July 22, 2009

7/22/2009 Special JVNA Newsletter/Strategy Ideas to get Vegetarianism onto the Agenda

Shalom everyone,

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

1. Overview/Synopsis/Why an Unprecedented Campaign to Awaken the Jewish Community and Everyone Else is Essential

2. Challenging Rabbis/Is Their Failure to act “Rabbinc Malpractice?”

3. Circulating Key Article: Veganism's Essential Role In Preventing an Unprecedented Global Catastrophe

4. Getting Veg and AR Groups to Endorse Resolutions Urging Dietary Switches to Avoid Disasters from Global Climate Change

5. Urging Jewish Groups to Observe October 23-24 as a “Global Climate Healing Shabbat”

5a. The Initial Call for a “Global Climate Healing Shabbat” With List of Endorsers

6. Getting Veganism Onto Major Global Warming-Related Events Planned for October 24, 2009

7. Getting US and Other Cities to Follow Ghent, Belgium, and Give Up Meat on at Least One Day per Week

8. Major Demonstration Planned For December Copenhagen Climate Change Convention/Efforts to Get Veganism Onto the Agenda

9. Other Ways To Shake Things Up and Build Momentum

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. Overview/Synopsis/Why an Unprecedented Campaign to Awaken the Jewish Community and Everyone Else is Essential

As indicated before, the bottom line is that the world is currently rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats, and responding effectively must be the major priority for the Jewish community and as many other groups as possible. As my article in item #3 below argues, a major societal shift to vegan diets is essential if we are to have any hope of avoiding the coming cataclysm.

Please get involved in some of the activities discussed below, and please make others aware of the realities and the need to quickly respond.

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2. Challenging Rabbis/Is Their Failure to act “Rabbinc Malpractice?”

Unfortunately, while most rabbis are very knowledgeable and very committed to teaching Jewish values, our efforts to start dialogs on such questions as “should Jews be vegetarians?” and to get rabbis to address global climate change and other environmental threats and the many moral issues related to our diets have generally been ignored.

I plan to make one additional attempt, possibly using my article below and other material in this special JVNA newsletter. If that attempt fails, I am considering sending out a press release, charging “rabbinic malpractice.” The threats are so great that we must be more aggressive, although always respectful and couteous, in getting our messages out.

Suggestions welcome, as always.

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3. Circulating Key Article: Veganism's Essential Role In Preventing an Unprecedented Global Catastrophe

My article below is designed to be a major effort to get out the essential message that only a major shift to veganism, along with other positive lifestyle and design changes, can avoid the major disaster that the world is rapidly approaching from global climate change and other environmental threats. Suggestions on the article and how it might be used are very welcome. I think it is essential that the article be widely read and discussed. So, please feel free to forward the article to others who might be interested. Thanks.

I am still learning about many of the issues discussed in the article. So, if you have additional important information and/or suggestions about sources that I should check, please let me know. Thanks.

Veganism's Essential Role In Preventing an Unprecedented Global Catastrophe
Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D

Synopsis: The world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global climate change and other environmental threats, and a major societal shift to plant-based (vegan) diets is an essential part of the necessary responses to avoid that catastrophe. Since methane emitted by farmed animals is in the atmosphere for less than 20 years and is 72 times as potent as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide during that time, reducing the number of farmed animals would have a major, rapid effect in reducing climate change. A major shift to plant-centered diets would have many other benefits, including reducing diseases, hunger, water and energy shortages, rapid species extinction, water pollution, destruction of rainforests and other valuable habitats and soil erosion and depletion.


Global catastrophe or sustainable future? It will depend largely on our food choices!

It may seem naïve to argue that dietary shifts can make a major difference in responding to today's many crises, but if we stopped raising the current 60 billion farmed animals that are slaughtered annually worldwide, it would make a tremendous difference with regard to many, if not all, of today's current problems. Let us consider how.

First, it is important to recognize that the world is rapidly heading toward an unprecedented catastrophe from global climate change and other environmental threats. There are almost weekly reports of severe droughts, heat waves, storms, flooding, wildfires and meltings of polar icecaps and glaciers. [1] While these events have occurred due to an average temperature increase of less than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit in the past 100 years, global climate scientists, including those with the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), are projecting an increase of from 3 to 11 degrees Fahrenheit in the next 100 years [2], which would have devastating effects on humanity and all of life on the planet.

