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News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green's film What's For Dinner? to be featured in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 3/21/14

Brighter Green's short film What's For Dinner? was recently selected to appear in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It appeared on March 19th at 12PM in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, along with a discussion partnering with the China Environment Forum.

Associate Sangamithra Iyer Publishes eBook 3/5/14

Brighter Green Associate Sangamithra Iyer publishes an eBook entitled The Lines We Draw distributed by Hen Press, the publishing arm of Our Hen House. The book explores the boundaries — physical, biological, and ethical — evolved out of a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research, and is expanded into a larger discussion about ethics.

Brighter Green Releases New Policy Paper on Industrialized Dairy in Asia 2/20/14

Brighter Green releases their newest policy paper Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia exploring the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production in Asia and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies. You may access the paper here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Ivy League Vegan Conference 2/7/14

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Sangamithra Iyer present a session entitled "The Global Diet & Sustainability: Multi-country Perspectives" at the Ivy League Vegan Conference at Princeton University. The conference is in its third year and is dedicated to exploring veganism and bioethics.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Launches Chinese Website 1/1/14

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? launches Chinese website. This will increase awareness of the issues raised in What's For Dinner? and allow individuals in China to learn more about the film.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Signs Distribution Deal 12/20/13

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? signs with Icarus Films, a well known
independent film distributor, to help ensure that What's For Dinner? is screened widely.

Brighter Green End-of-Year Newsletter 12/19/13

Take a look at our most recent Brighter Green newsletter where we announce some of our recent accomplishments as well as what we have planned for 2014. You can read the newsletter here.

Executive Director Mia MacDonald on Katerva Awards Panel 12/6/13

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald participated on the Food Security Impact panel as a part of the Katerva Awards.

At COP 19, Global Landscapes Forum Calls for Change 11/27/13

COP 19's Global Landscapes Forum, where Brighter Green co-sponsored a side event, released a statement calling for a new approach to tackling climate change, food insecurity, and poverty saying that "fragmentation is our enemy". The statement calls for the need to "work together across landscapes".

Brighter Green Submits Policy Recommendations at Global Landscapes Forum 11/18/13

Brighter Green submits policy recommendations with Global Forest Coalition after the networking panel session "Land, landscapes, livestock, and farms". For more information please read about Brighter Green's involvement in COP 19 here.

Brighter Green in Outreach Magazine at COP 19 11/15/13

Brighter Green publishes an article entitled "Industrial animal agriculture: acknowledging industrial livestock production as a driver of forest loss" in Outreach, a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development distributed at COP 19. The article is based on a project addressing livestock production as a driver of deforestation between Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition.

Brighter Green Cosponsors a Panel at the Global Landscapes Forum at COP 19 11/14/13

Brighter Green is cosponsoring a panel at the Global Landscapes Forum in Warsaw at COP 19. The forum, with exhibitions and panels, will focus on environmental change and development, linking farming, forestry, and other land uses. Geoffrey Evans from Humane Society International [HSI] will be speaking for Brighter Green, HSI, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The forum will take place from November 16-17, 2013 in Warsaw.

Brighter Green Produces Policy Document with Human Society International and the World Society for the Protection of Animals 11/11/13

Brighter Green, Humane Society International, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, produced a policy document making a case for why the Conference of Parties (COP 19) should address animal agriculture and the global climate crisis. The document will be distributed at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland from November 11-22, 2013.

BG and the Global Forest Coalition Expand Biodiversity Laws in Joint Paper 10/28/13

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition expand biodiversity laws on their joint paper: Industrial Agriculture, Livestock Farming, and Climate Change: Global Social, Cultural, Ecological, and Ethical Impacts of an Unsustainable Industry.

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Thinking of Food on World Population Day

July 11, 2013 4:52pm

UN Population Fund

Today is World Population Day, an appropriate day to reflect upon the sustainability of our growing world population. While this year’s theme, “Adolescent Pregnancy,” addresses an important issue, Brighter Green is also interested in the consumption habits of the growing world population – a topic that has not been the focus of a World Population Day since it was established back in 1989. The impact of global food consumption alone has massive repercussions for the climate, food security, fresh water supplies, and the preservation of natural lands.

