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A Glaring Omission at the Student Climate Strike

March 18, 2019 by Leave a Comment


The News

During the 2019 Climate Strike in NYC, hundreds of students took to the streets to demand that world leaders reverse climate change, but the absence of posters and remarks about the impact of animal agriculture suggested that these students were largely unaware of one of leading causes. During the rally and the march, TheirTurn asked several student participants if they knew about the connection between eating animal products and climate change:

“The student activists aren’t addressing the leading cause of climate change, animal agriculture, and perhaps that is because the advocacy groups for the environment haven’t made it a priority,” said Edita Birnkrant, the Executive Director of the animal advocacy group NYCLASS. “If climate activists aren’t taking the most obvious step to curb climate change, which is adopting a plant-based diet, then how can they expect the mainstream public to take action?”

Climate Strike in NYC, March 15th, 2019

During the rally before the march, Birnkrant asked Jay Inslee, the presidential candidate running on a climate change platform, if he would promote the consumption of less meat. Inslee would not make that commitment. “I’m willing to promote making sure everybody understands this connection,” he said.

Edita Birnkrant asks Jay Inslee, the 2020 presidential candidate running on a climate change platform, if he will encourage Americans to consume less meat.

While most of the Climate Strike attendees were NYC students “on strike” to demand climate action, many adults participated, some of whom were eager to help the students make the connection between animal agriculture and climate change. Among them was Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, who spoke to TheirTurn the impact of animal agriculture on the oceans:

“We’re overfishing the oceans. Forty percent of all the fish caught in the ocean is fed to pigs, chicken and domestic salmon. If we put an end to industrialized fishing, that would go a long way in allowing the ocean to repair itself. If the ocean repairs itself, we can solve this [climate change] problem because the oceans is the regulator of climate – single greatest absorption of CO2. Seventy percent of the production of the oxygen we breathe comes from phytoplankton, and we’ve diminished phytoplankton populations by about 40% since 1950. All of these issues should be addressed, but they’re not getting the attention they deserve.”

The New York Chapter of the Climate Save Movement, which advocates for an end to animal agriculture, participated in the Climate Strike

Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old climate change activist whose activism inspired the global Climate Strikes on March 15th, is vegan.  Ms. Birnkrant is hopeful that she will use her global platform to promote climate-friendly plant-based eating. 


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Struggling to Make the Switch from Animals to Plants

February 21, 2019 by Leave a Comment


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While cooking and sampling vegan comfort food, four friends spoke honestly about why they haven’t stopped eating animals, in spite of their best intentions.  Shecky Beagleman, Danny Cohen, Jodie Wasserman and Rena Zager met in New York City almost 20 years ago when they started doing stand up comedy. Over the years, as they have learned about the impact of eating animals on their health, the planet and the animals, they talked many times about making the transition to a plant-based diet.  But all of them have struggled.  Will a frank discussion about the challenges coupled with “tuna” sushi, a vegan Caesar Salad and rigatoni with an “unreal” ricotta cheese move them further along?  


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World-Renowned UltraRunner and Former Supermodel Goes Vegan

January 25, 2019 by Leave a Comment


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In 2007 at the age of 24, Michele Graglia moved to Miami Beach from Italy in order to expand his family’s floral business in the United States, but, within a week of his arrival, a modeling agent discovered him on the street and convinced him to pursue a career in modeling. Enriched but unsatisfied by the profession, Michele walked off of the runway in 2012, shortly after stumbling upon a book about ultra-running  – a book that dramatically changed his life. 

Michele Graglia gave up his modeling career to pursue ultra-running. Today, he is one of the top ultra-runners in the world.

In this interview with TheirTurn, Michele recounts his journey from a small-town salesman to international supermodel and world-renowned vegan ultra-runner.

Michele’s book, Ultra, was published in Italy in 2017 and is scheduled to be released in the United States in 2019.

Michele Graglia documents his journey as an ultra-runner in his new book, Ultra.


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Activists Rescue Animals From NYC Slaughterhouse

January 13, 2019 by Leave a Comment


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While participating in live market vigils in Brooklyn, several animal rights activists rescued chickens and a rabbit who were on the verge of being slaughtered. 

“The law treats these animals as though they are inanimate objects, but we know that they are feeling individuals who want to live,” said Katerina Travazzo, an organizer with Brooklyn-Queens Animal Save. “Each of us has an ethical obligation to bear witness to their suffering and, whenever possible, rescue them from the needless violence and death that has been normalized by society.”

A sheep about to be slaughtered at a live market in Brooklyn, New York

“People can bury their heads in the sand and pretend that nothing is going to change, but the reality and the statistics show that it is changing all around us,” said Earthling Ed, a London-based animal rights campaigner giving talks in the United States.  “We can either stand on the right side of history or the wrong side.” 

Journalist Jane Velez-Mitchell interviews Earthling Ed during slaughterhouse vigils in Brooklyn

While bearing witness to the chickens, rabbits, sheep and other animals who would soon be slaughtered, activists conducted vegan outreach with the slaughterhouse employees, offering them dairy-free ice cream sandwiches on a hot summer day. 

Katerina Travazzo, an organizer with Brooklyn-Queens Animal Save, convinces a slaughterhouse worker to sample a dairy-free ice cream sandwich

The rescued animals were taken to sanctuaries in Upstate New York to be rehabilitated and live out the remainder of their lives in peace. 

Activists rescued this rabbit from NYC slaughterhouse and brought him to a sanctuary


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Animal Rights Activist Natasha Brenner Turns 97

December 19, 2018 by Leave a Comment


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When she turned 87 years old, Natasha Brenner, along with her husband Noah, decided to leave behind their quiet lives in suburban Long Island and move into New York in order to join the city’s burgeoning animal rights movement.  With great humility and oversized hearts, they brought their wisdom and positive energy to wherever bodies were needed — from circus, fur and horse-drawn carriage protests to rallies on the steps of City Hall.  On the eve of her 97th birthday, Natasha sat down with TheirTurn to talk about her life and her advocacy.


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