And we are talking about threats that must be addressed very soon. Some climate scientists, including James Hansen, director of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Institute for Space Studies, are warning that global warming could reach a tipping point and spin out of control within a few years, with disastrous consequences, unless major changes soon occur. [3] Scientists at the February, 2009 annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science indicated that global warming will likely increase more rapidly than expected because greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) have increased faster than recent predictions and increased temperatures are setting off positive feedback (self-reinforcing) mechanisms in global ecosystems. [4]

There is increasing awareness of the need to make major changes in many phases of society to reduce global climate change. However, most lists of recommendations ignore or give little attention to the impact of our diets on GHGs. A landmark 2006 report by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization estimated that livestock production globally is responsible for more GHGs (in CO2 equivalents) than the world's entire transportation sector combined (18 percent of worldwide anthropogenic GHGs for livestock vs. 13.5 percent for transportation). [5] The report, “Livestock's Long Shadow,” also projects that the world's current population of about 60 billion farmed animals will double in 50 years if human population growth and dietary trends continue. [6] The resulting increase in GHGs would largely negate reduced GHG emissions from improved efficiencies in transportation, electricity and other sectors and conservation steps, and make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to reach the GHG reductions that climate experts think are essential to avoid a climate disaster.

Expert recognition of the importance of diet in preventing global warming is growing. In the Fall of 2008, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC, which shared a Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2008, called on people in the developed world to "give up meat for one day [a week] initially, and decrease [meat consumption] from there.” [7] More recently, James Hansen, perhaps the most prominent scientific advocate of aggressive action against global warming -- told an interviewer:

"... if you eat further down on the food chain rather than animals, which have produced many greenhouse gases, and used much energy in the process of growing that meat, you can actually make a bigger contribution in that way than just about anything. So, that, in terms of individual action, is perhaps the best thing you can do." [8]

The main reason that animal agriculture's contribution is so great is that farmed animals, especially cattle and other ruminants, emit methane as part of their digestive processes (belching and farting) and methane is about 23 times as potent as CO2 in producing global warming, when standard 100 year periods are considered. [9] However, since most methane survives in the atmosphere for less than 20 years, if a 20 year period is considered, methane is about 72 times as potent as CO2. [10] By contrast, CO2 is in the atmosphere for hundreds of years and its impact is reduced by the predominantly cooling aerosols emitted by typical CO2 sources like smokestacks and tailpipes. [11]

Since methane contributes a significant amount of GHGs (in CO2 equivalents) [12] and since farmed animals and their manure are by far the major source of methane, and since methane is in the atmosphere for only a short time, a major societal shift to plant-based diets would have a substantial and very rapid effect in reducing global climate change. Having major world leaders call for such a change, preferably after publicly announcing suitable changes in their own diets, could very dramatically increase awareness of the threats of global warming and the need for major dietary and other lifestyle changes. Such changes could provide some breathing space, during which other important changes could be made.

Additional factors that make switches to plant-based diets even more important are: (1) the production of animal products causes about nine percent of total CO2 emissions, from the production of pesticides and fertilizer, use of irrigation pumps, extensive refrigeration and other processes; [13] (2) nitrous oxides are emitted from animals' manure and from chemical fertilizer used to grow feed crops and these gases are almost 300 times as potent as CO2 in producing warming; [14] (3) the burning of rainforests to create grazing land and land to grow feed crops for animals also releases substantial CO2 and also destroys trees that would absorb CO2; [15] (4) because they feast on the charred remains of these trees, termites are perhaps the fastest growing animal species on the planet, and they also emit methane as part of their digestive processes. [16] Taking all of the above factors into account, the UN FAO estimate that animal agriculture emits 18 percent of anthropogenic GHGs (in CO2 equivalents) is arguably significantly lower than the true number, as incredible as the 18 percent value is when one considers all the cars, trucks, buses, planes, ships and other means of transportation worldwide.

Major shifts to vegan diets would also provide substantial relief to many other threats to humanity:

* Widespread hunger is an increasingly important issue. A June 2009 UN Food and Agriculture report indicated that the number of chronically hungry people passed the one billion mark (almost one person in six) for the first time. [17] An estimated 20 million people, mostly children, die annually from hunger and its effects and many more suffer permanent physical or mental damage due to insufficient nutrition. [18] While more than enough grain is produced today to feed all of the world's people, [19] over 70 percent of the grain produced in the United States and almost 40 percent produced worldwide are fed to animals raised for slaughter. [20] The hunger situation is likely to become even more critical as world population continues to increase and droughts, reduced soil fertility, storms and other effects of global warming reduce food production. [21]

* It is projected that half of the world's people will live in areas chronically short of water by 2050. [22] Some climate experts are calling this the “Century of Drought.” [23] Many US regions have experienced severe droughts for the past few years. According to California's governor, the state's drought has resulted in its wildfire season, which used to last a few months, now lasting all year round. [24] Major parts of Australia have experienced drought for ten years, and there are fears that this may become a permanent condition. [25] Israel is facing the worst drought in its history, one so severe that the level in the Sea of Galilee dropped to a level too low to have water pumped from it. [26]

The dietary connection is that it takes up to 14 times as much water per person for a typical animal-based diet than for a vegan diet. [27] The amount of water necessary to raise one steer to maturity would float a naval destroyer. [28] Also, as indicated above, animal-based agriculture contributes significantly to global warming which contributes to droughts and to the melting of glaciers and the reduced flow of rivers and streams and levels of lakes and ponds.

