What Happens to our Waste? Dr. Michael Greger: Moving to a Vegan Agriculture System for Australia
Matthieu Ricard: â€˜On Keeping a Vegan or Vegetarian Dietâ€™
Diet and Climate Change: Cooking up a Storm
The Nonhuman Rights Project
Welcome to the 8th edition of Vegan Sustainability Magazine. I was recently reading the story of Harold Brown a fifth-generation cattle farmer in the US, who went vegan for health reasons but gradually noticed other changes. The most significant change he encountered was beginning to understand animals as individuals. “I realised they have familial bonds; they crave safety, experience joy and happiness.” Reflecting on this he observed that “It is odd how we as humans have profound capabilities to avert our eyes from the obvious that is in plain sight.” In this issue we hear about the work of two organisations, the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and the Non-human Rights Project who are working through scientific research and the legal system to transform our relationships with other animals from exploitation to mutual respect. We feature an article and a books review from both Dr. Michael Greger and Dr. Richard Oppenlander. Both highlight the single simple solution to the different crises occurring globally at this time. We have increases in chronic illnesses and obesity with health care systems being over-stretched by increased demands, rising costs and falling budgets. We have continuing poverty, hunger, and malnourishment from Europe and the US to sub-Saharan Africa. And we have ecosystems destruction with the associated biodiversity loss together with climate change, which according to the respected Lancet medical journal, represents the biggest global health threat of the 21st century. It turns out that the foods with by far the lowest ecological impact are also the foods with the lowest green house gas emissions. These foods also happen to be the least expensive and the most effective in counteracting many of our most common chronic diseases. As Mathieu Ricard says, “It just takes one second to decide to stop. It doesn't create any huge chaotic changes in our life. It's just that we eat something else. It's so simple. A small effort can bring a very big result for animals, for the disadvantaged, for the planet, for our own health. A sensible mind can see this is not an extreme perspective. This is a most reasonable, ethical, and compassionate point of view.” We look at the benefits of this transition in the article Moving to a Vegan Agriculture System for Australia which outlines the steps to a national vegan agricultural system. We also review a book on vegan permaculture which has lots of great ideas. We highlight some vegan sustainability stories in the news from around the world and the efforts being made to transition to a zero waste society. If we are sincere about not continuing to drastically compromise the ability of present and future generations of all species to meet their needs then the ethical transition to vegan living is becoming a necessity. It seems that at the same time as millions of people are waking up and making this transition the old order are trying to divide and sow fear. But if each of us are devoted, compassionate, energetic and well informed then the movement to a peaceful, ethical vegan human society that is in harmony with all living beings will continue to grow.
Vegan Sustainability Magazine Website: www.vegansustainability.com E-mail: email@example.com Find us on Facebook.
3 The World According to Intelligent and Emotional Chickens
by Marc Bekoff
6 The Vegan Book of Permaculture (book review)
by Bronwyn Slater
7 Animal Agriculture, Hunger, and How to Feed a Growing Global Population
by Richard Oppenlander
10 Natural and Homemade Personal Care and Cleaning Products
by Bronwyn Slater
11 What Happens to our Waste
by Bronwyn Slater
16 Food Choice and Sustainability
by Richard Oppenlander
17 Diet and Climate Change: Cooking up a Storm
by Dr. Michael Greger
19 Moving to a Vegan Agriculture System for Australia
by Greg McFarlane
24 The Kimmela Centre for Animal Advocacy
James Oâ€™Donovan (ed.)
25 The Nonhuman Rights Project 27 How not to Die
by Michael Greger MD
30 Vegan Sustainability in the News
by Bronwyn Slater
31 On Keeping a Vegan or a Vegetarian Diet
by Matthieu Ricard 2
The World According to Intelligent and Emo Report Review and article by Marc Bekoff
Chickens are birds. I know most, if not all of you, already know this. However, on more than one occasion, I've mentioned to someone who's munching on a chicken sandwich, that they're eating a smart and emotional bird. Often, they look at me thinking something like, "I am? But I'm eating chicken." Regardless, we've known for a while that chickens are very intelligent and feeling bird beings. And, so too, are many other birds. The excellent essays written for Psychology Today by bird experts John Marzluff and Tony Angell in their column called "Avian Einsteins" amply demonstrate this, and recently, I've written two essays about birds that also show just how smart, adaptive, and emotional they truly are (please see "Bird Brain: An Exploration of Avian Intelligence" and "Bird Minds: An Outstanding Book About Australian Natives"). The books these essays cover are outstanding. “If you torture a single chicken and are caught, you’re likely to be arrested. If you scald thousands of chickens alive, you’re an industrialist who will be lauded for your acumen. ... Workers grab the birds and shove their legs upside down into metal shackles on a conveyor belt. The chickens are then carried upside down to an electrified bath that is meant to knock them unconscious. The conveyor belt then carries them — at a pace of more than two chickens per second — to a circular saw that cuts open their necks so that they bleed to death before they are scalded in hot water and their feathers plucked.” (Nicholas Kristof, To Kill a Chicken) The way in which chickens are treated on their way to human mouths is not at all a pleasant journey. I don't want to go into the gory details. The facts are simple and utterly sickening: "More than 9 billion chickens, along with half a billion turkeys, are slaughtered for food in the United States each year. This number represents more than 95 percent of the land animals killed for food in the country. Worldwide, more than 50 billion chickens are raised and slaughtered annually." Mr. Kristof concludes, "Think about that. If a naughty boy pulls feathers out of a single chicken, he’s punished. But scald hundreds of thousands of chickens alive each year? That’s a business model." Thinking chickens: a review of cognition, emotion, and behavior in the domestic chicken, by Dr. Lori Marino. But, there's good news and let's hope that it's used on behalf of chickens and other birds who are served up as meals. Dr. Lori Marino, founder of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy Inc., has recently published a review article called "Thinking chickens: a review of cognition, emotion, and behavior in the domestic chicken." It appeared in the journal Animal Cognition and is available online. The abstract for Dr. Marino's review reads:
Chickens are as cognitively, emotionally, and socially complex as many mammals.
Domestic chickens are members of an order, Aves, which has been the focus of a revolution in our understanding of neuroanatomical, cognitive, and social complexity. At least some birds are now known to be on par with many mammals in terms of their level of intelligence, emotional sophistication, and social interaction. Yet, views of chickens have largely remained unrevised by this new evidence. In this paper, I examine the peer-reviewed scientific data on the leading edge of cognition, emotions, personality, and sociality in chickens, exploring such areas as self-awareness, cognitive bias, social learning and self control, and comparing their abilities in these areas with other birds and other vertebrates, particularly mammals. My overall conclusion is that chickens are just as cognitively, emotionally and socially complex as most other birds and mammals in many areas, and that there is a need for further noninvasive comparative behavioral research with chickens as well as a re-framing of current views about their intelligence. In her essay Dr. Marino covers a number of different areas of research including Sensory abilities, Visual cognition and spatial orientation, Recognizing partly occluded objects, Numerical abilities, Time perception/ anticipation of future events, Episodic memory, Reasoning and logical inference, Self-awareness, different forms of communication, social cognition and complexity, social learning, fear, emotional contagion and empathy, personality, and much more. She concludes: 1. Chickens possess a number of visual and spatial capacities, arguably dependent upon mental representation, such as some aspects of Stage four object permanence and illusory contours, on a par with other birds and mammals. 2. Chickens possess some understanding of numerosity and share some very basic arithmetic capacities with other animals. 3. Chickens can demonstrate self-control and self-assessment, and these capacities may indicate selfawareness. 4. Chickens communicate in complex ways, including through referential communication, which may depend upon some level of self-awareness and the ability to take the perspective of another animal. This capacity, if present in chickens, would be shared with other highly intelligent and social species, including primates. 5. Chickens have the capacity to reason and make logical inferences. For example, chickens are capable of simple forms of transitive inference, a capability that humans develop at approximately the age of seven. 6. Chickens perceive time intervals and may be able to anticipate future events. 7. Chickens are behaviorally sophisticated, discriminating among individuals, exhibiting Machiavellian-like social interactions, and learning socially in complex ways that are similar to humans. 8. Chickens have complex negative and positive emotions, as well as a shared psychology with humans and other ethologically complex animals. They exhibit emotional contagion and some evidence for empathy. 9. Chickens have distinct personalities, just like all animals who are cognitively, emotionally, and behaviorally complex individuals. There are numerous reviews of Dr. Marino's essay and I encourage you to read some of them. Her essay is an incredibly important one because it shows just how much we know about chickens (and other birds) from detailed comparative research, and it's not being "touchy/feely" or sentimental to argue that chickens experience enduring deep suffering on their way to human mouths.
