New Mexico Vegan - March/April 2022

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NewMexicoVegan March/April 2022 Enjoy your FREE complimentary copy

For Vegans, Vegetarians, and the Veg Curious

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The views and opinions, expressed by contributing-authors, in the New Mexico Vegan Magazine; may, or may not, represent the views and opinions, of New Mexico Vegan.

Protect Them All





Nancy Arenas

Editor’s Note


Dan Brook


We Always Ate Meat


Angela Crawford


New Mexico Facts & Trivia


Jacque Salomon


Which One Can Feel Pain?




Veganism Is About Standing Up…


If You Are Neutral…


Let Our Ancestors Rest Campaign (LOAR)


Within The Prison Walls…


Veganism – A New Perspective


Vegan Pulse


Eighteen Reasons Jews Think They Should Not Be Vegetarians or Vegans (and why they are wrong)


Don’t Eat Life


Sprouting Compassion


Do You Know What Is Destroying The Planet?


Meet Our Extended Family


Have You Seen This Baby?


Photo Collage


There Is No Difference…


Climate Change: An Existential Threat To Humanity and How We Can Survive


Did You Know?


Boost Your Mood With Plant-Powered Nutrition


Mark Your Calendar – Red & Green VegFest Albuquerque, Shine ON!


Before I Was Vegan…


Cheese – The Truth




We Are Beings…


We Are All The Same…


Animals Are Not…


Injustices In Your Life


Advertising With NM Vegan


The Mother/Child Bond Is Deep And Inseparable…


Richard H. Schwartz




New Mexico Vegan Volume 8 – Issue 2 March/April 2022 Editor: Nancy Arenas NMV Photographer: N. Arenas

a HeartnSole, LLC publication

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Welcome to the 2nd-issue of 2022 New Mexico Vegan. I can’t believe it is our 8th year. The 1st thing I will say, here…?… “How thankful I am for each person who has contributed to this magazine, during those eight years. Publishing New Mexico Vegan is a labor of love for… ‘me’ …yet The Vegan Force is… “we.” My Ongoing 2022 Check List Update: A passion?-- spreading veganism wherever I go …check. A goal?-- share, daily, on diversified topics of veganism, with positive encouragement & inspiration for all ...check. A service (or two)?-- continue a magazine for Vegans, Vegetarians, and the Veg Curious …check. As we come to Spring… new-ness, fresh-ness, green-ness… ahhh. And against the chaotic background of the Corona Virus Pandemic… is veganism… making “headway” …up & forward. As I always say, “Each step, no matter how small, COUNTS… on the way to our destination.” As my destination, I aim to be an individual that promotes, encourages, and inspires others to veganism… in a positive manner, in the vegan manner… and that manner is, LOVE… love for all. Veganism is, certainly, a Social Justice Movement, since it exposes and remedies so many areas of global crisis, that result from criminal-behavior… whether the criminality is intentional, is not the discussion, here… simply examine the issues: decaying human health, the need for animal-rights advocacy, poisoned ecology, diminishing natural resources, speciesism, racism, etc. Here is something worth keeping in mind: as vegans, we are “making right” all these issues. The human head is…… naturally and normally…… …up and forward… but ‘headway’ can only be a pure-function… when it is “non-violent.” Otherwise, we will be… ‘headed’ for disaster.

A decade ago, when I committed to vegan-activism, the carnivorous-community of Albuquerque-citizens was, generally: unaware of the word “vegan;” and unaware around the concept of… ‘thriving on plant-foods.’ Gradually there has been a shift in awareness, and CoViD has, now, added an exclamation point (!). The word ‘vegan’ is, nowadays, an Albuquerque-household: “question”…... “quandary”… “adoration” ……or even “salvation.” So, we shall keep-on “keeping-on” …until we get to our endgame ……….a Vegan World. As spring warms-us… up… again --with flowers, and all, a-bloom-- I feel energized …forward …for BETTER. With vigor, I move… a-head… from good-days, to VEGAN-days.

If you want to contact me, I’m here to help: (( )). Cook With Compassion & Eat Without Violence!!! Livegan, Nancy NM Vegan | 03

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1. Home to Bandera Ice Cave: the Bandera ice cave dates back to the 1100 B.C. This makes it one of the oldest caves in the area. 2. Chili peppers are grown in this state more than any other states: if you love spicy foods, then you need to know that the chili peppers are primarily grown in this area more than any other state in the country. 3. The breakfast burrito is rumored to have been invented in Santa Fe: Tia Sophia claims that they were the first to invent the breakfast burrito. They have claims on their menu, which dates back to 1975. 4. Elizabethtown was the first town in New Mexico: although this has become a ghost town, it was the first town to be established in the area. The town is found in Colfax County, and it is now deserted as people moved to look for better opportunities. 5. Located in a collapsed lave tube, the Bandera Ice Cave’s temperature never rises above freezing. At the bottom of the 75-foot-deep cave, the ice floor is 20 feet thick. 6. Blue Hole, an 81-foot-deep natural artesian spring in Santa Rosa, is a favorite location for scuba divers. It's 4,600 feet above sea level, making the bottom an equivalent of nearly 100 feet of depth in the ocean. 7. In some isolated villages in New Mexico , such as Truchas, Chimayo', and Coyote in the north-central part of the state, some descendants of Spanish conquistadors still speak a form of 16th century Spanish used nowhere else in the world today. 8. The Santo Domingo Mission between Albuquerque and Santa Fe was built fifteen years before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth. 9. More than 500, 100-million-year-old dinosaur footprints have been identified and preserved at Clayton Lake State Park. 10. New Mexico has two designated State Vegetables - Chile and frijoles.

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ABQ Vegan: Albuquerque Vegan and Vegetarian Parents:

Cooking with Compassion Food Not Bombs ABQ HeartnSole Spiritual Community: Leaf: Taos Vegan Society:

New Mexico Vegan: Plant-Based Eating New Mexico: Plant Powered Events Positive Links Red & Green VegFest Albuquerque: Santa Fe Vegan: Santuario de Karuna: Sprouting Compassion

Vegan Pulse

If you are vegan and offer cruelty-free services and products please let us know for possible inclusion in upcoming NM Vegan Magazines, please email us at, on the subject line please write NMV Vegan Products & Services.

VIP (Vegans in the Park): If you have an article that deals with veganism and would like to submit it for possible inclusion in an upcoming NM Vegan Magazine, please email us at, on the subject line please write NMV Article.

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Addressing Climate Change through Cultural Protection “My grandmother always told me, ‘We could not live our spiritual practices or traditions, or speak our language because it was life or death. We had to do that to survive. But that is no more. We needed to go back. But we never went back.’ ASSIMILATION SUCCESSFUL.” –Running Deer, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community “Funding goes to hospitals and treatment centers. Nothing preventative. Nothing culturally healing. Nothing addressing the TRAUMA of colonization on a population. This is the greatest wound.” –Running Deer, Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community

“A friend of mine once suggested that one of the things that Indian People have never really had is a kind of way to overcome the sorrow of conquest…the sorrow of being conquered.” –Jack Forbes, PhD “I think a lot of the alcoholism has to do with looking around in a world in which your people are still oppressed.” –Jack Forbes, PhD Forty percent of the American Indian population is obese, and 18% have diabetes. Among American Indian tribes, Pima Indians have the highest incidence rates of diabetes in the world. We owe it to our progeny to rise above the pervasive fog of societal and cultural malaise that pervades our conscious awareness. A genocide that was set ablaze on Turtle Island over 500 years ago is finally reaching its completion.

