eric

Victory: People and Animals!

Wayne PacelleLast night was all about celebrating! On November 4th, California voters decided overwhelmingly that animals raised for food deserve better treatment. With over 6 million voters, this initiative had more people vote on it than any other proposition on the ballot this year.  Forget the scare tactics the opposition tried to sell us…Californians saw through it and chose compassion over cruelty.

On a personal note, having an opportunity to work on this campaign has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. The San Diego APRL team was organized, committed and effective, and I’ve never seen anything like it! Also, the Humane Society of the United States gave everything they had to this campaign; it was clear that defeat was simply not an option!

Megan, Heather and Josh

On the heels of such an exciting 36 hours, one issue I want to stress is that we don’t need ballot initiatives to help animals. Going forward, we have an opportunity to make humane decisions in our daily lives by buying animal products (including cage free eggs) raised by reputable farmers. If we, as consumers, use our buying power to create a demand for more humane food, then producers will gladly oblige us with a supply. It may cost a couple dollars more at first, but as this movement continues to become more mainstream; prices will fall.  Besides…being cheap is not an excuse for animal cruelty.

kath rogers

So, congratulations to everyone that worked on the campaign, everyone that lives in California and everyone that lives in the United States. We scored a victory for animals and for our humanity. Now it’s time to take a well deserved break and get ready for the next round…our work has just begun.

eric

Get Out the Vote!

Tomorrow represents the most important election many of us have ever been a part of.  The outcome of this election will determine the direction our country will follow well beyond the next four years.  Those of us that live in the state of California are fortunate enough to vote on several key ballot initiatives including Prop 2.  Prop 2 will give animals raised for food enough room to stand up, extend their limbs, turn around and lie down comfortably.  This modest measure is the very least we can do for these beings while they’re alive.

So when you’re at your polling location tomorrow, please remember to vote YES on PROP 2!

On Wednesday we had the pleasure of being able to show off the wannaveg booth at the annual Sony Electronics Environmental Expo.  The booth was quite a hit!  We had a raffle to win one of two vegetarian cookbooks.  We also had vegetarian starter kits and all kinds of information on going veg one day a week.  However, I’d say most people stopped by for the tofu teriyaki bites and the chocolate, peanut butter, banana bread samples we were giving out.  We figured about 400 people stopped by for a veg snack and we were happy to see them.

The show also featured Sony’s “green” initiatives and products, a whole host of hybrid cars (and a Smart car) and a bunch of other environmental related vendors showing off their stuff.

The vegetarian lunch option included a portobello mushroom burger (all the veggies were locally grown) and pasta salad.

All in all, not a bad way to spend a few hours on a beautiful San Diego day.  Thanks to Sony for letting us participate in the expo.


eric

October is World Vegetarian Month

Not that we need a specific month to be or become vegetarian, but if we did…October would be that month.  October 1st has been designated by the North American Vegetarian Society (NAVS) as World Vegetarian Day and the entire month is dedicated to vegetarian awareness and eductation.

Even if you’re not a vegetarian or never plan on becoming one, reducing your intake of meat will make big impacts on your health, the health of the planet and the lives of animals worldwide.

NAVS has a specific page dedicated to non-vegetarians.  Since our mission at wannaveg is to encourage meat-eaters to go vegetarian one day a week, I thought it would be good to list their ideas.

Eat meat-free for the day or throughout the month
Learn how a vegetarian diet can benefit you personally
Try the meatless options available at local restaurants and eateries
Discuss vegetarianism with your interested friends, family and co-workers
Host a meatless meal or potluck for your friends
Eat meatless meals on a regular basis

To find out more information on World Vegetarian Day/Month, check out NAVS webite.  There you can find out how to organize an event, attend an event or just go it alone.  No matter what your decision, try going veg for the month of October!  It’s easier and tastier than ever to adopt a veg diet…even one day a week.

Peanut Butter BreadLast night, 30 friends came over to celebrate the inclusion of a 2008 ballot initiative that helps farm animals in the state of California. In November, voters in our state will have a chance to vote on the measure. If passed, this initiative will be the largest piece of animal welfare legislature in U.S. history. Although it’s a modest measure, it will make a difference in the lives of chickens, pigs and calves in California by giving them minimum space standards in their living conditions.

Now that it’s going to be on the ballot, we are moving to the next step of the campaign; raising public awareness. In order to do this, Californians for Humane Farms and the Humane Society of the United States will create and run a television advertising campaign to educate voters about choosing a more compassionate way of raising animals for food.

So this leads me to the benefit dinner. Megan prepared an amazing meal for everyone. A couple dishes that stand out in my mind were the Turmeric Lo-Mein with Thai Tofu, the Thai Salad with Spicy Peanut Dressing and for desert, the Vegan Peanut Butter-Banana Chocolate Chip Bread. For libations the Sangria was a huge hit.

