Pope Francis Offered $1 Million to Go Vegan for Lent
The aim of the Million Dollar Vegan campaign—led by 12-year-old activist Genesis Butler of Long Beach, California—is to inspire people to "help fight climate change with diet change," according to a press release for the initiative.
"Farming and slaughtering animals causes a lot of suffering and is also a leading cause of climate change, deforestation, and species loss," Butler, who went vegan at the age of six, wrote in an open letter to the pontiff. "When we feed animals crops that humans can eat, it is wasteful. And with a growing world population, we cannot afford to be wasteful."
Whether or not he accepts, it's a fitting challenge for Pope Francis, who called on the world's 1.2 billion Roman Catholics to join the fight against climate change in his groundbreaking 2015 environmental encyclical, Laudato Si': On the Care for Our Common Home.
"In your encyclical letter, Laudato Si', you stated that every effort to protect and improve our world will involve changes in lifestyle, production, and consumption," Butler wrote. "I agree with all my heart and seek your support in tackling one of the largest underlying causes of the problems we face: animal agriculture."
You also might recall that in May 2017, His Holiness gave President Trump a copy of his encyclical right as POTUS was considering whether the U.S. should exit from the Paris agreement. Francis has also urged the leaders of big oil companies to lead a clean energy transition.
"We are launching this deliberately bold, audacious campaign to jolt our world leaders from their complacency," Matthew Glover, Million Dollar Vegan CEO of and co-founder of the record-breaking Veganuary campaign, said in the press release.
"We are thankful that Pope Francis has spoken out on these issues and that is why we are humbly asking him to try vegan for Lent and set an example of how each of us can align our principles of caring and compassion with our actions," he added.
So far, no word from the Vatican as to whether the challenge has been accepted. As for the Pope's current diet, this Mashed article indicates that he already eats quite simply. His meals are prepared with home-grown, seasonal produce, but he also has non-vegan favorites such as classic Neapolitan pizza, alfajores (South American cookies traditionally made with milk, butter, eggs and filled with dulce de leche), and prefers meat over fish.
A petition for the campaign has already gathered more than 31,000 signatures from around the world since its launch on Wednesday. The effort is backed by celebrity advocates such as Paul McCartney, Moby, Chris Packham, Mena Suvari and Evanna Lynch. The $1 million was donated by the Blue Horizon International Foundation.
A plant-based diet not only saves the lives of countless animals, it can be good for your health and the planet's health. In a sweeping study, researchers at the University of Oxford determined that the best way to minimize your environmental impact is to go vegan.
Lent this year runs from March 6 to April 18. If every one of the world's Catholics joined the 40-day vegan challenge, it will be equivalent to the whole of the Philippines not emitting carbon for a year, Dr. Joseph Poore of Oxford University said in the press release.
Million Dollar Vegan hopes that more people will forgo meat and animal products for Lent and has a Vegan Starter Kit that is free to download.
Watch This 10-Year-Old Explain How Going Vegan Can Save the Planet https://t.co/6NI1kBNZ4c @vegancook101 @TheVeganSociety— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1496610604.0
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By Eoin Higgins
Over 300 groups on Monday urged Senate leadership to reject a bill currently under consideration that would incentivize communities to sell off their public water supplies to private companies for pennies on the dollar.
<div id="fea63" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="9a6f211c2bc5aedd34837944cb8eeedf"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1281000111481294849" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Water in Illinois is overwhelmingly public. Why is Tammy Duckworth sponsoring a bill that aims to change that? https://t.co/1V36Kkd99s</div> — The American Prospect (@The American Prospect)<a href="https://twitter.com/TheProspect/statuses/1281000111481294849">1594249201.0</a></blockquote></div>
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By Alyssa Murdoch, Chrystal Mantyka-Pringle and Sapna Sharma
Summer has finally arrived in the northern reaches of Canada and Alaska, liberating hundreds of thousands of northern stream fish from their wintering habitats.
