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.
Introducing our #nondairy line - certified #vegan, made with almond milk, and oh so creamy! https://t.co/P3coMEmA0T https://t.co/akvBYrFp1x— Ben & Jerry's (@Ben & Jerry's)1454508062.0
"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.
The era of fossil fuels is coming to an end, and we couldn't be happier. https://t.co/SHOQNJgW75 #ActOnClimate https://t.co/GuJwpaSe8L— Ben & Jerry's (@Ben & Jerry's)1453208764.0
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EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Mark Hertsgaard
What follows are not candidate endorsements. Rather, this nonpartisan guide aims to inform voters' choices, help journalists decide what races to follow, and explore what the 2020 elections could portend for climate action in the United States in 2021 and beyond.
Will the White House Turn Green?<p>Whether the White House changes hands is the most important climate question of the 2020 elections. President Donald Trump rejects climate science, is withdrawing the United States from the Paris Agreement, and has accelerated fossil fuel development. His climate policy seems to be, as he tweeted in January when rejecting a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers proposal to protect New York City from storm surges, "Get your mops and buckets ready."</p><p>Joe Biden, who started the 2020 campaign with a climate position so weak that activists gave it an "F," called Trump a "climate arsonist" during California's recent wildfires. Biden backs a $2 trillion plan to create millions of jobs while slashing emissions—a Green New Deal in all but name. Equally striking, his running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, has endorsed phasing out fossil fuel production—a politically explosive scientific imperative.</p><p>The race will be decided in a handful of battleground states, five of which already face grave climate dangers: Florida (hurricanes and sea-level rise), North Carolina (ditto), Texas (storms and drought), Michigan (floods), and Arizona (heat waves and drought). <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/visualizations-data/ycom-us/" target="_blank">Public concern is rising</a> in these states, but will that concern translate into votes?</p>
Will Democrats Flip the Senate, and by Enough to Pass a Green New Deal?<p>With Democrats all but certain to maintain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate will determine whether a potential Biden administration can actually deliver climate progress. Democrats need to pick up three seats to flip the Senate if Biden wins, four if he doesn't. But since aggressive climate policy is shunned by some Democrats, notably Joe Manchin of coal-dependent West Virginia, Democrats probably need to gain five or six Senate seats to pass a Green New Deal.</p><p>Environmentalists, including the League of Conservation Voters, are targeting six Republicans who polls suggest are vulnerable.</p><ul><li>Steve Daines of Montana, who denies climate science</li><li>Martha McSally of Arizona</li><li>Thom Tillis of North Carolina</li><li>Susan Collins of Maine</li><li>Joni Ernst of Iowa (bankrolled by Charles Koch)</li><li>John James of Michigan (also a Koch beneficiary)</li></ul><p>Republican Senators are even at risk in conservative Kansas and Alaska. In both states, the Democratic candidates are physicians—not a bad credential amid a pandemic—who support climate action. In Kansas, Barbara Bollier faces an incumbent funded by Charles Koch. In Alaska, Al Gross urges a transition away from oil, though his openness to limited drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Preserve dims his appeal to green groups. He faces incumbent Republican Dan Sullivan, who receives an 8 percent lifetime voting record from the League of Conservation Voters.</p>
Will Local and State Races Advance Climate Progress?<h4>THE CLIMATE HAWKS</h4><p>Under Democratic and Republican leadership alike, Washington has long been a graveyard for strong climate action. But governors can boost or block renewable energy; the Vermont and New Hampshire races are worth watching. Attorneys general can sue fossil fuel companies for lying about climate change; climate hawks are running for the top law enforcement seats in Montana and North Carolina. State legislatures can accelerate or delay climate progress, as the new Democratic majorities in Virginia have shown. Here, races to watch include Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Colorado.</p><h4>THE CLIMATE POLICY MAKERS</h4><p>Perhaps the most powerful, and most overlooked, climate policy makers are public utility commissions. They control whether pipelines and other energy infrastructure gets built; they regulate whether electric utilities expand solar and energy efficiency or stick with the carbon-heavy status quo. Regulatory capture and outright corruption are not uncommon.</p><p>A prime example is Arizona, where a former two-term commissioner known as the godfather of solar in the state is seeking a comeback. Bill Mundell argues that since Arizona law permits utilities to contribute to commissioners' electoral campaigns, the companies can buy their own regulators. Which may explain why super-sunny Arizona has so little installed solar capacity.</p><p>In South Dakota, Remi Bald Eagle, a Native American U.S. Army veteran, seeks a seat on the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission, which rules on the Standing Rock oil pipeline. And in what <em>HuffPost</em> called "the most important environmental race in the country," Democrat Chrysta Castaneda, who favors phasing out oil production, is running for the Texas Railroad Commission, which despite its name decides what oil, gas, and electric companies in America's leading petro-state can build.</p>
Will the Influencers Usher in a Green New Era?<h4>THE UNCOUNTED</h4><p>The story that goes largely under-reported in every U.S. election is how few Americans vote. In 2016, some 90 million, <a href="https://www.pewresearch.org/politics/2018/08/09/an-examination-of-the-2016-electorate-based-on-validated-voters/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">roughly four out of every 10 eligible voters</a>, did not cast a ballot. Attorney Nathaniel Stinnett claims that 10 million of these nonvoters nevertheless identify as environmentalists: They support green policies, even donate to activist groups; they just don't vote. Stinnett's <a href="https://www.environmentalvoter.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Environmental Voter Project</a> works to awaken this sleeping giant.</p><h4>THE SUNRISE MOVEMENT</h4><p>Meanwhile, the young climate activists of the <a href="http://www.sunrisemovement.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Sunrise Movement</a> are already winning elections with an unabashedly Green New Deal message. More than any other group, Sunrise pushed the Green New Deal into the national political conversation, helping Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey draft the eponymous congressional resolution. In 2020, Sunrise has helped Green New Deal champions defeat centrists in Democratic primaries, with Markey dealing Representative Joe Kennedy Jr. the first defeat a Kennedy has ever suffered in a Massachusetts election. But can Sunrise also be successful against Republicans in the general elections this fall?</p><h4>THE STARPOWER</h4><p>And an intriguing wild card: celebrity firepower, grassroots activism, and big-bucks marketing have converged behind a campaign to get Latina mothers to vote climate in 2020. Latinos have long been the U.S. demographic most concerned about climate change. Now, <a href="https://votelikeamadre.com/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Vote Like A Madre</a> aims to get 5 million Latina mothers in Florida, Texas, and Arizona to the polls. Jennifer Lopez, Salma Hayak, and Lin-Manuel Miranda are urging mothers to make a "pinky promise" to vote for their kids' climate future in November. Turning out even a quarter of those 5 million voters, though no easy task, could swing the results in three states Trump must win to remain president, which brings us back to the first category, "Will the White House Turn Green?"</p>
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By Tony Carnie
South Africa is home to around 1,300 of the world's roughly 7,100 remaining cheetahs. It's also the only country in the world with significant cheetah population growth, thanks largely to a nongovernmental conservation project that depends on careful and intensive human management of small, fenced-in cheetah populations. Because most of the reserves are privately funded and properly fenced, the animals benefit from higher levels of security than in the increasingly thinly funded state reserves.
Vincent van der Merwe at a cheetah translocation. Endangered Wildlife Trust
Under Pressure<p>Cheetah populations elsewhere in Southern Africa have not prospered over the past 50 years. In Zimbabwe, cheetah numbers have crashed from 1,500 in 1975, to just 170 today. Botswana's cheetah population has held steady at around 1,500 over the same period, but illegal capture for captive breeding and conflicts with farmers and the growing human population are increasing. In Namibia, there were an estimated 3,000 cheetah in in 1975; roughly 1,400 remain today.</p><p>In contrast, South Africa's cheetah numbers have grown from about 500 in 1975 to nearly 1,300 today. Van der Merwe, who is also a Ph.D. student at the University of Cape Town's Institute for Communities and Wildlife in Africa (iCWild), says he's confident that South Africa will soon overtake Namibia and Botswana, largely because the majority of South African cheetahs are protected and managed behind fences, whereas most of the animals in the neighboring countries remain more vulnerable on mainly unfenced lands.</p><p>Wildlife researchers Florian Weise and colleagues have reported that private stock owners in Namibia still trap cheetahs mainly for translocation, but there are few public or private reserves large enough to contain them. Weise says that conservation efforts need to focus on improving tolerance toward cheetahs in commercial livestock and game farming areas to reduce indiscriminate trapping.</p><p>Van der Merwe says fences can be both a blessing and a curse. While these barriers prevent cheetahs and other wild animals from migrating naturally to breed and feed, they also protect cheetahs from the growing tide of threats from humanity and agriculture.</p><p>To simulate natural dispersion patterns that guard against inbreeding, the trust helps landowners swap their animals with other cheetah reserves elsewhere in the country. The South African metapopulation project has been so successful in boosting numbers that the trust is having to look beyond national boundaries to secure new translocation areas in Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.</p><p>Cheetah translocations have been going on in South Africa since the mid-1960s, when the first unsuccessful attempts were made to move scores of these animals from Namibia. These relocations were mostly unsuccessful.</p>
Charli de Vos uses a VHF antenna to locate cheetahs in Phinda Game Reserve. Tony Carnie for Mongabay
Swinging for the Fences<p>But other wildlife conservation leaders have a different perspective on cheetah conservation strategy.</p><p>Gus Mills, a senior carnivore researcher retired in 2006 from SANParks, the agency that manages South Africa's national parks, after a career of more than 30 years in Kalahari and Kruger national parks. He says the focus should be on quality of living spaces rather than the quantity of cheetahs.</p><p>Mills, who was the founder of the Endangered Wildlife Trust's Carnivore Conservation Group in 1995, and who also spent six years after retirement studying cheetahs in the Kalahari, says it's more important to properly protect and, where possible, expand the size of existing protected areas.</p><p>He also advocates a triage approach to cheetah conservation, in which scarce funds and resources are focused on protecting cheetahs in formally protected areas, rather than diluting scarce resources in an attempt to try and save every single remaining cheetah population.</p><p>"People have an obsession with numbers. But I believe that it is more important to protect large landscape and habitats properly," Mills said.</p><p>He suggests that cheetahs enclosed within small reserves live in artificial conditions: "It's almost like glorified farming."</p><p>"In the long run we have to focus on consolidating formally protected areas," he added. "Africa's human population will double by 2050, so cheetah populations in unfenced areas will become unsustainable if they are eating people's livestock."</p>
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