July 24, 2011

07/24/2011 JVNA Online Newsletter

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism

2. The Powerful Prophecy of Isaiah That is Read in Synagogues on the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av

3. Tour of Israel for Animal Lovers Scheduled

4. Powerful Statements on Food Issues By Two Christian Groups/Models for Jewish Groups?

5. Vegan Foods or Local Foods/Which Are More Beneficial?

6. How Threatened Are Our Oceans?

7. Authoritative Article on Dietary Connections to Colon Cancer

8. Can a Global Food Crisis Be Averted?

9. Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Planned to Save the Environment

10. People’s Love Affair With Fish is Unsustainable

11. A Cautionary Story on Climate Change by the President of an Island That Is Sinking

12. Animal Experiments in Israel Decreasing

13. Is the Hotter Weather the New Norm?/NY Times Op-Ed Article

14. NY Times Op-Ed Article: Tax Meat and Subsidize Plant Foods

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.]

As always, your comments and suggestions are very welcome.



1. Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism

Tisha B’Av commemorates the destruction of the first and second Temples in Jerusalem. Today it is not just Jerusalem but the entire world that is threatened by climate change and many environmental threats. We must play a prophetic role and warn others about the severity of the threats and doing everything possible to reduce them, including promoting vegetarian/vegan diets. Please see my articles “Tisha B’Av and Vegetarianism” and Relating Tisha B'Av to Today's Environmental Crises at the festivals section at JewishVeg.com/Schwartz, and please build on the ideas in these articles to help promote vegetarianism. Thanks.

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2. The Powerful Prophecy of Isaiah That is Read in Synagogues on the Shabbat before Tisha B’Av

Isaiah 1:1-27

English Standard Version (ESV)

[I believe that this is one of the most powerful, eloquent, and challenging statements in all of literature. I also believe that it has much relevance for today.]

Isaiah 1

1 The vision of Isaiah the son of Amoz, which he saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem in the days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

The Wickedness of Judah

2 Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth;
for the LORD has spoken:
"Children[a] have I reared and brought up,
but they have rebelled against me.

3 The ox knows its owner,
and the donkey its master’s crib,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand."

4 Ah, sinful nation,
a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers,
children who deal corruptly!
They have forsaken the LORD,
they have despised the Holy One of Israel,
they are utterly estranged.

5 Why will you still be struck down?
 Why will you continue to rebel? The whole head is sick,
and the whole heart faint.
6 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
there is no soundness in it,
but bruises and sores
and raw wounds;
they are not pressed out or bound up
or softened with oil.

7 Your country lies desolate;
your cities are burned with fire;
in your very presence
 foreigners devour your land;
it is desolate, as overthrown by foreigners.

8 And the daughter of Zion is left
like a booth in a vineyard,
like a lodge in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.

9 If the LORD of hosts
had not left us a few survivors,
we should have been like Sodom,
and become like Gomorrah.

10 Hear the word of the LORD,
you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching[b] of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

11 "What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
 says the LORD;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
or of lambs, or of goats.

12 "When you come to appear before me,
who has required of you
 this trampling of my courts?

13 Bring no more vain offerings;
incense is an abomination to me.
New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations—
 I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.

14 Your new moons and your appointed feasts
 my soul hates;
they have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.

15 When you spread out your hands,
I will hide my eyes from you;
even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.

16 Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean;
remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes;
cease to do evil,

17 learn to do good;
seek justice,
 correct oppression;
bring justice to the fatherless,
 plead the widow’s cause.

18 "Come now, let us reason[c] together, says the LORD:though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool.

19 If you are willing and obedient,
you shall eat the good of the land;

20 but if you refuse and rebel,
you shall be eaten by the sword;
 for the mouth of the LORD has spoken."

The Unfaithful City

21 How the faithful city
has become a whore,[d]
she who was full of justice!
Righteousness lodged in her,
but now murderers.

22 Your silver has become dross, your best wine mixed with water.

23 Your princes are rebels
and companions of thieves.
Everyone loves a bribe
and runs after gifts.

They do not bring justice to the fatherless,
and the widow’s cause does not come to them.

24 Therefore the Lord declares,
the LORD of hosts,
the Mighty One of Israel:
"Ah, I will get relief from my enemies
and avenge myself on my foes.

