Sunday, March 5, 2017


MARCH 8, 2017.
Edited by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology
OMNI’s MARCH VEGETARIAN POTLUCK is Wednesday, MARCH 8, 5:45, at OMNI, Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology (2ND Wednesdays) at the OMNI Center for Peace, Justice, and Ecology.  All are welcome.  You may want to enjoy some old or new vegetarian recipes, to talk about healthier food, or you are concerned about cruelty to animals or warming and climate change.  Whatever your motive, come share vegetarian and vegan food and your views with us in a friendly setting. As an extra treat, a Serbian woman who teaches at UA, will be sharing a short video about International Women's Day. 
At OMNI, 3274 Lee Avenue, just east of the Village Inn and south of Liquor World.  More information: 935-4422; 442-4600.

Contents: Vegetarian Action Newsletter #36, March 8, 2017
Health, Nutrition
VegNews (Feb. 2017)
Empathy, Compassion, Protection of Animals
Steven Best, The Politics of Total Liberation
Jim Mason, An Unnatural Order
Carnivorism, Industrial Food System, Climate Catastrophe
The Great Climate Robbery
Germany “Bans Meat at Official Functions”
“Denmark Ethics Council Calls for Tax on Red Meat”

Contents #35

Health, Nutrition
VegNews (Feb. 2017).  Magazine packed especially with vegan ads and
     recipes for people who seek a more compassionate world through vegan
     foods.  If you follow a vegan lifestyle you have already made a
     substantial choice for a magnanimous, generous life.
Full-page Ads at the front of the magazine:  “Lightlife,” Plant Protein, “Meat
     without the middleman.”
An entire page for “Moroccan Tagine” from Sweet Earth Natural Foods
     (organic sweet potatoes, garbanzos, and bulgur).
Sunwarrior’s New Plant-Based Protein Bar.  USDA organic, gluten free, soy
     free, dairy free, non-GMO, vegan.
Leaping Bunny Program, Connecting Compassionate Consumers with
    Cruelty-free Companies,
Daiya, Veestrim etc,

Six alternatives to MILK p. 17.

Environmental stats and data and anecdotes, p. 20.  For example, Norwegian study showing that “the way animal products are marketed reduces empathy in meat eaters”; Scripps Institution of Oceanography study declares world’s atmospheric carbon concentration has officially reached the tipping point of 400 parts per million.

Page 21 misc. info., including announcement of new The Forks Over Knives Plan: How to Transition to the Life-Saving, Whole-Food, Plant-Based Diet, a 28-day step-by-step vegan guide.
More books on p. 73, e.g. Homestyle Vegan; Easy, Everyday Plant-Based Recipes; The Juice Lover’s Big Book of Juices; Eat with Intention: Recipes and Meditations for a Life that Lights You Up.

Activities, p. 74:  “Veganuary,” a global campaign to encourage vegan lifestyle and compassion; “The Dairy Detox,” a course designed to help people kick their cheese habits.

Empathy, Compassion, Protection of Animals

November 3, 2014
My most recent book, “The Politics of Total Liberation: Revolution for the 21st Century,” hitherto available only in German, is now available in English for purchase (PDF download or hardcopy book), on the Palgrave Macmillan site, and other sites such as

I am honored that celebrated animal rights author, Norm Phelps, wrote the Foreword to the book, and here is the critical praise on the back cover:
“This is an extraordinary book that shatters all safe spaces found among the debris, torture, genocide, and despair scattered throughout history by the so-called march towards progress.” –Peter McLaren, Distinguished Professor in Critical Studies, Chapman University, USA, Author of Che Guevara, Paulo Freire, and the Pedagogy of Revolution
“For at least the last half century, a biocentric revolution has been unfolding against the destructive tyranny of anthropocentrism — a revolution guided by the natural laws of ecology against the unnatural diminishment of nature at the hands of “civilized” man. In this bold and timely book, Steven Best writes from, and has documented, the evolution of this universal revolution, as he gives us a glimpse into the catastrophic consequences should this revolution fail.” –Captain Paul Watson, founder of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society
“The Politics of Total Liberation is groundbreaking with an innovative new approach to understanding the ills of our society. Best makes is clear that we are losing the battle to save the environment and animals because of greed, domination, control, and war mongering created by humans. Best obviously did not write this to be popular, safe, or political; rather, he wrote because his conscience told him that it is right.” –Chris DeRose, President, Last Chance for Animals
“Steven Best gets it: if we are to stop destructive human conditions and habits, we will need `the most uncompromising, militant form of politics we can muster.’” –Jim Mason, author of An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature.
“I have no argument with Norm Phelps when he states that `this may be the most important book of the 21st century’.” –Ronnie Lee, founder of the Animal Liberation Front