Would you do it to a dog? Bridging the empathy gap Often, when I’m discussing some aspect of nonhuman animal (animal) abuse, I ask people, “Would you do it to your dog?” Across the board people are incredulous when I ask this question, and I simply explain to them that dogs aren’t more sentient than food animals such as cows, pigs, or chickens, laboratory animals such as mice and rats, or entertainment animals such as elephants or orcas. In another essay by Mr. Kristof called "Do You Care More About a Dog Than a Refugee?" in his conclusion he asks, "If we can rally on behalf of a frightened dog in Orlando, can’t we also muster concern for billions of farm animals — as well as the humans struggling to raise them?" I wrote about his essay in a piece called "Valuing Dogs More Than War Victims: Bridging the Empathy Gap" in which I argued that we can and should use dogs to bridge the empathy gap we conveniently construct between ourselves and other animals and among the animals themselves. I bring up these discussions to discuss the idea of using dogs to connect us to other animals. Using dogs in this way asks people to recognize that we're often extremely inconsistent in how we view and treat other nonhuman animals in comparison to how we view and treat our canine, feline, and numerous other household companions. We also view and treat our companions with much more compassion and empathy than we do some groups of humans. This also is a point that Jessica Pierce and I make in The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age, namely that dogs can indeed bridge the empathy gap if we're open to this possibility. At the very least it's essential to ask difficult questions and come to an understanding of why we hold the attitudes we do and how we can use our feelings about companion animals and extend compassion and empathy to other nonhumans and humans who truly need all the help that they can get. Dr. Pierce and I also argue that we simply must use what we know on the animals' behalf, because there is a huge division we call the "knowledge gap" between what we know and how we use it to protect other animals Egg Incubator (please see, for example, "The Animal Welfare Act Claims Rats and Mice Are Not Animals" and "Homo Denialus: Mice Aren't Animals, Climate Change Is Real" and links therein). I hope Dr. Marino's essay or at least the popular reviews receive the global attention they deserve, and that people do something with this knowledge. Chickens are sentient beings and we should stop torturing them by the billions for our meal plans. Providing them with "good welfare" is not good enough, and even if they receive what's called "a better life," it hardly borders on "a good life" or what we offer dogs and other animals. Note: Here are two added tidbits along the lines of this essay: Please also see Paul Shapiro's "We are seeing animals in a different light" and "Walruses Found Using Birds as Toys for First Time."
Marc Bekoff's latest books are Jasper's Story: Saving Moon Bears (with Jill Robinson), Ignoring Nature No More: The Case for Compassionate Conservation, Why Dogs Hump and Bees Get Depressed: The Fascinating Science of Animal Intelligence, Emotions, Friendship, and Conservation, Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence, and The Jane Effect: Celebrating Jane Goodall (edited with Dale Peterson). The Animals' Agenda: Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age (with Jessica Pierce) will be published in April 2017 and Canine Confidential: An Insider’s Guide to the Best Lives For Dogs and You will be published in early 2018.
The Vegan Book of Permaculture By Graham Burnett Very few books have been written about Vegan Permaculture, so this book came as a welcome addition to an already sparse collection when it was published in 2014. The book's author is Graham Burnett who runs vegan permaculture courses in the UK and elsewhere. His 'Spiralseed' website is well worth a look. Some of the topics covered in the book include:
An introduction to Permaculture Designing your garden or permaculture system Veganic growing Soil types and soil quality, whether to dig or not to dig Making your own fertiliser, green manures and compost Crop rotation Companion planting Insects – beneficial insects and how to encourage these as they control ‘pests’ Controlling and removing weeds When and how to plant Water, soil and fertility requirements When to save seed Woodlands, orchards and how to design a forest garden Tips on reducing your ecological footprint in your home and your life Ethical shopping, fair-trade and eco-friendly living Reconnecting with nature Eating with the seasons Health, nutrition and a list of nutrients provided by each plant Windowsill herbs and indoor plants
This is as much a cookbook as it is a gardening book, and at least half the book is devoted to plant-based whole food recipes, most of the ingredients coming from your own garden. Each recipe is simple, with the minimum of ingredients, and the reader is encouraged to experiment and modify the recipes to his or her own taste. All of the recipes include a high proportion of vegetables, greens, fruits, nuts and legumes. Making your own jams, chutneys, preserves and fermentation are also covered. The book is worth the price for the recipes alone, and they will inspire you to want to grow your own produce. It is amazing to see the diversity of dishes that can be prepared from a single garden. This is a good book for beginners and experienced gardeners alike. Highly recommended, and you can purchase it on Amazon or at Graham's Spiralseed website.
Review by Bronwyn Slater
Animal Agriculture, Hunger, and How
by Richard Oppen
In part one, we explored how eating animals affects hunger and the world’s agricultural resources. In this article Dr. Oppenlander outlines current and future hunger and food security solutions.
IT’S TIME TO CONCEIVE NEW SOLUTIONS Most researchers and organizations involved in the plight of nations suffering from hunger believe that efforts and dollars should be spent on improved information technologies, increasing intensified livestock operations, and fostering the continuation of cultural practices while supplying them with conventional food-basket relief. I disagree. Since 75% of their work force is engaged in agriculture and more than half of their population illiterate, I suggest that these developing countries should emphasize three measures: 1. Education. 2. Redefinition of the word “yield” beyond short-term consumptive gain. 3. Implementation of fully organic plant-based agricultural systems. These measures could thus build a sustainability umbrella and form the key link between ecology, human health, and equity for current and future generations. They would effectively improve soil fertility and provide the most nutritious food for the least environmental cost, while opening doors to economic opportunities. Citizens could essentially “feed themselves” while creating a food, economic, and environmental security net, despite what repressive forces they may encounter. Even many desertified areas, including those in semi-arid regions, would be much healthier and more productive if restored with resource-efficient, earth-regenerative fully plant-based measures rather than with livestock. These measures might include the re-introduction of indigenous drought-resistant plants, agroforestry, implementing conservation techniques such as terracing and other plant based organic methods, or plant-generated microbiological procedures. 82% of starving children live in countries where food is fed to animals, and the animals are eaten by western countries.
DIRECT AID OR CAPITAL INVESTMENT: BOTH INEFFECTIVE The majority of efforts to bring aid to those afflicted in developing countries can be categorized in two ways: direct supply of food, and investment in commercial agricultural development by various multinational entities. Supplying food relief to these countries may offer a temporary, diminutive patching of the much larger problem. The overriding reason there has been little improvement in the number affected and severity of hunger and poverty in African countries is that food supply has always been separated from the multitude of layered factors.
w to Feed a Growing Global Population
nlander In the past twenty years, foreign investors have established lease arrangements with many African governments under the guise of helping to eliminate poverty and hunger. However, evidence shows that many are simply using the land as an investment for shareholders or private sector investors (pension funds and private equity groups) or to establish commercial agricultural operations that will bring them a return. Some argue that these lease arrangements will eventually create a trickle-down effect that improves the economic status of the people of these developing countries. Most observers, though, have referred to them as simply “land grabbing’—acquiring land by making unfulfilled promises to reimburse the locals for use of their land and crops. To date, foreign investors have procured 400 million acres in developing countries. Much of this has been in African countries, where large businesses set up timber, mining, and agricultural operations. The latter are predominantly meat-based—pork, beef, poultry, dairy, and crops to feed them. Long-term strategic alliances are currently being made by G8 countries and multinational corporations to provide funding for various agricultural projects within certain African countries under the façade of economic assistance. However, nearly all projects thus far (ProSavana, Land O’ Lakes, AGRA, ISFM, and efforts by the UN, NGOs, various think tanks, and others) are merely vehicles that perpetuate resource depletion and further the hungerpoverty cycle by way of continued livestock predominance. The short- and long-term solution to the hunger and poverty cycle appear to lie in connecting most of the dots—creating a path of optimal relative sustainability—for the people themselves. All efforts for global assistance, whether from a humanitarian or agricultural perspective, should be first directed at creating the most efficient and nourishing food production systems possible. These systems should build and conserve topsoil and soil fertility, while using the least amount of land, water, and other resources. These goals can best be accomplished by devoting all agricultural efforts toward purely plant-based systems—no livestock, no dairy, and no chickens. WHY NOTHING IS CHANGING So far this has not been accomplished. If anything, most organizations design their projects to enhance livestock production, attempting to remedy feed issues, cure or prevent diseases with vaccinations for livestock, and train villagers or farmers to use animal husbandry techniques that are thought to improve food security. There are two reasons for this: 1. Culture is complex and interwoven into many aspects of life, so it is something more easily left alone than improved upon or evolved from. 2. Eating meat is part of the culture and belief system of the researchers and organizations themselves. How could researchers and advisors conceive of another approach to solving hunger and poverty if their own food choices include eating animals? Affected indigenous people who rely solely on the food relief efforts of outside agencies and subsistence farming find themselves cemented in perpetual poverty. Establishing for-profit agricultural protocols (“commercial farming”) for smallholder farmers will need to be an integral part of any successful program in the developing countries of Africa—but not with the use of livestock or as a subordinated appendage of multinational corporations associated with the meat and dairy industries.
HOW WILL WE FEED THE RISING GLOBAL POPULATION? In 2009, world leaders gathered for the Summit on Food Security in Rome to discuss what many consider to be the most pressing concern we will face this century—how to feed all of us. Focusing its attention on this topic, the G8 Summit in May of 2012 committed funding to eradicate hunger by way of an alliance between the G8 nations, multinational businesses, and certain countries in Africa. This, in turn, has fostered initiatives that support animal agriculture without addressing the issue of food choice change. Our human population is expected to reach over 9 billion by the year 2050—34 percent higher than it is today. This, combined with rising food prices, our dwindling supply of land and other natural resources, and changing climate, makes it ieasy to see why food security is such a concern. However, despite all the rhetoric and projected G8 funding, our imminent and projected food security crises are unlikely to be solved using the resource-intensive agricultural systems currently in place, which are driven by our demand to eat animals and animal products. Most of the predicted population and livestock production increase will occur in developing countries. Many researchers feel that in order to feed that many people, the world will have to increase annual meat production by over 200 million tons (to reach an estimated 517 million tons), which will stress the already-stretched ecosystem services necessary to produce it. Demand for livestock products will likely double in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia by 2050. Globally, livestock production has responded to increased demand by changing from extensive, small-scale, subsistence livestock production to more intensive, large-scale, commercially oriented production. Whether with industrialized production or simply increased units of smallholder farmers raising livestock, increasing annual meat production is not the answer. Either method eventually translates into more land use and deforestation, escalated climate change, draining of aquifers and fresh water, loss of biodiversity, more hunger, and more poverty. Methane emissions alone from African cattle, goats, and sheep will likely increase by 50 percent, to 11.1 million tons per year, by 2030. LIVESTOCK IS IMPORTANT … TO STOP RAISING According to the United Nations, “livestock production holds great importance for ensuring food security.” That’s because global demand for meat, dairy, and eggs is predicted to increase as the world’s population increases. In 2012, the world produced and consumed 290 million tons of beef, pork, sheep and goat meat and poultry, in addition to 154 million tons of fish (wild-caught and from aquaculture). This translates into a staggering number of animals unnecessarily raised and slaughtered at the expense of our planet’s health. So, yes, livestock does hold great importance: the less we raise, the more secure our food will be. DO YOUR PART, AND INSPIRE OTHERS TO DO THEIRS Most of us find it difficult to appreciate how our food choices can have such far-reaching effects. But they clearly do. We can do our part in reducing world hunger and poverty and improving our future food security by increasing awareness about the multidimensional benefits of a fully plant-based diet—and then, individually and collectively, moving the change forward. About the Author Author of the award-winning books Comfortably Unaware and Food Choice and Sustainability, Dr. Richard Oppenlander is a consultant, researcher, and lecturer on the topics of food choice and sustainability. He started an organic vegan food production company, operates an animal rescue sanctuary, and is the founder and president of Inspire Awareness Now. Dr. Oppenlander has written numerous articles and serves as an adviser for organizations, municipalities, and institutions. Visit the Comfortably Unaware website for more.
Natural and Homemade Personal Care and Cleaning Products More tricks of the trade on making your own home made products by Bronwyn Slater Cleaning Products Laundry Detergent: Baking soda can be used as a laundry detergent. Add half to 1 cup of baking soda to your machine (depending on the size of the load) in the same way you would use detergent. I used baking soda recently to wash clothes and I was very happy with the results. Baking soda can also be used to pre-treat stains and whiten clothes. Check out this short video.
Soap Nuts: These are not a home made product as such, but soap nuts are a natural laundry detergent. They are literally dried soap berries. The soap berry is a subtropical plant normally grown in India or China and it contains natural saponins. Boxes of soapnuts can be bought at your local health or whole food store, and usually come with a small drawstring cloth bag. Put 5 or 6 nuts into the bag, tie securely and add to the tub along with your clothes. Iâ€™ve used soap nuts many times in the past and found them quite good at getting the laundry clean, but it is important they donâ€™t escape from the bag or they could stain your clothes. The nuts can be reused a few times. Check out this short video.
Personal Care Products Deoderant: Coconut oil mixed with a little baking soda works well as a deodorant. Coconut oil in its solid form has a similar consistency to stick deodorant. To make it more solid you can add arrowroot powder. You can add essential oils to the mix as well, if you wish. This short video shows you how.
Facial Toner: Mix one part organic raw apple cider vinegar and 2 parts distilled or filtered water. (Add a few drops of witch hazel or essential oil also if you like). Shake to combine the mixture and apply to your face as normal.