25 I will turn my hand against you
 and will smelt away your dross as with lye
 and remove all your alloy.

26 And I will restore your judges as at the first,
 and your counselors as at the beginning.
Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
 the faithful city."

27 Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
 and those in her who repent, by righteousness.


Isaiah 1:2 Or Sons; also verse 4

Isaiah 1:10 Or law

Isaiah 1:18 Or dispute

Isaiah 1:21 Or become unchaste

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3. Tour of Israel for Animal Lovers Scheduled

Forwarded message from Israeli animal activist Tova Saul, the tour organizer:

Shalom! I am writing to inform you about a very exciting opportunity to tour Israel, specially geared for animal lovers.

This tour is called "Israel Unleashed". It is a one-of-a-kind experience that blends a love of animals, the Land of Israel, and explorations into Judaism. This adventure will include major tourist sites, animal-related sites, Israel's exquisite nature trails, and several Jewish experiences, such as Friday evening at the Western Wall.

Many people are not only animal-lovers, but are also very involved with animal rescue or wildlife conservation. Many have a trip to Israel on their “to-do” list. This tour, during which they will travel with kindred spirits to uplifting animal-related sites, will inspire them to tour the country. We will visit places involving animal rescue, wildlife conservation, and zoo therapy, and meet some of Israel’s foremost wildlife conservationists and animal welfare advocates.

The trip will be led by a licensed Israeli tour guide and committed animal lover. The dynamic educators are among the most popular in Jerusalem, and are in high demand as speakers around the world.

We are now accepting applicants for our October 23-November 2, 2011 trip, which will be limited to 15 people.

I would be very grateful if you could send this announcement to everyone on your Email list or to possibly interested individuals. Thank you so much in advance. 


Tova Saul

For the itinerary and registration information and questions, please contact Tova Saul at tovasaul@yahoo.com

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4. Powerful Statements on Food Issues By Two Christian Groups/Models for Jewish Groups?

Thanks to vegetarian activist Jeff Tucker for forwarding this information to us.
A. link to the resolution that the UCC (United Church of Christ) has pending approval:


Message forwarded to us about this resolution:

Last week, the United Church of Christ General Synod passed“Resolution for Mindful and Faithful Eating.” The resolution calls for church bodies “to explore ways in which our food choices can be mindful and faithful, so that, to the best of our abilities, what we eat reflects our values and beliefs.” Further, it encourages the identification, development, and promotion of curricula at all education levels help Christians understand how what we eat impacts our health, God’s earth, and God’s animals.

This resolution will help open the door to discussions about animal agriculture, as well as other aspects of faithful eating. It was supported by Rev. Diane Ryder, Rev. Lisa Hadler, and CVA chair Steve Kaufman.


B. From Unitarian Universalists

Ethical Eating: Food & Environmental Justice

2011 Statement of Conscience

Aware of our interdependence, we acknowledge that eating ethically requires us to be mindful of the miracle of life we share with all beings. With gratitude for the food we have received, we strive to choose foods that minimize harm and are protective of the environment, consumers, farmers, and all those involved in food production and distribution.

Environmental justice includes the equitable distribution of both environmental burdens and benefits for populations of residents and workers. Marginalized people have often been able to find housing or work only in areas exposed to environmental pollutants, with consequent negative health and quality of life effects.

As Unitarian Universalists, we are called to address our relationship with food. Our Principles call for recognition of and respect for the other. As we search freely and responsibly for truth, meaning, and spiritual wholeness, we will make a variety of individual choices about food. Ethical eating is the application of our Principles to our food choices. What and how we eat has broad implications for our planet and society. Our values, Principles, and integrity call us to seek compassion, health, and sustainability in the production of food we raise or purchase.

Food production involving growing, processing, packaging, transporting, and distributing food has become a vast worldwide industry. The mass production of food often maximizes production while minimizing price. This mass production has greatly increased food supply, but has resulted in the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides with crops and the mistreatment of animals and workers in food production. Both this overuse and the large waste streams from concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) result in pollution of water, land, and air.

Access to an adequate supply of healthy food and clean water is a basic human need and right. Many people do not have adequate food, while others have a surplus. In many locations, poor distribution of food is a major contributor to hunger and malnutrition. The effects of climate change, weather conditions, and armed conflicts can also expose many people to starvation. Paradoxically, an abundance of food does not guarantee access to healthy food.