* A recent report by 11 retired US generals and admirals indicated that global warming is a multiplier effect for potential violence. They pointed out that there will be increasing numbers of desperate refugees fleeing floods, storms, droughts, wildfires, heat waves and other conditions caused or worsened by global climate change, and this increases the potential for instability, violence, terrorism and war. [29] Several experts assert that a major factor behind the recent violence in Darfur is the severe drought that has afflicted the area and created many refugees. [30]

* Species of plants and animals are disappearing at what many experts consider the fastest rate in history. One major reason is the rapid destruction of tropical rainforests (where over half of the species of plants and animals live) at a very rapid rate to create pasture land and land to raise feed crops for animals. One study indicated an average of 55 square feet of rainforest are destroyed for every quarter pound hamburger patty produced and exported for consumption in a fast food market. [31] A recent report indicated that our oceans may be virtually free of fish by 2048, because huge trawlers put out very wide nets that capture all marine life in its area. [32]

* There is currently an epidemic of heart disease, various types of cancer and other chronic, degenerative diseases. Efforts to treat these diseases has resulted in soaring medical costs which have resulted in major deficits and other financial problems at national, state and local levels. These financial difficulties reduce money available for environmental protection and for many other essential services. Yet, there is little effort to inform people that well-balanced, nutritious vegan diets can prevent, alleviate and sometimes reverse diseases. Instead, there are major debates about how to end the current dysfunctional medical system, in which millions of people have no or inadequate medical insurance coverage.

* Many more examples of problems made worse by animal-based agriculture can be given related to such issues as the destruction of coral reefs, soil erosion and depletion, animal wastes polluting our waters and animal-initiated diseases such as swine flu.

In view of the above and more, the world's people face a major choice. We can continue basically with current practices as the world continues on its increasingly rapid path to an unparalleled cataclysm. Or we can adopt healthy plant-based diets and other practices that can help shift our very imperiled world to a sustainable path. If we fail to act and soon, how will we explain our inaction to future generations?

1. See, for example, “Climate Change, Global risks, challenges & decisions,” Copenhagen 10-12 March, 2009, University of Copenhagen, Denmark, http://lyceum.anu.edu.au/wp-content/blogs/3/uploads//Synthesis%20Report%20Web.pdf

2. “Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth
Assessment Report,” February, 2007. http://www.ipcc.ch/

3. James Hansen, “Tipping Point: Perspective of a Climatologist,” 2008=2009 State of the World, 6,

4. American Association for the Advancement of Science, February, 2009 annual conference, Public release, “Climate change likely to be more devastating than experts predicted, warns top IPCC scientist,”

5. FAO Newsroom, “Livestock a major threat to environment,” November 29. 2006,

7. Juliette Jowitt, “UN says eat less meat to curb global warming,” The Observer, September 7, 2008, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/sep/07/food.foodanddrink

8. Be Veg! Go Green! Save the Planet, February 8, 2008, “Dr. James Hansen: “We have only four years left to act on climate change,” http://veg4planet.blogspot.com/2009/02/dr-james-hansenwe-have-only-four-years.html

9. Noam Mohr, “A New Global Warming Strategy:
How Environmentalists are Overlooking Vegetarianism as the Most Effective Tool Against Climate Change in Our Lifetimes,” Earthsave,

10. Supreme Master TV Video, “Methane __ 72 Times the Warming Potential of CO2,” June, 2009,

11. Same as #9

12. Ibid.

13. UN News Centre Report, “Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns, http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772&Cr=global&Cr1=environment

14. Ibid.

15. “Burning rainforests, melting tundra could accelerate global warming well beyond current projections.” mongabay.com, February 16, 2009

16. Greg Brockberg, “Termites as a Source of Atmospheric Methane,” http://www.iitap.iastate.edu/gcp/studentpapers/1996/atmoschem/brockberg.html

17. UN FAO Report, “1.02 billion people hungry; one sixth of humanity malnourished - more than ever before.” June 19, 2009, http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/20568/icode/

18. “Our Food, Our World,” Earthsave Foundation, 1992, p.6.

