarian Rabbi Alfred Cohen, was written about 30 years ago, and it has much valuable information. I respond to many of the points in the article in my book Judaism and Vegetarianism.

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5. Are the Mississippi’s Historic Floods Due to Climate Change?

The article below discusses this issue. As the first item in this newsletter asserts, we are arguably living in the “Century of Catastrophes,” and it is important that we connect events like the recent floodings to climate change and stress how important dietary changes and other changes are to reduce the prospects of future catastrophes.

Climate Crisis Fueling Mississippi’s Historic Floods

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6. Food Day Scheduled/Let Us Use it To Help Spread the Jewish Vegetarian Message

Forwarded message:

I'm excited to let you all know about Food Day, a recently launched campaign that "seeks to bring together Americans from all walks of life—parents, teachers, and students; health professionals, community organizers, and local officials; chefs, school lunch providers, and eaters of all stripes—to push for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way." Food Day will take place on October 24, but there will be hundreds of events leading up to Food Day as well. We at the RAC and URJ are proud that Rabbi Eric Yoffie, URJ President, is serving on the Food Day Advisory Board, and we look forward to creating meaningful Food Day celebrations in our communities across North America.

Visit to learn more or to learn how to host an event or serve as a community coordinator. Look for more resources on tying Food Day to the fall Jewish holidays soon. For more information, contact Lilia Smelkova at the Food Day campaign (copied here).

Fix America's broken food system

Dear [Decision Maker],

I am writing to tell you about an exciting new initiative and to ask you to help fix America's broken food system. The initiative is Food Day--a massive, nationwide mobilization for healthy, affordable food produced in a sustainable, humane way. On October 24, 2011, thousands of events will take place in homes, schools, colleges, houses of worship, and farmers markets to talk about what's right and what's wrong about the foods we eat. And, we hope that city councils, health departments, governors--and you--will seize the opportunity to focus on how to fix our food system. For instance: 

*Poor diets promote obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic diseases. We need sustained government programs that promote healthy, delicious diets based more on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, as recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. 

*It's time to cut wasteful subsidies to big agribusiness and enact policies that support small and mid-size family farms that are the backbone of rural communities. 

*Throughout America, in cities and rural areas, too many citizens lack access to fresh, healthy food. It's time for programs that bring supermarkets, farmers markets, and other solutions to these areas and eliminate "food deserts" once and for all. 

*Huge animal confinement systems on factory farms pollute the air, soil, and water; reduce the quality of life in nearby communities; and promote needless animal suffering. It's time to reform factory farms and make life better for animals and rural Americans. 

*Food companies spend billions convincing children to want packaged, processed foods that promote obesity, tooth decay, and ill health. Junk-food marketing also undermines parents' authority. It's time to curb that predatory behavior and promote children's health.
Thank you for considering my views. And I hope you will participate in a Food Day event either in your state or in Washington, D.C. on October 24, 2011. If you would like to learn about Food Day, please visit or call 202-777-8392. 

[Your Name]
[Your Address]
[City, State ZIP]

Dear Friend,

Food Day is taking off!

We’re more than five months away, but already Food Day organizers are hard at work in every corner of the country getting ready for October 24. Food Day will celebrate healthy, delicious, and sustainably produced food—and serve as an opportunity for communities to discuss and solve their food problems.

We invite you to please join in this effort!

Let me give you some ideas by sharing what others around the country are planning:

• Food Day events are being planned at the University of Vermont, University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota, New York University, Stanford, Yale, University of North Carolina, and other campuses;

• Real Food Challenge is dedicating a paid intern to campus organizing;

• The American Medical Student Association is organizing Food Day activities around food deserts, hunger and healthier diets;

• Syracuse, NY, folks are organizing a Food Day festival to celebrate local food and their rich cultural and ethnic diversity;

• The New Haven, Conn., Food Policy Council and community partners are organizing a city-wide cook-in and harvest festival;

• Philadelphia is planning a city-wide event focused on ending hunger and food deserts;

• Sioux City, IA, is planning for nearly 1,000 people to participate in activities at three cultural institutions; the highlight will be a major conference on how small and mid-size farmers can get their produce to market;

• America the Beautiful Fund will provide plant and flower seeds in September for all Food Day coordinators to plan community gardens; and

• California organizations are building a statewide Food Day partnership to promote common food policy issues.

As you can see, the possibilities are endless. Here is how you can help:

1. Volunteer to be a local coordinator if you’re interested in stimulating multiple Food Day events across your state, county, city, town, or campus. Our new Coordinator’s guide (and our terrific staff) will help you organize an event.

2. Host an event, whether it’s a private dinner or a big rally—every event that raises awareness for food issues is vital to making Food Day a success. Put your event on the map to let us and others know what you are planning!

3. Help us to spread the word! Start by ‘liking’ Food Day’s Facebook page, following CSPI on Twitter, and tweeting Food Day ideas using the #FoodDay hashtag.

I look forward to hearing your ideas!

Sincerely,Michael F. Jacobson
Executive Director, CSPI, and Founder, Food Day

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7. Message From Long-Time Environmentalist Noam Dolgin On Upcoming Events and Opportunities

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

This Spring and Summer I am delighted to be involved in a number of exciting projects for participants of all ages including Bnai Mitzvah students/families, adults young and old, and Jewish educators. Check out the list of programs and resources below to find something that is right for you or someone you know.

As always, for more information on the work of Noam Dolgin:

Or check out Noam's Blog:

Teva Seminar for Jewish Environmental Education

May 31 - June 3, 2011
Shabbaton: June 3 - 5, 2011

The Teva Seminar is an innovative professional development opportunity for Jewish educators, environmentalists, camp staff, farmers, rabbis, lay leaders and students. Engage in a three thousand year old dialogue about the connection between God, earth, and humanity within a dynamic learning community. Gain the skills you need to bring inspiration and vibrancy to your camp, synagogue, school, youth group and college campus.

Noam will be presenting at his 13th Teva Seminar, on May 31st & June 1st.

For more information on the Teva Seminar, click here.

Limmud Germany

June 2 - 5, 2011
Werbellinsee, Germany (North of Berlin)

The Festival is a four-day event with more than 150 sessions on various Jewish themes. Every participant has the chance to contribute by registering to offer a workshop, discussion or performance. The program is offered in three languages: German, English and Russian.

Noam will be presenting on a range of Jewish environmental topics (In English, in case you were wondering).

For more information on Limmud Germany, click here.

Wilderness Canoe Trip for Jewish Young Adults

Backcountry Camping & Canoe Skills;
Jewish Eco-theology; Integrated Jewish Wilderness Experience.

When: June 23 - 27, 2011

Where: Adirondack National Park, NY

Last chance to register!

Co-leader: Rabbi Howard Cohen

For more info:
Call: 413-652-7086

Becoming an Adult in the 21st Century: Family B'nai Mitzvah Journey

August 15 - 21, 2011
Isabella Freedman Retreat Center, Falls Village CT

Join Noam and a team of experience educators for a week of intergenerational activities, outdoor education and discussions about Jewish, environmental and social values of responsibility. We’ll look at the engaging effects of these topics on the next generation of Jews and reexamine our responsibilities to others through tikkun olam, tzedakah and gimilut chasadim. We’ll explore our interconnectedness with wild spaces, discover social responsibility through agricultural practices, learn how to observe Shabbat as a weekly environmental holiday and find out how to make environmentally and socially conscious shopping decisions for your big event. This retreat is designed to help you and your whole family bring social, environmental and personal responsibility into your daily lives.

Optional activities for participants of all ages include getting to know the chickens and goats, fire-building, yoga and meditation, hiking, text study, arts & crafts, ultimate frisbee and more.

For more information on this and other Bnai Mitzvah programs, click here. - Your One Stop Source for All Things Jewish & Environmental

Join, a great forum for idea and resource sharing with hundreds of Jewish environmental programs and resources, including many perfect for spring, uploaded by Jewish environmental professional and lay leaders.

I have been very active in the site's launch, check out my Jewcology Blog, my Question of the Week or Follow Me for a full list of educational resource, blogs and other recent activity on the site.

Prepare Now for the Next School Year:

Noam's Jewish Environmental Curricula

Torah Aura Instant Lesson (Grades 1 - 8)

A series of seven full color worksheets with teacher's guide for students in grades 1 - 7. No background in Jewish or environmental education is required to facilitate these easy to use worksheets.