First published by Simon & Schuster in 1993 and then by Continuum in 1998, Jim Mason’s An Unnatural Order: The Roots of Our Destruction of Nature has become a classic. Now in a new Lantern edition, the book explores, from an anthropological, sociocultural, and holistic perspective, how and why we have cut ourselves off from other animals and the natural world, and the toll this has taken on our consciousness, our ability to steward nature wisely, and the will to control our own tendencies.
“My own view is that the primal worldview, updated by a scientific understanding of the living world, offers the best hope for a human spirituality. Life on earth is the miracle, the sacred. The dynamic living world is the creator, the First Being, the sustainer, and the final resting place for all living beings — humans included. We humans evolved with other living beings; their lives informed our lives. They provided models for our existence; they shaped our minds and culture. With dominionism out of the way, we could enjoy a deep sense of kinship with the other animals, which would give us a deep sense of belonging to our living world. Then, once again, we could feel for this world. We could feel included in the awesome family of living beings. We could feel our continuum with the living world. We could, once again, feel a genuine sense of the sacred in the world.” — Jim Mason
An Unnatural Order is a provocative search for the basic beliefs of Western culture that feed racism, sexism, animal exploitation, and domination of the natural world.
Nature writer Jim Mason begins this search nearly 10,000 years ago when plants and animals were first domesticated — or brought under human control. Until this time, people saw themselves as members of the natural world. They saw animals as kindred beings and the living world as full of ensouled powers.
The main theme of the book is that animals are much more important than we think. Under our current worldview, animals are trivial — except when they are useful. They are inferior beings and, we think, they could not be important to human society except as food and slaves. But for hundreds of millenia, animals have been very much on the human mind. Animals have fed the mind and the imagination — especially our ideas about the living world — for a very long time.
We lived in the presence of animals as we were evolving into human beings. To early humans, animals were the lively, moving parts of the mysterious living world. They were the most fascinating things in the world. Like us, animals ate, drank, slept, mated, eliminated, and died. They were familiar. They gave us a sense of continuity with other life. They gave us a sense of belonging in the living world. The huge variety of activities and patterns in animals’ lives gave the developing human mind much to think about. In other words, animal have figured greatly in the shaping of our views of the world. Little wonder, then, that animals are the main figures in early art and myth.
Then about 8,000 B.C. the first agriculture started in the ancient Middle East. Very slowly at first, farming began to replace foraging throughout the ancient world. Gradually, as population, cities, and human demands swelled, farming intensified — that is, farmers increased their control over animals and nature. As they did so, they had to tear down the very old beliefs in the sanctity and ensouled powers of the living world. In their place, farming societies built the myth of human supremacy and with it the idea of the need to dominate the living world. In time, values on domination, control, and hierarchy became ingrained in agrarian culture and the agrarian worldview became the modern worldview.
Our cultural heritage, then, is one that alienates us from the living world, one that regards it as a slave. This stunts human empathy and crushes any sense of kinship with other life. Moreover, our nature-dominating worldview causes some dominant people to regard women, people of color, and others as inferior, as closer to nature than to humanity. It also causes us to regard as inferior the physical, emotional, sexual and other “animal” aspects of human life, for these remind us of our closeness to animals and nature.
Mason contends that these dominionist views are at the bottom of society’s ever-deepening social and ecological crises. It is vital, he believes, to revive that long-lost sense of kinship with animals and nature.   MORE