19. ”Eating up the World: the Environmental Consequences of Human Food Choices,” 16 page booklet, Vegetarian Network Victoria, 2009,

20. GoVeg.com, “Wasted Resources - Food,”

21. Paul Kedrosky, “Lester Brown on the Coming Food Crisis (Again), Infectious Greed, May 20, 2009, http://paul.kedrosky.com/archives/2009/05/lester_brown_on.html

22. Dan Vergano, “Water shortages will leave world in dire straits,” USA Today, January 26, 2003,

23. Michael McCarthy, “The Century of Drought
One third of the planet will be desert by the year 2100, say climate experts in the most dire warning yet of the effects of global warming,” CommonDreams.org, October 4, 2006,

24. Brad Johnson, The Wonk Room, “”Global Boiling: In California It's 'Fire Season All Year Round,'”

25. Kristin Underwood, “Australia's Drought Worsens,” Treehugger, February 9, 2008,
Also: “Report: Climate Change 2009 - Faster Change and More Serious Risks,” Australian Government Department of Climate Change, July 9, 2009,

26. Jewish Telegraphic Agency Report, “Israel halts Sea of Galilee water pumping, January 22, 2009, http://jta.org/news/article/2009/01/22/1002430/israel-halts-sea-of-galilee-water-pumping

27. Tell Youth the Truth, “Animal Agriculture Equates to Wasted Resources and environmental Degradation,”

28. “The Browning of America,: Newsweek, February 22, 1981, p. 26.

29. John Timmer, ars technia, “Ex-military leaders call climate change a national security issue,” May 28, 2007, http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20070528-ex-military-leaders-call-climate-change-a-national-security-issue.html

30. Jacl Burton, “Climate Change as Catalyst for War: Can We Stop the World's Water Crisis or Is Darfur Only the Beginning,” Suite 101.com,February 11, 2008,

31. Crede Calhound, “Kids Can Help Save the Rainforest,”

32. John Roach, “Seafood May Be Gone by 2048, Study Says,” National Geographic News, November 2, 2006,

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4. Getting Veg and AR Groups to Endorse Resolutions Urging Dietary Switches to Avoid Disasters from Global Climate Change

Due to my initiative, the resolution below was approved by all of the members of the NAVS Hall of Fame who were present at their recent Summerfest and then by the NAVS leaders. and read at the final plenary session. Many vegetarian groups that were present at the Summerfest endorsed the resolution and attendees were asked to contact NAVS and let them know that they supported the initiative. I am urging leaders of other conferences to consider similar resolutions for approval at their conferences. Please help spread the word about the resolution and please urge other groups to endorse similar resolutions. Thanks.

Global Warming Resolution Adopted at the NAVS 2009 SUMMERFEST

Whereas the world is rapidly approaching an unprecedented catastrophe from global warming and other environmental threats; and

Whereas a major societal shift to plant-based diets is an essential part of the necessary responses;

The North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) will do everything possible to make governments, groups and individuals aware of these realities and will urge them to act according to this awareness.

Several groups at the SUMMERFEST endorsed the resolution.

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5. Urging Jewish Groups to Observe October 23-24 as a “Global Climate Healing Shabbat”

[This has the potential of being a transformative event in Jewish life today, so please help spread this message, and please try to arrange an event in your community. Thanks.]

Forwarded message from Rabbi Arthur Waskow and the Shalom Center, “A Prophetic Voice in Jewish, Multireligious, and American Life”:

The Atmosphere --- or Mere Atmospherics?

The effort to prevent climate disaster for Planet Earth is not going well.

All the more reason for the Jewish community to begin preparing now for Climate Healing Shabbat on October 23-24. That is when we focus on the story of the Flood -- the near-destruction of all life on earth, and its salvation by a committed family and the Ark they built. All the more reason to plan vigorous public demand for saving the only Ark that matters --- our planet. ( Register your plans at both these places: --



See the end of this letter for more information.)

Officials in America and around the world have so far been building only leaky Arks, and late.

The House of Representatives passed by a scant majority a watered-down bill to address the climate crisis; the Senate faces a grueling fight this fall over whether to preserve, strengthen, or weaken it even more; and at the G8 meeting of the major polluting countries in Italy, token targets were set for CO2 reductions but the rich countries refused to put up the money needed to help the poor do economic development through a path that does not burn fossil fuels. So the poorer nations refused to make commitments to reduce their CO2 emissions.

After the G8 meeting, the heads of government blew hot air of good atmospherics to describe their failure as a step forward. But the real physical atmosphere --- earth's overheated air of global scorching -- was not fooled, and not healed.

Dr. Jim Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, was the first scientist to present publicly, back in 1987, the evidence that CO2 emissions were heating the earth, and that this process could lead to disaster. Now he writes that the failure of the G-8 meeting in Italy reflects the recent failure of the US in general and the House of Representatives in particular to deal seriously and realistically with the dangers of the Climate Crisis. For Hansen's article, see --

The Shalom Center agrees that the House bill is woefully weak. Unlike Hansen, however, we think it was worth passing --- because it means to the Congressmembers that they crossed a difficult boundary into new territory.