Topics include:
1 - In Our Image
2 - Guarding the Planet
3 - Caring for the Animals
4 - Birkot Ha'Nehanim (Blessings of Appreciation)
5 - Bal Tashchit (Do Not Waste)
6 - Modern Jewish Food Ethics
7 - A Jewish Response to Climate Change

Elijah's Covenant Climate Change Curriculum (Grades 8 - 11)

A 4-week curricular progression on Jewish values and climate change published by the Shalom Center.

"An engaging, creative and spiritually rich curriculum linking Judaism and environmental activism. A welcome addition to the educator's toolbox." Rabbi David Saperstein - Director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Click here for the store at to buy these or other items.

Noam for Hire: Environmental Programming in your Community

As one of North America's most experienced Jewish environmental educators, Noam teaches on a range of Jewish environmental topics. Review the available options on or contact Noam to discuss a program this is right for your needs.

Year Round Programming Available on Topics Including: 
* Awe, Appreciation and the Natural World
* Ecological Systems and the Interconnectedness of All Life as seen from a Jewish perspective
* Food, Food Production Technologies and Jewish Thought
* The Unnatural Jew: Our Relationship to Land in Canada, the United States and Israel
* Greening your Synagogue, School or Community Building
* And Much More!

Noam’s teaching has been described as “inspirational”, “motivating”, “down to Earth”, “approachable”, “eye opening” and just plain “fun!”

Visit for a full list of program topics and details, to view my upcoming calendar or be in touch about a program in your community.

Please forward this e-mail onto anyone you know who might be interested in any of these programs. I hope you or someone you know can join us.


Noam Dolgin
Jewish & Environmental Education
604-254-2549 Canada
646-807-2468 US

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8. Campaigns to End Government Subsidies for Meat and Dairy Products Launched

Forwarded message:

Launched! Our Campaign to End Subsidies for Meat and Dairy Products

Dear Dr. Schwartz,

As Americans filed their taxes in April, PCRM launched a new campaign against the government’s spending of billions of those taxpayer dollars on subsidies that support the production of unhealthy meat and dairy products.

To kick off the campaign, we released our new report that exposed disastrous conflicts between what our government recommends people eat and what foods are boosted by federal dollars in the form of agricultural subsidies.

Shockingly, while national dietary guidelines advise consumers to cut meat and dairy consumption and increase their intake of fruit and vegetables, more than 60 percent of agricultural subsidies have directly or indirectly supported meat and dairy production, while less than one percent benefit fruit and vegetable producers.

PCRM’s president Dr. Neal Barnard sent a letter to the chairs of the House and Senate Agriculture Committees in Congress, urging them to consider critical reforms to agricultural policy that will save money and reverse epidemics of chronic disease.

The country’s unprecedented rates of heart disease, obesity, and type 2 diabetes are linked to diets high in the fat and cholesterol found in meat and dairy products, and the cost to individuals and taxpayers is enormous. For example, the Medicare and Medicaid spending for obesity-related conditions – which are largely preventable—now totals $61 billion per year. By 2030, the annual medical costs for cardiovascular disease alone are projected to triple to $818 billion!

Take action by asking your representatives in Congress to support cuts to agricultural subsidies that promote unhealthful food.

Please read my Huffington Post blog posted here and share it with your network of friends and family! Click here to learn more.


Elizabeth Kucinich
Director of Government and Public Affairs

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9. Article in the Jerusalem Post Discusses Jewish Teachings on Sustainability

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10. Major Article on Test-Tube Meat in the New Yorker Magazine

Abstract of the article is below:


How long will it be before you can eat meat that was made in a lab?
by Michael Specter
MAY 23, 2011

Subscribers can read this article on our iPad app or in our online archive. (Others can pay for access.)

Audio: Michael Specter on lab-grown meat.

Keywords: Cultured Meat; Willem Van Eelen; Laboratories; Stem Cells; Test Tubes; Hamburgers; Scientists

ABSTRACT: ANNALS OF SCIENCE about the future of cultured meat. Willem van Eelen was born in 1923 in the Dutch East Indies, yet his youth of freedom ended abruptly on May 10, 1940—the day the Nazis invaded the Netherlands. Van Eelen enlisted and served in Indonesia, but he was eventually captured and spent most of the war as a prisoner, dragged from one P.O.W. camp to another. After the war, he studied psychology at the University of Amsterdam, but he struggled with the intertwined memories of starvation and animal abuse in the camps. At one lecture, he was seized by an idea: “Why can’t we grow meat outside of the body? Make it in a laboratory, as we make so many other things.” In-vitro meat can be made by placing a few cells in a nutrient mixture that helps them proliferate. As the cells begin to grow together, forming muscle tissue, they are attached to a biodegradable scaffold. There the tissue can be stretched and molded into food, which could, in theory, be sold, cooked, and consumed like any processed meat. Most people laughed when they heard about van Eelen’s project—it took decades for the science to catch up to his imagination. That began to happen in 1981, when stems cells were discovered in mice. In 1999, van Eelen received U.S. and international patents for the Industrial Production of Meat Using Cell Culture Methods. A new discipline, propelled by an unlikely combination of stem-cell biologists, tissue engineers, animal-rights activists, and environmentalists, has emerged in both Europe and the U.S. Teams are forming at universities around the world. Mentions Vladimir Mironov and PETA. Lab-grown meat raises powerful questions about what most people see as the boundaries of nature and the basic definitions of life. Yet our patterns of meat consumption have become increasingly dangerous for both individuals and the planet. The global livestock industry is responsible for nearly twenty per cent of humanity’s greenhouse-gas emissions. Cattle consume nearly ten per cent of the world’s freshwater resources, and eighty per cent of all farmland is devoted to the production of meat. The consequences of eating meat, and our increasing reliance on factory farms, are almost as disturbing for human health. Vascular biologist Mark Post says, “The goal [of cultured meat] is to create the volume previously provided by a million animals.” Mentions the Eindhoven University of Technology and Daisy van der Schaft. Describes the process of growing meat in a laboratory. Mentions Stone Barns and chef Dan Barber. The moral and ethical issues that would accompany the use of lab-grown beef may ultimately prove more intractable than the scientific issues. Mentions Princeton philosopher Peter Singer.

Read more

Many thanks to long time vegetarian activist Susan Kalev for alerting us to this article.

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11. Requiem Ceremony for Animals Scheduled

Forwarded message:

Our Planet. Theirs Too.

When: Sunday, June 05, 2011 noon - 6pm

The New York Animal Rights Coalition presents:



Sunday June 5th 2011, 11 am-4 pm, Union Square North, NYC

The public is invited to a mass requiem ceremony, to mourn and commemorate the billions of animals, Earth’s greatest inhabitants, who are confined, abused, and killed every day by ‘humanity’, all over the world.

We will recount the horrors and cruelty inflicted upon these innocent beings in countless industries and practices, such as factory farms, dairy and egg farms, the fur and skins trade, research labs, hunting grounds, menial labor, religious rituals, sports and entertainment, and the list is endless. We will celebrate their lives, and mourn their deaths, and cry out to the world on their behalf: how come, how far, and how long, will the human race put itself above them, use them and destroy them as it destroys this planet which we all share? We will show the world that we are a massive movement that will not rest until humanity takes responsibility, and protects all animals instead of harming them. Until planet Earth is given back to all its inhabitants, human and non-human alike, to be shared equally, in harmony and in peace.

During the event, there will also be opportunities for everyone, young and old, to watch displays and attractions, and learn about the many cruelty-free alternatives to all the practices mentioned above. The public will be invited to join our movement and make the moral, ethical, environmental, and healthy choice to adopt a cruelty-free, non-animal based lifestyle. To help us create a planet which is ours and theirs too.

Please join us at the square!


South side of Union Square, NYC
14 Street, between Broadway and University Place, NYC

Go HERE for all the info

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** 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.