Industrial Food System, Carnivorism, Climate Catastrophe

The Great Climate Robbery: How the Food System Drives Climate Change and What We Can Do About It.  2016.   (Book Forum, March 5, 2017, FPL, 1:30.)
The Great Climate Robbery: How the Food System Drives Climate Change and What We Can Do About It. Here's a short description of the book from the back cover: ‘The Great Climate Robbery explains how the industrial food system is a major driver of climate change and how [local] food sovereignty is critical to any lasting and just solution. With governments, particularly those from the main polluting countries, abdicating their responsibility to deal with the problem, it has become critical for people to take action into their own hands. Changing the food system is perhaps the most important and effective place to start. This book shows you how.’"  Mainly and excellently about the increasing industrial, that is corporate, control of food production.   Secondly, it explains the cause and effects of industrialized agri and the onrushing climate catastrophe.  Thirdly and less satisfactorily (true of many books on climate change solutions) is what we can do about it, since its solutions are mainly conditional:  IF we do x then we CAN do y, but these essentially hopes are immensely complicated problems.  That is not to say we should not try to solve them, since possibly doable single solutions are merely partial and stopgap.  And even this laudably comprehensive book does not engage directly, for example, with stopping fossil fuel use or carnivorism.   --Dick

Germany Bans Meat at Official Functions to ‘Set a Good Example for Climate Protection’.   ENVIRONMENT, 27 February 2017

Lorraine Chow | EcoWatch – TRANSCEND Media Service
23 Feb 2017 – Eating less meat is essential to curbing climate change, which is why Germany’s Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks is only serving vegetarian food at official functions.
“We want to set a good example for climate protection, because vegetarian food is more climate-friendly than meat and fish,” the ministry said in a statement published in The Telegraph. The ban was reportedly enacted at the end of January.
The German newspaper Bild also reported that the food served at official events should be organic, seasonal, local and only travel from short distances. Fair trade products are also preferable.
Indeed, as one of the greenest countries on the planet, the German environment ministry wants its plates to lead by example.
Slashing meat consumption saves the lives of animals, lowers our carbon footprint and leads to better health. A study from the Oxford Martin School found that diets of limited meat consumption can cut emissions by a third while saving 5 million lives, vegetarian diets could reduce emissions by 63 percent and save 7 million lives, and vegan diets could reduce emissions by 70 percent and save 8 million lives.
But what about seafood? Well, the world’s appetite for fish and shrimp is also stressing out supplies. A United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report found that nearly 90 percent of global fish stocks are either fully fished or overfished. Global fish consumption per capita has reached record-high levels due to aquaculture and firm demand, with the average person now eating roughly 44 pounds of fish per year compared to only 22 pounds in the 1960s, the report found.
For a meat-loving nation known for its sausages, schnitzel and cold cuts, the message was not welcomed by all.
Rival German politicians have accused Hendricks, a member of the Social Democratic Party, of forcing vegetarianism on people and leveraging the meat ban as political ammo. The Social Democrats are challenging the Christian Democrats, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party, in this year’s tight race for German Chancellor.
“I’m not having this Veggie Day through the back door,” said Christian Schmidt, minister of food and agriculture and Christian Democrat. “I believe in diversity and freedom of choice, not nanny-statism and ideology. Instead of paternalism and ideology. Meat and fish are also part of a balanced diet.”
Others have also accused Hendricks of hypocrisy in that the meat ban only applies to official functions. Ministry officials would still be able to consume meat or fish in the staff canteen.
“You have to eat what’s on the table according to the will of the ministry. No meat, no fish, and the cover of ‘climate protection,'” Gitta Conneman, a senior MP and Christian Democrat, told Bild. “They won’t save the climate by branding people who eat meat, and they know this. The ban only applies to a handful of guests, not to 1,200 employees. This is pure ideology, a ‘people’s education’ for the diet.”
But the ministry said it wants to be a “role model” and justified their provision to fight the negative “effects of the consumption of meat.”
Lorraine is a reporter for EcoWatch.   Go to Original –

With cattle contributing a tenth of global emissions, people are 'ethically obliged' to change their eating habits, an influential government think tank says
·         Adam Withnall 
·         @adamwithnall 
·         10 months ago