What Happens to our Waste? Where does our waste go? Landfill: Each person in Europe currently produces about half a ton of household waste per year. Only 40% of this is reused or recycled and the remainder goes to landfill. A major disadvantage to burying rubbish in landfills is the potential to pollute the surrounding soil and groundwater with toxins and leachate. Huge amounts of carbon dioxide, methane and other harmful greenhouse gases are also produced during decomposition in landfills. Incineration: Many countries carry out waste incineration in addition to landfill and recycling. Modern incinerators can reduce the volume of the original waste by 95% and the process can also be used to generate electricity or heat (although this energy can usually only serve the equivalent of a small town). The problem with incineration is that the gases and ash produced contain toxins that can pollute the environment. Hence the â€˜not in my backyardâ€™ attitude by locals whenever incineration plants are proposed. Germany and Sweden operate waste-to-energy incineration plants and they also import waste from other countries in order to keep their incineration plants going. Less than 1% of Swedenâ€™s waste has been sent to landfill each year since 2011. Recycling: Glass, paper, cardboard, aluminium and some plastics can all be recycled. Plastic recycling is complicated and the uses for recycled plastics are limited. Plastic, unlike glass, can only be recycled once. Some types of plastics are not recyclable and these end up as trash (see below). Composting: Every home should have a compost bin for food and garden waste. On a large scale, many countries operate anaerobic digestion plants which use agricultural waste such as manures, slurries, crops, residues and municipal waste to create biogas which in turn can be used to create heat or electricity. The Oceans: Research released a year ago found there were more than 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the seas. Plastic debris includes municipal waste such as bottles, bags and packaging. The plastic breaks down into successively smaller pieces and can kill fish and seabirds when ingested. An autopsy carried out on a beached
Bronwyn Slater looks at what happens to all our trash, and then outlines some of the measures we can take to reduce or eliminate it.
whale in Norway recently showed the animal's stomach was empty of food and full of plastic including 30 plastic bags. Once a plastic bottle is tossed into the ocean or left on the street, it won’t fully degrade for 1,000 years. It will instead break into many tiny pieces that have the capacity to absorb harmful toxins. These microplastics are consumed by fish and plankton. The plastic never disappears, but continues to circulate in a vicious cycle. Plastics production is expected to double in the next 20 years and research suggests that, unless action is taken, there could be more plastic than fish in the sea by 2050. Other marine debris includes plastic sheets and covers, tarpaulins, crates, pallets, ropes, strapping and miscellaneous packaging, building materials, sealed drums and assorted industrial fishing nets, traps and lines. How did it all get there?
One of the most common ways that marine debris enters the sea is by being swept through storm drains. Small pieces of trash tossed into the street are often washed into storm drains during rain storms, which deposit the water – and the trash – into the sea. Rivers and other waterways can also wash plastics and rubbish into our oceans. In Jakarta, less than half of the city's rubbish may reach landfill and the balance heads seaward via 13 rivers. Some Indian and Pacific ocean islands have municipal dumps at one end of the island, and the monthly high tide lifts the lot and washes it out to sea. Beachgoers and picnickers also play a part by leaving plastic cups, aluminium cans, bottle caps, plastic utensils and food wrappers behind them after a day out. Extreme weather like hurricanes, tornados, tsunamis and flooding can also produce large amounts of debris which are washed into the sea. Commercial shipping, drilling platforms, and recreational boating produce about 18% of all marine debris. Rough seas can also cause ships to lose cargo or gear overboard. The International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL) was developed primarily to address marine oil pollution, but the convention also requires ships to store and bring waste to port. Clothing: Approximately 85% of all discarded clothes are sent to landfill, which means that clothing is responsible for a high percentage of our waste. In addition, the manufacture of clothing itself requires vast amounts of water, energy and chemicals. The Water Footprint Network estimates that 10,000 tons of water are required to produced one ton of cotton. The textile industry has caused river pollution in China, India, Cambodia, and Bangladesh. Cotton is the most
widely used fabric in the clothing industry. It is grown on just 2.4% of the world’s cropland but accounts for 24% of global sales of insecticides.
What is the Solution? The Zero Waste Movement:
This new movement is gaining popularity worldwide, and it is now possible to find many zero-waste groups popping up on Facebook, for example.
Zero waste supermarkets are another new idea, although it remains to be seen whether they will take off and become widespread.
Bea Johnson, described by the New York Times as ‘the priestess of wastefree living’, has written a book called Zero Waste Home. The book has been translated into 12 languages. You can watch her TEDx talk here. Johnson refers to buying in bulk as one of the key areas where waste can be reduced.
Trash is for Tossers is a popular blog and aims to help people reduce or eliminate waste.This Japanese town aims to produce zero trash by 2020.
This article in a previous edition of Vegan Sustainability has some tips for reducing your waste.
How do we clean up the Oceans: There are currently some very promising projects which aim to tackle ocean waste:
21-year old Boyan Slat has created an ocean cleanup array which can remove plastic from the ocean. He claims that a single array could remove half of the plastic in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in just 10 years. You can find out more about the Ocean Cleanup Project here.
The team from SAS Ocean Phoenix, a maritime engineering company based in the South of France, wants to tackle the trash problem with a massive cleanup ship which would ply the polluted Pacific. The boat would suck ocean water into chambers between its parallel hulls, where a series of filters would catch first the big chunks of plastic, then successively smaller pieces. SAS Ocean Phoenix says the staggered filters would allow fish to swim between them and return to the ocean.
The Environmental Cleanup Coalition is an organisation dedicated to cleaning up the oceans. Their website provides a lot of information on the current problem, as well as a variety of solutions to it.
Ultimately, we need to stop debris from entering the sea in the first place. This can be done by making sure there is a suitable waste infrastructure in every country. Beaches and public amenities need to be kept clean at all times, and visitors should be made aware of the need to bring their trash home with them. Education and behaviour modification is key and people need to be made aware of where their rubbish could end up after they throw it away.
Delhi has recently passed a law which bans plastic from the city completely, and France has passed a law which will come into effect in 2020 to ensure that all plastic cups, cutlery and plates can be composted and are made of biologically-sourced materials.
Biodegradable plastic is an alternative to petroleum-based plastic. However, there are problems associated with the production of these kinds of plastics also, which you can read about here.
This short video explains the problem with plastic packaging and how we can help reduce or eliminate it. This video is also useful.
When buying liquids you can choose glass bottles and jars instead of plastic.
Refuse plastic bags when they are offered and always bring cloth bags with you when shopping.
Choose paper, cardboard, or no packaging when buying produce.
Buy in bulk as much as possible.
Make sure your local neighbourhood does regular cleanups if litter is a problem in your area.
Always bring your trash home with you after a day out.
Check out this blog and book: My Plastic Free Life for some great tips on becoming plastic-free.
The Circular Economy:
The Circular Economy is a model of production in which waste is reduced or eliminated, and all manufactured items are re-used at the end of their lifetime.
At clothing company H&M, for example, the idea of circular production has really taken off. In 2013 the clothing retailer launched an in-store garment collecting initiative. You can now leave old textiles at any H&M store in the world and the company will upcycle, re-use and resell them.
Clothing companies like Nike, Levi-Strauss, North Face, Zara and Patagonia are also keen to get on board the circular economy bandwagon, and have begun collecting old garments for recycling and reuse.