May 13, 2011

05/08/2011 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Shavuot and Vegetarianism

2. Very Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Concepts on Vegetarianism and the Environment and on Climate Change

3. Diet for a Low-carbon Planet

4. Annual World Vegetarian Week Scheduled/My Suggested Themes

5. A Call to Progressives to Embrace a Wider Ethic That Includes Animals

6. Review of New Edition of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs

7. JVNA Advisor’s Son Seeking Wife

8. Article in the Jewish Forward About Kosher Slaughter by Temple Grandin

9. Article Re a Vegan Returning to Eating Meat in the Forward/My Posting

10. Message From Leaders of, a Group Dedicated to Getting CO2 Levels Below 350 ppm From Its Present Level of 390 ppm.

11. Veggie Pride Parade Update/JVNA Volunteers Needed

12. Papers On Veg-Related Issues Called For

13. Anti-Fur Society Schedules Conference

14. Nice Reading of the Classic Children’s Story, “The Lorax,” by Dr. Seuss, Showing the Book’s Pictures

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. Shavuot and Vegetarianism

Now that we are counting the days to Shavuot and it is about a month away, I am planning to soon send my article, “Shavuot and Vegetarianism” to the Jewish media. The article can be found in the holidays section at Suggestions very welcome about the article and about ways to use its messages and other Shavuot-related concepts to help promote vegetarianism.

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2. Very Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Concepts on Vegetarianism and the Environment and on Climate Change

Forwarded message from European Vegetarian activist Renato Pichler:

I've collected all environmental facts in this article:

(It is available as a brochure in different languages)

Collection of facts about climate change:

But we should work with pictures.

Two examples of diagrams (we made is as posters and small cards):


(Available in 7 languages)


(in 6 languages, yet) -

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3. Diet for a Low-carbon Planet

Article by Alan Miller on Tue, 05/03/2011

Most of the proposed solutions to climate change such as substitution of fossil fuels require large investments, policies that are politically contentious or difficult to enforce, and years to fully implement. However, some of the most effective and lowest cost opportunities for greenhouse gas (GHG) reductions are lifestyle choices that can be made today that cost little, and that are actually good for us. Chief among them is the decision to adopt a healthier, less meat intensive diet.

The significance of this opportunity was emphasized in a recent presentation at the World Bank by Jonathan Foley, director of the University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment. According to analysis by the Institute, every pound of meat is equivalent to about 30 pounds of grain production in its contribution to climate change when allowance is made for the full life cycle of livestock production. This is primarily because methane emissions from ruminants have a GHG impact roughly 25 times that of carbon dioxide.

Another expression of the resource intensity of meat production, Foley explained, is that even highly efficient agricultural systems like that in the US only deliver about the same calories per hectare in human consumption terms as poor African countries with more grain based diets. The surprisingly large role of livestock in global warming was explored in a 2009 article by Robert Goodland, formerly a World Bank economist, and Jeff Anhang, an IFC environmental specialist. They estimate that when land use and respiration are taken into account and methane effects are properly calculated, livestock could account for half of current warming when using a 20-year time frame. According to Goodland and Anhang, replacing 25% of livestock products with alternatives would liberate as much as 40% of current world grain production with comparable benefits in reduced burdens on land, water, and other resources.

We are increasingly learning about the risks that climate change present to agricultural production, which are very real and increasingly discussed as reflected in a World Bank paper on food security prepared for the recent Spring meetings of the World Bank and IMF titled Responding to Global Food Price Volatility and its Impact on Food Security. Rising temperatures, fires, and drought have already contributed to rapidly rising global grain prices and projections are for much more severe impacts, particularly in Africa, by mid-century. Fortunately, there are significant opportunities for improving agricultural productivity with existing techniques. Because current yields are so low in many parts of the world, the potential for improvement – even allowing for some losses due to climate change – is significant. Research is also being directed toward still more climate resilient seeds and agricultural methods through major initiatives such as that underway at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

While improving agricultural productivity and transforming the global energy system are both possible and perhaps even likely, both will take time, major investments, and coordinated international effort. In contrast, modest changes in diet require no major change in technology or capital investment and would immediately contribute to public health and lower medical costs (read New York Times article on the same subject here).

Despite these multiple benefits, promoting healthy and environmentally sustainable diets won’t necessarily be easy. Unless it takes hold in more affluent countries, it will be virtually impossible to urge on rapidly growing developing countries. People don’t like being told what to eat (as IPCC Chairman Rajendra Pachauri quickly found when he began promoting this message and several prominent UK leaders reacted strongly against it). On the other hand, the public needs to be given information in order to make informed choices.

Relative to almost any other means of addressing climate change, making modest changes in diet is a clear winner that merits much attention and support.

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4. Annual World Vegetarian Week Scheduled/My Suggested Themes

My suggestions for the week are below:

I respectfully suggest that the theme this year should be that a major shift toward vegan diets is essential to avoid an unprecedented climate catastrophe and many other serious threats to humanity.

I suggest that we spell out that the world is increasing facing climate, environmental, hunger, water, and energy crises, and to point how much animal-based agriculture is contributing to these crises, and how vegan diets can help alleviate them.

We could prepare fact sheets on these and other issues and urge veg, AR, environmental, hunger, and other groups to help spread the messages.

I would try to help get many groups behind such a campaign.

All the best,



My suggestions received strong support.

I plan to submit an article spelling out the issues for the group’s approval.

Suggestions welcome. Thanks.

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5. A Call to Progressives to Embrace a Wider Ethic That Includes Animals

Thanks to Dan Brook, author, educator, and JVNA advisor, for this insightful message.

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6. Review of New Edition of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs

3 May 2011

Journal of Animal Ethics 2011 Review of Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs

Prisoned Chickens, Poisoned Eggs: An Inside Look at the Modern Poultry Industry, Revised Edition.
By Karen Davis. (Summertown, TN: Book Publishing Company, 2009. 209+xiv pp. Paperback. $14.95. ISBN: 978-1-57067-229-3.)

Reviewed by Les Mitchell 
Hunterstoun Centre, University of Fort Hare, South Africa

This is a book for anyone who needs a detailed overview of the farmed chicken industry and who seeks to understand the philosophy that guides its practices. Karen Davis writes as an activist for chickens and other birds used in farming and is the director and founder of United Poultry Concerns. She dedicates her writing to “the chicken” but especially to Viva, a “crippled and abandoned ‘broiler’ hen” who, she tells us, deflected her from making a lifelong career as an English teacher to becoming an activist and writer (p. xiii). The first edition, she explains, was written to bring to light a story that has been told largely through the channels of the poultry industry, and this is the story of the transformation of the chicken from an active outdoor bird, “scouring the woods and fields to a sedentary indoor meat-and-egg ‘machine,’ filled with suffering, diseases and antibiotics” (p. v).

For the most part she tells the story of the life and death of chickens used in farming by using industry references and direct quotes from industry publications, which she contrasts with the words of activists. The author’s own voice seldom intrudes, but when it does, it is to make a reasoned comment or pose a pertinent question.

The early part of the book sets out to tell us about who chickens are. Not surprisingly, I found there was a lot I did not know, and I learned much about their natural history, personalities, and behavior in their natural state, reproduction, family life, and special abilities. This was an enjoyable section to read, although it was also sobering and rather depressing to find out that chicken farming is not new and that as long as 4,000 years ago, Egyptians were using chickens in farming on a large scale and even building fire-heated incubators that could hatch 10,000 birds at a time.

But the section on who chickens are is not just a pleasant segment in a dark book; it is critically important to everything that follows. Here we fleetingly rediscover the free bird of the ancient forests, a sentient, complex, social being rather than the object of cartoon fun, a fast-food item, or a living commodity. It is with this conception of chickens as sentient beings who have “interests in life” (Regan, 1988) in mind that we are invited to evaluate what follows. The remainder of the book deals with chickens through the eyes of an industry where the chicken is socially constructed as machine and commodity, where chickens are crammed together, starved, gathered up, minced, gassed, debeaked, clipped, and whatever else might lead to the maximum profit in the minimum time.

Davis documents industry practices with clear, concise, scientific language, well supported by references, and provides the economic justifications and descriptions used by the industry. We learn about such things as transportation; housing; trade-offs between death rates, disease, and profit; calculations of pounds of flesh per square foot; ammonia concentrations; a whole range of farmed chicken disorders; stunning; slaughter; and the disposal of corpses. Descriptions are meticulous; for example, the section on killing explores the advantages and disadvantages of neck cutting (various types), the vacuum chamber, and gassing with carbon dioxide or argon or nitrogen; discusses the problems of using carbon monoxide; and also mentions suffocation and chopping by high-speed blades.

The book is a chilling journey into an often surreal and at times frankly bizarre world. The landscape of Marek’s disease, ammonia blisters, Gumboro, swollen head syndrome, animals grown too heavy for their skeletons, chicken rage, live hang rooms, the gigantic mechanized bird harvester, the national Chicken of Tomorrow program, and the Nozbonz1 is brought vividly to life. This world, we are also reminded, is populated not only by profit-driven multinational agro corporations but also by pharmaceutical companies, government departments, research institutes, and universities.