We acknowledge that aggressive action needs to be taken that will ensure an adequate food supply for the world population; reduce the use of energy, water, fertilizer, pesticides, and hormones in food production; mitigate climate change; and end the inhumane treatment of animals. These steps call for an evolution of our eating habits to include more locally grown, minimally processed whole foods. We acknowledge that this evolution must respect diversity in cultures, nutritional requirements, and religious practices.

Minimally processed plant-based diets are healthier diets. Some of us believe that it is ethical only to eat plants while others of us believe that it is ethical to eat both plants and animals. We do not call here for a single dietary approach. We encourage a knowledgeable choice of food based on understanding the demands of feeding a growing world population, the health effects of particular foods, and the consequences of production, worker treatment, and transportation methods. We commit to applying this knowledge to both personal and public actions, recognizing that many of us might embark on a dramatic change in eating choices and some might pay more for food that is ethically produced. For congregations, helping congregants gain this understanding and supporting their choices will require a long-term collective process of engagement, education, discernment, and advocacy. Unitarian Universalists aspire to radical hospitality and developing the beloved community. Therefore, we affirm that the natural world exists not for the sole benefit of one nation, one race, one gender, one religion, or even one species, but for all. Working in the defense of mutual interests, Unitarian Universalists acknowledge and accept the challenge of enlarging our circle of moral concern to include all living creatures.

As individuals and as congregations, we recognize the need to examine the impact of our food choices and our practices and make changes that will lighten the burden we place on the world. We also recognize that many food decisions will require us to make trade-offs between competing priorities. These priorities include: taste, selection, price, human health, environmental protection, sustainability, adequate food supply, humane treatment of animals used for food, and fair treatment of farm and food workers.

Environmental concerns include the use of fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, and hormones and high volumes of animal wastes produced by CAFOs, all of which can contaminate soil, air, and water. Contributors to global warming include the overreliance on fossil fuels for food production; the methane produced by animals, including but not limited to cattle, sheep, and pigs; and the long-distance transport of food. Expanding agriculture and animal farming often removes natural habitats and reduces natural biodiversity. An additional environmental concern is the deterioration of the oceans and their life forms due to overfishing and pollution.

Human Health concerns include producers' use of growth promoters, pesticides, and antibiotics that can affect child development, antibiotic resistance, and other health conditions. Advertising and marketing can encourage overeating, poor food choices, a focus on body image that can contribute to eating disorders, and the use of infant formula in preference to breast feeding.

Concerns about the Humane Treatment of Animals include intensive confinement and abuse in CAFOs, and inhumane conditions during production, transport, and slaughter.

Concerns about the Fair Treatment of Food and Farm Workers include low pay, poor and unsafe working conditions, exploitation of undocumented workers, and enslavement of others.

Policy concerns include agricultural subsidies that reward the production of certain crops and animal products that are less healthful and environmentally friendly than unsubsidized ones and that penalize small to moderate-sized farming operations. Agricultural subsidies of exported crops have driven small farmers in developing countries off their land. The consequences of agricultural subsidies and mono-cropping include increased gender disparity where women have been the traditional agricultural producers. We recognize replicating corporate agricultural modes in our aid to developing countries is not in the best interest of humanity. We support the development of farming models that safeguard the environment, produce safe foods, provide economic benefits to all economic levels, and create environmentally and economically sustainable models.

Classism, racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression are deeply connected to economic justice, which is a prime determinant of access to food. Some of us will not be able to pay more for ethical food. Others of us will. Yet all of us can have a role in improving the ethics of food. We affirm that the fight for environmental and economic justice is inherently a fight against all forms of oppression. As a result, ethical eating requires different ways of thinking about these issues that reflect their interconnected nature, and we understand that this work will require creativity, patience, and resolve.

Calls To Action

Individual Actions

Recognizing that individual circumstances vary, we aspire to buy, raise, and consume food for ourselves and our families that: increases our proportionate consumption of plant-based foods, which increases the global access to calories, provides health benefits, and prevents injuring animals;

· minimizes the pain and suffering of animals by purchasing meat or seafood produced under humane conditions, for those who choose to eat meat or seafood;

· minimizes the negative environmental effects of raising animals or plants by purchasing organically produced food, and seafood certified as responsibly farmed or harvested;

· minimizes transportation-related carbon dioxide emissions by obtaining foods locally produced through home or community gardens, farmers markets, or community supported agriculture (CSA);

· provides farm workers with living wages and safe working environments;

· contributes to social harmony by encouraging communal eating;

· promotes health, consuming food in quantities that do not lead to obesity; and

We advocate for the benefit of animals, plants, food workers, the environment and humanity by:

· purchasing fair trade--certified products as available.