I was a legislative assistant in the House of Representatives from 1959 to 1961, working on civil rights legislation for a member of the Judiciary Committee. I remember that in 1960, Congress passed a "civil rights" act that was astonishingly weak, way way less than my Congressman wanted, adding very little to an act that had been passed in 1957 --- which was also very weak.

But what both acts did was to convince Congress that it was possible to face down Southern filibusters and strengthen weak-kneed Northerners. Then, as civil-rights demonstrations erupted all across the country, Congress passed a transformative civil rights act in 1964 and a voting-rights act in 1965.

It took massive nonviolent unrest to make that happen. But the mental barriers had been broken by the two toothless acts of 1957 and 1960.

So I think it was worthwhile -- barely -- for the House to pass the watered-down Waxman-Markey Act last month. And it will be worthwhile to keep the Senate from weakening the bill this fall.

But more basically, it's up to us --- the people.

Why is the climate/ energy act in so much trouble? --

Since the beginning of the year, oil and gas companies and electric utilities have spent nearly $24 million lobbying Congress and have made more than $4 million in campaign contributions to members of Congress, according to data by the Center for Responsive Politics.

According to lobby disclosure reports, 34 energy companies registered in the first quarter of 2009 to lobby Congress around the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009. This group of companies spent a total of $23.7 million -- or $260,000 a day -- lobbying members of Congress in January, February and March.

Oil and gas companies, mining companies, and electric utilities combined have given more than $2 million just to the 19 members of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, which has jurisdiction over the legislation and held a hearing this week on the proposed "cap and trade" system energy companies are fighting.

These corporations are the Pharaohs of our day. --- Out of stubborn greed and arrogance, addiction to their own wealth and power, they are willing to bring planetary plagues upon our lives. Droughts, famines, typhoons, flooded sea-coasts, tropical diseases breaking out of their old habitats into new latitudes.

Just as it took marches and sit-ins and boycotts and "freedom schools" to break the power of segregationist pharaohs forty-some years ago, so it will take public commitment to break the power of Fossil-Fuel Pharaohs today.

And as in the ancient story, that means giving new life to old communities and shaping new forms of community - not just opposing Pharaoh but crossing into new territory, shaping a new society.

That process began when the ancient Hebrews had the courage to sacrifice a lamb and smear its blood upon their doorposts --- marking themselves out as troublemakers to the Pharaoh's FBI. The community-building took a great step forward when they discovered Shabbat along with manna -- the first affirmation of restfulness, reflection, in the face of forced labor; the first affirmation that a loving connection with the earth and God could bring forth food that did not require sweat pouring down the faces of the people to produce it.

We have an opportunity today to give new strength and life to old forms of community. This fall, the week from October 18 to October 25 could be the time for focused action. October 17 is the Shabbat when Jews read the biblical story of Creation; October 24, when Jews read the biblical story of De-creation --- the Flood --- and of the Eaeth Redeemed --- the Rainbow.

All around the world, October 24 has been named the date for public action of all sorts to heal our climate from the plague of global scorching. That is when Jews will be reading the story of Noah. On Sunday, October 25, many Christians will be reading the passage in Luke 4 where Jesus reads from the Book of Isaiah the call for declaring a Jubilee Year, freeing the people and healing the earth. Just a few days earlier, Muslims will be celebrating the New Moon of Dhul-Quida.

At the home page on our Website -- http://www.shalomctr.org/node/1517
-- is the Call by Jewish leaders for action leading up to Shabbat Noach, and the call by world scientists for action on October 24. It is God's miraculous gift that these are the same day.

What should be the measuring-stick, for what is a strong "civil rights bill" for our planet today? Jim Hansen urges:

"There is an alternative, of course, and that is a carbon fee, applied at the source (mine or port of entry) that rises continually. I prefer the "fee-and-dividend" version of this approach in which all revenues are returned to the public on an equal, per capita basis, so those with below-average carbon footprints come out ahead.

"A carbon fee-and-dividend would be an economic stimulus and boon for the public. By the time the fee reached the equivalent of $1/gallon of gasoline ($115/ton of CO2) the rebate in the United States would be $2000-3000 per adult or $6000-9000 for a family with two children.

"Fee-and-dividend would work hand-in-glove with new building, appliance, and vehicle efficiency standards. A rising carbon fee is the best enforcement mechanism for building standards, and it provides an incentive to move to ever higher energy efficiencies and carbon-free energy sources. As engineering and cultural tipping points are reached, the phase-over to post-fossil energy sources will accelerate….

"With the Senate debate over climate now beginning, there is still time to turn back from cap-and-trade and toward fee-and-dividend. We need to start now. Without political leadership creating a truly viable policy like a carbon fee, not only won't we get meaningful climate legislation through the Senate, we won't be able to create the concerted approach we need globally to prevent catastrophic climate change."