The text tells us a great deal about the chicken industry, and what we read is deeply disturbing and a moral challenge that is sufficient enough in itself. However, we may also reflect on what it tells us about our own species and will find here abundant and depressing evidence of our human ability to objectify living others and of our capacity to be held utterly in the thrall of a particular ideology. It is a frightening demonstration of complete moral disengagement and objectification (Bandura, 1999).

Toward the end of the book, we look to the future with the hope that apparently more enlightened practices in the industry, such as free-range farming, might offer some respite. Sadly, these often turn out to be false dawns, and research now is moving toward altering the bird to fit the industry rather than the other way around. Experiments with red contact lenses, blind chickens, birds without feathers, and chicks with wings clipped off confirm that it is, for the most part, business as usual.

A question that might be asked is, does the position of the author as an activist make the book any less valid than a so-called academic text on the subject? My answer to that would be no. The book is well referenced using industry and other journals, and there is never any pretence by Davis that she is other than an activist. Universities, research institutes, and government departments have their own agendas, as do the individuals who work for them, and to pretend otherwise would be simplistic. At least in this text the agenda is stated openly.

This is a “one stop” book on the chicken farming industry, detailed enough for most of us and with good leads for those brave individuals who wish to delve further. A great strength of the book is its accessibility; it is clear, well written, and often broken into relatively small blocks. It is also a rich source of texts for those interested in analyzing linguistic constructions and discourses related to nonhuman farming, mass violence, and capitalism.

1. A piece of plastic pushed through the nasal septum of male birds to prevent them from eating the food of female breeding hens.


Bandura, A. (1999). Moral disengagement in the perpetration of inhumanities. Personality & Social Psychology Review, 3(3), 193.

Regan, T. (1988). The case for animal rights (2nd ed.). London, England: Routledge.

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7. JVNA Advisor’s Son Seeking Wife

Forwarded message from Dean Kimmel:

To Jewish vegetarian/vegan women of childbearing age who'd like to marry:

From Dean

I welcome correspondence with you as we Veggies are a minority of a minority! I'm grateful to Dr. Richard Schwartz, JVNA president, who knows my family for many years.

I was born at home, nurtured on Mother's milk, the third of my parents' four children. I was happy to be taught much by my parents by home schooling. My mother is a Columbia U. grad. She and Dad will be married fifty years June 29th. I was raised Orthodox Jewish vegetarian from birth, and evolved from vegetarian to vegan.

In my teens I collected first edition comic books, later semi-rare coins, and more recently, investment grade corporate shares of stock. In each case too many people were acquiring the items. They had the same smart idea! Then the speculators came.

I'm a Levi, happily participating in synagogue celebrations.

I love to select my vegetables and fruit. My "high" feeling of well-being comes from vegetables and fruit I eat. I learned physiology and why the Creator made us as we are. I became skilled with the hands, too. Carpentry, concrete work, doors, windows, landscaping, and roofing. Very practical.

I became a real estate salesman, and evolved into real estate broker.

I'm a six-footer, never married, and am 44 and therefore most interested in meeting women 25 to 45. Why not write? Tell me about yourself. I prefer regular U.S. mail for a beginning. Please include my apartment number, above. My email address is ak08129@gmail.


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8. Article in the Jewish Forward About Kosher Slaughter by Temple Grandin

As in most cases, Ms. Grandin ignores the many negative health, environmental, and other effects of animal –based deist. Her focus is on minimizing pain related to slaughter. She is critical of shackling and hoisting, which is still common ofr animals slaughtered in South America.

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9. Article Re a Vegan Returning to Eating Meat in the Forward/My Posting

Please consider sending comments for posting at the website. Thanks.

My comments posted after the article:

As president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America, I commend Leah Koenig for her concern for how chickens are raised and for only eating chickens that have been raised humanely. However, the vast majority of the 9 billion chickens slaughtered annually in the US and other animals raised for food are treated very cruelly on factory farms.

As a writer on Jewish food issues, Ms. Koenig could do a great public service by discussing the following:

· Animal-based diets and agriculture are inconsistent with basic Jewish mandates to protect human health, treat animals with compassion, protect the environment, conserve natural resources, and help hungry people.

· There are many healthy, nutritious, delicious, kosher substitutes for chicken and other animal products.

· At a time when the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented climate catastrophe, animal-based agriculture is a major contributor to global warming/scorching.

· At a time when almost a billion of the world’s people are chronically hungry, 70% of the grain produced in the US is fed to animals destined for slaughter.

· At a time when many areas are facing major water scarcities, an animal-based diet requires up to 14 times as much water, mostly for irrigation for feed crops, than a vegan diet.

· Animal-based diets have been strongly linked to heart disease, various types of cancer, and other chronic, degenerative diseases.

For more information on the points above, please visit, where I have about 140 articles, 25 podcasts, and the complete text of my book Judaism and Vegetarianism. Also, please visit to see our acclaimed documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World.”

My second post:

The issues related to our diets and the production of food are so critical to the future of our imperiled planet that I invite rabbis and other Jewish scholars to engage with me in a public, respectful dialog/debate on "Should Jews be Vegans?" It could be done through email with mutually agreed on rules. If interested, please contact me at

I also hope that the Forward will investigate and report on the many moral issues related to our diets.


I submitted additional posts that were accepted, as did other JVNA activists, at my request.


Read more:

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10. Message From Leaders of, a Group Dedicated to Getting CO2 Levels Below 350 ppm From Its Present Level of 390 ppm.


We knew Moving Planet [a campaign to get people out of cars and onto bicycles] would move--we just didn’t know how fast.

It feels like it’s going 82.8 miles per hour (which happens to be the fastest speed ever recorded on a bicycle). In the week since we launched this global day of action, we’ve already heard from hundreds of organizers in every corner of the planet who are making plans for September 24.

Wherever you happen to be, you can help build momentum for this big day to move beyond fossil fuels:

A few previews from organizers around the world:

In Wellington, New Zealand, parades will converge from every point of the compass onto the city’s waterfront--some will be bike parades, others will feature roller-skaters or kayakers or boaters or swimmers. And they’ll all be moving together with their demands for real renewable energy solutions.

Sao Paolo, in Brazil, is planning a huge bike action that takes over the streets. That city is so crowded with cars that it holds the dubious distinction of having more helicopters than any place on earth--that’s how the rich get around. On the big day, thousands of regular folks will converge on the Minhocao thoroughfare, a giant road notorious for having been built without a bike lane or sidewalk, preventing cyclists and pedestrians from getting around. But not on Sept 24!

In Papua New Guinea, the “moving” will be from the larger villages inland into the forest in a “symbolic gesture to hold on to the forest for future generations.” Our friends at the Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights are taking the lead on organizing hundreds of young people for this powerful event.

You can check out some more event ideas here -- they will give you inspiration for figuring out what to do in your hometown, or on your campus, or in your neighborhood. Any kind of movement is good: wheels, feet, boards--whatever you can dream up that isn't powered by fossil fuel. We’ve already heard from Dominicans who will be on skateboards, and Vermonters who will be on horseback.
We’re aiming for big gatherings, though of course the meaning of “big” depends on where you live. In a dozen or so huge cities around the world we will have huge actions. If you live near those locations we will be contacting you soon with more details.

And we’re aiming for real, sharp, powerful political actions. Being on a bike illustrates one solution we badly need, but it also gives you a chance to deliver demands. Imagine what your state capitol or city hall would look like ringed by a thousand bikes. Around the world we will be unified by our demands for the global action necessary to get us back to 350, but in every province and city and state people will also be making the specific demands for the kind of local work that needs to get done now.
Nothing gets solved in a day--but we’re never going to win this fight if we don’t show the global solidarity that starts to get the message across to our politicians: you may be stuck, but we’re in motion. If you want to lead, you better catch up.

This day can be amazing--but only if people around the world come together to make it happen. Let's build something incredible on September 24th:


Bill McKibben

P.S. Check out this dispatch that just arrived from Cairo, where youth organizers are blazing a trail for us all to follow. Sarah, a young activist quoted in it, is leading the plans for Egypt on Sept. 24--and it's going to be huge!

P.P.S. Have friends that don't yet know about Moving Planet? Share it with just a couple of clicks on Facebook.

You should join on Facebook by becoming a fan of our page at and follow us on twitter by visiting

To join our list (maybe a friend forwarded you this e-mail) visit needs your help! To support our work, donate securely online at is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Our online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions are led from the bottom up by thousands of volunteer organizers in over 188 countries.