A Good News Story?<p>On the surface, the <a href="https://doi.org/10.1111/fwb.13569" target="_blank">results from our study</a> appear to provide a "good news" story. Warming temperatures were linked to higher numbers of fish, more species overall and, therefore, potentially more fishing opportunities for northerners.</p><p>Initially, we were surprised to learn that warming was increasing the distribution of cold-adapted fish. We reasoned that modest amounts of warming could lead to benefits such as increased food and winter habitat availability without reaching stressful levels for many species.</p>
Photo of Arctic grayling (left) and Dolly Varden trout (right). Alyssa Murdoch / Lilian Tran / Nunavik Research Centre and Tracey Loewen / Fisheries and Oceans Canada<p>Yet, not all fish species fared equally well. Ecologically unique northern species — those that have evolved in colder, more nutrient-poor environments, such as Arctic grayling and Dolly Varden trout — were showing declines with warming.</p>
Fish Strandings and Buried Eggs<p>Recent news headlines run the gamut for Pacific salmon — from their increased escapades <a href="https://nunatsiaq.com/stories/article/more-pacific-salmon-showing-up-in-western-arctic-waters/" target="_blank">into the Arctic</a> to <a href="https://www.juneauempire.com/news/warm-waters-across-alaska-cause-salmon-die-offs/" target="_blank">massive pre-spawning die-offs</a> in central Alaska. Similarly, results from our study revealed different outcomes for fish depending on local climatic conditions, including Pacific salmon.</p><p>We found that warmer spring and fall temperatures may be helping juvenile salmon by providing a longer and more plentiful growing season, and by supporting early egg development in northern regions that were previously too cold for survival.</p><p>In contrast, salmon declined in regions that were experiencing wetter fall conditions, pointing to an increased risk of flooding and sedimentation that could bury or dislodge incubating eggs.</p>
Headwaters of the Wind River within the largely intact Peel River watershed in northern Canada. Don Reid / Wildlife Conservation Society Canada / Author provided<p>Interestingly, we found that certain climatic combinations, such as warmer summer water temperatures with decreased summer rainfall, were important in determining where Pacific salmon could survive. Summer warming in drier watersheds led to declines, suggesting that lowered streamflows may have increased the risk of fish becoming stranded in subpar habitats that were too warm and crowded.</p>
The Fate of Northern Fisheries<p>The promise of a warmer and more accessible Arctic has attracted mounting interest in new economic opportunities, <a href="https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2019.103637" target="_blank">including fisheries</a>. As warming rates at higher latitudes are already <a href="https://www.ipcc.ch/sr15/" target="_blank">two to three times global levels</a>, it seems probable that northern biodiversity will experience dramatic shifts in the coming decades.</p><p>Despite the many unknowns surrounding the future of Pacific salmon, many fisheries are currently <a href="https://doi.org/10.1080/03632415.2017.1374251" target="_blank">thriving following warmer and more productive northern oceans</a>, and some <a href="https://doi.org/10.14430/arctic68876" target="_blank">Arctic Indigenous communities are developing new salmon fisheries</a>.</p><p>As warming continues, the commercial salmon fishing industry is poised to expand northwards, but its success will largely depend on extenuating factors such as <a href="https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060023067" target="_blank">changes to marine habitat and food sources</a> and <a href="https://www.yukon-news.com/news/promising-chinook-salmon-run-failed-to-materialize-in-the-yukon-river-panel-hears/" target="_blank">how many fish are caught during the freshwater stages of their journey</a>.</p><p>Even with the potential for increased northern biodiversity, it is important to recognize that some northern communities may be unable to adapt or may <a href="https://thenarwhal.ca/searching-for-the-yukon-rivers-missing-chinook/" target="_blank">lose individual species that are associated with important cultural values</a>.</p>
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“You’ve Been Exposed”<p>After the case interview, contact tracers will get to work calling the folks who may have been exposed to the coronavirus by the person who tested positive.</p><p>"We give them recommendations about quarantining or isolating, getting tested, and what to do if they become sick. If they're not already sick, we still want them to self-quarantine so that they don't spread the disease to anyone else if they were to become sick," said Labus.</p><p>Generally, the contact tracer won't ask for additional contacts unless they happen to call someone who is sick or has a confirmed case of the virus. They will help ensure the contact has the resources they need to isolate themselves, if necessary. The contact tracer may continue to stay in touch with that person over the next 14 days.</p><p>"We follow the percentage of people that were contacts, then converted into being actual cases of the virus. It's an important marker to help us understand what kind of transmission happens in our community and how to control the virus," said Gullett.</p>
Why You Should Participate (and What Happens If You Don’t)<p>A <a href="https://www.thelancet.com/journals/laninf/article/PIIS1473-3099(20)30457-6/fulltext" target="_blank">Lancet study</a> from June 16, which looked at data from more than 40,000 people, found that COVID-19 transmission could be reduced by 64 percent through isolating those who have the coronavirus, quarantining their household, and contacting the people they may have exposed.</p><p>The combination strategy was significantly more effective than mass random testing or just isolating the sick person and members of their household.</p><p>However, contact tracing is only as effective as people's willingness to participate, and a small number of people who've contracted the coronavirus or were potentially exposed are reluctant to talk.</p><p>"Contact tracers have all been hung up on, cussed at, yelled at," said Gullet.</p><p>The hesitation to talk to contact tracers often stems from concerns over privacy — a serious issue in healthcare.</p>
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