In the next months, The Shalom Center will be providing materials on the Four Worlds of kabbalistic thought: spiritual sustenance in prayer, emotional awakening in song and exercises in empathy with threatened species, habitats, and cultures; intellectual information and analysis of what to do; and suggestions for public action.

Step One: ask your rabbi, your synagogue or JCC or retirement-home board, your social action and interfaith committees, your Hillel council, your school principal, to name Shabbat Noach , October 23-24, to be Global Climate Healing Shabbat. Register your plans at both these places: ---


Call the churches and mosques nearest you to invite them to take part. Put the decision on line. Call your local Jewish paper and religion editors to ask them to run a story on your plans.

Start inviting speakers, public officials, climate experts.

With blessings that we all remember: "The earth and its fullness are filled with YHWH / the Breath of Life; the planet and all who live within it." (Psalm 24)

-- Arthur

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5a. The Initial Call for a “Global Climate Healing Shabbat” With List of Endorsers

Says an old Southern Black song: "God gave Noah the Rainbow Sign; No more water, the fire next time." In our generation, the Flood of Fire has come upon us in the climate crisis of global scorching and rising of the seas. We ourselves -- all of us -- must build the Ark to save humanity and all endangered life-forms. The Rainbow Sign calls us to this work of transformation.


This fall, Shabbat Noach -- when Jews around the world read the Torah portion about the Flood, Noah, the Ark, and the Rainbow -- comes on October 23-24, the day when a number of experts on the global climate crisis have called for world-wide actions to protect our planet from climate disaster.

This Torah passage lends itself to focusing on the danger of destruction of life on our planet, and also on the actions we need to take to prevent destruction and preserve the web of life in which the human race has emerged and created civilization.

So we --- both national and grass-roots leaders of the Jewish people -- urge all Jewish communities to observe Shabbat Noach as "Global Climate Healing Shabbat" with special prayers, sermons, Torah commentary/ midrash, songs, lectures, debates, panel discussions, resolutions, kiddushes, meals, nature-walks, stories for children, invitations to public officials and environmental activists, and other means of bringing Jewish commitment to bear on healing the earth from the dangers that over-use of fossil fuels is bringing upon us all.

We invite those of all religious, spiritual, and ethical traditions to join as well at that time of year.

Please register your intent to create a local event (even if you are just beginning to plan) in both these places: ---



[Please forward this message to your friends and co-workers, and please support the work by clicking on the logo at the end of this message. Please see the statement we are appending below about the worldwide scheduled events and the key planners.]

The international observance of "Global Climate Healing Shabbat Noach" is a prelude to the crucial United Nations conference on the climate crisis scheduled for Copenhagen in December, 2009.

Almost daily reports of widespread droughts, floods, storms, wildfires and melting polar ice caps, mountain snowcaps, glaciers, and the forced migration of invasive species and diseases into new territories all cry out to us for action. Passage after passage of Torah and secular Jewish writings cry out to us that as Jews we must act more vigorously, not only in private and communal households but in shaping public policy to celebrate and heal the web of life.

We urge our own members and all Jews to contact local rabbis, Jewish educators and other scholars and communal leaders to plan "Global Climate Healing Shabbat" events that will make this Shabbat (and if you wish the days just before and after it) the beginning of a truly transformative time.

We call on Jews not only to green our own households and communal buildings but also to work for major public policy changes away from fossil fuels and toward shifts in energy use, transportation, food production, housing, and other dimensions of our society.

Jewish tradition about caring for the poor also guides us to make sure that industries and regions especially affected must get help from the whole society, and that poor countries also get special help to develop on a non-fossil path and to ward off the destructive effects of climate change.

We hope the continuing momentum of Global Climate Healing Shabbat will help the December UN conference in Copenhagen make the decisions necessary to greatly reduce threats to our climate.

Please register your intentions today in both these places: ---



Signed (partial list):

Rabbi Steve Gutow, president of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs and a leader in the Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life.

Rabbi David Saperstein, director, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism.

Nancy Ratzan, President, National Council of Jewish Women.

Rabbi Arthur Waskow, Director, and Arlene Goldbard, President, for The Shalom Center, which initiated this Call.

Nigel Savage, director, for Hazon.

Debra Kolodny, director, for ALEPH: Alliance for Jewish Renewal.

Richard Schwartz, president, for Jewish Vegetarian Society of North America.

Dr. Michael Kagan and Rabbi Julian Sinclair for Jewish Climate Initiative, Israel.

Nili Simhai, for the Teva Learning Center.

Jakir Manela for Kayam Farm at Pearlstone Center.

Susan Kaplan, Chair, for Southern Arizona COEJL.