Maui: Sustainable Living in Paradise

June 26, 2013 10:10am
A beautiful Maui beach

A beautiful Maui beach

Maui, one of the Hawaiian Islands, is known for its beautiful beaches and amazing weather. It's no wonder it is a huge tourist destination. But Maui is more than just a beautiful tourist destination, it is, in many ways, a model of sustainable living. The local government and population cherish this beautiful island and have made conscious efforts to encourage greener living, particularly when a tourist culture has contributed to the island's pollution.

Kenya's Move Towards Solar Energy (Part II)

June 22, 2013 3:15pm
Solar panels

Solar panels

Why Kenya is Prime for Solar Energy

Kenya lies conveniently on the equator, and as a result receives direct solar energy throughout the year. The use of solar energy is a relatively new concept in Kenya and many believe that the use of solar energy is a better alternative to traditional power sources and will help eliminate the problem of a lack of electricity in rural areas. A shift to solar energy would involve educating people on this new technology, as many do not know the benefits of solar energy, but some communities have already started embracing solar energy as an alternative energy source.

Kenya's Move Towards Solar Energy (Part I)

June 20, 2013 3:07pm
Power lines in rural Kenya

Power lines in rural Kenya

The Benefits of Electricity in Rural Kenya

It is estimated that one in five people on the planet do not have access to electricity (World Bank data bank). In sub-Saharan Africa, about 70 percent of the population has no electricity and surprisingly in Kenya, only 15 percent of the population has proper access to power. This is a depiction of how electricity is available to few people despite Kenya's population of 34 million.

The Human Victims of Industrial Animal Agriculture

June 17, 2013 9:57am
Filed under:
Poultry ready to be slaughtered

Poultry ready to be slaughtered

On the week of June 3rd, China provided another sad example of the impacts of industrial agriculture-showing that animals aren't the only victims. A poultry slaughterhouse in Northeast Jilin province caught fire leading to the death of at least 119 workers. The factory was overcrowded, exits narrow and unmarked, and no emergency plan was in place. And, many of the doors, in efforts to keep workers from departing during work hours, were locked from the outside, making exiting an impossible task.

Work place safety standards are commonly poor in China, with unenforced regulations often linked to corruption and prioritizing profit over human rights. But China is not alone, across the globe industrial animal agriculture fails in worker safety standards.

Preventing a Livestock Revolution in Liberia: the Need for a New International Vision

June 12, 2013 3:25pm
Liberia's lush rainforest

Liberia's lush rainforest

In Liberia, the FAO has been involved in a number of poultry projects for both broilers and laying hens. It has constructed three factory farm style operations in the interior of the country to train locals in "modern and intensive poultry production and management practices." It has also teamed up with the Ministries of Gender and Agriculture under the Joint Program on Food Security and Nutrition to construct ten other poultry houses throughout the country. None of these operations house much more than 1,000 birds, though they are set up like intensive factory farms and provide a model for future operations, which will surely increase in size and numbers as the country develops. So in short, the FAO — which outlined the heavy environmental impacts of the global livestock sector in the widely cited report Livestock's Long Shadow — is now encouraging the future development of factory farming in Liberia.

Livestock Intensification as a Misguided Response to Liberia's Food Woes

June 7, 2013 10:15am
Liberian poultry operation

Liberian poultry operation

Like much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Liberia struggles with malnutrition and food insecurity. While finding solutions to these problems is a major developmental goal for the country, unfortunately, the government and its international partners' response has included a strong emphasis on livestock production. This is problematic given the negative impacts animal agriculture has in terms of sustainability, food security, climate change, and animal welfare.

It's World Environment Day

June 5, 2013 10:47am

World Environment Day 2013 logo

Note: this post was originally published on the Huffington Post's Green section.

It's World Environment Day and this year's focus is on reducing food waste and getting people to shrink their "foodprints," particularly, of course, if they're large. Many are. In the U.S., between 30 and 40 percent of the food supply is simply wasted, according to Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, announcing a national Food Waste Challenge.

Some of the bad habits around food we've developed in the U.S. have gone global. The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) says that 1.3 billion metric tons of food is wasted throughout the world every year, the amount of food that's produced in all of sub-Saharan Africa's 48 countries. A study by Chinese researchers concluded that the food wasted in a year by 2,700 families in differently sized Chinese cities could have fed 200 million people, about one-sixth of China's population.