The Sustainable Apparel Coalition – an alliance of retailers, brands, and nonprofits – has been working for about five years to measure and reduce the industry’s environmental footprint.
A new app for mobiles called Stuffstr lets users know where they can donate, repair or bring back used clothing or household items.
Composting: Make sure you compost food and garden waste at home, or if you generate large amounts of garden or other biological waste your local recycling service may be able to accept it. 14
Recycling: Not all plastics can be recycled. This video shows which types of plastics can and cannot be recycled. The book Reduce, Reuse, Recycle may also be helpful.
Upcycling and Remakeries: Upcycling makes new items out of old ones. Used furniture is a great example of upcycling and items can be newly upholstered, repaired, re-varnished, etc. Remakeries take used goods and repair, upcycle and re-sell them. Check out the Edinburgh Remakery here as an example.
Repair Cafés: The repair café concept was founded in Amsterdam in 2009 and there are now 1,180 repair cafés in 30 countries. You can check many of them out online here. The basic concept is that you take your broken item to the café and it will be repaired there (by a volunteer) while you wait. There is a social and local dimension to these cafés where tea and coffee are provided and people can relax and chat to others.
Freecycle and Donation: Freecycling or giving away your unwanted items for free has also become very popular and you should now be able to find freecycle groups in most major towns and cities. Charity donation is also another option when giving away unwanted goods.
In conclusion, a lot is being done to address the problem of waste. Along with a growing awareness of the problem, new movements to address it are gaining ground. As time goes on, perhaps technology will advance to the point where waste is no longer a problem. In the meantime, there is a lot that we can do as individuals in order to reduce the amount of waste we produce.
Food Choice and Sustainability By Richard Oppenlander
Following up on his excellent Comfortably Unaware Dr. Oppenlander goes deeper into the massive environmental impacts of our current animal based agriculture system on land and in the oceans. Brian Wendel, Creator and Executive Producer of Forks Over Knives wrote that Dr. Oppenlander’s important work shows how the long-term health of our planet and its inhabitants will be determined, in large part, by our willingness to adopt a plant-based diet en masse. In reading “Food Choice and Sustainability”, one may find empowerment that such a simple and effective remedy can begin at our next meal. Julieanna Hever, Author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition commented that “Food Choice and Sustainability” intricately weaves food choice to the destruction of the planet, offering the one and only solution—the evolution to a plant-based diet. What we choose to eat is killing our planet and us, yet use of the word ‘sustainable’ is ubiquitous. Explanation of this incongruity lies in the fact that sustainability efforts are rarely positioned to include food choice in an accurate or adequate manner. This is due to a number of influencing cultural, social, and political factors that disable our food production systems and limit our base of knowledge—falsely guiding us on a path of pseudo sustainability, while we devastate the ecosystems that support us, cause mass extinctions, and generate narrowing time lines because of our global footprint that will ultimately jeopardize our very survival as a civilization. Dr. Oppenlander’s goal with this book is to increase awareness in order to effect positive change—before it is too late. This is a groundbreaking book, and given the urgency and magnitude of the problem, it's a book that anyone who cares about our future and that of other species should read —individuals, academic institutions, businesses, organizations, and policy makers. Categories of global depletion are detailed, widely held myths are debunked, critical disconnects are exposed, and unique, profound solutions are offered. This book also unveils a new model of multidimensional sustainability for developing countries to eradicate world hunger and poverty as it compels us all to become aware of the enormous effect of our food choices, make necessary changes, and then, inspire others to do the same. As another reviewer Jon Stryker, President and Founder of the Arcus Foundation, put it Dr. Oppenlander’s remarkable book clearly makes the case imperative: our food choices are degrading our climate, exhausting our natural resources and creating monumental struggles for people in developing world nations. We must raise our awareness and make ethical and moral food choices.
Diet and Climate Change: Cooking up a Storm By Michael Greger at nutritionfacts.org One of the most prestigious medical journals in the world commented that climate change represents the biggest global health threat of the 21st century, and currently, chronic diseases are, by far, the leading cause of death. Might there be a way to combat both at the same time? For example, riding our bikes instead of driving is a win-win-win for people, planet, and pocketbook. Good for us, the environment, and cheaper too. Are there similar win-win situations when it comes to diet?
Dr. Michael Greger
The same foods that create the most greenhouse gases appear to be the same foods that are contributing to many of our chronic diseases. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy were found to have the greatest environmental impact, whereas grains, beans, fruits and vegetables had the least impact. And, not only did the foods with the heaviest environmental impact tend to have lower nutritional quality, but also a higher price per pound, thereby scoring that win-win-win scenario. The European Commission, the governing body of the European Union, commissioned a study on what individuals can do to help the climate. In terms of transport, if Europeans started driving electric cars, it could prevent as much as 174 million tons of carbon from getting released. We could also turn down the thermostat a bit, maybe put on a sweater. But, the most powerful thing people can do is shift to a meatfree diet. What we eat may have more of an impact on global warming than what we drive. Even just cutting out animal protein intake one day of the week could have a powerful effect. Even just Meatless Mondays could beat out working from home all week and not commuting. And, a strictly plant-based diet may be better still, responsible for only about half the greenhouse gas emissions. Overall, studies have suggested that moderate dietary changes are not enough to reduce impacts from food consumption drastically. Changes to healthier diets, without significant meat and dairy intake reductions, may result only in rather minor reductions of environmental impacts. This is because the average fossil energy input for animal protein production systems is approx. 25 calories of fossil energy input for every one calorie producedâ€” more than 11 times greater than that for grain protein production, for example, which is down around two to one. Researchers in Italy compared seven different diets to see which one was the environmentally friendliest. They compared a conventional, omnivorous diet adhering to dietary guidelines, to an organic, omnivorous diet, conventional vegetarian, organic vegetarian, conventional vegan, and organic vegan to what the average person actually eats. For each dietary pattern, they looked at carcinogens, air pollution, climate change, effects on the ozone layer, the ecosystem, acid rain, and land, mineral, and fossil fuel use. This is what they came up with. This is how many resources it took to feed people on their current diets. These are the negative effects the diet is having on the ecosystem, and the adverse effects on human health. If they were eating a healthier diet, conforming to the dietary recommendations, the environmental impact would be significantly less. An organic omnivorous diet would be better, similar to a vegetarian diet of conventional foods, beaten out by an organic vegetarian diet, conventional vegan and organic vegan diet.
The Commission report described the barriers to animal product reduction as largely, lack of knowledge, ingrained habits and culinary cultures. Proposed policy measures include meat or animal protein taxes, educational campaigns, and putting the greenhouse gas emissions info right on food labels.
Climate change mitigation is expensive. A global transition to even just a low-meat diet, as recommended for health reasons, could reduce these mitigation costs. A healthier low-meat diet would cut the cost of mitigating climate change from about 1% of GDP by more than half; a no-meat diet could cut two-thirds of the cost, and a no-animal-product-diet could cut the cost 80%. But many aren’t aware of the cow in the room. It seems that very few people are aware that the livestock sector is one of the largest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. But that’s changing. The UK’s National Health Service is taking a leading role in reducing carbon emissions. Patients, visitors, and staff can look forward to healthy low carbon menus with much less meat, dairy, and eggs, for evidence shows that as far as the climate is concerned, meat is heat. The Swedish Government recently amended their dietary recommendations to encourage citizens to eat less meat. Even if we seek only to achieve the conservative objective of avoiding further long-term increases in greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, we are still led to rather radical recommendations such as cutting current consumption levels in half in affluent countries—an unlikely outcome if there were no direct rewards to citizens for doing so. Fortunately, there are such rewards: important health benefits. By helping the planet we can help ourselves.