Some of my ancestors inhabited the island of Boriken, which you refer to as Puerto Rico. Bartolomé De Las Casas writes graphically about the Taino massacres in A Short Account of the Destruction of the Indies. And some of my ancestors were kidnapped from the west coast of Africa, imprisoned, and enslaved on slave labor camps in the Caribbean. We are their descendants embodying the consequences and aftermath of the invasion, destruction, and savagery of colonization. How many of us are behaving, thinking, or eating as we would have had imperialism and colonialism not set its voracious appetite on our land and bodies? The capitalist system that exalted and rewarded such atrocities is the same system that governs us today. The quality of the food and medical treatment we receive today is reflective of a mutation and adaptation of the system that established itself in someone else’s stolen home over five centuries ago. Is this not the same system deciding what is considered food? When, where, and how much of it we get? Is this not the same system deciding what health looks like and who is worthy to access healthcare? Is this not the same system deciding who is worthy and why? So, what does this mean? Are we lost? How can we be lost when we have holders of wisdom and guardians of Earth living among us?

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I have the honor of supporting my sister-friend and colleague Running Deer. She is Akimel O’odham born and raised on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community. She is a chef, activist, speaker, founder of the Let Our Ancestors Rest Campaign (LOAR), but first and most importantly she is a mom; a mother fighting for the right for her children to live in a world with clean air and water. Where food is growing abundantly. A world of reverence for Life and our place in it. Observing her and growing to love her has shown me the depth of suffering our indigenous brothers and sisters carry as they bear witness to a continual and continuous assault on our mother Earth. They feel the violations and violence on her; to have to watch other humans who have had their connection to Spirit…to Divinity… lost they have become self-destructive; destroying and consuming with no regard for consequences; leaving a path of desolation and death. What can we do when there are specific factors including our environments that influence how we live? This is where a courageous and profound shift is being made by so many amazing people. We are being called to alchemize our experiences and knowledge into healing energy of which the overflow showers healing on our loved ones and communities. Cultural education leads to cultural healing. Cultural healing leads to Cultural Protection. Cultural Protection gets to the core of the climate crisis. It’s Quantum Mechanics. It’s Ancient Wisdom. It’s Indigenous Consciousness. •Form networks of social entrepreneurs and healers, assets within our communities.

•Somatic Healing aims to help release how a physical body holds on to stress, tension, and trauma, rather than only resolving problems verbally. •Cultural Immersion Schools for our youth •Create adult-facilitated, potential-driven, culturally relevant, autonomous learning environments for our children. •Cultural Education for Adults •Community Kitchens •Organize and grow our own food. CSAs, farmers markets, community gardens. •Minimizing time spent in artificial and fabricated environments •Creative and Artistic Expression •Create co-ops. •Devise meal trains. •Heal our own trauma so we can hold space for one another. •Organize and change policy and legislation.

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What sets us apart? During many of my speaking engagements I am asked, “Well, what do you say to Native Americans and their traditional hunting practices?” I usually do not participate in What Aboutisms but I feel it is important to address this particular deflection, as it is central to our path, as an organization. Our organization juxtaposed and examined our activism and advocacy with the glaring challenges to health and wellness festering in our indigenous communities. Colonization is our common enemy. Food has been weaponized as a means to control colonized and enslaved people. Animal agriculture is the most abhorrent manifestation of our common enemy as it destroys the planet, destabilizes the climate, is incredibly cruel and foundational to systemic and environmental racism, dietary racism, and health disparity. To compare indigenous traditional hunting practices to animal agriculture, as if apples-to-apples, is further evidence of the consciousness with which we are engaging. We must educate ourselves in order to represent the Truth of what we are doing honestly, respectfully, and humbly. Decolonizing the diets of our indigenous brothers and sisters is paramount. Challenging the traditions of colonized populations whose entire culture has been nearly decimated by the system creating the disease and lack in their community is deflection, projection, and more evidence of supremacy.

We must make space for our indigenous brothers and sisters to heal from the imposed diets of assimilation and together we will marry current science with indigenous wisdom to respond to climate destabilization. Our message is one absent of judgment or criticism but rather steeped in love, protection, healing, truth, learning, unlearning, humility, reverence and service. This is why we support and promote the Let Our Ancestors Rest Campaign. In honor of our mission and commitment to LOAR we have partnered with the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) with a program called Native Food For Life to help combat the Diabetes epidemic plaguing the reservations. Currently we are facilitating this program with a small group of individuals representing 5 tribes healing from substance abuse disorder. With your support we are creating a whole plant foods, culinary medicine, trauma-informed, culturally healing support group for the families of these individuals in recovery to create a more healthful and grounded home environment to return to. We are working on plans to incorporate education and somatic healing in the next few months. There is no more time to waste. That time has come and gone dear friends. It is time we remember what it really means to be a human being and take our place as Divine Guardians of Life on this planet of abundance and beauty. It is our birthright. The babies need us to do this. Ashe.

By adopting the 6 Pillars of Lifestyle Medicine, which includes Whole Plant Foods Nutrition, and incorporating Trauma Healing into her life she arrested and reversed chronic diseases such as Type 2 Diabetes, Hypertension, Gastric Reflux, Restless Leg Syndrome, Insomnia, Anxiety, Depression, as well as losing 164 lbs. Realizing the profound power we have over our own health, body and wellbeing, Jacque brings her story to distressed communities challenged with health inequity and disparity; at-risk for future pandemics and climate destabilization.

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Jacque Salomon is a mother of three sons. Her eldest got his angel wings when he was 11 years old, and her twin sons are her greatest motivation. Her life as a mom is channeled into the social justice education non-profit she co-founded, Seeds to Inspire Foundation. She also serves the community as an ACLM HEAL Initiative Committee Member, a Collaborator Member to JIVINITI Coalition, Supporter of Project Gaia, Collaborator/Supporter to Let Our Ancestors Rest Campaign, Founding Board Member of SimpleVeg 501 (c)(3), Board Member of Eat for the Earth 501(c)(3), Former Pod Advisory Committee Member for PlantPure Communities and Community Liaison to StandUp ASU student club. She received her Certificate in Plant Based Nutrition from eCornell, certified Conscious Parenting Coach, certified HNLP Level 1 Coach, certified World Peace Diet Facilitator and studied in collective and racialized trauma and resilience.

