December Newsletter

Posted on December 12, 2023

COP 28 Dubai: Methane Pledges Lead UN Climate Talks

More than 70,000 politicians, diplomats, activists, business leaders and journalists are attending COP28 climate talks this week in Dubai, including King Charles III. So far, oil giants have pledged to slash methane emissions by 80% by 2030, a surprise agreement. U.S. climate envoy JOHN F. KERRY, who helped launch the landmark 2015 Paris agreement, a top American official, wants to end permitting of new coal plants that lack technology to capture emissions, the Washington Post says. Kerry, may face resistance from developing countries, that have criticized the U.S., the biggest historical emitter of greenhouse gases, for failing to contribute to a fund to help poor nations cope with climate disasters.

A. I honestly haven’t had any negative feedback, and the idea that vegans are elitists strikes me as odd. What is elitist about rice and beans, or potatoes and squash, or lentils and spinach? We’re not the ones eating foie gras.

Q. The title of your book suggests veganism has grown, and I certainly believe there is much more awareness of the health benefits—and of the damage that animal agriculture does to the planet—have you seen any new data on this growing trend?

A. I’ve seen conflicting data, and I don’t have any insight into which assessment is correct, that vegans are 1% of the American population or 6%. Clearly it’s in that range but I suspect it’s lower than 6%. Unfortunately, at least half of the vegans I’ve met in my life eat a vegan junk food diet. If you’re not eating a whole food, low-fat vegan diet (minimizing oil), you may not experience the health benefits that veganism, practiced correctly, offers.

Q. Can you explain your own origin story and what propelled you into a vegan diet, and more so, what kept you there?

A. I became a vegetarian at seventeen because of all the heart disease on both sides of my family. Unfortunately, I kept eating cheese (the only animal product I continued to eat) because relatives got me unnecessarily concerned about where I would get my protein on a meat-free diet.

After 19 years as a vegetarian, I started getting pains around my heart. I put two and two together and realized that the cheese would kill me if I kept eating it, so I became a vegan in my mid-thirties and haven’t had any pains around my heart for the last thirty years.

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Climate Denial Is a Growing Fad Among Instagram Wellness Influencers

Conspiracy-minded health and lifestyle influencers on Instagram increasingly are spreading misinformation about climate change, according to a HEATED report.

False claims regarding the impact of animal agriculture are a frequent theme in their posts. “These are people who you would expect to be invested in climate and the environment,” said Cecile Simmons, a yoga instructor and researcher who has studied the phenomenon. “What they’re actually doing is promoting this kind of hyper-individualistic pursuit of health. That’s how you get to these rightwing anti-climate narratives.”

those paid more than US$140,000 (£112,500) a year—tend to live climate-insulated, air-conditioned lives, emitting in one year (2019) 5.9 billion tons of CO2. Such ‘polluter elite’ emissions would be enough to cause the heat-related deaths of 1.3 million people over the coming decades, according to the study.

Vegan-Friendliest U.S. Cities? Portland Tops the List

Based on number of vegan restaurants, the cost of vegan groceries, access to farmer’s markets, vegetable nurseries, number of smoothie bars, and other factors, the friendliest U.S. city for vegans is Portland, Oregon, according to a study by WalletHub, which reported on the top 100. Ranking 2 through 20 are Los Angeles, Orlando, San Diego, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle, Miami, Austin, Oakland (Calif.), Lexington-Fayette (Ky.), Tampa, Las Vegas, Chicago, Louisville (Ky.), Fort Wayne (In.), Washington (D.C.), Irving (Tex.), Atlanta, and St. Louis.

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