Moving to a Vegan Agricul In part 1 of a 2-part series Greg McFarlane of Vegan Australia outlines the steps that need to be taken to transition to a fully plant-based agricultural system. The road to an ethical Australia, which fully values the interests of all animals, may be long but we can accelerate the move towards this goal if we develop an understanding of what a vegan Australia would look like and what changes would be required. This goal is achievable and by moving towards an animal-free agricultural system, Australia can become an ethical world leader. To try to understand a future where animals are no longer exploited, Vegan Australia has explored different aspects of a vegan agricultural system for Australia. How the land use, food security, environment, the economy, employment and other areas would be affected by moving to a vegan agricultural system. The aim is to prepare a plan for this vegan agricultural transition answering questions about what Australia would look like and how this could be achieved.
Justification The case for moving towards a vegan agricultural system is based on the understanding that the use of animals for food, clothing or any other purpose
results in suffering and exploitation of animals; is unnecessary for human health and wellbeing; is wasteful of land and food suitable for human consumption contributing to hunger and famine; Eighty percent of starving children live in countries that actually have food surpluses - the children remain hungry because farmers feed the grain and legumes to animals instead of people. produces various pollutant streams (sewage, methane, anti-biotics, etc.); is a main driver of climate change; is harmful to other species and ecosystems; is the main user of fresh water globally; Fresh water is becoming a scarce resource and is excessively used for the production of animal products. The lack of fresh water is a major cause of disease transmission, especially amongst the world's poor. is responsible for 80% of deforestation. Deforestation is often in areas occupied by indigenous people and their rights and interests are often ignored. 19
lture System for Australia Vegan Australia Transition Principles This study uses sound economics and agricultural and environmental science to outline the transition and the changes in land use and agriculture are guided by the following principles.
There should be no negative effects on the availability of food (locally or for export) to provide for a healthy population. The changes will result in different food types being available, but the consumption levels for all essential macro and micro nutrients should be maintained or enhanced. The changes should maintain or improve current living standards. Costs, including monetary and externalities such as environmental costs, should not be deferred to future generations. The changes should protect the state of the environment and maintain food and water security. Any economic and employment impacts should be minimised and alternatives investigated. Where economic and employment impacts are unavoidable, the costs of these must be met by society in general and not left to landholders and workers to bear. No individual should be disadvantaged. Consumers respond to changes in social attitudes and economic conditions, reflecting cultural changes, changing attitudes to eating meat as well as price fluctuations. Rural Australians will play a crucial role in the transition to a productive, healthy, ethical, ecological land management approach and accurate valuation of ecosystem services and innovative financial incentives will be required to enable them to restore and strengthen vital ecosystem services. Shared responsibility will be crucial to ensure fairness. Moving to an animal-free agricultural system will result in significant changes to large areas of Australia, potentially impacting the lives and livelihood of a number of people. The changes will result in major benefits to the environment and climate and these benefits will be shared by all Australians. To ensure that rural Australians are not asked to shoulder this burden by themselves, the economic costs of these changes must be shared by society. Land use
This section looks at options for reusing land that is currently used for animal agriculture in Australia. It quantifies how much land is currently used for animal farming and then describes how this land could be reused for other purposes, that do not involve the use of animals. Since European settlement, the Australian continent has been extensively modified by animal agriculture, with livestock (mainly cattle, sheep and dairy) grazing native or modified pastures on 56% of the continent. About 3.5% of land is used to grow plant foods for humans. The area of the Australian continent is about 770 million hectares (Mha). Of this, 429 Mha (56%) are used to graze beef, sheep and dairy. In addition, 3 Mha are used for fodder crops to be fed to farmed animals and 4 Mha are used to grow grain to be fed to farmed animals. This compares to the 20 Mha used to grow plant foods for humans (both domestic consumption and export). About 30% of feed for dairy cattle comes from crops and up to to 90% of the food given to farmed chickens and pigs are grains fit for human consumption.
In agricultural analysis, Australia is often divided into intensive and extensive land-use zones. The intensive zone covers eastern Australia and south-west Western Australia. The main agricultural activities in the intensive zone are cropping, pastoral production and dairying, with an average annual value of agricultural production of about $193 per hectare. The rest of the continent makes up the extensive land-use zone. The extensive zone is arid or semi-arid and is not suitable for cropping. The main agricultural activity is grazing sheep and cattle on native vegetation, with an average annual value of agricultural production of only $3.35 per hectare. In parts of Northern Australia the land is used very inefficiently by raising cattle, taking up to 50 hectares to support just one animal. Animal agriculture uses over 430 Mha (well over half) of Australia's land mass, consisting of about 300 Mha in the extensive zone and 100 in the intensive zone. We estimate that about 2.9 Mha would be required to grow the extra plant foods for domestic and overseas human consumption. This would leave vast areas of land available for other uses beneficial to people and wildlife. Possible uses include the following. (Note that the suggested areas are very approximate.)
land currently used for both cropping and grazing should be used solely for cropping (35 Mha) extra forestry for timber logging (1-5 Mha) carbon farming (sequestering carbon dioxide) by regrowing vegetation, enriching the soil (100 Mha) would enable the land use sector to become a sink for emissions from other sectors, such as power generation and transport. biochar production from tree crops (1-5 Mha) restoration of rangelands (200 Mha) sequestering carbon dioxide in soil and vegetation 21
providing native habitat for endangered species increasing biodiversity reducing erosion and soil loss reducing salinisation improve water quality new irrigation schemes in Northern Australia (1.5Mha)
Wooleen Case Study Western Australia One interesting example of a change in land use in line with a vegan agricultural system is the destocking and regeneration of the rangelands at Wooleen Station in Western Australia. This land had been over-grazed for over 100 years resulting in most of the prime land being in poor or very poor condition with some of it being badly eroded and degraded to the point where it was never expected to recover. The situation at Wooleen is typical of neighbouring areas and in fact of much of the Australian rangelands. In 2007, the leaseholders of the 200,000 hectare station "Wooleen" decided to completely destock the entire property for four years. The re-establishment of the vegetation "has progressed much better than expected". A multitude of plants re-appeared, including the slow growing, but sturdy, saltbush. This regrowth occurred because cattle were no longer grazing and despite a long drought. Some plants returned to areas where they were never expected to grow. Plant and animal species threatened with extinction also began to return. Perennial plants, crucial to restoring the land, were among those re-established.
The image above shows the transplanting of native grasses into flowing creek lines after good rains.
During the time when no farmed animals grazed, grasses were planted and infrastructure was changed to replicate the natural systems that had been lost, culminating in the Roderick River flowing clear of eroded sediment for the first time in living memory. In just four years, a red river had been turned clear by removing farmed animals from the land and restoring some of the natural systems. "Nature is bouncing back." Please see video presentation on the regeneration at Wooleen.