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“…P … E ….R … S….P … E ….C …T…. I …V…. E ……“ “…Perspective……… is on my mind, today.” -------------------------

As a child, I ……loved…… “going to the Zoo.” I did not go to the zoo, looking for ‘cotton-candy & souvenirs’ …………..… I, just, really did …love the animals. Yet, when I became vegan, I made this promise, to myself: “I will never go to the zoo, again.” Why the drastic change, in my attitude? Because I discovered this fact: Zoos are not friendly to animals. For example, from the wild of Nature,…zoo-animals are, basically …kidnapped. This means… they were born…………… in a large forest… or grassland… or ocean… …some vast natural-habitat; and then, they are forced to live…………………………. on the infamous ………………………. teeny-tiny postage-stamp, ………for the rest of their lives. Cramped living spaces, in Zoos… are not, merely, …similar to prison-cells… they are prison-cells. I will not help zoos, to stay in-business… by putting my dollars, into them …that’s all. Are there Americans being… inconvenienced… due to lock-down-protocols? Well, imagine this. Imagine… your daily life, as a zoo-animal. Zoo-animals spend, day after day, week after week, year after year… in the exact same enclosure. That seems… tedious…, and too much of it. Here is the definition of: tedious- too long; too slow; too dull; too tiresome; …too monotonous. The Eighth-Amendment to the United States Constitution opposes, “Cruel And Unusual Punishment” ………zoos are ‘punishing’ animals……… with cruel and unusual …living-conditions. Zoos are……… not……… “a home sweet home …for animals.” If you dedicate, only-minimal, thought and investigation, you will easily discover the obvious; Zoos are, ……… “cruel and unusual” …cages. How do zoos… acquire… “specimens” …for their cages? Allow me to overstate this obvious, yet poignant… fact: ……….………no one has ever …volunteered… to be a zoo-animal. Zooanimals are, either: taken, by force, from their wild-home; or, born into captivity. But what really matters, is this……… the “cage”………separates animals from Nature. Every zoo is required, by law, to install a -barrier- between you & …the wild-animals. Clearly, this is for the

protection of everyone, including the animals. However, that same barrier, also, lies between the zoo-animals …and their home-planet. That sacrifice is too great. If that were the only reason for banning Zoos, it is reason enough. We should ban… the “lock-down” …which is being imposed- on …innocent animals.

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Zoo-animals… miss-out… on the very land & atmosphere… which their ancestors were born into. That is the environment which… “awe-inspiring-creative-intelligence” ……configured for them… They were, “designed, to fit” …there. Zoo-animals live --like a fish out of water-- because they give-up their hometown………

…………... to come and live, in yours. Check-out this list of things, that zoo-animals will never get to do…………… •

go racing for a mile, along the riverbank;

roam the safari… simply because, it’s their backyard;

migrate south for the winter;

climb… higher than two-stories-tall;

forage for wild roots-and-berries.

Any mating-partners, will be… artificially-assigned. Zoo-animals will never, ultimately, find…their own…family.

Zoos, are trying to offer you a good-time. Nothing wrong with the idea of …a little fun …right. And, any zoo is, truly, a wondrous “art-show” …where the …sculptures… have ……come-to-life. That sounds… just like it should sound, doesn’t it…?... charming and harmless …even …magical. Well, it is true, …the cute-baby-animals …like Disney’s Dumbo… can surely draw a crowd; but their ‘mama & papa’ will, likely, not be there… in that crowd; because, Dumbo’s mama & papa, routinely, end-up in another zoo… in another world …gone. Gone, gone, gone-away from their baby …forever. All mothers yearn, to be near… their babies. This is how Mother-Nature provides for infants. No one expects infants to care for themselves. The impulse-to-nurture… is the “mother’s heart” within the ‘mother’s body.’ It is real. It functions in the world, because they feel-it. Human-mothers and human-babies are not reading cue-cards, nor following tele-prompters… so as to enact the motions of life. Motions come from e-motions. The world is a stage, and… ‘feelings’ …are creating every word in the script …every movement in the choreography. History… of all age’s past, is just this… the record of our tears and cheers… our deep-yearnings to, simply, be happy. When that “mother & child emotional-nurturing-connection” is torn-apart……… there is pain added to the pages of history.

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Disposal of elderly zoo-animals, is not a well-kept secret, anymore. Weaker animals can end up: as ‘game’ on a hunting-ranch; sold at a livestock auction; or tested-on, in a research laboratory. Summarizing this point, …… “Zoos… break-up …animal-families ……………………. before their time.” The Association Of Zoos And Aquariums did some number-crunching and here are the numbers: •

-over 183-million people visit… “zoos and aquariums” …each year, in America;

-and …………worldwide……… over 200-million people.

That number is greater than: the annual-attendance, to the NFL, NBA, NHL and MLB, combined. Two-thirds of adults, attending the zoo, will be accompanied by …a child… go figure. “The Zoo” here in America, is thought of as… “A-Family-Place” …the way peanut-butter goes with jelly. But, truthfully… the idea of the Zoo, as a… family-friendly place …is a deceitful myth. It is a myth; since ‘violence’ should never be the banner-of-character …for the American family. People do not see the-violence; because it is… “hiding” in plain-sight. As when we are viewing a 3-D movie, we may not recognize-fully what we are seeing, until we look-thru that…………. special lens……..… that gives us the……… right………perspective.








animals……………………………………………….. “up-close.”






Humans want animals, on their plates;

……….and… “in their eyes.” The main-point is not, whether there are criminal-intentions, on the part of any zoo……………. the one-&only point, that needs to be addressed, here, is: animals are suffering. Whether zoos are operated with criminal-intent; with negligence; or simply with ignorance…… ……it does not matter…. we should …STOP-THEM!!!... anyway…………………………………… because… Zoos are

demeaning to animals. We should……… “end …the zoo-industry” itself, ………entirely.

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Zoos are not, Animal-Sanctuaries. Zoos’ primary-goals are not……… “conservation and care.” Zoos are… “for-profit.” How did, ‘child-labor laws’ come to be a real thing? Because employers…… “for-profit” …… …abused children. Speaking of… “abuse, hiding in plain sight:” this past New Year’s Eve, I went to the zoo, for the first time, since becoming vegan. I was there, on behalf of an “animal-advocacy organization,” …for whom I do volunteer work. So, yes, …I broke the promise that I made to myself …and I went…………… to the zoo. As I entered the main gateway to the zoo……… there were …Flamingos… in their classic pose… you-know the one………… “stand on one leg, while you sleep.” And, surrounding the flamingo-exhibit, were people… shouting, stomping, and waving, ……incessantly………. at those……… elegant-pink-birds: “Hey!!!


Look up here!!!


on… …………do something …interesting!!!” Allow me to attach a …caption… …to that image…” “…Flamingos… one and all… and from far ….exotic lands…. let me be the first to welcome you …to your luxury accommodations, ………………here at another fine, ……five-star rendition of……… The American Family Zoo. At this time, what we have available, are semi-private rooms, only. Also, we are fresh out of …earplugs. Now, who wants a……………… ‘Do Not Disturb – Sign’?”

I reiterate, here, my ……………………location………………… it is my welcoming introduction…………… at the entrance …to the zoo. My day’s path… laid before me… had only begun.

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Let’s talk about, The Polar Bear Exhibit. There he was ….magnificent ….on top of the rocks…… shining like the white-sun in the sky. Everyone, there, was commenting on his mighty stature. But I saw the underlying sad-story, that evaded the eyes, of my fellow tourists, who were seeing only the shallow surface. The polar-bear was, clearly, ………exhibiting stress-behaviors, …………….which included: repetitive spasmodic movements; pacing, randomly, through the space; head bobbing; retracing his steps, over and over again; and so on. These behaviors are caused by: depression, boredom, and psychoses. Zookeepers authorize the use of anti-depressants and tranquillizers, when behaviors …become problematic. Since the use of sedation, in Zoos, is widespread:

zoo-animals -everywhere- have gotten the general-

reputation for ………….being “boring” ……… “laying around” ………… and “doing nothing.” Zoo animals, lack: mental-stimulation; and physical exercise. They do not, really, ever… love… “life in captivity.” In a nutshell… every exhibit I saw, was …just another heart-breaking animal-drama. In the end, I was sorry I had to be there. But it was for a worthy cause. _______________ And finally… …Positive, positive, positive. If a thing, cannot be positive …what good is it? So here it is……… I’ll spell it for you… V_E_G_A_N_I_S_M …………………….VEGANISM. Veganism is positive …for everyone. I know it will make you happier… that’s why I’m here……… …I am willing to be, the friendly person who will “try” …………to give you ………………….a new perspective.