The generosity of our friends was incredible, in total they donated $1,700 $1750 to help the campaign. A huge thank you to everyone that supported this initiative and donated.

If you are just now finding out about this and want to provide your support (even if you’re not a California resident), please do so today at www.humanecalifornia.org – you can sign up to host your own house party, endorse the initiative as a local business owner and of course, make a donation to help the campaign.

eric

It’s in Our Hands

If this is the first time you’ve visited wannaveg, or if you have been here before, it is plain to see that you can make a big difference by going veg one day a week.  This kind of change may seem simple, and it is, but it is also extremely effective at reducing your environmental footprint. Furthermore, when you combine it with other simple things, like growing some of your own food, changing your light bulbs to CFL’s, buying food from local and organic sources, reusing a bag at the grocery store, ditching bottled water, unplugging your cell phone chargers, walking or riding a bike more…well you get it, you can see that a few small things add up to a huge difference in your habits, your lifestyle and your impact on the planet.

Sure, we can wait around for technology and governments to get it together and “save us,” but by the time that happens, there probably won’t be much worth saving (including ourselves).  So let’s do our part, let all of US “get it together” and start making a positive change with our own lives…and let’s pass that change on to others.  Spread the message that caring for our planet isn’t just for “environmentalists,” it is for everyone who calls this planet home.

talking with my handsI had the pleasure of being able to speak to a group of 3rd, 4th and 5th graders at Creekside Elementary School here in San Diego on Tuesday night. The topic of discussion was a recent article written by Michael Pollen for the New York Times, entitled “Why Bother.” His article discusses quite a few issues, but the main theme seemed to be about the importance of “doing something” to benefit our environment and ourselves (and more specifically, starting your own vegetable garden). Pollen includes some interesting facts about human specialization, personal responsibility for the environment and the bane of cheap energy.

So…the kids and I talked about a couple of simple (but important) things that Pollen pointed out in his article: Growing your own garden and going vegetarian one day a week (eating less meat). They were enthusiastic and really knew a lot about both topics. It was refreshing to see that many of them were already growing their own fruits and vegetables at home. The students understood that having a garden symbolized more than just growing food. They knew that it saves money, brings neighbors closer, produces less greenhouse gases, creates less waste, increases independence, it’s good excercise, and the list goes on.

participantsThis was the first time I’ve ever spoken to an audience (nevermind, young students) about these topics, but I felt it went very well. The kids were great participants in the conversation and I was shocked at how much they already knew about the environment and food. I left the school feeling encouraged that the next generation are more aware of their actions and will hopefully be good stewards to this planet.

Thank you Creekside Elementary for giving me the opportunity to speak with you.

eric

Ditch the Beef and Go Local

A study released by Carnegie Mellon University has found that if you want to green up your dinner table; cut out the red meat.  The study found that eating vegetables and (alternatively) other kinds of animals such as fish and chicken creates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than eating from local sources ONLY.

“We suggest that dietary shift can be a more effective means of lowering an average household’s food-related climate footprint than ‘buying local,’” the researchers write. “Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more greenhouse-gas reduction than buying all locally sourced food.”

However, it’s important to note that buying food from local sources still significantly reduces food related greenhouse gases. By combining these two methods together (cutting out the red meat and buying locally) you will make a big difference in your “food footprint.”

Read more about it here.

I normally don’t post information on companies or products, but I felt that Johnny Rockets (famous for being a “burger joint”) needed a pat on the back for recognizing World Vegetarian Week (May 19-25th).  Mr. Rockets is offering a free “Streamliner” veggie burger with a purchase of something else (check out the link for details).  This offer is available for the whole month of May, so if you’re in the mood for a burger, check them and let them know that veg food is in demand!

Get you coupon, great recipes and other info at http://www.vegcooking.com

eric

U.S. Food Safety- Questionable?

Are you one of the 76 million Americans currently sick from a food borne illness?  I know I was when I visited San Fran a couple of weeks ago.  Urghh…I can still feel it if I think about it too much.

A report released yesterday by Trust for America’s Health concluded that “the safety of food in the United States is in a state of crisis.”  Well I’m not sure if this is new news or old news, but it’s targeted news that  highlights the huge shortcomings of several federal agencies charged with keeping our food safe.

In other news a report issued by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health criticized our current animal agriculture practices in the US.  Apparently, sticking thousands of animals together in cramped quarters in their own waste spreads disease?  Also, it’s been determined that injecting them full of hormones and antibiotics right before they hit the food supply probably isn’t that great for them…or the folks that eat them. (wow, I am really laying on the sarcasm here).

Read more about it here.

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