September 2022 Newsletter: Supporting Planetary Health, Justice, and Food Policy for the Climate Emergency

September 2022 Newsletter: Supporting Planetary Health, Justice, and Food Policy for the Climate Emergency

Summer has been succeeded by autumn here in New York City, and while we miss the longer daylight hours, we at Brighter Green are also looking forward to a busy few months ahead. Like you, we see a world with multiple challenges: a climate emergency upending millions of lives, the war in Ukraine causing enormous suffering and privation, and the continued and in some places (like Brazil’s Amazon and Cerrado) accelerating destruction of nature and the non-human world to produce more meat and feed for farmed animals. Yet, we are also buoyed and continued to be elevated by the visionary and tenacious work of our colleagues around the world, and so many others. Please read on for some short updates on what we’re doing and planning through the end of 2022.

Teaching: Animals, the Environment, and Policy and Praxis in the Anthropocene

Executive Director Mia MacDonald is teaching a new graduate-level class called Animals, the Environment, and Policy and Praxis in the Anthropocene at New York University (NYU) this fall academic semester. The class, part of the NYU Animal Studies Program, focuses on how the climate emergency, biodiversity loss, the COVID pandemic, and multiple inequalities among peoples, societies, and species are reshaping life on Earth. Students are being asked to make connections between food systems that exploit billions of animals and contributions to forest loss, extinction, water pollution, and global heating. They’re exploring how to increase policy protections for animals and the environment and navigate the landscapes of power and influence in which policies are shaped. Students are also engaging in and testing varied facets of policy analysis and advocacy, and “go deep” on issues of particular interest to them, while also learning from expert guest speakers. Please let us know if you’d like to learn more about the class or see the syllabus. Mia has also taught undergrads, grad students, and professional students at NYU and Columbia University, also in New York City.

Brighter Green Participation in COP27 UN Climate Conference

Brighter Green has joined ProVeg International, the 50by40 network, and members of more than 160 leading civil society groups advocating for global food-systems change at the UNFCCC level to demand sustainable catering at COP27, which will be held in Egypt. Brighter Green is also supporting the first-ever food exhibition, the Food4Climate Pavilion, at COP27.

The world’s food systems create nearly one third of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Brighter Green and others argue that COP can’t continue serving meals that support food systems that are inhumane, unjust, and unsustainable, and should set an example by providing sustainable, plant-based, and locally sourced food. Read the joint letter Brighter Green signed on to, and share this page with your social networks.

This approach is especially salient this year, as this climate COP will, for the first time, include more high-level focus on food and agricultural systems as a source of GHG emissions. Brighter Green is a partner in the Food4Climate Pavilion, the first ever. Over the two weeks of the UN climate summit, a collaboration between civil society organizations and plant-based businesses will program panels, dialogues, information and strategy exchanges, and informal gatherings at the Pavilion in an inclusive space at the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Our priorities are to amplify the voices of African analysts and advocates, and also to show solidarity with Egyptian civil society, which operates under severe constraints.

Brighter Green will also, as in past climate COPs, participate in an official side event at COP27. Our event, “Sustainable Diets: Fostering a Just Transition Toward Resilient Food Systems”, will take place on Friday, November 11th (viewable through the UNFCCC official side event live stream on YouTube). Our partners are ProVeg, A Well-Fed World, Compassion in World Farming, the Good Food Institute, and the government of Israel.

Ecological Justice and the Right to Health Virtual Panel

On May 19, Executive Director Mia MacDonald spoke on a panel hosted by Phoenix Zones Initiative. Mia talked about the lessons and potential solutions the COVID-19 pandemic provides for better conditions for animals and the natural world, and how the climate crisis and other threats to the survival of life on Earth illustrate how the fates of people, animals, and the planet are connected. The panel explored the various ways that centering ecological justice and a right to health can ensure we all thrive on the planet we share.

A Positive Step for Plant-Forward Food Policies

Mayors Eric Adams (right) and Sadiq Khan (of New York City and London, England respectively) signed the Good Food Cities Declaration, which would map consumption-based emissions in the two cities, including those from food systems. The declaration sets a positive example for other cities worldwide, and has strong potential for genuine policy action on consumption-based food emissions.

Since a majority of emissions from cities like New York and London come from animal-based foods and from food waste in general, mapping emissions would provide much-needed evidence of this fact. Brighter Green supports piloting such a data-driven approach to climate solutions, and applauds food policy that places the climate crisis front and center and emphasizes plant-forward food systems as part of the solution.

Take Action to Stop the Climate Crisis: Fridays for Future

Join Brighter Green and other organizations and individuals across the planet to  demand that world leaders take meaningful action to address the climate crisis. Among the activist-leaders of Fridays for Future are Edwin Moses Namakanga (left), Aida Nakku (right), and Vanessa Nakate (center), whom Brighter Green is an amplifier for and supporter of. Fridays for Future is a network of individuals who take to the streets each week to call attention to the urgency of the climate crisis, and to keep the pressure on the world’s leaders.

To participate, simply post a photo to Twitter, or another social network, each Friday. Hold a sign with a slogan that calls attention to the climate crisis, and use the hashtag #FridaysForFuture. Tag your government representatives if you’re in a place where it is safe to do so. We hope you’ll join the movement, if not this week, then on a Friday to come.

Donate to Support Our Work

It’s impossible to overstate the importance of fighting—and winning—the fight against climate change. The next five years are a critical time in the history of our world. If we don’t limit warming to 1.5 C our planet will become uninhabitable for a large percentage of the world’s human population, not to mention animals, plants, and all life on earth.

Among other things, Brighter Green is doing everything possible to help move food policy away from animal agriculture and toward a plant-forward future. Without this critical change in our global economy, we may not be able to meet the climate goals set by the Paris Agreement.

Please make a donation to support our work today. Strongly consider making your donation a monthly recurring contribution to show your solidarity and commitment to the fight against the climate crisis. Thank you.