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Vegan Pulse

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In the Torah, people are granted dominion over animals; animals would overrun the earth if we didn't eat them; God must have made meat delicious for a reason...

Below are 18 reasons why many of my fellow Jews think they should not be vegetarian or vegan (henceforth veg*an) and my rebuttals to the reasons: 1) The Torah teaches that humans are granted dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26), giving us a warrant to treat animals in any way we wish. Response: Jewish tradition interprets “dominion” as responsible guardianship or stewardship: we are called upon to be co-workers with God in improving the world. Dominion does not mean that people have the right to wantonly exploit animals, and it certainly does not permit us to breed animals and treat them as machines designed solely to meet human needs. In “A Vision of Vegetarianism and Peace,” Rav Kook states: “There can be no doubt in the mind of any intelligent person that [the Divine empowerment of humanity to derive benefit from nature] does not mean the domination of a harsh ruler, who afflicts his people and servants merely to satisfy his whim and desire, according to the crookedness of his heart. It is unthinkable that the Divine Law would impose such a decree of servitude, sealed for all eternity, upon the world of God, Who is ‘good to all, and His compassion is upon all His works’ (Psalms 145:9).” This view is reinforced by the fact that immediately after God gave humankind dominion over animals (Genesis 1:26), He prescribed vegetarian foods as the diet for humans (Genesis 1:29). 2) The Torah teaches that only people are created in the Divine Image, meaning that God places far less value on animals. Response: While the Torah states that only human beings are created “in the Divine Image” (Genesis 1:27, 5:1), animals are also God’s creatures, possessing sensitivity and the capacity for feeling pain. God is concerned that they are protected and treated with compassion and justice. In fact, the Jewish sages state that to be “created in the Divine Image,” means that people have the capacity to emulate the Divine compassion for all creatures. “As God is compassionate,” they teach, “so you should be compassionate.” 3) Inconsistent with Judaism, veg*ans elevate animals to a level equal to or greater than that of people. Response: Veg*ans’ concern for animals and their refusal to treat animals cruelly does not mean that they regard animals as being equal to people. There are many reasons for being veg*an other than consideration for animals, including concerns about human health, ecological threats, and the plight of hungry people. Because humans are capable of imagination, rationality, empathy, compassion, and moral choice, we should strive to end the unbelievably cruel conditions under which farm animals are currently raised. This is an issue of sensitivity, not an assertion of equality with the animal kingdom. 4) Veg*ism places greater priority on animal rights than on the many problems related to human welfare. Response: Veg*an diets are not beneficial only to animals. They improve human health, help conserve food and other resources, and put less strain on endangered ecosystems. In view of the many threats related to today’s livestock agriculture (such as climate change, pollution, soil erosion, and deforestation), working to promote veg*ism may be the most important action that one can take for global sustainability.

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5. By putting veg*an values ahead of Jewish teachings, veg*ans are, in effect, creating a new religion with values contrary to Jewish teachings. Response: Jewish veg*ans are not placing so-called “veg*an values” above Torah principles but are challenging the Jewish community to apply Judaism’s splendid teachings at every level of our daily lives. Veg*ans argue that Jewish teachings that we must treat animals with compassion, guard our health, share with hungry people, protect the environment, conserve resources, and seek peace, are all best applied through veg*an diets. 6. Jews must eat meat on Shabbat and Yom Tov (Jewish holidays). Response: According to the Talmud (T. B. Pesachim 109a), since the destruction of the Temple, Jews are not required to eat meat in order to rejoice on sacred occasions. This view is reinforced in the works Reshit Chochmah and Kerem Shlomo and Rabbi Chizkiah Medini’s Sdei Chemed, which cites many classical sources on the subject. Several Israeli chief rabbis, including Shlomo Goren, late Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Israel, and Shear Yashuv Cohen, late Ashkenazic Chief Rabbi of Haifa, and David Rosen, former Chief rabbi of Ireland, have been or are strict vegetarians. 7. The Torah mandated that Jews eat korban Pesach and other korbanot (sacrifices). Response: The great Jewish philosopher Maimonides believed that God permitted sacrifices as a concession to the common mode of worship in Biblical times. It was felt that had Moses not instituted the sacrifices, his mission would have failed, and Judaism might have disappeared. The Jewish philosopher Abarbanel reinforced Maimonides’ position by citing a midrash (Rabbinic teaching) that indicates God tolerated the sacrifices because the Israelites had become accustomed to sacrifices in Egypt, but that He commanded they be offered only in one central sanctuary in order to wean the Jews from idolatrous practices. Now that the Jerusalem Temple is not standing, these laws related to sacrifices are no longer applicable. 8. Jews historically have had many problems with some animal rights groups, which have often opposed shechita (ritual slaughter) and advocated its abolishment. Response: Jews should consider switching to veg*ism not because of the views of animal rights groups, whether they are hostile to Judaism or not, but because it is the diet most consistent with Jewish teachings. It is the Torah, not animal rights groups, which is the basis for observing how far current animal treatment has strayed from fundamental Jewish values. As Samson Raphael Hirsch stated: “Here you are faced with God’s teaching, which obliges you not only to refrain from inflicting unnecessary pain on any animal, but to help and, when you can, to lessen the pain whenever you see an animal suffering, even through no fault of yours.” 9. The restrictions of shechita minimize the pain to animals in the slaughtering process, and thus fulfill Jewish laws on proper treatment of animals. Response: This ignores the cruel treatment of animals on “factory farms” in the many months prior to slaughter. Can we ignore the force-feeding of huge amounts of grain to ducks and geese to produce foie gras, the removal of calves from their mothers shortly after birth to raise them for veal, the killing of over 250 million male chicks immediately after birth at egg-laying hatcheries in the U.S. annually, the placing of hens in cages so small that they can’t raise even one wing, and the many other horrors of modern factory farming? Also, because of the modern, very rapid mass slaughtering of animals, shechita is not always carried out as intended and much of the meat consumed in Israel comes from cows who are shackled and hoisted before slaughter, a process that causes much pain to the animals.

