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Today is World Vegan Day and the start of World Vegan Month, an international recognition of a lifestyle free of animal products.
The Vegan Society, which first coined the term "vegan" 1944, kicked off the first World Vegan Day in 1994 to mark the 50th anniversary of its founding. The occasion is gaining worldwide momentum and can be celebrated in a variety of ways.
"You could host a vegan lunch at work or a vegan dinner party with friends; commit to taking part in vegan outreach in your local community; share your favorite vegan recipes on social media or even challenge your friends, family or work colleagues to go vegan for 30 days by taking our Vegan Pledge," the organizers tout.
While the vegan lifestyle might seem too extreme for some, there is a lot to admire about it. By now you probably know that eating less meat and skipping dairy, eggs and other animal products can be beneficial in many ways. It spares the suffering of animals, it can be great for your health (if practiced wisely, meaning more fruit, veggies and nuts—less deep fried potatoes), and is especially good for the environment.
Scientists behind the most in-depth study to date of the ecological footprint of agriculture determined that the best thing an individual can do to fight climate change, promote biodiversity and protect the environment overall, is go vegan.
"A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use," study leader and University of Oxford's Professor Joseph Poore told the Guardian. "It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car," he said.
The researchers even found that the least impactful meat and dairy products, including grass-fed beef, hurt the environment more than the most intrusive vegetables and grains.
"Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy," Poore added.
The percentage of Americans who have meat-free diets has not changed much in the last 20 years, according to a recent Gallup poll, in which 5 percent of respondents said they are vegetarian and 3 percent said they are vegan, a tiny uptick from 2 percent in 2012.
However, as EcoWatch mentioned on World Vegetarian Day last month, more people are adopting "flexitarian," "climatarian" and "reducetarian" diets that favor healthier, more humane and environmentally sustainable food products—and we couldn't be more in favor of that.
If you're interested in giving veganism a try—or need motivation to stay on track—The Vegan Society has launched a new app called VeGuide that features educational videos, recipes, a rewards program and more. The app is free and available on both Android and iOS.
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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.
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.
The last four members of an embattled wolf pack were killed in Washington State Friday, hours before the court order that could have saved them.
By Randi Spivak
Slashing two national monuments in Utah may have received the most attention, but Trump's Interior Department and U.S. Forest Service have been quietly, systematically ceding control of America's public lands to fossil fuel, mining, timber and livestock interests since the day he took office.
A new report by Greenpeace International pinpointed the world's worst sources of sulfur dioxide pollution, an irritant gas that harms human health. India has seized the top spot from Russia and China, contributing nearly 15 percent of global sulfur dioxide emissions.
By Sue Branford and Thais Borges
Ola Elvestrun, Norway's environment minister, announced Thursday that it is freezing its contributions to the Amazon Fund, and will no longer be transferring €300 million ($33.2 million) to Brazil. In a press release, the Norwegian embassy in Brazil stated: