From the Prez
As Spring approaches we begin to venture outside and appreciate our environment – flowers bloom, birds return, and gardens are planted. These days, the flowers are blooming earlier in many parts of the world, bird migration is being affected and the habitats the birds migrate to are being impacted, and gardens are being planted earlier, … all by increasing average temperatures worldwide. In other words, by climate change.
Because our dietary habits have played such a large role in destabilizing our climate, learning and understanding more about the connections between our daily dietary choices and their environmental impacts is becoming more and more important. As vegetarians, we can be thankful that we have taken a major step towards stabilizing climate…simply by not contributing to climate destabilization via our diets. But not enough of us are on the veggie bandwagon to slow down climate change. Yet. So be sure to help out, to spread the word, and pitch in on the following efforts:
FARM’s Great American Meatout is scheduled for March 20th. On this day FARM asks the public to pledge to eat a more compassionate diet for one day. This year’s goal is to get 25,000 people to pledge to eat vegan on March 20th. VSEP encourages our members to reach out to friends and family to participate in this year’s Meatout. Mor information is available at www.meatout.org. On March 24th, share your favorite vegan dishes at a potluck hosted by member Bridget Smith. See the Calendar of Events for details and other March activities.
On April 22, people around the world will celebrate Earth Day. The Earth Day Network formally announced the global theme for 2013: The Face of Climate Change. As pointed out by the Network, climate change is already impacting people, animals, and beloved places everywhere. One of the easiest ways to reduce climate changing greenhouse gases is to switch to a plant-based diet. It is now well accepted that animal agriculture accounts for more greenhouse gases than all forms of transportation combined. Make the pledge or re-commit to a vegan/vegetarian diet for the Earth, the animals, and a healthier environment (to quote our favorite radio show, ACT Radio). VSEP will have our fourth Vegan Bake Sale on Earth Day at the City of El Paso’s event.
Dr. James McWilliams will be our featured speaker at our May 4th Spring Dinner. Dr. Williams is an historian and writer based in Austin, Texas. His books include Just Food: Where Locavores Get It Wrong and How We Can Truly Eat Responsibly and A Revolution in Eating: How the Quest for Food Shaped America. His writing on food, agriculture, and animals has appeared in the New York Times, Harper’s, Slate, Forbes, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and The Texas Observer. His current projects include two books. One explores the transformation of the human-farm animal relationship that provided the cultural and psychological foundation for large-scale animal agriculture in the nineteenth century. The second investigates the hidden ethical, environmental, and economic problems with small scale animal agriculture today, insisting that a plant-based diet is the most effective answer to the problems of industrial animal agriculture. Please check the Calendar of Events for reservation information for this event – you won’t want to miss it.
As always, we welcome your participation and ideas. We are still looking for coordinators for our Restaurant Hoppers and Potlucks. Let us know if you can help!
Have a wonderful Spring – no doubt about it, a compassionate diet is one of root of environmental sustainability!