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10. If Jews do not eat meat, they will be deprived of the opportunity to fulfill many mitzvot (commandments). Response: By not eating meat, Jews are actually fulfilling many mitzvot: showing compassion to animals, preserving health, conserving resources, helping to feed the hungry and preserving the environment. And by abstaining from meat, Jews reduce the chance of accidentally violating several prohibitions of the Torah, such as mixing meat and milk, eating non-kosher animals, and eating forbidden fats or blood. There are other cases where Torah laws regulate things that God would prefer people not do at all. For example, God wishes people to live in peace, but he provides commandments relating to war, knowing that human beings will quarrel and seek victories over others. Similarly, the Torah laws that restrict taking female captives in wartime are a concession to human weakness. Indeed, the sages go to great lengths to deter people from taking advantage of such dispensations. 11. Judaism teaches that it is wrong not to take advantage of the pleasurable things that God has put on the earth. Since He put animals on the earth, and it is pleasurable to eat them, is it not wrong to refrain from eating meat? Response: Can eating meat be pleasurable to a sensitive person if he or she knows that, as a result, their health is endangered, grain is wasted, the environment is damaged, and animals are being cruelly treated? One can indulge in pleasure without doing harm to living creatures. There are many other cases in Judaism where actions that people may consider pleasurable are forbidden or discouraged – such as the use of tobacco, drinking liquor to excess, having sexual relations out of wedlock, and hunting. 12. A movement by Jews toward veg*ism would lead to less emphasis on kashrut (Jewish dietary laws) and eventually a disregard of these laws. Response: Quite the contrary. In many ways, becoming a veg*an makes it easier and less expensive to observe the laws of kashrut. This might attract many new adherents to keeping kosher, and eventually to other important Jewish practices. As a veg*an, one need not be concerned with mixing milchigs (dairy products) with fleischigs (meat products), waiting three or six hours after eating meat before being allowed to eat dairy products, storing four complete sets of dishes (two for regular use and two for Passover use), extra silverware, pots, pans, etc., and many other considerations incumbent upon the non-veg*an who wishes to observe kashrut. 13. If everyone became veg*an, butchers, shochtim (slaughterers), and others dependent for a living on the consumption of meat would lack work. Response: There could be a shift from the production of animal products to that of nutritious veg*an dishes. In England during World War II, when there was a shortage of meat, butchers relied mainly on the sale of fruits and vegetables. Today, new businesses could sell tofu, miso, falafel, soy burgers, and vegetarian cholent (Sabbath hot dish). Besides, the shift toward veg*ism will be gradual, providing time for a transition to other jobs. The same kind of question can be asked about other moral issues. What would happen to arms merchants if we had universal peace? What would happen to some doctors and nurses if people took better care of themselves, stopped smoking, improved their diets, and so on? Immoral or inefficient practices, including slavery, should not be supported because some people earn a living in the process.

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14. If everyone became veg*an, animals would overrun the earth. Response: This concern is based on an insufficient understanding of animal behavior. For example, there are millions of turkeys around at Thanksgiving not because they want to help celebrate the holiday, but because farmers breed them for the dinner table. Dairy cows are artificially inseminated annually so that they will constantly produce milk. Before the establishment of modern intensive livestock agriculture, food supply and demand kept animal populations relatively steady. An end to the manipulation of animals’ reproductive tendencies to suit our needs would lead to a decrease, rather than an increase, in the number of animals. Animals that we do not eat, such as lions, elephants, and crocodiles do not overrun us. 15. Instead of advocating veg*ism, we should advocate alleviating the evils of factory farming so that animals are treated better, less grain is wasted, and less health-harming chemicals are used. Response: The breeding of animals is “big business.” Animals are raised the way they are today because it is very profitable. Improving conditions, as suggested by this assertion, would certainly be a step in the right direction, but it has been strongly resisted by the meat, dairy, and egg industries, since it would greatly increase already high prices. Why not abstain from eating meat as a protest against present policies while trying to improve them? Even under the best of conditions, why take the life of a creature of God, “whose tender mercies are over all His creatures” (Psalms 145:9), when it is not necessary for proper nutrition?

16. One can work to improve conditions for animals without being a veg*an. Response: Certainly, animal abuse is a widespread problem and there are many ways to improve conditions for animals. However, one should keep in mind that factory farming is the primary source of animal abuse in this country. According to FARM (Farm Animal Rights Movement), “The number of warm-blooded animals brutalized and slaughtered each year is approximately 70 times the number of animals killed in laboratories, 30 times the number killed by hunters and trappers, and 500 times the number killed in pounds.” They also reported that about 80 billion farm animals are killed annually worldwide to produce food. A typical meat-eating animal welfare advocate is personally responsible for the slaughter of twenty-two warm-blooded animals per year, 1,500 in an average lifetime.

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17. If veg*an diets were best for health, doctors would recommend them. Response: Unfortunately, while doctors are devoted to the well-being of their patients, many lack information about the basic relationship between food and health, because nutrition is not sufficiently taught at most medical schools. Also, many patients are resistant to making dietary changes. The accepted approach today seems to be to prescribe medications first and, perhaps, recommend a diet change as an afterthought. However, there now seems to be increasing awareness on the part of doctors about the importance of proper nutrition and many are advocating healthier diets, but the financial power of the beef and dairy lobbies and other groups who gain from the status quo prevents rapid changes. 18. I enjoy eating meat. Why should I give it up? Response: If one is solely motivated by what will bring pleasure, perhaps no answer to this question would be acceptable. But Judaism wishes us to be motivated by far more: doing mitzvot, performing good deeds and acts of charity, sanctifying ourselves in the realm of the permissible, helping to feed the hungry, pursuing justice and peace, etc. Even if one is primarily motivated by considerations of pleasure and convenience, the negative health effects of animal-based diets should be taken into account. One cannot enjoy life when one is not in good health.

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, Who Stole My Religion? Revitalizing Judaism and Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal our Imperiled Planet, and Mathematics and Global Survival, and over 200 articles and 25 podcasts at He is President Emeritus of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) and President of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV). He is associate producer of the 2007 documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World.” He is also a Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the College of Staten Island, which is part of the City University of New York.

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Sprouting Compassion, a 501C3 Non-Profit organization, dedicated to raising awareness about the connection of veganism and its link to social justice issues. Sprouting Compassion offers cooking demos (Eat Without Violence); vegan mentorship; school humane education for kids (EducateDuCare); Vegan Swap Meet; Red and Green VegFest Albuquerque; weekly mini podcast, Vegan Pulse. We also do live and virtual presentations, tabling, and so forth. If you know of an event we should be at, please email us at We look forward to meeting, engaging, and connecting with all individuals who are seeking to improve their health, fight climate change, stand up for animals, and end oppression for all. Visit our website for more informtation, Together let’s Plant Seeds of Compassion for all.

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Animals can feel empathy just like humans do. Empathy for each other, for us, and even for other species.

Polar Bears 1. Polar bear fur is translucent, and only appears white because it reflects visible light. Beneath all that thick fur, their skin is jet black. 2. At birth, polar bears weigh anywhere from 16 to 24 ounces—about what a guinea pig does. 3. As well as reaching speeds of up to 6mph in the water, polar bears can swim for long distances and steadily for many hours to get from one piece of ice to another. 4. In order to balance on ice, polar bears boast giant feet. Their paws can measure up to 12 inches in diameter, acting like snowshoes to spread out their weight on thin ice and deep snow. 5. Because they spend so much of their lives on ice, rather than land, polar bears are the only bears to be considered marine mammals. 6. When Polar bears spend time together (in what's called a sleuth), male bears will play-fight with each other, wrestling and swatting at each other without doing any real harm. 7. Polar bears can recognize friends they've met before even if they go without seeing each other for many years. 8. During pregnancy, a female polar bear digs herself a den and remains sealed inside, surviving off her stores of fat, until her cubs grow large enough to survive outdoors. 9. Polar bears may not hibernate, but they are happy to lay low when bad weather hits. 10. Polar bears don't have to worry about getting water up their nose. When they swim, their nostrils close to prevent them from breathing in water. 11. In 2008, polar bears were the first vertebrate species to be listed under the U.S. Endangered Species Act as threatened due to predicted climate change. 12. Polar bears in groups, are called a “pack” or a “sleuth. 13. Polar bears keep warm thanks to nearly 3.93 inches of blubber under the skin. 14. Polar bears are also very intelligent! 15. Polar Bears use body language and vocal sounds to have a chat to each other. They sway their heads from side-to-side when they want to play; make chuffing sounds when stressed; loud roars, hisses or growls when they’re angry and deep growls when they’re defending food.