Click to follow
The Independent Online
Steak and other red meats would be taxed highest - but all food could ultimately be targeted Getty Images
Denmark is considering proposals to introduce a tax on red meat, after a government think tank came to the conclusion that “climate change is an ethical problem”.
The Danish Council of Ethics recommended an initial tax on beef, with a view to extending the regulation to all red meats in future. It said that in the long term, the tax should apply to all foods at varying levels depending on climate impact.
The council voted in favour of the measures by an overwhelming majority, and the proposal will now be put forward for consideration by the government.
In a press release, the ethics council said Denmark was under direct threat from climate change, and it was not enough to rely on the “ethical consumer” to ensure the country meets its UN commitments.
“The Danish way of life is far from climate-sustainable, and if we are to live up to the Paris Agreement target of keeping the global temperature rise 'well' below 2°C, it is necessary both to act quickly and involve food,” the council said.
Cattle alone account for some 10 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, while the production of food as a whole makes up between 19 and 29 per cent, the council said.
Danes were “ethically obliged” to change their eating habits, it said, adding that it is “unproblematic” to cut out beef and still enjoy a healthy and nutritious diet.  MORE
 “For a response to climate-damaging food to be effective, while also contributing to raise awareness of the challenge of climate change, it must be shared,” said council spokesman Mickey Gjerris.
“This requires society to send a clear signal through regulation.”
It has been a tough few months for fans of red meat, with consumption down after the World Health Organisation warned of an associated cancer risk.

Saving The Planet, One Burger At A Time: This Juicy Patty Is Meat-Free

February 11, 20176:21 AM ET
At Saxon + Parole, a New York City restaurant, chef Brad Farmerie serves up the Impossible Burger, a plant-based burger that sizzles, smells and even bleeds like the real thing.
Allison Aubrey/NPR.  A Michelin-starred restaurant in New York City debuted a new dish last week that's getting a lot of buzz. It's a burger made entirely from plants.
This isn't just another veggie knock off. The rap is that this burger looks, cooks and even bleeds like the real thing.
The Impossible Burger, as it's known, is the culmination of a dream for Pat Brown. For 25 years, Brown was a professor at Stanford University. He was one of the stars in his field, studying a range of biomedical topics.
"Genetics and genomics ... cancer research — nothing to do with food," says Brown.
But about seven years ago, his work took a turn when, during a sabbatical, he decided to tackle what he saw as a really big problem for the planet: animal livestock farming.
"The use of animals as a technology for food production is the most destructive technology on Earth," Brown says.
It's a strong position. But he says there's a lot of science to back him up.
What It Takes To Make A Quarter-Pound Hamburger
Burger resources
Think of all U.S. crop land. Two-thirds of all the calories produced from the crops are used for animal feed to produce meat, dairy and other animal products. Livestock production also uses lots of water and is a major contributor to climate change. Animal farming produces about as many greenhouse gas emissions as the entire Southern Hemisphere, for example.
The ecological footprint of meat production is not sustainable, Brown argues. But the obvious problem is this: Billions of people around the world love meat. We've been eating it for thousands of years.
"You're not going to get people to change their diets. You know, stop eating meat, fish and dairy — ain't gonna happen," Brown says.
After all, veggie burgers have been around a long time and they certainly haven't replaced beef in people's diets.
Now, what Brown wanted was to literally re-create the taste of beef — without cows. So he started by deconstructing the composition of meat, down to the molecular level.

CONTENTS: Vegetarian/Vegan Action Newsletter #35, February 8, 2017:
Health, Nutrition
“The VegNews Bloggy Awards”: Blogs on Latest Recipes, Products, Restaurants
New Film on Vegans:  Vegan Everyday Stories
Empathy, Compassion, Protection of Animals
New Film
Related Films
“Spy in the Wild,” PBS Series on Animal Feelings and Thought
Cruelty at “High-Speed” Pork Plants
Fight for Transparency in Meat Industry
Sue Coe, Animals’ Vegan Manifesto
Vegetarianism, Veganism, Vegetarian Action  vs. Carnivorism and Climate Catastrophe.


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