What is 350? 350 is the number that leading scientists say is the safe upper limit for carbon dioxide in our atmosphere. Scientists measure carbon dioxide in "parts per million" (PPM), so 350ppm is the number humanity needs to get below as soon as possible to avoid runaway climate change. To get there, we need a different kind of PPM—a "people powered movement" that is made of people like you in every corner of the planet

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11. Veggie Pride Parade Update/JVNA Volunteers Needed

forwarded message fro Veggie Pride Parade Organizer Pam Rice:




* Publicize parade to your social network (Facebook, Twitter, Meetup, Yahoo, Google, etc., etc.)

Go to: to find plain text to post everywhere. Everyone can do this.
* Help our publicity expert by posting parade info to media sites (we'll show you how to do this in one short lesson, even over the phone).
* Arrange for a food donations (vegan only, of course). Some quick clerical work can yield a lot.
* Engage in outreach to the local vegan community. Collect menus for expo menu table; post poster; inform vegan businesses of parade.
* Network with the Meetup groups. Go to vegan Meetup events and work the crowd
* Stuff bags full of donated pro-vegan literature.
* Engage and nurture potential funding sources.


In the morning 9:30 a.m. at Union Square Park area
* Help carting boxes from our office on Union Square West to expo site (north end of Union Square Park).
* Label exhibit tables in morning prior to parade; lay down kraft-paper on tables.
* Be a personal assistant to organizer Pamela Rice.

At line-up and during parade (11 a.m. to 1 p.m.)
* Manage the signboards: pass them out, make sure we get them back.
* Assist photographers on ladders (we'll have two).

Megaphone management: pass them out at parade line-up, and make sure you get them all back later.
* Leaflet during the parade.
* Manage the leafleters.
* Twitter during parade to official parade Twitter site.

After parade as the expo begins (in the north end of Union Square Park at about 1 p.m.)
* Banner management. Banners need to be properly hoisted on stages, then properly cared for and accounted for after parade.
* Man a Flip (video camera) with tripod; we'll have four pointed at stages and exhibitor tables.
* Be a personal assistant to expo manager Alan Rice.
* Menu table management & oversight. Keep menus neat and tidy throughout the day at the post parade rally & expo. They get picked over awfully fast.
* Assist sound technician and dj throughout the day.
* Oversee exhibitor tables: make sure exhibitors are abiding by all Parks Dept. rules and guidelines.
* Distribute food (food donations) to hungry crowds at post-parade expo.
* Pass out flyers and programs during the post-parade expo.

NOTE: 2 impromptu meetings are also scheduled
Same location (Veggie Center), tomorrow, Saturday, May 7:
(1) video team: 11 a.m.
(2) banner-management team: 5 p.m.


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12. Papers On Veg-Related Issues Called For


Journal of Sociology & Social Welfare

Deadline: December 30, 2011
Redefining Social Welfare: Connections across Species

A growing body of research supports the notion that human well-being is inextricably connected to the welfare of other animals. Social scientists are exploring these connections in research in social work and various subfields of sociology, including those focusing on the environment, deviance, the family, health, social inequality, and religion, as well as the emerging field of animals and society. This special issue will tap researchers and theorists in a wide range of subfields in order to capture the breadth of the connections among species that affect all aspects of human well-being. 
We want articles that address every aspect of the ways that animals' well-being intersects with human well-being. These could include many subfields of sociology, such as environmental sociology, sociology of health and medicine, deviance and violence, sociology of sports, sociology of religion, and so forth. What we envision is to having articles on any of the following: 

1. socio-emotional connections between species, e.g., the role of companion animals across the life course and other related topics

2. the connection of animal agriculture to climate change and environmental destruction, which of course is inextricably connected to human welfare 

3. health issues--the impact of consumption of animal products on health--cardiovascular disease, diabetes, etc.--directly plus the impact of antibiotics and hormones fed to animals plus pesticides and poisons and contaminants--a big topic 

4. animals and science ranging from the impact of dissection on young people to genetic engineering and cloning of animals (and of course, the impact on human welfare) 

5. animal abuse and interpersonal violence 

6. contributions of companion animals across the life course from children to older adults (of course!)

7. animals in sports and entertainment (hunting, zoos, circuses) 

8. animals and religion (ranging from symbolism and its meaning--or lost meaning--in some traditions to animal sacrifices continuing within some groups) 
All these issues are inextricably linked to human well-being. This is an opportunity to articulate the idea that animal welfare is inextricably connected to human welfare through all the ways that human and animal lives intersect.

Manuscripts can be submitted directly to special editor Dr. Christina Risley-Curtiss at as email attachments, preferably in MS WORD 2003-2007 by December 30, 2011.

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13. Anti-Fur Society Schedules Conference



Dear friends,

We have some exciting updates to share with you. Not only the arrangements are successfully underway but we also have several new "entries" that you will love to know about. Among great speakers and exhibitors, we'll have a great cast of fabulous people hosting our delicious vegan dinner reception. Meanwhile, we would like to introduce our new celebrity who is coming all the way from Hollywood to honor us with his energetic and charming presence. He is none other than Zoli Teglas, the front man of the bands PENNYWISE & IGNITE.

What you may not know about Zoli is that he is a fierce animal rights activist, has his own rescue group and represents Sea Shepherd. He will be exhibiting at our conference: PELICAN RESCUE TEAM. We are not equipped to have a band at our conference, so we're trying to convince Zoli to sing solo for us. Regardless you will have a chance to meet him and check for yourself what a great guy he is!


Please note some exciting changes to our schedule to include a lecture by Joshua Katcher, a fashion journalist in NY whose blog "The Discerning Brute" is very well known. His lecture will be focused on fashion v. animals. Thus the title: Fashion & Animals: Decoding and Harnessing the Dialect of Fashion Culture to Help Animals. click here. You do not want to miss it!


We are excited to announce that we have some incredible vegan and cruelty-free items up for auction, as well as some unique collectibles and signed memorabilia for our Silent Auction and Raffles! Check our website often for updates on our item! (note that not all will be posted). We will soon be publishing the names of vegan organizations that are donating cruelty-free items including vegan chocolates for all attendees! CLICK RAFFLES


Right now we have all of the exhibitors we can accommodate, as well as a couple of organizations on the waiting list. However if we receive applications from FOUR more exhibitors, we will be opening up another room for the additional six exhibitors. So, if you want to exhibit, sign up NOW: HERE.

Hope to see you there!

Rosa Close & Shannon Keith

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14. Nice Reading of the Classic Children’s Story, “The Lorax,” by Dr. Seuss, Showing the Book’s Pictures

Great story to educate children about the importance of environmental sustainability. My favorite children’s story.

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05/01/2011 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. My Latest Vegetarian Podcast

2. Notice of Talk I Gave in Israel at the Jewish Vegetarian Society Center

3. Update for the Veggie Pride Parade/JVNA Volunteer Needed

4. Vegan Authors Seeking Input

5. Insightful Talk on Climate Change

6. Benefits of Reducing Meat Consumption

7. New Creative Card Game Helps Educate About Climate Change

8. Campaign to End Animal Experiments in Canada

9. Great Article on Environmental Benefits of Plant-Based Diets

10. World Week for the Abolition of Meat Scheduled

10a. Discussion of Recent Examples of Climate Irregularities

11. Yes, Climate Skeptics Can Change

12. PETA Offers to Help “Green Synagogue” if it Would Help Promote Veganism

13. Veggie Pride Parade Exhibitor List/Volunteer Needed for the JVNA Table

14. New Book Dispels the “Protein Myth”

15. Top Scientist Argues That Recent Severe Tornados Are Related to Climate Change

16. Update From Joseph Puentes re Vegetarian and Environmental Podcasts

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

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

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

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. My Latest Vegetarian Podcast

Rae Sikora Interviews Richard Schwartz: "Why People Should be Vegetarians"

Many thanks to Joseph Puentes for facilitating and editing and posting this interview. More about his work and plans is at the end of this newsletter. Also, many thanks to Rae Sikora for her excellent job conducting the interview and for her valuable comments during it. Rae is one of the truly super stars of the veg movement.