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Our climate crisis is the biggest social, political economic and environmental problem facing our planet and its inhabitants. Climate change goes way beyond “an inconvenient truth.” We are overheating our planet to alarming levels with catastrophic consequences. According to NASA, “Nineteen of the 20 warmest years all have occurred since 2001, with the exception of 1998” and 2020 is on a sizzling pace to be one of the hottest years. Every decade since the 1970s has been hotter than the previous decade. Picture an overheated car (and what we drive), an overcooked dinner (and what we eat), and someone sick with a fever (and how we act). Now imagine that on a planetary scale. Our climate crisis is the biggest social, political economic and environmental problem facing our planet and its inhabitants, affecting every country and every species, mostly in negative ways. Climate change refers to the increasing average surface temperature of the Earth’s air and water, and its various environmental effects. People are becoming increasingly aware of, and concerned about, the climate crisis and its consequences, despite corporate misinformation and some media obfuscation, due to frequent reports regarding record heat, droughts, wildfires, an increase in the number and severity of storms and other extreme weather events, the melting of glaciers – about 80% of the world’s glaciers are rapidly shrinking – permafrost, and polar ice caps, as well as decreasing snow on Mt. Kilimanjaro and other tropical mountains, shrinking lakes, rising sea levels, flooding, submerged islands, changes in wind directions, acidification of the oceans, endangered species and extinctions, spreading diseases, environmental refugees, and other ominous signs of disaster. Greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere continue to rise and there are fears of “tipping points” from which we could not come back. Climatologists have asserted that concentrations of 350 parts per million (ppm) of atmospheric CO2 is a threshold level of atmospheric carbon dioxide, which had hovered below 285 ppm for thousands of years prior to the Industrial Revolution, yet surpassed 418 ppm on June 1, 2020, the highest value in human history, indeed the highest level in about three million years. As Jerry Brown, the former governor of California, a state subjected to many severe climate events, commented, “Humanity is on a collision course with nature, "calling this era “the new abnormal,” and warning that various environmental disasters will only “intensify” over the coming years. “Right now, we are facing a man-made disaster of global scale,” says David Attenborough. “Our greatest threat in thousands of years. Climate change. If we don’t take action, the collapse of our civilizations and the extinction of much of the natural world is on the horizon.” Global climate change is also endangering polar bears, penguins, seals, walruses, salmon, elephants, giraffes, frogs, butterflies, birds, bees and many other animals, threatening up to one-third of all fauna species. In contrast, increases in carbon dioxide and heat levels will lead to an increase in the number and range of mosquitoes, further spreading discomfort and disease. Additionally, there is an increase in food insecurity, terrorism, ethnic violence and war, according to various militaries and intelligence agencies, especially in Central America, South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, including Syria. In December 2019, World Meteorological Organization secretary-general Petteri Taalas lamented that we will witness “ever more harmful impacts on human well being” if we do not substantially reverse course.

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In August 2010, an “ice island” four times the size of Manhattan calved from the Petermann Glacier in Greenland into the sea (in addition, the Ayles Ice Shelf calved entirely in August 2005 and the Markham Ice Shelf broke up in 2008, to mention just a couple of other such alarming events). Recent years have marked the “historic minimum” of Arctic Sea ice. “Such a path is not merely unsustainable,” according to Harvard Prof. John P. Holdren, former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, “it is a prescription for disaster.” Yet, a 2019 UN report wrote that, despite many nations’ pledges to reduce them, greenhouse gases are still rising perilously, growing an average of 1.5% per year in the past 10 years. On June 20, 2020, the temperature in the Arctic Circle soared to 100.4º Fahrenheit (38ºC) for the first time in recorded history, hotter than any June day ever recorded in Miami, Florida, while it was snowing in other parts of Siberia. Houston, Texas, has been ravaged by five “500-year storms” in the last five years. Something projected to happen only once in half a millennium happened five times in a row. None of this is normal. These and various other extreme weather events and other eco-spasms have become more frequent, more intense, and are projected to multiply with dire consequences for the world. Tragically, new records are being set each year. Humanity is threatened as never before, and major changes need to occur to put our imperiled planet onto a sustainable path – and as soon as possible. Even though a small number of individuals still deny the reality of climate change, there is strong scientific and environmental consensus across a wide range of disciplines that climate change is real, serious, worsening, and caused by human activity (anthropogenic) among all major scientific and environmental organizations, journals, magazines, and museums, and nearly all peer-reviewed scholarly articles, in addition to all reputable colleges and universities and most governments and large corporations. The evidence is overwhelming and continuing to pile up. A further indication of how serious climate threats are is that in the two weeks prior to the final submission of this article, the following occurred: Israel experienced a major, long-lasting heat wave, with temperature records broken in many cities; California and several other US western states experienced massive wildfires along with some record temperatures; the Koreas were struck by two severe typhoons; the US state of Louisiana was hit by a category four hurricane; there were reports that melting of ice in Greenland had passed a point of no return and that rapid melting of Arctic permafrost is releasing ’shocking amounts of dangerous gases.” This is truly an Earth emergency and earthlings are standing at a global precipice. The 2019 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report on global warming was written by about 100 climate scientists from 40 countries, based on 6,981 scientific studies and over 42,000 expert and governmental comments. The IPCC has 195 member states. The report carefully delineates clear trends and potentially catastrophic consequences associated with climate change, warning of irreversible change, unless we very soon make radical and unprecedented efforts to counter global warming. According to the United Nations Foundation, “Overall, it is expected that every degree of warming will likely reduce crop yields, productivity and livestock production globally, while food demand continues to rise. And even worse, hunger and water crises – either caused or exacerbated by climate change – may generate ripple effects across society, leading to poverty, conflict, and migration.” “One action that the IPCC recommends,” it continues, “is to change what’s on our plates: swap out meat for more plant-based foods. While we need collective policy changes, individual actions do add up and send an important message to leaders.” Acting conservatively, the IPCC makes it plain that the current and projected climate change is not simply “natural variation” or “solar activity,” and certainly not a “Chinese hoax,” but “extremely likely” (meaning 95%-100% confidence) the result of human activity. The case is closed on the problem of anthropogenic climate change, with only the extent, mitigations, and solutions to still debate. NM Vegan | 35

