The off-site social for the Fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Berkeley, CA, was standing room only. I was excited at the chance of connecting with many climate scientists who contribute to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and in particular, I wanted to find Vegan scientists to invite to the Veganic Summit that we're planning next year.
You have probably heard about Bill and Lou. They are the oxen who served the community of Green Mountain College (GMC) in Vermont for 11 years until Lou stepped into a woodchuck hole and worsened his left leg injury. Since Bill and Lou could no longer serve as farm animals for the college, the students and faculty of the college decided to eat them. They are to be slaughtered and their bodies will be served up to the students and faculty during World Vegan Month in November.
Former Vice President Al Gore, the unofficial leader of the world environmental movement, is not yet vegan. Just today, the New Yorker magazine reported that Al Gore was the chief guest at an eight course dinner event in Las Vegas earlier this year, featuring blinis with caviar, cocoa encrusted beef tenderloin and blue cheese panna cotta.
Wouldn't it be amazing if the Dalai Lama follows up his words with this concrete action and urges his Facebook friends to go Vegan? With signatories of the Durban Addendum such as Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Ela Gandhi (the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi), Bishop Geoff Davies, Sheikh Saleem Banda, Cardinal Napier, Rabbi Hillel Avidan and others setting examples alongside, the world can truly begin to see the unity and healing that we desperately need.
Happy Cows and Pink Elephants are on my mind. After last month's encounter with Al Gore and the Pink Elephant of animal agriculture that he's largely ignoring in his climate change slide show, I've been bombarded with emailed reverberations from the "Happy Cow" column that Nicholas Kristof wrote in the NY Times on Sunday.
A dear colleague observed recently that I seem to have lost faith in the power of governmental policies and markets to solve climate change. Having attended the UN COP-17 meeting in Durban, South Africa last year and watched the sausage making in the international policy arena, I admit that I felt the intense urge to do something different, try something different.
Mr. Gore's slide show itself has devolved into an "I'm right and you're wrong" style diatribe which is unlikely to win the hearts and minds of the intended audience. And therein lies the true tragedy of the training event, that almost 1000 people flew in from all over the world and spent precious time and money to become ineffective communicators.
There are two kinds of denial that have become part of our psychological response: 1) the denial that it is even happening, which is rapidly becoming impossible to sustain given the evidence, and 2) the denial that our personal consumption patterns need to change in order to address them. It is the denial of the second kind that is much more difficult to root out, for it permeates even the community of respectedenvironmental activists.