Monitoring Photoâ€”Wooleen Lake Bed
In Australia, most grazing land is owned by the state and leased to farmers. It is interesting to note that a condition of the lease is that the land must be stocked with farmed animals. The majority of income must come from grazing. Other uses, such as tourism, are not encouraged. In fact, the leaseholders of Wooleen had to wait one year for permission from the Pastoral Lands Board to remove stock from the property. These unhelpful regulations act as barriers to change and will need replacing to be more in line with present day needs of the country. The success of this case study in such a short time suggests that it may be possible to restore land quickly and without great expense in many parts of Australia. Vegan Australia is supporting this research and are looking for funding to be able to progress this project as quickly as possible. They are also looking for other researchers to work on parts of it. If you can assist in any way, please email Greg McFarlane at firstname.lastname@example.org
The next issue of Vegan Sustainability will feature Part 2 of this article where Vegan Australia explore the effects of transitioning to a Vegan Agriculture System from an economic, environmental, and health perspective including what steps need to be taken to make it happen.
The Kimmela Centre for Animal Advocacy
The Kimmela Centre for Animal Advocacy was founded by Dr. Lori Marino who is a neuroscientist and expert in animal behavior and intelligence, formerly on the faculty of Emory University. She is internationally known for her work on the evolution of the brain and intelligence in dolphins and whales and comparisons to primates.
Dr. Lori Marino
Kimmela is a Native American word for butterfly, the most widely recognized symbol of transformation in nature. Kimmela are devoted to transforming our relationship with other animals from exploitation to respect by combining academic scholarship with animal advocacy. It is the only organization focusing exclusively on bridging the gap between academic research and scholarship and on-the-ground animal advocacy efforts. A â€œthink and do tankâ€? dedicated to moving beyond debate and theoretical discourse into real-world animal advocacy applications. It empowers animal advocacy by connecting it with science and scholarship in order to transform attitudes and behavior toward other animals. They have a great website with links to a lot of other organisations doing important work in protecting and understanding our animal kin.
(article from the Kimmela website, edited by James O'Donovan)
The Nonhuman Rights Project Q&A about the Nonhuman Rights Project Q: What is the Nonhuman Rights Project? A: It is the first and only organization petitioning courts to recognize that, based on existing scientific evidence, certain nonhuman animals – specifically great apes, dolphins, and elephants – are entitled to such basic legal rights as bodily liberty and integrity. Q: What exactly is the “scientific evidence” on which you base your claims? A: Our legal claims are based on the best scientific findings on genetics, intelligence, emotions and social lives of these animals showing they are self-aware, autonomous beings. Our work is supported by an international group of the world’s most respected primatologists. Q: Who have been your plaintiffs so far? A: In December 2013, we filed lawsuits on behalf of all four chimpanzees currently imprisoned in New York State. Those cases are currently making their way through the appellate courts as we prepare our next series of suits. Q: Specifically what rights are you seeking? A: The right to bodily liberty – i.e. not to be imprisoned. Q: By bodily liberty, do you mean they should all be set free? A: We argue that our first chimpanzee plaintiffs should be freed, then transferred to a sanctuary where they can live out their days with many other chimpanzees in an environment as close to the wild as is possible in North America. Q: Your first plaintiffs are chimpanzees, and you are also talking about elephants, whales and dolphins. What’s next after that? Dogs and pigs? A: Our plaintiffs will be animals for whom there is clear scientific evidence of such complex cognitive abilities as self-awareness and autonomy. Currently that evidence exists for elephants, dolphins and whales, and all four species of great apes. So, for the foreseeable future, our plaintiffs are likely to come from these three groups. Q: Why do you talk about “nonhuman animals”? A: Humans are animals; people tend to forget that. Under current law, the only animals recognized as having legal rights are humans. 25
At VSM we believe that all species should be able to live out their lives free from human imprisonment, abuse, or interference. The Nonhuman Rights Project is working in the US to establish a legal precedent for these rights using the court system. Q: Don’t rights come with responsibilities? If you can’t be responsible, then you can’t have rights. A: Not true. Millions of humans have fundamental rights that are not linked to responsibilities. Children and physically or mentally impaired adults cannot bear responsibilities, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have legal rights. You can’t just lock them up or use them for entertainment (at least not anymore). Q: Surely human rights are only for humans. A: That’s right. Human rights are for humans. Chimpanzee rights are for chimpanzees. Chimpanzees do not need the right to vote, for example, but they do need the right not to be held captive in shocking conditions in laboratories or roadside zoos. Q: Haven’t other organizations tried to do this before? A: No. The Nonhuman Rights Project is the first organization to demand legal rights for a nonhuman animal in a court of law. Other organizations have sought protections for certain animals through legislation. But no one has ever used the legal system to demand a legal right for a nonhuman animal. Q: What is the distinction between animal rights and animal welfare? Which are you focused on? A: Animal welfare is about providing better conditions for animals – for example in circuses and laboratories. There are thousands of animal welfare groups doing this important work. The Nonhuman Rights Project is the only group demanding legal rights for any nonhuman animal. This is about the legal system recognizing that at least some nonhuman animals have legal rights that can be enforced on their behalf, just as human children have legal rights that their parents can enforce on their behalf. We are asking the courts to recognize, for the first time, that these cognitively sophisticated, autonomous beings are legal persons who have the basic right to not be held in captivity. Q: What do you mean by “legal person”? A: A legal person is an entity capable of having legal rights. These have included humans, fetuses, corporations, and ships. (Even, in Indian courts, idols and holy books have been granted legal personhood.) It’s society’s way of acknowledging that an entity counts in the law. Not long ago, men generally agreed that women and children could not be legal persons, but were simply the property of men. In this country we said the same thing about African-American slaves. We are asserting, based on clear scientific evidence, that it’s time to take the next step and recognize that certain nonhuman animals cannot continue to be exploited as property. Q: Why are you going to court rather than trying to pass legislation? A: Courts are where a plaintiff goes to enforce rights and obtain justice. State legislatures and the U.S. Congress enact statutes, but common law state judges make law, too, based on precedents and their sense of
what is right, good and just. (Contract and tort law are almost entirely common law.) Our argument that a chimpanzee, for example, is entitled to the basic right to bodily liberty is based on precedents and what is right, good and just. The common law is deliberately flexible. It changes and adapts as morality changes and new experiences and scientific facts come to light. Evidence is mounting every day that certain nonhuman animals are extraordinarily cognitively complex. The common law is ideally suited to recognize this. Q: How can people get involved in the Nonhuman Rights Project? A: We work with the help of volunteer lawyers, scientists, biologists, natural scientists, mathematicians and predictive analytics professionals, as well as with people who are spreading the word about our work through their social networks. Over the coming years, we will be filing as many cases as we can afford, so contributions are very important, too. We also need funds to help establish sanctuaries for the animals we’re working to free from captivity. Q: Why should it matter to people that animals should have legal rights? A: Abraham Lincoln put it best: “In giving freedom to the slave, we assure freedom to the free.” When you deny freedom to anyone who deserves it, you undermine the freedom of everyone.
You can find out more about the Nonhuman Rights project on their website.
How Not to Die By Michael Greger MD The vast majority of premature deaths can be prevented through simple changes in diet and lifestyle. In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the internationally-recognized lecturer, physician, and founder of NutritionFacts.org, examines the fifteen top causes of death in America (and in most countries around the world) – heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and more – and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to live healthier lives. The simple truth is that most doctors are good at treating acute illnesses but bad at preventing chronic disease. Around the world the 15 leading causes of death now claim the the majority of people’s lives each year. This doesn’t have to be the case. By following Dr. Greger’s advice, all of it backed up by peer-reviewed scientific evidence, you will learn which foods to eat and which lifestyle changes to make to live longer.