It therefore should not be surprising that the US Pentagon states that global warming is a larger threat than even terrorism. “Picture Japan, suffering from flooding along its coastal cities and contamination of its fresh water supply, eyeing Russia’s Sakhalin Island oil and gas reserves as an energy source,” suggests a Pentagon memo on global warming. “Envision Pakistan, India and China – all armed with nuclear weapons – skirmishing at their borders over refugees, access to shared river and arable land.” The former secretary-general of the UN, Ban Kimoon, has said that climate change needs to be taken as seriously as war and, further, that “changes in our environment and the resulting upheavals from droughts to inundated coastal areas to loss of arable land are likely to become a major driver of war and conflict.” Fighting global climate change may be one way to prevent future wars and genocides, simultaneously increasing energy security and physical security. There are additional causes for concern. The people disproportionately affected by climate chaos are the poor and socially disadvantaged, since they are in the weakest position to guard against environmental damages and will likely suffer the most harm. In the underdeveloped world, and perhaps especially in China, India and Southeast Asia, as well as much of Africa, the Middle East and Latin America, climate change is negatively affecting urban drinking water systems, agricultural output, and commercial and other transport on rivers. Further, increased suffering and increasing numbers of environmental refugees, along with greater anxiety over access to food, water, land, and housing – the material essentials of life – often lead to unstable conditions that give rise to anger, ethnic violence, gangs, terrorism, fascism, and war. “It’s the poorest of the poor in the world, and this includes poor people even in prosperous societies, who are going to be the worst hit,” states former IPCC Chair Rajendra Pachauri. Those who needlessly degrade and destroy the environment to satisfy their own selfish pleasures are like the pre-revolutionary Queen Marie Antoinette, declaring, “Let them eat carbon dioxide!” Israel is especially threatened by climate change. The coastal plain, where much of Israel’s population and infrastructure are located, could be inundated by a rising Mediterranean Sea. Climate experts project that the Middle East as a whole will become significantly hotter and drier, and military experts believe that this makes instability, terrorism, ethnic violence, and war more likely. The gravity of the climate threats to Israel was captured in the December 4, 2019, headline in The Jerusalem Post: “Hot and dry: Climate report spells disaster.” Don’t we want our children, grandchildren, and future generations to not only survive, but to thrive? To have a world that is at least as good, and hopefully better, than the one we do? Yes, we need our governments, corporations, schools, religious institutions, and other organizations to get actively involved in fighting climate change. Yes, we need to stop deforestation and increase reforestation. Yes, we need more resource conservation and more energy-efficient vehicles, appliances, electronics, batteries, and light bulbs. And, yes, our society needs to switch away from dirty and dangerous fossil fuels and toward renewable energy, such as solar, wind, tidal, wave, biomass, hydrogen, geothermal, algae and others. But while we are struggling for these important and positive large-scale social changes, we also need to say “yes!” to personal changes. In fact, the fourth IPCC report states that “changes in lifestyles and consumption patterns that emphasize resource conservation can contribute to developing a low-carbon economy that is both equitable and sustainable.” A major study showing how personal “changes in lifestyles and consumption” can affect global warming is in the 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, titled “Livestock’s Long Shadow.” It states that animalbased agriculture causes approximately 18% of greenhouse gas emissions, which lead to global warming, an amount greater than that caused by all forms of transportation on the planet combined (about 13.5%). A 2009 report by the respected World Watch Institute titled “Livestock and Climate Change” determined that the FAO grossly underestimated livestock’s contribution by neglecting phenomena inherent to the livestock industry and puts the total contribution at 51% – an absolute majority of anthropogenic greenhouse gases.

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Cars are still problematic, of course, but cows and other animals annually raised for human consumption are contributing more to global climate change, thereby causing considerably more damage to our existence and, indeed, to life on Earth. Therefore, what we eat is actually, much more important than what we drive and the most important personal change we could make for the environment, as well as for our own health and the lives of animals, is a switch to plant-based eating. The world is feeding approximately 70 billion farmed animals, while millions of people, disproportionately children, starve to death each year. Almost 40% of the grain produced worldwide – and about 70% in the US – is inefficiently and immorally diverted to feed farmed animals, simply to satisfy the lust for money and meat. The FAO study reports that the livestock industry, in total, uses and abuses roughly 30% of the planet’s surface, thereby “entering into direct competition [with other activities] for scarce land, water and other natural resources.” Further, overuse of the land by livestock, leading to overuse of fuel and water, also degrades the land and pollutes the water around it, contributing to additional environmental and health problems. While factory farms may be the worst offenders, similar dynamics occur with free-range livestock as well. In fact, free range livestock actually occupy and potentially pollute a greater amount of land. An animal-based diet also uses energy very inefficiently. Grains, lentils, and beans require only 2-5% as much fossil fuel as beef. Reducing energy consumption is not only a better choice in terms of fighting climate change, it is also a better choice in terms of health and being less dependent on foreign oil and the vagaries of both markets and dictators. Additionally, the editors of World Watch (July/August 2004) concluded that “the human appetite for animal flesh is a driving force behind virtually every major category of environmental damage now threatening the human future – deforestation, erosion, freshwater scarcity, air and water pollution, climate change, biodiversity loss, social injustice, the destabilization of communities, and the spread of disease.” Environmentalist Lee Hall is more succinct: “Behind virtually every great environmental complaint there’s milk and meat.” While growing concern about climate change is welcome, the many connections between the increasingly globalized western-style diet and climate change have generally been overlooked, marginalized or outright denied, despite the clear evidence. The production of meat and dairy contributes significantly to the emission of the three major greenhouse gases associated with climate change: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O), as well as other eco-destructive gases such as ammonia (NH3), which contributes to acid rain, and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), which has been implicated in mass extinctions. Indeed, according to the UN Environment Program, Unit on Climate Change, “There is a strong link between human diet and methane emissions from livestock.” The World Watch publication “State of the World” is more specific regarding the link between animals raised for meat and global warming: “Belching, flatulent livestock emit 16% of the world’s annual production of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.” Likewise with physics world: “The animals we eat emit 21% of all the carbon dioxide that can be attributed to human activity.” We now know that these are actually underestimates. Eating meat and other animal products directly contributes to this environmentally-irresponsible industry and its devastating impact on the environment, including the continuing catastrophes of climate change.

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Although carbon dioxide is the most plentiful greenhouse gas (more than 35% higher than pre-industrial atmospheric levels), methane is 84 times more powerful (over 150% higher than pre-industrial atmospheric levels), and nitrous oxide is a whopping 296 times more potent (at least 20% higher than pre-industrial atmospheric levels), than carbon dioxide in terms of global warming potential. With the livestock industry emitting such a huge amount of methane and given that methane degrades relatively quickly in the atmosphere (with most dissipated in approximately 12 years as compared to hundreds or even thousands of years for carbon dioxide), a sharp decrease in animal consumption, and therefore subsequent livestock (re)production, would provide the necessary near-term alleviation from climate change “spinning out of control”. Changing from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to a vegetarian or, better yet, vegan diet, according to geophysicists Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin at the University of Chicago, does more to fight global climate change than switching from a gas-guzzling Hummer to a Camry or from a Camry to a Prius. It has been said that “eating meat is like driving a huge SUV... [and] a vegetarian diet is like driving a [hybrid]”, while local, organic, vegan eating (LOVE) is like riding a bicycle. Shifting away from SUVs, SUV lifestyles, and SUV-style diets, to energy-efficient, life-affirming empowering alternatives is essential to fighting our climate crisis. Planetary sustainability and the well-being of humanity are greatly dependent on a shift toward plant-based diets. One easy and effective way to fight climate chaos every day is with our forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks! If we don’t, the “procrastination penalty” will be painful. It is increasingly clear that eliminating, or at least sharply reducing, the production and consumption of meat and other animal products is imperative to help fight our climate crisis and other grave environmental threats, in addition to greatly benefiting one’s physical and spiritual health and the lives of animals. American writer Mark Twain is reported to have quipped that “everybody talks about the weather, but no one ever does anything about it.” Now we can. Indeed, we must repair our climate – if we want a chance at long-term survival and a decent, livable world for future generations.