World Environment Day's "Think.Eat.Save." theme probably wasn't on the minds of those shepherding last week's $4.7 billion deal to sell Smithfield, the world's biggest pork producer, to Shuanghui, a Chinese conglomerate with global investors that include Goldman Sachs (Morgan Stanley is providing some of the financing). And yet there is an important link.

Meat and Development in Liberia

June 4, 2013 10:52am
Map of Liberia

Ross Miranti is a guest blogger for Brighter Green.

Meat consumption correlates with income; poorer individuals and countries tend to consume less than their wealthier counterparts. This applies to Liberia, one of the poorest nations in the world, which has an annual per capita income of about 374 dollars and an annual per capita meat consumption of about 10.4 kilograms/kg (22.9 pounds/lbs).

Three decades ago Liberia was one of the more prosperous nations in Sub-Saharan Africa, but the violent, fourteen year civil war (1989 to 2003) devastated the country in countless ways; it claimed 250,000 lives, displaced over 600,000 people, demolished infrastructure, and ravaged the economy.

Solution to China's Pollution is on Its Plate

May 31, 2013 8:19am
Packaged eggs in China

Packaged eggs in China

Given the planned purchase of U.S.-based Smithfield, the world's largest producer of pork, by China-based agribusiness Shuanghui, an exploration of the ecological impacts of China's fast-expanding meat production and consumption is in order.

More Than Just Cars and Factories

It has long been known that China suffers from serious environmental challenges. The relationship between livestock agriculture and environmental pollution is nothing new, either. But a report released on April 10th, 2013, by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences' Rural Development Institute, the China Rural Economic Situation Analysis and Forecast (2013) stated that in 2012, the pressure of agricultural environmental pollution continued to increase and large-scale livestock and poultry pollution had become the biggest agricultural source of pollution in China.

China Elaborates Law to Enhance Food Safety

May 28, 2013 2:52pm
Farmers in China

Farmers in China

On May 2nd, the Supreme People's Court (SPC) and the Supreme People's Procuratorate (SPP) of China issued Interpretations on food safety criminal cases. The next day, a spokesman of the SPC further elaborated on the Interpretations during a press conference. The judicial progress is certainly encouraging, but more efforts beyond the legal system are required to effectively combat food safety lapses.

East African Girls' Leadership Initiative - April Update on the Kenyan Students

May 26, 2013 10:26am
Elizabeth speaking to rescued girl at the safe house

Elizabeth speaking to rescued girls at the safe house

April has been a busy and productive month for the Kenyan students in the East African Girls' Leadership Initiative.

The Kenyan students spent six weeks completing a basic computer course at Lewisa College of Professional Studies in Ngong. They had a great time learning how to type, use Microsoft Office, email, and the internet (both the Kenyan and Tanzanian girls are from rural areas and have no formal interaction with computers). Joyce emailed us expressing her excitement, "...computer courses are so interesting and we are computer literate now!".

Sustaining Agro-Forests

May 22, 2013 1:43pm
Women gathering food in a forest

Women gathering food in a forest

Last week, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization held its first International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition in attempts to raise awareness of the contribution of forests to food security, economic development, and ecosystem services; an issue mostly overlooked by policymakers.

With edible plants, fruits, mushrooms, insects, and wild animals, forests are a substantial food source for more than a billion people. Ensuring forest conservation is vital in helping meet United Nation Millennium goals of reducing world hunger by 50 percent by 2015.

In addition to nutrition, forests play other significant roles in rural societies.

Meat prices continue to rise

May 17, 2013 8:03pm
Filed under:

Chinese meat display

The United States Department of Agriculture reports that food prices will continue to rise in 2013. Factors that led to this price increase are multifaceted and complex, with the 2012 United States drought and mass cattle culling, other weather events, biofuels, and a global increase in meat demand being major contributors. Sources are localized as well, for instance, in China rising prices are also due to the loss of farmland and farm labor to urbanization, and land degradation-caused grazing restrictions.

Meat and the Avian Flu

May 7, 2013 11:20am
Woman working at China chicken farm

Woman working at China chicken farm

China's latest avian flu outbreak, H7N9, has led to at least 126 infections and 24 deaths, with one confirmed case crossing national borders to Taiwan. The World Health Organization has stated this flu strain is a "serious threat" and among the "most lethal so far." Some are questioning if we have the ability to develop an adequate vaccine before widespread person to person transmission occurs. Scientists are still determining the source of the original mutant strain, but assert intensive poultry factory farm operations are likely to blame.