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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.
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Tuna auctions are a tourist spectacle in Tokyo. Outside the city's most famous fish market, long queues of visitors hoping for a glimpse of the action begin to form at 5 a.m. The attraction is so popular that last October the Tsukiji fish market, in operation since 1935, moved out from the city center to the district of Toyosu to cope with the crowds.
gmnicholas / E+ / Getty Images
Kristan Porter grew up in a fishing family in the fishing community of Cutler, Maine, where he says all roads lead to one career path: fishing. (Porter's father was the family's lone exception. He suffered from terrible seasickness, and so became a carpenter.) The 49-year-old, who has been working on boats since he was a kid and fishing on his own since 1991, says that the recent warming of Maine's cool coastal waters has yielded unprecedented lobster landings.
The climate crisis is getting costly. Some of the world's largest companies expect to take over one trillion in losses due to climate change. Insurers are increasingly jittery and the world's largest firm has warned that the cost of premiums may soon be unaffordable for most people. Historic flooding has wiped out farmers in the Midwest.
Hawaii's Kilauea volcano could be gearing up for an eruption after a pond of water was discovered inside its summit crater for the first time in recorded history, according to the AP.
'We Should Be Retreating Already From the Coastline,' Scientist Suggests After Finding Warm Waters Below Greenland
By Johnny Wood
The Ganges is a lifeline for the people of India, spiritually and economically. On its journey from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal, it supports fishermen, farmers and an abundance of wildlife.
The river and its tributaries touch the lives of roughly 500 million people. But having flowed for millennia, today it is reaching its capacity for human and industrial waste, while simultaneously being drained for agriculture and municipal use.
Here are some of the challenges the river faces.
By Jake Johnson
As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.