Ellen Bernstein, founder of Shomrei Adamah; author, Birthday of the Trees and The Splendor of Creation

Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, Director, Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network.

Rabbi Amy Eilberg, St. Paul Interfaith Network.

Evan Eisenberg, author, The Ecology of Eden.

Dr. Mirele B. Goldsmith, Environmental Activist

Jo Ellen Green Kaiser, Editor, Zeek

Rabbis Sharon Kleinbaum and Ayelet Cohen, Congregation Beth Simchat Torah, NYC, a Green Menorah Covenant congregation.

Rabbi Peter Knobel, Beth Emet, Evanston IL; past president, Central Conference of American Rabbis

Barbara Lerman-Golomb, Founder, Barbara Wow Workshop; Director Educaton and Outreach, Hazon; former ED, COEJL

Rabbi Mordechai Liebling, Board, The Shalom Center

Rabbi Ellen Lippmann, Kolot Chayeinu/Voices of Our Lives, Brooklyn; Board, The Shalom Center

Rabbi Thomas A. Louchheim, Tucson

Rabbi Richard A. Marker, Co-chair, Board of World Religious Leaders

Rabbi Yocheved Mintz, President, Ohalah/ Association of Rabbis for Jewish Renewal

Rabbi Brant Rosen, Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation of Evanston IL. a Green Menorah Covenant congregation.

Max Samson, Milwaukee; Board of The Shalom Center

Lindsey Paige Savoie, Director, Shomrei Adamah of Greater Washington

Rabbi Fred Scherlinder Dobb, Adat Shalom, Washington area; Greater Washington Interfaith Power & Light, Board of The Shalom Center

Reb Zalman Hiyya Schachter-Shalomi, Boulder

Rabbi David Shneyer, Am Kolel, Washngton DC area; past president, Ohalah.

Daniel Sieradski, director, Jew It Yourself.

Rabbi Margot Stein, composer/lyricist, Guarding the Garden

Rabbi Warren Stone, Temple Emanuel, Kensington MD, a Green Menorah Covenant congregation; co-chair, environment committee of the Central Conference of American Rabbis.

Rabbi Shawn Zevit, Director of Outreach and Tikkun Olam, Jewish Reconstructionist Federation

Daniel Ziskin, PhD, Climate Scientist and President, Jews Of The Earth

Information on Jewish teachings on environmental stewardship and sustainability can be found at the websites of -----

The Shalom Center 's Green Menorah Covenant http://www.shalomctr.org

Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism http://www.urj.org/green

Coalition on the Environment and Jewish Life (COEJL) http://www.coejl.org
Canfei Nesharim http://www.canfeiNesharim.org

Hazon http:// www.hazon.org

Teva Learning Center http://tevalearningcenter.org

Adamah Fellowship http://www.isabellafreedman.org/adamah

Jewish Farm School http://www.jewishfarmschool.org

Jewish Vegetarians of North America http://www.JewishVeg.com

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6. Getting Veganism Onto Major Global Warming-Related Events Planned for October 24, 2009

[As indicated in the following message, there is a major effort to have many global climate change-related events on Saturday, October 24. As indicated above, I am working with Rabbi Arthur Waskow to have a special Shabbat on that day, so that the Jewish community can take part, without violating Shabbat laws. Please think of ways to be involved, and of getting dietary changes to be part of the considerations. Thanks.


Dear World,

This is an invitation to help build a movement--to take one day and use it to stop the climate crisis.

On [Saturday] October 24, we will stand together as one planet and call for a fair global climate treaty. United by a common call to action, we'll make it clear: the world needs an international plan that meets the latest science and gets us back to safety.

This movement has just begun, and it needs your help.

Here's the plan: we're asking you, and people in every country on earth, to organize an action in their community on October 24. There are no limits here--imagine bike rides, rallies, concerts, hikes, festivals, tree-plantings, protests, and more. Imagine your action linking up with thousands of others around the globe. Imagine the world waking up.

If we can pull it off, we'll send a powerful message on October 24: the world needs the climate solutions that science and justice demand.

It's often said that the only thing preventing us from tackling the climate crisis quickly and equitably is a lack of political will. Well, the only thing that can create that political will is a unified global movement--and no one is going to build that movement for us. It's up to regular people all over the world. That's you.

So register an event in your community for October 24, and then enlist the help of your friends. Get together with your co-workers or your local environmental group or human rights campaign, your church or synagogue or mosque or temple; enlist bike riders and local farmers and young people. All over the planet we'll start to organize ourselves.

With your help, there will be an event at every iconic place on the planet on October 24-from America's Great Lakes to Australia's Great Barrier Reef--and also in all the places that matter to you in your daily lives: a beach or park or village green or town hall.

If there was ever a time for you to get involved, it's right now. There are two reasons this year is so crucial.