· asking food sellers and producers to label where their products come from to determine distance of transport and whether the products were irradiated or contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs);

· pressing food sellers to require that their suppliers certify the humane treatment of animals;

· supporting legislation that requires the labeling of products that are irradiated or contain Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs), distribution of adequate ethical food supplies, effective safety inspection of food production, and realignment of agricultural subsidies to support growing more produce and the viability of small farmers; and protecting and encouraging organic food production and its producers.

Congregational Actions

As congregations, we aspire to:

· provide and sell more plant-based, organic, locally produced, and fair trade foods at congregational events;

· promote economic accessibility to safe, ethically produced food by organizing members to work for food justice through activities such as: urging grocery chains to locate stores in low income neighborhoods, supporting local food co-ops, helping people obtain food stamps, advocating for increased funding to alleviate hunger, and assisting local meals on wheels and food bank programs;

· support the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office, and other relevant UU organizations in their efforts to ensure that everyone has adequate nutritious food, produced sustainably;

· provide educational programs for all ages that address the issues of environmental justice, world hunger, gardening, food preparation, and nutrition;

· become Green Sanctuary—accredited and include ethical eating in programs;

· advocate for healthful food for school and other institutional meals; and engage in direct action in solidarity with workers and labor advocacy groups to support agricultural and food workers.

With gratitude and reverence for all life, we savor food mindful of all that has contributed to it. We commit ourselves to a more equitable sharing of the earth's bounty.

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5. Vegan Foods or Local Foods/Which Are More Beneficial?


Why one or the other? Why not both?

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6. How Threatened Are Our Oceans?


A Look Into the Ocean’s Future

Published: July 15, 2011 NY Times 7/16/11


There is simply no exaggerating the importance of the oceans to earth’s overall ecological balance. Their health affects the health of all terrestrial life. A new report by an international coalition of marine scientists makes for grim reading. It concludes that the oceans are approaching irreversible, potentially catastrophic change.

The experts, convened by the International Program on the State of the Ocean and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, found that marine “degradation is now happening at a faster rate than predicted.” The oceans have warmed and become more acidic as they absorbed human-generated carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They are also more oxygen-deprived, because of agricultural runoff and other anthropogenic causes. This deadly trio of conditions was present in previous mass extinctions, according to the report.

The oceans’ natural resilience has been seriously compromised. Pollution, habitat loss and overfishing are dangerous threats on their own. But when these factors converge, they can destroy marine ecosystems.

The severity of human impact was reinforced last week when scientists concluded that seven commercially important species, including marlin, mackerel and three tuna species, were either vulnerable to extinction, endangered or critically endangered according to I.U.C.N. standards. The solutions that might help slow further degradation include immediate reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, a system of marine conservation areas and a way to protect ocean life that goes beyond national jurisdictions.

This is the work of nations, but such goals require pressure from ordinary citizens if there is to be any hope of bringing them about in the face of opposing political and economic interests. As the new study notes, changes in the oceans, caused by carbon emissions, are perhaps “the most significant to the earth system,” particularly because they will further accelerate climate change.

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7. Authoritative Article on Dietary Connections to Colon Cancer


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8. Can a Global Food Crisis Be Averted?

Taking Back Our Food - Dealing With Hunger And The Land

By Jan Lundberg


The housing crisis -- foreclosures, homelessness, renters cutting rents, disappearance of credit, slowdown in construction and home-buying – has gotten much more attention than the food crisis. The growth economy and

Wall Street's "financial instruments" have been more important to corporate media and politicians beholden to their more affluent constituents. And rising hunger can be silent, for a time.

But food is coming on strong as more serious: people can double up in a bed to stretch housing, but a plate of food split two ways means two still-hungry people. One billion people already go without sufficient food daily, a 1-7 ratio. In the U.S. it is 1-6, with record high Food Stamp reliance. One in four U.S. children are "food security at risk" (hungry).