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2. Notice of Talk I Gave in Israel at the Jewish Vegetarian Society Center

Vegetarianism: Revitalize Judaism and Shift Our Imperiled World To a Sustainable Path

Speaker: Prof. Richard Schwartz

Thursday, April 21st, 7pm
At "Ginger"
8 Balfour Street, Jerusalem

Admission: free

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D. is Professor Emeritus, College of Staten Island, president of Jewish Vegetarians of North America and author of “Judaism and Vegetarianism,” “Judaism and Global Survival,” and “Mathematics and Global Survival,” and over 130 articles at

For details:

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3. Update for the Veggie Pride Parade/JVNA Volunteer Needed

[If you would like to help give out “A Sacred Duty” DVDs, and help at the JVNA table, please let me know. I am scheduled to speak at the event.]

For immediate release: February 25, 2011 
Contact: Pamela Rice, 212-242-0011


Veggie Pride Parade NYC 2011

Greenwich Village / Union Square

May 15, 2011

Every stand-up comedian in the business knows you can always get an instant laugh: make a vegan the butt of your joke. Every vegan kid knows he or she is not likely to get a good meat-free and dairy-free meal in the school lunchroom and faces ridicule just for asking. All too many vegans who live in remote areas have to buy their food by mail order or travel to other towns just to eat. And ask any vegan about what he or she must go through to convey a simple food order in a non-veg restaurant. It isn't fun.

All this even though we know meat is cruel, unhealthy, and catastrophic for the environment. And why are meat, dairy, and fish so heavily subsidized by governments around the world, particularly in the United States and Europe? None of it makes a bit of sense. Nor is it fair or right.

Enter the 4th annual NYC Veggie Pride Parade, which will take place in Greenwich Village/ Union Square, on Sunday, May 15, 2011. For vegetarians, the day's festivities are sure to give their meatless way of living a much-needed boost.

Parade participants are encouraged to dress up in costumes and wear signboards announcing their pride in their vegan lifestyle. Local restaurants, veg groups, and veg everything will be represented with banners and chants. The parade will include animal-rights activists, environmentalists, and people simply concerned with their health. But on May 15, 2011, all will come together with one voice, one expression, of veggie pride.

The procession will begin at 12 Noon in the Old Meat Packing District (where 9th Ave. & Gansevoort St. intersect). It will culminate in a festival for all to enjoy at the north end of Union Square Park. There, revelers of all persuasions will hear well-known vegan speakers and music by vegan artists. They'll all partake in free vegan food and explore a wide variety of exhibitor presentations. At 2 p.m., a costume contest will take place.

Throughout the day, individuals will be encouraged to speak their mind at the Soapbox Testimonial Station. Other activists will beckon passersby to get a dollar to watch a veggie video.

Organizer Pamela Rice feels confident that this year's parade will be bigger and better than ever. Ms. Rice said, "I'm hoping that at this event people will see vegans and vegetarians come out of the shadows, once and for all."

Visit for more information about every aspect of the event.

Pamela Rice
Organizer, Veggie Pride Parade
VivaVegie Society 501(c)3
One Union Sq. West, #512
New York, NY 10003
212-242-0011, office

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4. Vegan Authors Seeking Input

Message from our friend, bestselling vegan author, Patti Breitman:

Carol Adams and I are looking for vegans who are willing to tell others what they eat on a typical day, as well as some of their favorite foods, healthy or otherwise.

Your answers may be included in our new book that is intended to help "not yet vegans" discover the ease, joy, variety and abundance of a vegan diet.

If you are interested in participating, click the link below for more info:

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5. Insightful Talk on Climate Change

Bill McKibben Talk

Forwarded message from

Dear friends, an extraordinary event took place in Washington, D.C. this past weekend.

Over 10,000 young people came together for Power Shift 2011 -- a 3-day conference to train, organize, and mobilize for climate action in the United States. The US has been an obstacle to climate action for years, so seeing the power and energy of the young people together was one of the most hopeful moments for the climate movement in quite some time.
It was an amazing event: there were inspiring talks from Van Jones and Al Gore, workshops on local solutions, and even a mass march against big polluters in the streets of Washington DC.

But there is one highlight from the weekend you truly need to see: the speech from Bill McKibben, which energized a crowd 10,000 people-strong. Watch the video of this incredible talk:

I have worked with Bill for several years now, and I've seen him give a lot of speeches. This one fired me like never before. Within the speech you’ll also get a preview of the announcements set for the coming week about some of our new plans for this year. 

Hopefully this video gets you as charged up as we are to get moving and to go bigger than ever with our movement in the months ahead.

More from us very soon,

Will Bates and the whole team

P.S. Wondering why folks were rallying at the US Chamber of Commerce? Visit to learn more about a campaign we’re running in the US to take on those obstructing progress.

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6. Benefits of Reducing Meat Consumption

Forwarded message:

One of the easiest ways you can help stop global warming and improve the health of the planet is by reducing your consumption of meat (for a powerful article on the environmental impact of meat, see our friend Mark Bittman's 2008 NYT piece: "Rethinking the Meat-Guzzler").

But reducing your meat intake, and becoming more aware of meat industry practices, can also have a major positive impact on your personal health.

A shocking recent study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute found that nearly half of the meat and poultry sampled in the nationwide study was contaminated with Staph bacteria, much of it resistant to antibiotics. The bottom line? The widespread use of antibiotics in animal feed on factory farms, used to make the animals grow faster, not to treat them for infections, is creating breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria that threatens all of us.

When you do eat meat, try your best to serve products that you know were made without the irresponsible use of antibiotics. If you don't have the luxury of buying direct from a farmer or rancher whom you trust (most people don't), purchasing foods labeled with the organic seal may be the safest bet.

For more on the issue of antibiotics and food production, check out two of my recent submissions to The Huffington Post:

"This is the Game Changer"

"Antibiotics and Food Production"

From Laurie David, Producer/Author/NRDC Trustee

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7. New Creative Card Game Helps Educate About Climate Change

Shalom everyone,

Just wanted to let you know about a new, creative card game produced by the Union of Conservative Scientists called "Cool It!,"

It is an excellent way to learn more about and help teach others about climate change. The game is for people 8 years old and older.

You can learn more about this game and order a copy by visiting:

This message is sent purely as a public service, because I think the more one knows about climate change, the more chance there is that the climate will be stabilized. I played the game with children and grandchildren in Israel and they enjoyed it and learned about causes of climate change and ways to reduce it.

Best wishes,


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8. Campaign to End Animal Experiments in Canada

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, April 19, 2011


Canadian Coalition Against Animal Research and Experimentation urges reforms while ultimately phasing out experiments on animals

Vancouver, BC
– Today, more than 40 animal advocacy organizations across Canada announced the formation of a new coalition that is calling for an end to experiments on animals. The network – the Canadian Coalition Against Animal Research and Experimentation (CCAARE) which includes the Animal Alliance of Canada, Calgary Animal Rights Effort, Stop Animal Testing at Dalhousie University, and Stop UBC Animal Research among many others – is the first of its kind in Canada. In a letter this week to the Canadian Council on Animal Care, the body that oversees animal experiments, the CCAARE also called for immediate reforms to animal research as experimentation is phased out. The announcement of the coalition comes during World Laboratory Animal Liberation Week, an annual event during which animal activists across the globe organize rallies, protests, news conferences, and information tables to fight for animals in laboratories.

“Animal research is cruel, unnecessary, and hazardous to both animal and human health,” said the coalition’s Co-director, Brian Vincent. Mr. Vincent also serves as director of the Vancouver-based Stop UBC Animal Research. “Experimenting on animals is at odds with our country’s sense of compassion and has no place in a civilized society.”

“The shroud of secrecy that envelopes animal research in Canada equals that of military covert operations,” said Liz White, CCAARE Co-director and Director of the Animal Alliance of Canada in Toronto. “Although institutions like the University of British Columbia and the University of Guelph receive public funds, the public has few rights to know how those monies are spent, how many animals are used, and what happens to them. If people knew what went on behind the closed doors of research institutions, the number of animals used would begin a steep and rapid decline.”

Specifically, the coalition urged the CCAC to immediately implement major reforms while it phases out animal experiments altogether.


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9. Great Article on Environmental Benefits of Plant-Based Diets

Eco-Eating: Going Green Begins With What’s On Your Plate

Posted on April 18, 2011 by Hope Bohanec (author of the article):

With Earth Day approaching [now today], I have some great news for the planet. The food and drink an average person consumes are the single largest determining factor of one’s overall ecological footprint. Why is this good news? Because knowing this, it’s easy and affordable to make important improvements to our global impact. You don’t need to buy a hybrid or get solar panels to make the biggest difference; just changing our shopping and eating habits to delicious plant-based choices can have positive effects.

