Brighter Green Fall 2008 Newsletter

Brighter Green Fall 2008 Newsletter

Welcome to Brighter Green’s fall newsletter and thank you for your interest in our work. Here is what we’ve been up to:

1) During the second week of the Beijing Summer Olympics, Brighter Green released a policy paper, Skillful Means: The Challenges of China’s Encounter with Factory Farming, co-authored by Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald and New York-based writer/editor Sangamithra Iyer. It charts the rise in intensive meat and dairy production, and consumption, in China, the world’s most populous nation and emerging superpower. The paper examines the consequences for global warming, water and land, food security, public health, and animal welfare of these trends and offers a set of recommendations for how China can avoid becoming yet another “fast food nation.” Called for actions focus on policy measures for the Chinese government and the role of Chinese citizen groups, the media, private enterprises, as well as international non-governmental organizations (NGOs). University of Houston political science professor, Peter Li, an expert on these issues, provided invaluable assistance as Skillful Means was edited and translated. To read the full report in English, click here (PDF). For the report summary in Chinese, click here (Word Document). Please note: a full Chinese translation of Skillful Means will be available in the next few weeks. Please check the Brighter Green website ( for a downloadable copy.

Brighter Green has disseminated Skillful Means to policy-makers, journalists, researchers, advocates, and practitioners in China, the U.S., Europe, and other parts of the world and has received a positive response. Brighter Green is continuing its distribution efforts. If you know of any groups, individuals, or institutions who might find the paper useful or interesting (in English or Chinese), please share the PDF versions with them, or direct them to Brighter Green’s website. We are working to complete similar case studies for Brazil, Ethiopia, and India, which will be released later this year as part of a comprehensive report. Please stay tuned.

In the meantime, the impact of the livestock industry on climate change is getting more attention. In early September, Dr. Rajendra Pachauri (left), the head of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore), gave a talk in London on the issue. He urged individuals to cut back their meat consumption to help slow global warming. For a link to Dr. Pachauri’s presentation and more on the issue, please see the blog “Meat Heat” here.

2) Brighter Green is actively involved in the development of two new initiatives in East Africa. The first is a community-based green power project, focused on expanding the use of solar and wind power while creating sustainable businesses in communities currently off the grid and in the grip of what’s come to be called “energy poverty.” The second is a leadership, human rights training, and education program for young women in pastoral communities in Kenya and Tanzania. Mia MacDonald was in Nairobi, Kenya in August where she met with NGO partners to further develop both projects. More news to come.

3) Mia’s also been working with Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai (left) on her next book, The Challenge for Africa. The manuscript is complete; look for the book from Pantheon, a division of Random House, in April 2009.

4) Brighter Green is joining with other NGOs and advocates in efforts to raise awareness of the risks to the Congo Basin Forest Ecosystem, which spans ten countries in central Africa, and what needs to be done to protect the forests, the biodiversity they contain (including great apes) and enable the tens of millions of people who rely on the ecosystems to use natural resources sustainably, with equity. More news on this as concrete initiatives develop.

5) In June, Mia moderated a panel at the annual Grantmakers without Borders “Just Giving” conference in San Francisco, focusing on what funders can do to advance “climate justice” as global warming gathers pace. Panelists Walt Coward of the Christiansen Fund, Elizabeth Chadri of the MacArthur Foundation, and Van Jones, visionary founder of Green for All and the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights laid out their principles and a set of actions. Please read more about climate change, social justice, gender, and food, and agriculture on our blog. A recent post highlights Green for All’s national day of action in support of “Green Jobs Now.”

6) In July, Brighter Green got the good news that our application for non-profit organization status was approved by the U.S. Department of the Treasury. We’re now an offical NGO or in U.S. Internal Revenue Service parlance, a “501(c)3.”

Please do visit the Brighter Green website for regular blog posts, a set of comprehensive resources on globalization and industrial animal agriculture, news and updates, and useful links. And please spread the word.

Thanks again for your interest and your support. Happy Autumn.