Trends indicate things will get worse before they get better: in the U.S., soaring farm values reflect that crop prices have risen because demand for food is growing around the world, while the supply of arable land is shrinking. In Iowa, 25 percent of farmland buyers are investors, double the proportion 20 years ago.

The food crisis and the housing crisis are really one...
_ _

To read the remainder of this report, obtain resources and see inspiring photos, go to http://www.culturechange.org/cms/content/view/758/63/

· * * * *·

Culture Change

Publisher and Editor: Jan Lundberg,
independent oil industry analyst
P.O. Box 3387, Santa Cruz, CA 95063 USA
tel./fax: 1-215-243-3144

Send feedback to info@culturechange.org

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9. Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Planned to Save the Environment

Forwarded message from Rabbi Arthur Waskow:

A Prophetic Voice in Jewish, Multireligious, and American Life

Dear Richard, 

Ten days ago, I wrote you two letters about a specific form of nonviolent civil disobedience -- "embodying the future in the present." I described how the US Sit-in/ Freedom Ride movement of 50 years ago, the Israeli settler movement, and recently the "Freedom Flotillas" sail-ins to Gaza, very different from each other in many ways, all won success by using that approach. (To read those two articles, click to our Home Page here.)

And I promised to explore an upcoming nonviolent civil-disobedience campaign in Washington DC, just a month from now.

Bill McKibben and several other leaders of the US and world-wide movement to prevent climate disaster have called for a wave of nonviolent civil disobedience at the White House gates between August 20 and Labor Day.

The action will focus on convincing President Obama to withhold permits for the so-called ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ from Canada’s tar sands to flow to Texas refineries, thence to add enormously to planet-scorching CO2. Below you will find McKibben’s letter.

More than 1100 people have signed up already. I am intending (God willing & the creeks don’t rise, or even if they do!) to take part in the tar-sands nonviolent CD action in DC in August. If you think you might want to be a part of this action, please sign up here. And please forward this whole letter to your friends, co-workers, and co-congregants. 

I am especially interested in helping to put together a multireligious contingent to express our spiritual commitment to the Earth and its human communities, and to focus the attention of the various faith communities on this issue and the larger climate crisis of which this is a part.

If you are interested in this multireligious aspect of the event, please drop me a note at office@shalomctr.org."
At very best, a religious presence might not only risk arrest at the White House, but precede that with a religious event — “Blessing the Earth,” for example.

Please note -- these action plans are NOT an example of "embodying the future in the present." To do that with the climate issue as the sit-ins did 50 years ago about racial segregation would require creating an alternative approach to energy, or transport, or food, etc. -- and then acting it out in such a way as to interrupt and challenge the conventional habits. For instance, imagine thousands of bike-riders filling the streets of a major city and preventing auto traffic. 

Shalom, salaam, shantih, peace -- Arthur

From: Bill McKibben 
Date: Sun, 3 Jul 2011 13:56:30 -0400
Subject: Fwd: civil disobedience this summer

Dear Friends,

This will be a slightly longer letter than common for the internet age—it’s serious stuff.

The short version is we want you to consider doing something hard: coming to Washington in the hottest and stickiest weeks of the summer and engaging in civil disobedience that will quite possibly get you arrested.

The full version goes like this:

As you know, the planet is steadily warming: 2010 was the warmest year on record, and we’ve seen the resulting chaos in almost every corner of the earth.

And as you also know, our democracy is increasingly controlled by special interests interested only in their short-term profit.

These two trends collide this summer in Washington, where the State Department and the White House have to decide whether to grant a certificate of ‘national interest’ to some of the biggest fossil fuel players on earth. These corporations want to build the so-called ‘Keystone XL Pipeline’ from Canada’s tar sands to Texas refineries.

To call this project a horror is serious understatement. The tar sands have wrecked huge parts of Alberta, disrupting ways of life in indigenous communities—First Nations communities in Canada, and tribes along the pipeline route in the U.S. have demanded the destruction cease.

The pipeline crosses crucial areas like the Oglalla Aquifer where a spill would be disastrous—and though the pipeline companies insist they are using ‘state of the art’ technologies that should leak only once every 7 years, the precursor pipeline and its pumping stations have leaked a dozen times in the past year. These local impacts alone would be cause enough to block such a plan. 

But the Keystone Pipeline would also be a fifteen hundred mile fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the continent, a way to make it easier and faster to trigger the final overheating of our planet, the one place to which we are all indigenous.