Our food choices have dramatic consequences on the environment. Reducing or eliminating the consumption of animal products is one of the most powerful ways an individual can reduce his or her carbon footprint. What we put into our bags at the grocery store actually has more environmental impact than whether we bring a reusable shopping bag or drive a hybrid to the store.

Animal agriculture is responsible for many of the world’s most serious environmental problems — global warming, water use and pollution, massive energy consumption, deforestation, loss of biodiversity and species, as well as the deep impact of fishing on our oceans. A 2010 Report from the UN International Panel of Sustainable Resource Management strongly urges a global shift to a plant-based diet to both feed a hungry world and greatly reduce environmental impacts like global warming.

Unfortunately, recognizing animal products for the global warming culprits they are is an abstract concept. Identifying carbon emissions from, let’s say, a car, is much more observable. The fossil fuel gets pumped in and emits from the tail pipe — how much fuel you burn is the calculator of your impact. On the other hand, an animal product sits innocently concealed in a plastic-wrapped package, with no way to tally its heavy environmental toll.

So how does an animal product come to have such a profound carbon footprint? It’s a combination of factors. Producing animal products wastes enormous amounts of energy and fossil fuels, and emits greenhouse gasses in the process. Throw in the destruction of the Amazon Rainforest for cattle grazing and raising soy beans fed to animals, and you have a recipe for serious impact on climate change.

Climate Change

When it comes to global warming, farmed animals and their byproducts are responsible for 51 percent of annual worldwide human caused greenhouse gas emissions. This is according to a 2008 report from two prominent World Bank environmental advisers. Based on their research, they conclude that replacing animal products with plant-based foods would be the best strategy for reversing climate change. They advise that this can reduce emissions even more than the actions currently taken to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy (see Livestock and Climate Change, Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, World Watch Nov./Dec. 2009)

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Committee looked at the global impact of animal agriculture and found that farming animals emits more greenhouse gasses then all the world’s transportation— that’s all the automobiles, planes, trains and any other form of carbon-emitting transportation combined. So when you are contemplating how to significantly reduce your carbon footprint, often what comes to mind first is driving less or getting a more fuel-efficient vehicle, and while that certainly helps, your impact can be even more powerful by reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet.

A study by the University of Chicago found that consuming no animal products is 50 percent more effective at fighting global warming than switching from a standard car to a hybrid.


Most of the world’s water is used for irrigation. Agricultural production, including livestock production, consumes more fresh water than any other activity in the United States (See Sustainability of Meat-Based and Plant-Based Diets and the Environment, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, No. 3, 660S-663S). In fact, over half the total amount of fresh water consumed in the U.S. goes to irrigate land to grow feed for livestock. Huge additional amounts of water are used to water the animals, clean the equipment, etc. A dairy operation that utilizes an automatic “flushing” system can use up to 150 gallons of water per cow per day (US Department of Agriculture, Soil Conservation Service. “Agricultural Waste Management Field Handbook.” USDA. April 1992: p. 4-8).

It takes less water to produce one year’s worth of food for a completely plant-based diet than it does to produce one month’s worth of food for a diet with animal products. Producing 1 lb. of animal protein requires about 100 times more water than producing 1 lb. of grain protein (See Sustainability of Meat-Based and Plant-Based Diets and the Environment, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 78, No. 3, 660S-663S). It has even been said that a vegan can leave the shower running for a year and still not waste as much water as a meat eater in the same year.


Animal agriculture destroys thousands of acres of forests that help purify the air, reduce carbon dioxide, and that are home to many species of animals, birds, and plants. According to the UN, “In the Amazon, cattle ranching is now the primary reason for deforestation.”

Large-scale dietary change to a plant-based diet could actually reverse deforestation. In the US, over 400 million acres of pasture and range land could be reforested (See Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 2006).

Hundreds of millions of additional acres goes to growing feed for livestock, most of which could be reforested if the land was used directly to feed people instead of animals. It is estimated that one acre of trees is preserved each year by each individual who switches to a completely plant-based diet.

So while celebrating this beautiful planet during Earth Day, remember that reducing or eliminating the consumption of animal products is one of the most powerful ways we can reduce our impact on the environment. A plant-based diet is by far the most ecological dietary choice we can make.

Hope Bohanec has been active in animal protection and environmental activism for over 20 years. She is the Grassroots Campaigns Director for the international animal protection organization, In Defense of Animals. Hope was the Sonoma County Coordinator for Proposition 2 and soon after that victory, founded Farm Animal Protection Project. Hope offers an influential power point presentation called Eco-Eating: A Cool Diet for a Hot Planet that addresses the environmental impact of animal agriculture through peer reviewed scientific research. She is a nationally recognized leader and speaker in the animal protection movement, and a well-known presenter throughout the Bay Area and across the U.S.

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Related posts:

Facts On Animal Farming And The Environment

Green Living: 10 Eco-Friendly Materials For Your Home

Beyond Green Hype: Eco-Conscious And Ethical Designers & Labels

The 5 Reasons People Go Vegan

Opinion: The Moral Foundations of Eating Animals

Making the Vegan Connection: A Cultural Challenge, Not a Moral One

How To Open A Vegan Restaurant Anywhere In The World

Building Strong Bones The Vegan Way

5 Amazing Off-Beat Eco-Lodges In Costa Rica

Bits of Star: The Significance of Going Green and Vegan

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10. World Week for the Abolition of Meat Scheduled

Forwarded message:


We've been organizing the WWAMs (World Weeks for the Abolition of Meat) for some time, and have been doing our best in order to promote the demand for the abolition of the production and consumption of animal flesh around the world.

It will be a total success if groups of people from all over the world take part in the upcoming WWAMs and raise awareness among the general public and as many media as possible.

In January over 70 groups participated in this large collective effort that goes beyond frontiers.

Please find below the call for the upcoming WWAM that will be held between May 21 and May 28, 2011.

Hope you'll be part of this campaign,

Look forward to hearing from you,

Florence and Yves

WWAM Organizers

It is a sad assessment that, despite the fact that the animals used for food represent almost all the animals exploited, they are extremely invisibilized. It is up to us, activists, to make their lives and their miserable destiny visible and to present prospects for putting an end to their slaughtering. It is up to us to proclaim that it is morally necessary to abolish the exploitation of animals used for their flesh.

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10a. Discussion of Recent Examples of Climate Irregularities

Fostering Ecological Hope
Today by Margaret Swedish:

In some places, the world really is coming to an end

Right? I mean, Missouri, Arkansas, western Texas – it really is the end for some folks, homes, whole communities, burned, torn apart by tornadoes, flooded out by rain totals of 15 inches or more over 4 days and more to come. In inundated and damaged areas of Missouri, more severe storms, some with tornado potential, are in store for today. Levees have been breached in some areas and quick evacuations and water rescues are underway. And forecasters’ predictions for today and through the rest of the week use the word, ‘dire.’

Texas Widlfires April 15 - NASA Earth Observatory

Dallas and eastern TX will get some much-needed rain, though downpours may not be welcome, but most of the state remains in drought and large parts of it in severe or extreme drought. Wildfires continue to burn – more than 1.5 million acres as of now.

What in the world is going on?

April has been a stunningly violent month weather-wise, and we still have a few days to go. Check out this Weather Channel page and ponder the map from just 2 days of these outbreaks, April 4-5. And this: 5400 severe weather reports in a month that averages 3300 nationwide. Incredible!

Now consider that May is actually the most active month for tornadoes in this country.

In Texas, where drought has deepened in recent years, at least one climatologist is not afraid to say that climate change is a contributing factor in the fires.

And the floods and tornadoes? Here’s reference to a study conducted by NASA a few years ago predicting exactly what is now occurring: Global Warming Will Bring Violent Storms (see more on NASA’s climate research here).

Can we talk again about the moral and ethical issues involved in climate change denial, in the intentional efforts by Exxon Mobil, the Exxon-funded Heartland Institute, or certain Republican members of Congress (e.g. Sen. James Inhofe), various Fox News pundits, and other corporate backed groups (Koch Industries is another of these backers) to obfuscate the science and try to convince you that climate is not changing because of industrialization and the burning of fossil fuels?

We have always insisted that no single weather event can be directly attributed to climate change; it’s the patterns over time that matter. It is also how accurately computer models predict the future – like the NASA study cited above.

