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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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On the Menu at Al Gore’s Climate Change Concerts: Animals

May 20, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

The organizers of Al Gore’s upcoming Live Earth 2015 concert series say they have no control over what food is sold at the venues. But that response is doing nothing to appease Lila Copeland, a 13 year old activist who created a video letter to Mr. Gore and other organizers condemning the sale of meat at a global climate change event.
Live Earth organizers Al Gore, Pharrell Williams and Kevin Wall

Live Earth organizers Al Gore, Pharrell Williams and Kevin Wall

“My supporters and I are telling you, not asking you, to . . . take animals and animal byproducts off the event menu, and tell event goers to take animal products out of their diets. Anything less is a slap in the fact to our Mother Earth, who you are killing one hamburger and one hot dog at a time. . . . There are so many delicious, gourmet and healthy meat alternatives you can sell at these events. Instead you ruin your opportunity for change.”
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The six continent concert series, which takes place on June 18th, is being staged to “shine a global spotlight” on climate change in advance of the United Nation’s Climate Change Conference in Paris in December.

The musician Morrissey, who has banned the sale of animal products at NYC’s Madison Square Garden on the night of his concert in June, has also sent an open letter to Mr. Gore: “As you know, animal agriculture is a leading cause of climate change . . . responsible for a staggering 51 percent or more of global greenhouse-gas emissions. . . If you choose to serve animal flesh at Live Earth, you’ll be making a mockery of the very concept of the event . . . Serving meat and dairy products at an event to combat climate change is like selling pistols at a gun-control rally.”
Morrissey sings "Meat is Murder"

Morrissey sings “Meat is Murder”

This is not the first time that environmental activists have compromised the integrity of a high profile climate awareness event. At the People’s Climate March in 2014, the largest climate gathering in history with an estimated 311,000 participants, 350.org invited food trucks that sold meat, fish and dairy products to the post-march rally. Can environmental groups like 350.org and activists like Al Gore expect world leaders to take drastic measures to reverse climate change if even they can’t take the most basic one at their own events?
Climate March participants line up to buy meat and dairy products from food vendors

Climate March participants line up to buy meat and dairy products from food vendors

Howard Lyman, a former cattle rancher who now speaks out against animal agriculture, is often quoted as saying, “You cannot call yourself an environmentalist and eat meat.” If Mr. Lyman’s words of wisdom don’t jolt the former Vice President into eliminating the sale of animal products at his climate events, then perhaps those of 13 year old Lila Copeland will: “Sorry, but we have to get real here . . . It is scientifically impossible to put an end to climate change without stopping animal agriculture.”

worldanimal.net

Your Turn

According to PETA, which has created a petition demanding that Al Gore and other organizers offer only vegan food at Live Earth concerts, “Serving animal products at events that are supposed to educate people on how they can fight climate change is hypocritical and undermines the effectiveness of people’s efforts to save the planet.”


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Jane Goodall: “We’re Destroying the Planet”

April 21, 2015 by Leave a Comment


The News

On the topic of our planet’s future, Jane Goodall, the legendary chimpanzee researcher, does not mince words: “How is it possible that the most intellectual creature that has ever walked on planet earth is destroying its only home?” Dr. Goodall, who is 81, spends 300 days year traveling the world in an effort to save it. The biggest problem, she says, is climate change. And the biggest culprit? Animal agriculture.

Jane-Goodall

In a lecture to hundreds of fans in NYC on April 15th, Dr. Goodall explained that agribusinesses are clearing rainforests in the Amazon to graze cattle and grow crops to feed them. Without rainforests – the “lungs of the earth” – the planet’s ability to convert carbon dioxide (CO2), a greenhouse gas, into oxygen is compromised.

Clearing Amazon rainforest for cattle grazing (photo: Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Clearing Amazon rainforest for cattle grazing (photo: Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

Even more harmful than CO2, Goodall said, is the methane gas emitted in cow farts. As developing countries adopt Western diets heavy in animal protein, more methane and CO2 are released into the atmosphere, further warming the planet and jeopardizing our ability to inhabit it.