The first reason is that the science of climate change is getting darker by the day. The Arctic is melting away with astonishing speed, decades ahead of schedule. Everything on the planet seems to be melting or burning, rising or parched.

And we now have a number to express our peril: 350.

NASA's James Hansen and a team of other scientists recently published a series of papers showing that we need to cut the amount of carbon in the atmosphere from its current 387 parts per million to 350 or less if we wish to "maintain a planet similar to that on which civilization developed."

No one knew that number a year ago-but now it's clear that 350 might well be the most important number for the future of the planet, a north star to guide our efforts as we remake the world. If we can swiftly get the planet on track to get to 350, we can still avert the worst effects of climate change.

The second reason 2009 is so important is that the political opportunity to influence our governments has never been greater. The world's leaders will meet in Copenhagen this December to craft a new global treaty on cutting carbon emissions.

If that meeting were held now, it would produce a treaty that would be woefully inadequate. In fact, it would lock us into a future where we'd never get back to 350 parts per million-where the rise of the sea would accelerate, where rainfall patterns would start to shift and deserts to grow. A future where first the poorest people, and then all of us, and then all the people that come after us, would find the only planet we have damaged and degraded.

October 24 comes six weeks before those crucial UN meetings in Copenhagen. If we all do our job, every nation will know the question they'll be asked when they put forth a plan: will this get the planet back on the path to 350?

This will only work with the help of a global movement-and it's starting to bubble up everywhere. Farmers in Cameroon, students in China, even World Cup skiers have already helped spread the word about 350. Churches have rung their bells 350 times; Buddhist monks have formed a huge 350 with their bodies against the backdrop of Himalayas. 350 translates across every boundary of language and culture. It's clear and direct, cutting through the static and it lays down a firm scientific line.

On October 24, we'll all stand behind www.350.org website and send these pictures around the world. This cascade of images will drive climate change into the public debate--and hold our leaders accountable to a unified global citizenry.

We need your help-the world is a big place and our team is small. Our crew at 350.org will do everything we can to support you, providing templates for banners and press releases, resources to spread the word, and tools to help you build a strong local climate action group. And our core team is always just a phone call or e-mail away if you need some support.

This is like a final exam for human beings. Can we muster the courage, the commitment, and the creativity to set this earth on a steady course before it's too late? October 24 will be the joyful, powerful day when we prove it's possible.

Please join us and register your local event today. Click to both --



[Please forward this message to your friends and co-workers.]

Bill McKibben - Author and Activist- USA
Vandana Shiva - Physicist, Activist, Author - India
David Suzuki - Scientist, Author, Activist - Canada
Bianca Jagger - Chair of the World Future Council - UK
Tim Flannery - Scientist, Author, Explorer -Australia
Bittu Sahgal - Editor of Sanctuary magazine - India
Andrew Simmons - Environmental Advocate, St. Vincent & The Grenadines
Christine Loh - Environmental Advocate and Legislator - Hong Kong

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7. Getting US and Other Cities to Follow Ghent, Belgium, and Give Up Meat on at Least One Day per Week

Below are just one example of efforts to get other cities to follow the example of Ghent in declaring at least one day a meat-free day. Of course, much more needs to be done in view of the tremendous threats to humanity and other species, but this would be a valuable positive step and have important educational value.

Forwarded messages:

Hi All,

There is now a Meat Free Monday petition for Australia as well as Taiwan & USA.
Anyone around the globe can sign..

Meat Free Monday in Australia:
Sign the petition at GoPetition: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-in-australia.html

Meat Free Monday in Taiwan: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-taiwan.html
Meat Free Monday in USA: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/meat-free-monday-in-the-usa.html

For additional material on efforts to get meat-free days in various areas, please visit:


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8. Major Demonstration Planned For December Copenhagen Climate Change Convention/Efforts to Get Veganism Onto the Agenda

Forwarded message: (More details to follow as plans proceed)

[The message below was drafted by Veg Climate Alliance activist Carolin G., in an attempt to get veganism to be part of the planned demonstration. Please help spread this message, and take part in the demonstration and other activities related to the very important Copenhagen conference, if you can. Thanks.]

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

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

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

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

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

The Flood Is Coming!“

Further info:

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

Here are some facts to consider:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

For further information on how to join the Human Flood contact Carlos from Friends of the Earth International at: carlosagrb@gmail.com

[More information on this will be announced as we get closer to the event.]

For further info on the work of the Veg Climate Alliance see www.vegclimatealliane.org or write to info@vegclimatealliance.org

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

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9. Other Ways To Shake Things Up and Build Momentum

We need additional creative ways to awaken people to the severity of the threats and the urgency of responding effectively before it is too late.

If we do not properly and adequately respond to global climate change, nothing else will matter much.

Suggestions very welcome. Thanks.

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