History of prostate cancer in your family? Put down that glass of milk and add flaxseed to your diet. Have high blood pressure? Hibiscus tea can work better than a leading hypertensive drug—and without the side effects. What about liver disease? Drinking coffee can reduce liver inflammation. Battling breast cancer? Consuming soy is associated with prolonged survival. Worried about heart disease (our #1 killer)? Switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which has been repeatedly shown not just to help prevent the disease, but arrest and even reverse it.
In addition to showing what to eat to help prevent the top 15 causes of death, How Not to Die includes Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen – a checklist of the foods we should try to consume every day (as shown on below). Full of practical, actionable advice and surprising, cutting edge nutritional science, these doctor’s orders are just what we need to live longer, healthier lives. 28
All proceeds Dr. Greger receives from all book sales are donated to the 501c3 nonprofit charity www.nutritionfacts.org which is the best website we have found for peer reviewed scientific studies on the health benefits of a plant based diet.
Vegan Sustainability in the News A roundup of the main vegan and sustainability news stories from the past few months.. By Bronwyn Slater
London bombarded by vegan advertising campaigns in January Three of the world’s largest vegan advocacy organisations ran vegan advertising campaigns concurrently in London during the month of January. The Go Vegan World campaign ran ads on buses, taxis, billboards and video screens throughout the city. The ads launched in late December and early January in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Leicester, Newcastle and Bristol. Check out their brilliant free Vegan Guide. Simultaneously, PETA replaced every advert at Clapham Common tube station with a vegan poster. 60 adverts in total showed photos of pigs, cows and chickens with the slogan "I'm ME, Not MEAT”. Meanwhile, Veganuary, the charity that encourages people to go vegan for the month of January, had 2,500 ads displayed inside London’s tube trains. The campaign started on the 15th of December and ran until January 2nd. It was crowdfunded by the vegan community. The ads featured three animals – Rocky the calf, a chick called Little Eric and a piglet named Ernie – who urge passengers to read their stories and join thousands of others around the world who choose to eat no animal products at all in January. The group described it as the biggest vegan campaign ever featured on the London Underground. Veganuary also have a really good Vegan Starter Kit
EU members demand Europe shifts to plant-based diet 24 members of the EU parliament signed a letter to the European Commission President insisting on a reduction in animal agriculture and recommending a shift to a plant-based diet. The letter outlines the dangers posed by animal products to human health and the environment. It also recommends that EU policy should aim at a 30% reduction in the consumption of animal-based foods by 2030, and that the consumption of fruits and vegetables over meat be encouraged by means of an overhaul of the agricultural subsidies system which currently incentivises meat production. The five page letter can be read here.
Fur Farming in Japan and Croatia comes to an end Since 2006 it has been illegal to establish any new mink farms in Japan. However, existing farms were allowed to continue operating and the Otsuka mink farm was the last remaining fur farm in the country. Its closure at the end of 2016 marks the end of the industry there. From the 1st of January 2017 fur farming was also outlawed in 30
Croatia. The introduction of the new law comes after a 10-year-long phase out period. Despite strong resistance from the fur industry, the government listened to concerned citizens and animal rights groups in coming to its decision. Celebrity Sharon Osborne’s video in partnership with PETA was described as instrumental in bringing awareness to the cruel chinchilla fur industry there.
Bird Flu results in a cull of 22 million birds in South Korea More than 22.5 million poultry were killed amid the worst bird flu epidemic in farms across South Korea in recent times. Korea has suffered several bird flu outbreaks since 2003 but the outbreak in the winter of 2016, caused by the highly pathogenic H5N6 strain of bird flu, has been described as the worst ever. The flu also spread to the local zoo which had to be closed. These diseases can spread to other wildlife and can also kill people. 36 people were killed in the last major outbreak in mainland China in 2013. In 2014 South Korea culled 14 million birds amid a bird flu outbreak. As of the end of March, 2016 the country had killed more than 156 million chickens and more than 9.5 million ducks, according to government data.
On Keeping a Vegan or a Vegetarian Diet by Matthieu Ricard “It just takes just one second to decide to stop. The main reason not to eat meat and fish is to spare another's life. This is not an extreme perspective. This is a most reasonable and compassionate point of view.” My first Buddhist teacher, Kangyur Rinpoche, was a very strict vegetarian (meaning a vegan diet). I was inspired by him and also by a deep inner reasoning that suddenly became obvious to me. I never hunted in my life, but did go fishing sometimes when I was a little boy in Brittany. When I was 13 years old, a thought bloomed in my mind “How can I do something like that”? I realized that I was totally avoiding putting myself in the place of the other. And when I was 20, I gave up eating meat. That was 50 years ago. The heart of the Buddhist path is compassion. That means to value others. If you value others, you value their wellbeing and are concerned by their suffering.
We can find the means to survive without causing suffering to others. In India for example, there are over 400 million vegetarian people who survive well. They are not sacrificing their health or reducing their life span. In fact, even from a selfish standpoint, it is better to be a vegetarian. Many studies have shown that red meat increases the incidences of colon cancer and other illnesses. However, the main reason to stop eating animals is to spare others' life. Today, 150 billion land animals and 1.5 trillion sea animals are killed for our consumption. We treat them like rats and vermin and cockroaches to be eliminated. This would be called genocide or dehumanization if they were human beings.
”the main reason to stop eating animals is to spare others’ life” We even go one step further with animals: we instrumentalize them. They become objects. They become the pig industry, sausage or meat factories. Ethically you cannot imagine progressing toward a more altruistic or more compassionate society while behaving like this. Eating meat reveals another selfishness in terms of other fellow human beings. Rich countries consume the most meat: about 100 kilos per year per inhabitant in the USA, compared to about 3 kilos in India. The more the GDP of a country increases, usually so does the amount of meat consumption. In order to produce one kilo of red meat, you need ten to sixteen kilos of vegetable proteins. This is at a cost to the poorest section of humanity. With two acres of land, you can feed fifty vegetarians or two meat eaters. The 775 million tons of soy and corn that are used for industrial farming could be used for feeding people who are in need. The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change, a group that is not particularly fanatical about being vegetarian, recommends that we start by just eating less meat. This is one of the easiest ways to reduce global warming and could make a huge difference to the rate of climate change. The reason is that industrial farming causes the production of methane. Methane is thirty times more active in creating global warming than CO 2. Agriculture is the second main factor for global warming before industry and transportation! It just takes one second to decide to stop. It doesn't create any huge chaotic changes in our life. It's just that we eat something else. It's so simple. A small effort can bring a very big result for animals, for the disadvantaged, for the planet, for our own health. A sensible mind can see this is not an extreme perspective. This is a most reasonable, ethical, and compassionate point of view.
Matthieu Ricard is a Tibetan Buddhist Monk, an international best-selling author and a prominent speaker on the world stage, celebrated at the World Economic Forum at Davos, forums at the United Nations, and at TED where his talks on happiness and altruism have been viewed by over seven million people. He is a charismatic figure who has captured the minds and hearts of people all over the world. He is also the author of A Plea for the Animals, The Moral, Philosophical, and Evolutionary Imperative to Treat All Beings with Compassion, Shambhala Publications 2016. You can view his video entitled ‘On keeping a vegan or vegetarian diet’ here.
Vegan Sustainability Magazine Website: www.vegansustainability.com E-mail: email@example.com Find us on Facebook. 33
A free, online, quarterly magazine for vegans as well as non-vegans worldwide who are interested in the Environment and Sustainability.
Published on Mar 6, 2017
A free, online, quarterly magazine for vegans as well as non-vegans worldwide who are interested in the Environment and Sustainability.