The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Ben & Jerry's Launches Vegan Ice Cream Line With 4 Non-Dairy Flavors
Holy cow! Ben & Jerry's has introduced its first-ever line of certified vegan ice cream made with almond milk. The Vermont-based ice cream makers now have four non-dairy creations called Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Chunky Monkey, Coffee Caramel Fudge and P.B. & Cookies that will hit the shelves later this month.
"You dared us to go dairyless—and we did!" company boasts. "Ben & Jerry’s Non-Dairy flavor creations are made with almond milk and so boldly loaded with chunks and swirls that you’ll get Ben & Jerry’s euphoria in every bite."
The move comes after a concerted effort to not just satisfy the lactose-intolerant crowd, but environmentally conscious ice cream lovers, too. According to TIME, "these non-dairy creations have been two-and-a-half years in the making and are partly a response to a 2014 Change.org petition that racked up more than 28,000 signatures, including one from the current U.S. Senator from New Jersey Cory Booker."
The authors of the petition wrote:
For many, Ben & Jerry’s sets the ice cream agenda. They are in a position to lead the way and make non-dairy ice cream a mainstream choice, like meatless Mondays. Offering an ice cream for their vegan customers would signal their support for cutting back on animal products. There is now a scientific consensus that animal agriculture is the single largest contributor to global warming, outstripping even the transportation industry in its production of greenhouse gases. Moreover, offering a non-animal product line of ice cream would signal to their customers that such alternatives can be mainstream and don't mean sacrificing great flavor and their favorite brands, and that they don't have to be vegan to enjoy them.
As for the taste, the folks at Huffington Post did a taste test and were surprised at how some of the flavors were incredibly creamy despite being nondairy. Of the Coffee Caramel Fudge, they said: "This baffling creation tasted and felt like it was full of milk and dairy and all the creamiest creations. The coffee extract and caramel swirls balanced really well with the almond milk."
In terms of nutrition, TIME reported that the vegan versions of Chocolate Fudge Brownie and Chunky Monkey only saves about 40-50 calories. It appears that Ben & Jerry’s created the line to stoke the non-dairy sweet tooth, not to kill extra calories.
“As much as Ben & Jerry’s customers say, ‘We want something healthy,’ the dollar really speaks,” Kirsten Schimoler, principal food scientist for Ben and Jerry’s, told TIME. She focused on making the chunks taste as “indulgent” as possible.
“That’s what Ben and Jerry’s is really known for," she added. "You want to sit on your couch with a pint of ice cream and dig out those huge pieces of cookies and chase the peanut butter swirls.”
Still, even if these treats won't be so great for your waistline, there are known benefits of a vegan diet—where there are no animal products, such as eggs, butter, milk and cheese allowed. A Western-style diet rich in meat and dairy produce will lead to an 80 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) from agriculture, according to Tim Redford of the Climate News Network.
A 2014 research paper from UK think tank Chatham House, Livestock—Climate Change’s Forgotten Sector, explained why it may be necessary for a lot more people to go vegetarian or at least dial down their consumption of meat and dairy products. Greenhouse gas emissions from livestock, the study said, account for about 14.5 percent of the global total, more than direct emissions from the transportation sector and more than all the emissions produced by the U.S., the world’s biggest economy.
Dairy alone is a major driver of environmental stress. The World Wildlife Fund pointed out that the global approximation of 270 million dairy cows and their manure produce greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change and places pressure on natural resources, including freshwater and soil.
"Poor handling of manure and fertilizers can degrade local water resources. And unsustainable dairy farming and feed production can lead to the loss of ecologically important areas, such as prairies, wetlands and forests," the organization said.
Ben & Jerry’s has made a clear commitment to a healthier climate future. For instance, the company only uses cage-free eggs, sources fair-trade ingredients, has banned genetically modified organisms (GMO) ingredients by origin and supports mandatory labeling of GMOs. The certified B Corporation uses ingredients including milk and cream from family farmers who do not treat their cows with the synthetic hormone rBGH.
Co-founders Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield are also vocal supporters of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, and have especially applauded the Vermont senator's commitment to the environment. In a joint statement, they said:
Two degrees of warming makes ice cream melt—but when it comes to our planet, the effects would be absolutely catastrophic. In the U.S., rising sea levels due to climate change will displace poorer communities, and we’ve already seen how hurricanes like Katrina devastate disadvantaged coastal neighborhoods.