Source: US Global Change Research Program

What worries me as much as how quickly weather patterns are changing and how unprepared we are for the changes is that we are not yet done warming the atmosphere with our greenhouse gas emissions. They will rise exponentially over the rest of this century no matter what we do now – not an excuse for inaction, just the opposite. Because another century will follow this one and there are folks being born now who would like to have children and grandchildren with prospects for a decent future.

This week’s Earthweek: A Diary of the Planet contained a little snippet about two ‘eminent’ scientists, Royal Astronomers Martin Rees and John Brown, who believe human prospects beyond this century are pretty grim.

Beyond the tangible threat of a terrorist nuclear attack on a major city, the eminent astrophysicist points to climate change and overpopulation as the world’s leading manmade perils.

You know, this is the stuff that can get a person pretty depressed trying to walk through one’s day. I am not a believer in the human extinction story, at least not so soon. I insist that we will not get off that easy, that we will have to live through these hard times, and that how hard they get is still up to us. But we will have to become very skilled at adaptation, and far more willing than we are now to accept changes in the entire mode of human living on this planet from that in which we exist right now.

Finally, if climate change and overpopulation are our leading ‘manmade’ [sic] perils, when was the last time you heard policy-makers, economists, teachers, religious leaders saying anything meaningful about these things, or leading us in a conversation about what to do and how to proceed? Many good statements – and I am getting so tired of good statements and petitions and sign-on letters and all – but little meaningful action at the scale necessary.

Ecological hope? We don’t have to wait for leadership ‘from above’ to take action. Around the world small communities are beginning to reinvent the meaning of the human project, of our role within the living communities of this planet, to advance the great leap in consciousness that has come with our return to the Earth and our place within it. We have to put our hope there – I don’t know where else to put it. We have to plant seeds deep into the Earth of our cultures, our broken messed up societies, our woefully lacking religious and educational institutions, our dreadful media, and nurture these seeds carefully, lovingly and with great dedication. It won’t make for an easy future, but it can make for a future from which goodness and ecological wholeness just might emerge.

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11. Yes, Climate Skeptics Can Change

Thanks to author, educator, and JVNS|A Advisor Dan Brook and Israeli activist Mark Feffer for sending us this link

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12. PETA Offers to Help “Green Synagogue” if it Would Help Promote Veganism

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13. Veggie Pride Parade Exhibitor List/Volunteer Needed for the JVNA Table

Following is the list of confirmed exhibitors for the Veggie Pride Parade.

Table space is provided.

* A Well Fed World

* American Vegan Society

* author's table, Rynn Berry & Hannah Kaminsky

* Black Vegetarians of New York

* Catskill Animal Sanctuary

* Deliciious TV


* F.A.R.M.

* Farm Sanctuary

* Bruce Friedrich, speaker

* Friends of Animals

* Global Justice for Animals and the Environment (after 3 p.m.)

* Green Compassion / Youth Buddhism Communications

* Healthy Planet (Long Island)

* Hearts for Animals

* Integral Yoga (food donation) (until 3 p.m.)

* Jewish Vegetarians of North America, JVNA

* Dr. Michael Klaper, speaker

* Lantern Books

* Meetup Dot Com (veg groups)

* Mercy for Animals

* Micah Books

* Mid-Hudson Vegetarian Society

* Victoria Moran

* No. American Vegetarian Society (NAVS)

* PeTA

* Raw Revolution (food donation)

* Pay-Per-View (watch a video, get a dollar)

* Sadhu Vaswani Center

* Sequel Naturals (Vega protein packet, food donation)--(after 3 p.m.)

* 7th Day Adventists

* Supreme Master Ching Hai, Int'l.

* Team Organic, vegan triathletes

* United Poultry Concerns

* Vegan Outreach

* Vegetarian Resource Group, VRG

* Vegetarian Vision

* VivaVegie Society

* V-Spot (food donation)

* Whole Earth Bakery (food donation)

* Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary

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14. New Book Dispels the “Protein Myth”

The Protein Myth:
Significantly Reducing the Risk of Cancer, Heart Disease, Stroke, and Diabetes While Saving the Animals and Building a Better World

By David Gerow Irving

Reviewed by Frank and Mary Hoffman


An imprint of John Hunt Publishing Ltd.
Laurel House
Station Approach
Hants, SO24 9Jh, UK
Copyright © David Gerow Irving 2010
ISBN: 978-1-84694-673-8
£12.35 UK
$19.95 US


David Irving's scholarly and well documented, but easy to read work, The Protein Myth, drew us immediately into the content. At the same time, we began to smile, because we saw the intrigue David developed leading the reader ever closer to the solution of our health care problems, but then telling us to read the next chapter for the answer.

The Protein Myth presents the scientific evidence and clinical trial results that prove that a whole (unprocessed) plant food diet will significantly reduce the risk of almost all of our major chronic diseases: Cancer, Heart Disease, Stroke, Diabetes, and Arthritis; and at the same time showing the reluctance or corruption of the major health care organizations to honestly report these findings to the general public.

Within the pages of The Protein Myth, there are chapters and sections that discuss in detail every one of our major chronic diseases, and the physicians, clinicians, and organizations that are continually proving that a plant food diet will prevent, reverse, and even cure these diseases and others. There are in-depth discussions on the health care establishment (government, industry, and charitable organization) who are working against the interests of the public's health, much as they had done with smoking in the past.

If our federal government really wants to lower healthcare costs and provide coverage for every citizen, they should listen to David Irving instead of the lobbyists.

The Protein Myth is a must read book for every single person, and a wonderful reference book.

About the Author:

. David Gerow Irving graduated Magna Cum Laude, Phi Bata Kappa from Columbia University.

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15. Top Scientist Argues That Recent Severe Tornados Are Related to Climate Change

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16. Update From Joseph Puentes re Vegetarian and Environmental Podcasts

HELP: I need people willing to speak on the topic of morality/immorality. I would like to shift strongly toward the immorality of eating meat with particular emphasis of how immoral it is toward OTHER HUMANS. CAN YOU PLEASE SUGGEST people that you feel qualified to speak on this topic? Just pass me their names and I'll do what I can to find their contact info so I can send an invitation. Please Help!


4993 Facebook Friends and Counting (I deleted several hundred friends that were already members of the VSSE fb group). At this point I've suspended inviting friends on a wholesale basis from the Vegan/Vegetarian community and will concentrate on adding friends from "Environmental" groups. The limit of friends a person can have is 5000 so I need to start thinking of options of what I'm going to do in a few months when I reach that threshold. Is there anyone in the group that is Facebook Savvy that could council me on alternative options? I know that many people have more than one FB account but I think that is illegal and since I've had my account suspended twice already I'm very hesitant to do anything that would ban my account for life.

I wish there was a way to invite Facebook individuals that are NOT my friends to join the VSSE podcast FB group:


The VSSE podcast has a Facebook presence. You can ADD me as a friend and send me your friend suggestions ( You can also join the VSSE Podcast Facebook group here: Please spread the word that the podcast exists and share with your "Environmentalist" friends.

Also we have FB Events at:

I NEED 5-10 people to help me Veg-Evangelize to Environmental Groups on Facebook (and off facebook too). Here is what I need. We'll each send out a short message (I can supply the message) to 4 FB Environmental

Groups per week/per month/or just as often as you'd like. The problem is that I've already had my FB account suspended a few weeks ago for being too "aggressive" in trying to spread the word about transitioning to a plant based diet and the next time it might be permanent. I've already

gained two more warnings and feel like I'm walking on thin ice. So the plan is to gather a "Few" good folks to send out these messages with the goal being to FORCE the conversation in the direction of "The single most important thing an individual can do for the environment is to go

Vegan."- email me: and I'll give more details -

Please Help!


We have a new addition to the speech archive. Listen to "The Missing Piece from World Peace" by Dr. Aryan Tavakkoli FRACP:

Speeches entitled "Harvesting animals and consuming the planet" by Jamie Rivet are ready on the website at Many

Many thanks to Jamie Rivet for his work on this project.

Are there any other speech writers in the group? Let's continue assembling an archive of "Ready To Go" speeches that anyone can use to further the cause. Email me at:


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


Keep it in mind that the best way to listen to the audio is to subscribe to the free podcast by downloading a free copy of the iTunes program at: You would then proceed to insert the VSSE RSS feed ( into iTunes to

complete the free subscription process. If you don't feel like doing that just click on the individual links at the site and listen directly from the internet or right click, save to your computer and upload to your mp3 player.

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