How much carbon lies in the recoverable tar sands of Alberta? A recent calculation from some of our foremost scientists puts the figure at about 200 parts per million. Even with the new pipeline they won’t be able to burn that much overnight—but each development like this makes it easier to get more oil out. 

As the climatologist Jim Hansen (one of the signatories to this letter) explained, if we have any chance of getting back to a stable climate “the principal requirement is that coal emissions must be phased out by 2030 and unconventional fossil fuels, such as tar sands, must be left in the ground.” In other words, he added, “if the tar sands are thrown into the mix it is essentially game over.” 

The Keystone pipeline is an essential part of the game. “Unless we get increased market access, like with Keystone XL, we’re going to be stuck,” said Ralph Glass, an economist and vice-president at AJM Petroleum Consultants in Calgary, told a Canadian newspaper last week.

Given all that, you’d suspect that there’s no way the Obama administration would ever permit this pipeline. But in the last few months the administration has signed pieces of paper opening much of Alaska to oil drilling, and permitting coal-mining on federal land in Wyoming that will produce as much CO2 as 300 power plants operating at full bore.

And Secretary of State Clinton has already said she’s ‘inclined’ to recommend the pipeline go forward. Partly it’s because of the political commotion over high gas prices, though more tar sands oil would do nothing to change that picture. 

But it’s also because of intense pressure from industry. The US Chamber of Commerce—a bigger funder of political campaigns than the RNC and DNC combined—has demanded that the administration “move quickly to approve the Keystone XL pipeline,” which is not so surprising—they’ve also told the U.S. EPA that if the planet warms that will be okay because humans can ‘adapt their physiology’ to cope. The Koch Brothers, needless to say, are also backing the plan, and may reap huge profits from it.

So we’re pretty sure that without serious pressure the Keystone Pipeline will get its permit from Washington. A wonderful coalition of environmental groups has built a strong campaign across the continent—from Cree and Dene indigenous leaders to Nebraska farmers, they’ve spoken out strongly against the destruction of their land. We need to join them, and to say even if our own homes won’t be crossed by this pipeline, our joint home—the earth—will be wrecked by the carbon that pours down it.

And we need to say something else, too: it’s time to stop letting corporate power make the most important decisions our planet faces. We don’t have the money to compete with those corporations, but we do have our bodies, and beginning in mid August many of us will use them. We will, each day, march on the White House, risking arrest with our trespass. We will do it in dignified fashion, demonstrating that in this case we are the conservatives, and that our foes—who would change the composition of the atmosphere are dangerous radicals. Come dressed as if for a business meeting—this is, in fact, serious business.

And another sartorial tip—if you wore an Obama button during the 2008 campaign, why not wear it again?

We very much still want to believe in the promise of that young Senator who told us that with his election the ‘rise of the oceans would begin to slow and the planet start to heal.’ We don’t understand what combination of bureaucratic obstinacy and insider dealing has derailed those efforts, but we remember his request that his supporters continue on after the election to pressure his government for change. We’ll do what we can.

And one more thing: we don’t just want college kids to be the participants in this fight. They’ve led the way so far on climate change—10,000 came to DC for the Powershift gathering earlier this spring. They’ve marched this month in West Virginia to protest mountaintop removal; a young man named Tim DeChristopher faces sentencing this summer in Utah for his creative protest.

Now it’s time for people who’ve spent their lives pouring carbon into the atmosphere to step up too, just as many of us did in earlier battles for civil rights or for peace. Most of us signing this letter are veterans of this work, and we think it’s past time for elders to behave like elders. One thing we don’t want is a smash up: if you can’t control your passions, this action is not for you.

This won’t be a one-shot day of action. We plan for it to continue for several weeks, till the administration understands we won’t go away. 

Not all of us can actually get arrested—half the signatories to this letter live in Canada, and might well find our entry into the U.S. barred. But we will be making plans for sympathy demonstrations outside Canadian consulates in the U.S., and U.S. consulates in Canada—the decision-makers need to know they’re being watched.

Twenty years of patiently explaining the climate crisis to our leaders hasn’t worked. Maybe moral witness will help. You have to start somewhere, and we choose here and now.

If you think you might want to be a part of this action, we need you to sign up here. 