Study after study shows that poor communities and people of color are disproportionately affected by pollution from mountaintop removal, power plants, toxic waste, car smog and a whole host of environmental health hazards. We can fix that—but we need a plan to break our addiction to fossil fuels, and a leader who will accelerate the transition to an economy powered by clean energy sources like solar and wind. This is that plan, and Bernie Sanders is that leader.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Tracy L. Barnett
Sources reviewed this article for accuracy.
For Sicangu Lakota water protector Cheryl Angel, Standing Rock helped her define what she stands against: an economy rooted in extraction of resources and exploitation of people and planet. It wasn't until she'd had some distance that the vision of what she stands for came into focus.
Last week, the Peruvian Palm Oil Producers' Association (JUNPALMA) promised to enter into an agreement for sustainable and deforestation-free palm oil production. The promise was secured by the U.S. based National Wildlife Federation (NWF) in collaboration with the local government, growers and the independent conservation organization Sociedad Peruana de Ecodesarrollo.
The rallying cry to build it again and to build it better than before is inspiring after a natural disaster, but it may not be the best course of action, according to new research published in the journal Science.
"Faced with global warming, rising sea levels, and the climate-related extremes they intensify, the question is no longer whether some communities will retreat—moving people and assets out of harm's way—but why, where, when, and how they will retreat," the study begins.
The researchers suggest that it is time to rethink retreat, which is often seen as a last resort and a sign of weakness. Instead, it should be seen as the smart option and an opportunity to build new communities.
"We propose a reconceptualization of retreat as a suite of adaptation options that are both strategic and managed," the paper states. "Strategy integrates retreat into long-term development goals and identifies why retreat should occur and, in doing so, influences where and when."
The billions of dollars spent to rebuild the Jersey Shore and to create dunes to protect from future storms after Superstorm Sandy in 2012 may be a waste if sea level rise inundates the entire coastline.
"There's a definite rhetoric of, 'We're going to build it back better. We're going to win. We're going to beat this. Something technological is going to come and it's going to save us,'" said A.R. Siders, an assistant professor with the disaster research center at the University of Delaware and lead author of the paper, to the New York Times. "It's like, let's step back and think for a minute. You're in a fight with the ocean. You're fighting to hold the ocean in place. Maybe that's not the battle we want to pick."
Rethinking retreat could make it a strategic, efficient, and equitable way to adapt to the climate crisis, the study says.
Dr. Siders pointed out that it has happened before. She noted that in the 1970s, the small town of Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin moved itself out of the flood plain after one too many floods. The community found and reoriented the business district to take advantage of highway traffic and powered it entirely with solar energy, as the New York Times reported.
That's an important lesson now that rising sea levels pose a catastrophic risk around the world. Nearly 75 percent of the world's cities are along shorelines. In the U.S. alone coastline communities make up nearly 40 percent of the population— more than 123 million people, which is why Siders and her research team are so forthright about the urgency and the complexities of their findings, according to Harvard Magazine.
Some of those complexities include, coordinating moves across city, state or even international lines; cultural and social considerations like the importance of burial grounds or ancestral lands; reparations for losses or damage to historic practices; long-term social and psychological consequences; financial incentives that often contradict environmental imperatives; and the critical importance of managing retreat in a way that protects vulnerable and poor populations and that doesn't exacerbate past injustices, as Harvard Magazine reported.
If communities could practice strategic retreats, the study says, doing so would not only reduce the need for people to choose among bad options, but also improve their circumstances.
"It's a lot to think about," said Siders to Harvard Magazine. "And there are going to be hard choices. It will hurt—I mean, we have to get from here to some new future state, and that transition is going to be hard.…But the longer we put off making these decisions, the worse it will get, and the harder the decisions will become."
To help the transition, the paper recommends improved access to climate-hazard maps so communities can make informed choices about risk. And, the maps need to be improved and updated regularly, the paper said as the New York Times reported.
"It's not that everywhere should retreat," said Dr. Siders to the New York Times. "It's that retreat should be an option. It should be a real viable option on the table that some places will need to use."
Leaked documents show that Jair Bolsonaro's government intends to use the Brazilian president's hate speech to isolate minorities living in the Amazon region. The PowerPoint slides, which democraciaAbierta has seen, also reveal plans to implement predatory projects that could have a devastating environmental impact.