Fall is winding down, and Brighter Green is getting ready for the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, beginning on December 7th and running for two weeks. Executive Director Mia MacDonald will be at the climate summit in Copenhagen, beginning on December 10th. Brighter Green was approved to attend as an “observer organization” (UN speak for NGO attendees). Read on to learn about our what we’re planning for Copenhagen and our current projects.
Please consider making a year-end tax-deductible donation to support Brighter Green’s work.
Education and Outreach
The fall has been a busy time at Brighter Green. In September, Mia MacDonald spoke at NYU on a panel, “The Meat of the Matter,” held during Climate Week NYC, giving a presentation on the climate impacts of meat and dairy production. We also participated in events at Columbia University for 350.org’s International Day of Climate Action. Brighter Green Associate Stella Zhou spoke at the Boston Vegetarian Society’s Festival, and Research Associate Justine Simon travelled to Cambridge to speak at the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. Check our website for PDF versions of these presentations.
At the Copenhagen Summit
Brighter Green and the Green Belt Movement
On Friday, December 11th, we’ll be co-hosting a “side-event” (UN speak for a panel discussion) on forests, climate, livestock and livelihoods with Nobel peace laureate Wangari Maathai’s GBM. Mia will speak at the session, along with Wangari, her GBM colleague Frederick Njau and Samwel Naikada of the Dupoto Community Forest Association, based in Transmara, Kenya. Read more here and if you’ll be in Copenhagen, too, please join us.
What’s for Dinner
Our documentary is in post production and our terrific New York-based editor, Sikay Tang, has put together a 26-minute cut that chronicles the stories behind China’s growing appetite for meat and dairy. Directed by award-winning Chinese independent filmmaker Jian Yi, who worked with an all-Chinese crew, “”What’s for Dinner?”” explores the inevitable pressures on the climate, land, water and forests, animal welfare, public health, and food security, as a growing number of Chinese strive to eat more animal products. We’re thrilled that the film was accepted as part of the cultural program at the Copenhagen KlimaForum, the global civil society counterpart running parallel to the UN climate summit. “What’s for Dinner??” will be screened at the KlimaForum on Wednesday, December 16th at 9pm, followed by a discussion of the issues the film raises led by Mia.
Brighter Green Launches Intern Program
We’ve been pleased to have intern Whitney Hoot, a senior at Barnard College majoring in Sociology and Environmental Science, working with Brighter Green this semester. You can read her blogs on climate change here. We’re also pleased to welcome Elana Santana as an intern. Elana graduated from Vassar College in 2008 and is currently working as an environmental educator with the Alliance for Climate Education. She’s already begun work with us and will continue into next semester.
Case Studies – Globalization of Industrial Animal Agriculture
Brighter Green’s Initiative on the Globalization of Industrial Animal Agriculture is documenting the spread of factory farming in several countries in the global South. Skillful Means, the Challenges of China’s Encounter with Factory Farming, out in 2008 and the basis for “What’s for Dinner?”, was the first in this series. Drafts of similar policy papers on India, Brazil, and Ethiopia will be circulated at the Copenhagen climate talks for feedback, with final versions to be published in early 2010. These papers look at the social and environmental impacts of heightened levels of meat, dairy and egg production, on both a local and global scale. From significant contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions, to the growing destruction of the Amazon and surrounding Cerrado grasslands, to raging pandemic of diabetes, obesity and heart disease, the consequences of the global expansion of livestock production are being felt in communities around the world.
In the Media
Skillful Means, Brighter Green’s case study on the rise of meat consumption in China, is cited as a reference in Jonathan Safran Foer’s Best-Selling Book, Eating Animals.
While in Copenhagen, Mia MacDonald will be blogging from the Climate Summit. Please visit Brighter Green for frequent blog updates, new multimedia, and a soon-to-be re-vamped website.
Young Women’s Education, Leadership, Rights Training Initiative
The ten Maasai young women who are participating in Brighter Green’s collaborative Young Women’s Education and Rights Training Initiative are nearing the end of their first school year. The young women, all bright and from poor families, were selected on the basis of their academic and leadership potential, and will continue on in 2010 to their second year of secondary schooling (high school). As part of the initiative, partner organization SIMOO recently organized a weekend rights-training workshop in Kenya for a group of 30 young Maasai women, including our ten program participants. The workshop provided the young women with an opportunity to meet other young female Maasai students, as well as successful Maasai women who are active in their communities, as teachers, entrepreneurs and activists. The goal of the workshop was to educate these young women about issues affecting their communities, from female genital mutilation to early marriage, as well as expose them to international human rights provisions for women and girl children.
If you are interested in learning more about this project, watch as Lucy Mulenkei, Director of Nairobi-based Indigenous Information Network discusses the program and introduces the participating girls. If you would like to contribute to ensure the success of this project, please click here.
We appreciate your interest in Brighter Green’s work. Please feel free to share this newsletter with others. With good wishes for a Happy New Year.
Download formatted newsletter for printing