As plans solidify in the next few weeks we’ll be in touch with you to arrange nonviolence training; our colleagues at a variety of environmental and democracy campaigns will be coordinating the actual arrangements.

We know we’re asking a lot. You should think long and hard on it, and pray if you’re the praying type. But to us, it’s as much privilege as burden to get to join this fight in the most serious possible way. We hope you’ll join us.

Maude Barlow – Chair, Council of Canadians
Wendell Berry – Author and Farmer
Tom Goldtooth – Director, Indigenous Environmental Network
Danny Glover – Actor
James Hansen – Climate Scientist
Wes Jackson – Agronomist, President of the Land Insitute
Naomi Klein – Author and Journalist
Bill McKibben – Writer and Environmentalist
George Poitras – Mikisew Cree Indigenous First Nation
Gus Speth – Environmental Lawyer and Activist
David Suzuki – Scientist, Environmentalist and Broadcaster

P.S. Please pass this letter on to anyone else you think might be interested. We realize that what we’re asking isn’t easy, and we’re very grateful that you’re willing even to consider it. See you in Washington!

Bill McKibben

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10. People’s Love Affair With Fish is Unsustainable


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11. A Cautionary Story on Climate Change by the President of an Island That Is Sinking


On Nauru, a Sinking Feeling


Published: July 18, 2011


Thanks to JVNA advisor Steve Schuster for forwarding this to us.

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12. Animal Experiments in Israel Decreasing


Study shows steady decline in use of animals for lab testing in Israel

Number of animals used for lab tests down nine percent in past year; been steadily dropping since 2007, stats show.

By Ilan Lior

Laboratory experiments were performed on 286,000 animals in 2010 - some 9 percent down on the 2009 figure, according to data released by the National Council for Experimentation on Animal Subjects.

According to the council figures, the number of experiments performed on animals in Israel has steadily dropped since 2007, when a record 340,000-plus animals underwent laboratory testing. Of the animals on which experiments were carried out last year, around 63 percent were laboratory mice, 18 percent rats, 9 percent chickens and 6 percent were fish. The remainder of the experiments, less than five percent, involved rabbits (about 2,000 ), pigs (1,400 ), bats (110 ), dogs (45 ), primates (33 ), cats (25 ) horses (10 ) and a single snake.

The council, which supervises the issue for the Ministry of Health, reported that 43.5 percent of these experiments were for "basic scientific research," 42.5 percent for the purposes of "health and medicine," 11 percent for "the testing or manufacture of objects or materials" and 3 percent for "educational and instructional purposes."

Permits were issued for experiments on 561,000 animal subjects, but nearly half of the permits were not utilized, mainly due to difficulties in obtaining funding.

Animal experiments are classified according to the amount of suffering they cause to their subjects, on a scale from one to five. About 11 percent of last year's experiments were rated five, causing the most suffering, with 34 percent at level four and 31 percent rated three. The council's figures do not include experiments on animals that were put to death prior to the use of their bodies, nor do they include animal experiments carried out by the defense establishment.

The chairwoman of the Behind Closed Doors animal-rights organization, Anat Refua, admitted that she was pleasantly surprised by the figures for 2010. "Experiments using live animals are bad, archaic and barbaric science that destorys human morality and needlessly hurts both animals and human beings," Refua said. "As someone who has been battling this issue for 14 years, this decline is extraordinary to a significant degree.


On the one hand, more laboratories, research centers and biotechnology firms are being opened; on the other hand, there is a decline in the number of animal experiments. In England there was a 3 percent increase this year and in the United States a 2 percent rise. Here in Israel, there's suddenly this 9 percent drop. It's really significant - 30,000 fewer animals than last year, that means 30,000 souls that were saved," Refua said.

A state comptroller's report issued two months ago noted serious oversights in the supervision of animal experimentation in Israel. The report noted that the national council did not act to introduce proper procedures for its own operation, and that in the 17 years since its establishment, it had discussed alternatives to animal experiments just once.

The State Comptroller's Office also found that many of the subjects of animal experiments are needlessly put to death when the experiment is completed and implied that the reasons for this were financial.

Thanks to JVNA advisor Rabbi Adam Frank for forwarding this message to us.

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13. Is the Hotter Weather the New Norm?/NY Times Op-Ed Article


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14. NY Times Op-Ed Article: Tax Meat and Subsidize Plant Foods

Important article by food expert/writer Marc Bittman:


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