Dan Brook, PhD, teaches sociology at San Jose State University, is on the Board of San Francisco Veg Society, the Advisory Board of Jewish Veg, an administrator of Vegetarian & Vegan Chiang Mai, editor of the nonprofit veg cookbook ‘Justice in the Kitchen,’ and author of ‘Eating the Earth’ Richard H. Schwartz, PhD, is president emeritus of Jewish Veg and the author of ‘Vegan Revolution, Judaism and Vegetarianism,’ ‘Judaism and Global Survival, Who Stole My Religion?,’ ‘Mathematics and Global Survival’ and more than 220 articles

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Many of us have learned about the benefits of a plant-based diet for improving physical health and reversing diseases. Books such as the China Study and How Not to Die, and documentaries like Forks over Knives and The Game Changers have brought greater public awareness to the healing power of a whole-food plant-based lifestyle. But what about the impact of plant-based diets on mental and emotional health? As a vegan psychologist, this is a topic of deep interest to me. When I dove into the research, I discovered that the same plant-strong diet that contributes to a healthier immune system (1) and that lessens risk of many medical diseases (2) is also helpful for improving our mental and emotional states. In addition to professional treatments such as psychotherapy and medication, there are many lifestyle practices that support improved mental health. For example, exercise (3) and meditation (4) are well-known for reducing depression and improving mood. Social connections (5) and engaging in pleasurable activities (6) are also beneficial. However, it is easy to overlook the impact of nutrition on mental health. And yet, should it surprise us that the same nutrient-dense plant foods that nourish our body also support our emotional thriving? Several studies (7, 8) found that individuals who ate more servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis reported greater emotional well-being and life satisfaction, as well as decreased emotional distress, compared to those who ate lesser amounts. These studies suggest that 7 to 10 daily servings of fruits and veggies may be optimal (9). In addition, a study of young adults (10) found that those who consumed more servings of fruits and vegetables scored higher on measures of emotional flourishing, including creativity and sense of purpose, than those who consumed lesser amounts. Study participants reported higher levels of these positive emotions on the days they ate more fruits and vegetables compared to the days they ate lesser amounts. Studies of vegans (11) and vegetarians (12) found that they demonstrated lower scores on measures of depression, anxiety, and emotional distress compared to omnivores. In addition, omnivores who were asked to eliminate meat, poultry, and fish had improved mood scores after two weeks on a vegetarian diet, compared to control subjects who continued eating meat (13). In a research study with GEICO employees, those who adopted a plant-based diet experienced decreased anxiety and depression, increased emotional well-being, and improved health (14). In sum, these studies suggest that eating more plant foods (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds), and lessening our intake of animal foods, has a positive impact on mood states. Why does a plant-based diet help mood? Research suggests that the nutrients and antioxidants in whole plant foods promote a healthy balance of feel-good neurotransmitters (15). In addition, plant foods have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, which appears to have a beneficial impact on mood (16). In contrast, meat, eggs, dairy, and processed foods are associated with higher levels of inflammatory compounds (17), which may negatively impact mental and emotional states (18).

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Evaluating my own experience, I have enjoyed increased happiness since starting a plant-based diet many years ago. Based on the above research, I would guess that eating a healthier, high-nutrient diet, while reducing the inflammatory foods that were previously part of my Standard American Diet, has contributed to my improved mood.

In addition, I have discovered emotional benefits beyond the nutritional effects of my food. Going vegan has led to an inner transformation that is so much more than merely a change in diet. Choosing not to consume animal products has contributed to a sense of freedom and peace that extends beyond the ups and downs of daily life. Knowing that I’m eating in a way that is kinder to animals and the planet leads to a deep sense of meaning and fulfillment. The realization that I can make a positive contribution simply through what I eat each day, brings a sense of peace. While there are many things in life that we don’t have control over, we can make daily lifestyle choices to support our emotional resilience and well-being. In addition to regular exercise, meditation, and meaningful social connections, we can enjoy a vegan diet packed with nutrient-dense plant foods. And the bonus is that in choosing this life-nourishing diet, we also contribute to a more sustainable and compassionate world. Tips for Nourishing Your Brain with Plant-Based Nutrition: • Eat a rainbow of colors in your diet, including a variety of fruits, berries, vegetables, greens, legumes, whole grains, nuts, and seeds to provide your nervous system with the nutrients it needs to flourish (19). • Try a variety of herbs and spices in your cooking. Turmeric, ginger, oregano, saffron, and others have wonderful anti-inflammatory qualities that may boost mood. • There are a few nutrients key to optimal mental health that may not be easily obtained through our diet, including Vitamin B-12, Vitamin D, and Omega-3’s. o Vitamin B-12 is essential for our nervous system and can be obtained through supplements and/or fortified foods. o Doctors suggest that many of us may benefit from a Vitamin D supplement. (You may wish to ask your physician to check your Vitamin B-12 and Vitamin D levels by having blood work). o Get your Omega-3’s by including flaxseeds, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and/or walnuts daily, or consider an algae-based supplement. Avoid the saturated fat, mercury, and toxins often found in fish, and go to the original plant-based sources of Omega-3’s.

• Avoid or limit inflammatory foods, including processed foods, highly refined flours, animal products such as meat and dairy, fast food, sugar, and soft drinks.

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References (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) (8) (9) (10) (11) (12) (13) (14) (15) (16) (17) (18) (19)

The author adapted, expanded, and updated this from an article she previously published on Main Street Vegan Blog (March 30, 2021). Credits for unsplash photos: Food on cutting boards: Photo by engin akyurt on Unsplash Vegetables in grocery store: Photo by ja ma on Unsplash

Angela Crawford, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist with over 23 years of experience, focused on holistic approaches for addressing anxiety, stress, and trauma. She is certified as a master vegan lifestyle coach and educator through Main Street Vegan Academy and holds a certificate in Plant-Based Nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies at e-Cornell. Dr. Crawford writes a blog on emotionally thriving with a vegan lifestyle. She is currently conducting research for a book on the transformational impact of a plantpowered, vegan lifestyle for mind-body-spirit. She also serves as a Psychology Consultant for WeDidIt.Health ( ), an on-line platform where individuals can share and discover the health benefits of a plant-based diet. She lives in Vestal, NY. Website:

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Prep:15 mins Cook:20 mins Total: 35 mins Servings:4 servings

•1 (15 ounce) can black beans, drained and rinsed •⅓ cup chopped sweet onion •1 tablespoon minced garlic •3 baby carrots, grated (Optional) •¼ cup minced green bell pepper (Optional) •1 tablespoon cornstarch •1 tablespoon warm water •3 tablespoons chile-garlic sauce (such as Sriracha®), or to taste •1 teaspoon chili powder •1 teaspoon ground cumin •1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay®) •¼ teaspoon salt •¼ teaspoon ground black pepper •2 slices whole-wheat bread, torn into small crumbs •¾ cup unbleached flour, or as needed

Directions 1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a baking sheet. 2.Mash black beans in a bowl; add onion, garlic, carrots, and green bell pepper. Mix. 3.Whisk cornstarch, water, chile-garlic sauce, chili powder, cumin, seafood seasoning, salt, and black pepper together in a separate small bowl. Stir cornstarch mixture into black bean mixture. 4.Mix whole-wheat bread into bean mixture. Stir flour, 1/4 cup at a time, into bean mixture until a sticky batter forms. 5.Spoon 'burger-sized' mounds of batter onto the prepared baking sheet, about a 3/4-inch thickness per mound. Shape into burgers. 6.Bake in the preheated oven until cooked in the center and crisp in the outside, about 10 minutes on each side.

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They protect their young.

They have families.

They have friends.

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