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News at Brighter Green

Executive Director Mia MacDonald Quoted in Civil Eats Article 1/26/15

Executive Director Mia MacDonald was quoted in Advisory Board member Anna Lappe's article on Chatham House's recent study on peoples' understanding of climate change and food, particularly meat production. You can view the Civil Eats article here.

New Report Released by Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition on the Unsustainable Impacts of Livestock and Soybean Production in Paraguay 1/22/15

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition, published a new report entitled, "Meat from a Landscape Under Threat: Testimonies of the Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock and Soybean Production in Paraguay". You can access the report here.

Brighter Green Featured in NYC Meatless Monday Press Release 1/22/15

Brighter Green and Executive Director Mia MacDonald were featured in NYC City Council Representative Helen Rosenthal's press release on the push for NYC to adopt the Meatless Monday campaign.

Executive Director Mia MacDonald Appears on Our Hen House's Highlight Reel Podcast Episode 1/10/15

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald appears on Our Hen House's highlight reel episode on January 10th. The original TV episode can be viewed here.

East African Girls' Leadership Initiative Program Update 1/10/15

Brighter Green and Tribal Link released a January Program Update on the East African Girls' Leadership Initiative. You can access it here.

Brighter Green and Humane Society International Publish COP 20 Policy Recommendations 12/4/14

Brighter Green and Humane Society International published a policy recommendation document on animal agriculture and climate change for the COP 20 meeting in Lima, Peru. You can access the document here.

Brighter Green Releases Summary on Forthcoming Nature's Rights Paper 10/14/14

Brighter Green released a summary of a forthcoming nature's rights paper entitled Nature's Rights: Rivers, Trees, Whales, and Apes.

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Welcome to Brighter Green

Brighter Green is a public policy action tank that works to raise awareness of and encourage policy action on issues that span the environment, animals, and sustainability. Based in New York, Brighter Green works in the U.S. and internationally with a focus on the countries of the global South and a strong commitment to ensuring and expanding equity and rights.

On its own and in partnership with other organizations and individuals, Brighter Green generates and incubates research and project initiatives that are both visionary and practical. It produces publications, websites, documentary films, and programs to illuminate public debate among policy-makers, activists, communities, influential leaders, and the media, with the goal of social transformation at local and international levels.

Recently on Our Blog

The Assertive Vegetarian

March 24, 2015 4:03pm
Filed under:
Jian Yi headshot

Documentary film director, Jian Yi

This blog entry was originally written by What's For Dinner? director Jian Yi on a train ride to Beijing on World Vegetarian Day (October 1) 2014.

What’s For Dinner? and Vegucated have had six successful screenings in Guangzhou. Much gratitude is due to the efforts of our friends at GAFA, Young City, Yi’he Vegetarian Restaurant, the Guangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, the South China Normal University, the South China University of Technology, and the Guangdong Food and Drug Vocational School.

My arrival in Beijing today coincided with this year’s World Vegetarian Day. Restaurants and snack bars populate the modern, spacious waiting hall of the Guangzhou South train station. And yet not one offers a hot vegetarian breakfast. Every neatly packaged bun sold in the convenience stores contains meat, and the situation is no different at the fast food restaurants. Perhaps you will say that McDonald’s does not traditionally offer vegetarian food? But McDonald’s traditionally does not offer fried Chinese bread sticks either; a fact which does not seem to stop them from being sold at Guangzhou South station.

Lunar New Year of “any ruminant horned animal”? - Celebrating the Year of “Yang”

February 27, 2015 2:04pm
Filed under:

Chinese charater "Yang"

February 19th was China’s Lunar New Year’s Eve. In New York City, all of midtown by the Hudson River was lit up by beautiful fireworks put on by the Chinese Embassy. According to the zodiac, this lunar year of 2015 is the year of “Yang.” It is not uncommon for “Yang” to be interpreted as ram, sheep or goat both in China as well as in western media.

In China, the character pronounced as “Yang” has a general meaning of all Ovis (sheep, goat, ram and other goat-like horned animals). As seen in the Chinese ancient Bronze character to the left, “Yang” looks exactly like the head of a ram. The right image is the modern Chinese character of “Yang,” which appears less like a ram or a goat, but still can be intrepreted as an animal with horns.

Crossing the Equator: What’s For Christmas Dinner?

December 23, 2014 10:00am

“Agrochemicals violate human rights: A tribute to Silvino Talavera.”

No matter where we are, there is one thing in common for the end of year holidays, whether you’re celebrating Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or another festival: food. Special dishes. Holiday meals. Gathering around a table. It’s time to be merry and stay happy, to try and forget about sorrow and anger, and often, to give up asking too many questions—questions that may lead to the truth, and the truth can be inconvenient.