Jane Goodall uses a stuffed cow to point out that methane gas is emitted in cow farts.

Jane Goodall uses a stuffed cow to point out that methane gas is emitted in cow farts. (photo: WildCare)

During her talk, Dr. Goodall described some of the other destructive effects of animal agriculture, including land and water pollution, antibiotic resistance, depletion of fresh water resources and animal cruelty, which is was motivated her to go veg. In a recent interview with the Toronto Globe & Mail, she said, “I became a vegetarian because of the horrendous suffering on factory farms and in abattoirs.”

Jane Goodall paints a grim picture of the state of the planet, but she is hopeful that humans will work together to save ourselves from ourselves. And she offers some advice that each of us can put into action today:

  • Go vegetarian.
  • Consume less. The more we buy, she argues, the more natural resources we extract from the planet. How much stuff do we really need?
  • Improve the environment in our own communities. Goodall’s Roots & Shoots program, which has chapters in 130 countries, is helping people plant trees, clean rivers and perform other community services in their own backyards.
Roots & Shoots has chapters in 130 countries

Roots & Shoots has chapters in 130 countries

At the end of her presentation, Dr. Goodall showed a video of a newly-released captive chimpanzee hugging her when she emerged from her crate and realized she was home in the jungle. Goodall uses this remarkable event to point out that, as intelligent as chimps are, their brains are far less powerful than those of humans. And she left the audience with a challenge — to harness the brainpower that we’ve used to damage the planet to save it.


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TV Host Jane Velez-Mitchell Launches Her Own Animal Rights Show

October 22, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Jane Velez-Mitchell, former host “Jane Velez-Mitchell” on HLN (Headline News Network), has created a new show dedicated to animal rights. On “Jane Unchained,” Velez-Mitchell, who has been America’s most prominent spokesperson for animal rights, reports on the day’s news with the same dedication and emotion that turned this TV news anchor into an icon in the animal rights movement.

Donny Moss from TheirTurn was lucky enough to a guest on her first two shows. On the first show, Velez-Mitchell and Moss discuss the impact of meat on the climate, the horse-drawn carriage fiasco in NYC and how a single issue can draw caring people into a cruelty-free lifestyle.

Your Turn

If you’d like to follow Jane’s program, you can watch her YouTube channel and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


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One Month after Climate March, Hundreds Attend “Carnivore’s Ball” in NYC

October 19, 2014 by Leave a Comment


The News

Just one month after the historic Climate March in New York City, thousands of people gathered near the same spot on Sunday to celebrate one of the the planet’s largest contributors to climate change: meat. According to organizers of Meatopia, guests were “immediately hit with the majesty and magic of slow-roasted whole animals” when they enter the tent.

meatopia

Meatopia’s 2014 Theme: “The Carnivore’s Ball”

Thirty activists with the group Collectively Free staged a protest near the entrance of Meatopia to call attention to the cruelty associated with meat production. In this dramatic scene which brings to life their #SwapSpeciesism campaign, farm animals show Meatopia attendees “what it would be like if the tables were turned.”

meatopia collectively free

Collectively Free Prepares “Rack of Man” and “Human Chops”

On its announcement about the protest, Collectively Free adulterated Meatopia’s promotional ad by painting blood onto the chefs’ faces.

Photo: Collectively Free

Photo: Collectively Free

The promo video for NYC’s previous Meatopia, which was hosted by Whole Foods, contains footage of baby pigs being chased.

Restauranteurs, agribusinesses, slaughterhouses and others who make money off of meat turn a blind eye to the impact of animal agriculture on the environment. In fact, even America’s leading environmental groups refuse to publicly attribute climate change to animal agriculture, as documented in the new film Cowspiracy, for fear of alienating their dues-paying members.

At the People’s Climate March in NYC, many participants called attention to the impact of animal agriculture on climate change, but many more lined up at food trucks to buy meat, fish and dairy products during the post-march street fair.

worldanimal.net

The 2014 People’s Climate March

Your Turn

Please visit Collectively Free to learn more about the organization and their interventions and programs.


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