On November 28 and 29, 2014, Brighter Green’s Mia MacDonald and Wanqing Zhou joined environmental and rights advocates at the International Strategy Meeting on Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock and Feed Production and Threats to Community Conservation in Paraguay. The meeting and field trips were organized by the Global Forest Coalition, an international non-profit network of organizations based in Paraguay and the Netherlands.

Mia MacDonald Talks Brighter Green on Our Hen House TV

December 5, 2014 10:00am

Mia MacDonald (far right) and Josphat Ngonyo (far left) filming Our Hen House TV

Mia MacDonald was recently on the season 2 premiere of Our Hen House TV. The 23rd episode featured Mia, along with well-known animal activists Josphat Ngonyo (founder and executive director of The Africa Network for Animal Welfare) and Gene Baur (president and co-founder of Farm Sanctuary).

The show is co-produced with Brooklyn Independent Media, ventures into the under-explored world of animals rights with a sense of humor, a passionate heart, and more than a few opinions on the state of animal rights. The show is an extension of the popular podcast under the same name.

The Hummingbird and the Climate Summit

September 24, 2014 10:35am

The humble symbol of climate activism, a hummingbird.

This article originally appeared in The Huffington Post on September 23, 2014.

Co-authored by Wanjira Mathai, director of the wPOWER Project at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace & Environmental Studies at the University of Nairobi and Chair, Green Belt Movement

Wangari Maathai, the Kenyan environmentalist and 2004 Nobel Peace Laureate, was fond of recounting a children's story she'd been told on a visit to Japan. A huge fire breaks out in the forest, runs the tale. The animals are transfixed and overwhelmed by the conflagration. All of them but a hummingbird, who resolves to do something. She flies to the nearest stream, dips her beak into it, and drops a bead of water onto the flames. The elephant, the lion, the giraffe, and the other animals laugh at her, as she flies back and forth over and over again. "You're just a tiny hummingbird," they jeer. "What difference do you think you can make?" The hummingbird replies: "I'm doing the best I can."

For many who heard Wangari tell the story, the message of maximizing our abilities and passions for the greater good rather than descending into cynicism or despair was galvanizing. Wangari embraced this interpretation wholeheartedly. Yet it's clear that a more challenging, even provocative message lies within it. That message has more relevance than ever as hundreds of thousands of people, us among them, marched Sunday in the streets of New York demanding their leaders take urgent action to address climate change, and as heads of government, industry, and civil society gather at the United Nations for an unprecedented global-warming summit.

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Bonn Climate Change Conference June 2014


Brighter Green is remotely participating with Global Forest Coalition and other partner organizations at the June 2014 Bonn Climate Change Conference. Click here for more information.


Beyond the Pail: The Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia

Brighter Green is pleased to announce the release of a new policy paper exploring the growth of industrial dairy systems in India, China, and countries of Southeast Asia. Beyond the Pail: The Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia, explores the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies.

Learn more about the paper here.


Industrial Livestock, Deforestation, and Climate Change

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition are working together on a joint project that aims to bring the links between deforestation, climate change, and industrial animal agriculture to the attention of policy-makers, including within the UNFCCC and REDD+ negotiations.

Read more here.


East African Girls' Leadership Initiative

Group Picture of Girls' Initiative

"I would like to help Maasai women become economically empowered so that they can fight for their rights," says seventeen-year-old Hellen Naipanoi Kipaili, a participant in Brighter Green's collaborative Girls' Education, Leadership, and Rights Training Initiative. The program's intent is to invest deeply in a small number of girls with significant potential but who are trapped by their families' poverty. Learn more about the girls and the program here.


WHAT'S FOR DINNER? Documentary

Many people in the developing world are eating more meat, dairy, and eggs, and industrial-scale production facilities (factory farms and feedlots) are increasingly common. Brighter Green is exploring these issues in China, including through the medium of film. Read more about our documentary, WHAT'S FOR DINNER?, and be sure to visit the film's official website.


Climate Change & Globalization of Industrial Animal Agriculture

This series of policy papers and short videos forms the foundation of Brighter Green's Program on Food Policy and Equity. The papers document the globalization of industrialized animal agriculture in Brazil, China, Ethiopia, and India through the lens of climate change. They also explore additional environmental, food security, equity, livelihood, and animal welfare impacts of this phenomenon.


Global Public Health Blog Series

Read Brighter Green Research Intern Judy Bankman's blog series on the public health impacts of the globalization of the Western diet (diets higher in animal fats, sugar, salt, and processed foods) in the global South (developing regions). These blogs are a part of the Brighter Green Public Health Project, a project that aims to investigate how the Western diet in the global South is contributing to an increase in non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes, obesity, and cardiovascular disease.

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