Charities Should Stop Animal Gifting, Activists and Experts Argue

One popular way to give to charity during the holiday season is to buy a needy family an animal like a goat or a cow.

But experts and animal welfare advocates argue that this kind of giving actually is not helpful for the recipients or the planet.


“In the lead-up to Christmas, many people are feeling generous and want to help those less fortunate than themselves,” Dr. Jane Goodall said in a video statement about this issue. “There are a number of organizations that have launched campaigns, suggesting that one way to help those suffering poverty and hunger is to gift them an animal, such as a heifer. As a result, farm animals are purchased in great numbers by generous donors. Unfortunately, this can result in unintended consequences.”

Goodall has joined forces with the Animal Save Movement and In Defense of Animals’ Interfaith Vegan Coalition to call for an end to this form of charitable giving and to urge development nonprofits to switch to plant-based projects instead. The campaign, Stop Animal Gifting, is supported by open letters from scientists and religious leaders, as well as a petition with more than 6,000 supporters.

So what is wrong with animal gifting? Charities like Oxfam or Heifer International argue that gifting a family an animal can help pull them out of poverty or prevent malnutrition. However, the new campaign says that new livestock can put additional burdens on families and the environment that nourishes them.

“In Ethiopia, over 60% of their population is considered hungry or starving, and yet they have 50 million cattle in that country (one of the largest herds in the world), unnecessarily consuming their food, land, and water,” Dr. Richard Oppenlander said on the campaign website. “More than 2/3 of Ethiopia’s topsoil has been lost due to raising cattle. Many countries elsewhere in Africa and in the Amazonian region that suffer from hunger raise cattle inefficiently at the expense of their soil, localized climate, and other resources while producing a fraction of the food they could if converting to plant based foods.”

Adding animals to a community can also increase the risk of pandemics. For example, Heifer International has partnered with slaughterhouse giant Cargill on a project called “Hatching Hope,” which aims to create 60 million backyard chicken operations in India by 2030. However, tribal communities in the region have reported a rise in bird flu outbreaks as a result of this gift, the petition pointed out.

Finally, more animal agriculture means more methane emissions at a time when humans need to urgently reduce the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere to resolve the climate crisis, the letter from scientists pointed out. Peer reviewed studies have shown that, if meat consumption continues at current rates, agriculture will gobble up the entire planet’s carbon budget by 2050.

“Shifting development aid away from animal gifting projects, which expand animal agriculture and accelerate the climate crisis, and towards sustainable and nutritious plant based-food systems will provide opportunities to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, halt deforestation, free up land for rewilding and reforestation, and improve public health, biodiversity and air quality,” the scientists wrote.

The campaign calls on charities like Oxfam, World Vision, Heifer International and Cargill’s “Hatching Hope” project, Christian Aid, Save the Children, Plan Canada, Lutheran World Relief, Feed the Children, Tearfund and others to:

  1. Complete a carbon disclosure of their projects.
  2. Stop animal gifting.
  3. Turn to plant-based projects instead.

Alternative projects could include creating community seed hubs, improving water irrigation systems, offering training in permaculture or other organic farming, reforesting areas and regenerating soil.

“There has been increased demand for sustainable gifts this year — with shoppers willing to pay more for something that is sustainable. The Stop Animal Gifting campaign hopes to redirect well-meaning donations towards true, sustainable development comprising plant-based food projects,” Animal Save Movement Executive Director Anita Krajnc said in a statement emailed to EcoWatch.

Will Climate Change Make White Christmases a Thing of the Past?

For those who dream year after year for a white Christmas, that could one day be a thing of the past. According to a recent analysis of December weather over the past four decades, snow measurements across the U.S. on December 25 have dropped since the 1980s.


While scientists note that the decreases are still small, it hasn’t gone unnoticed by people across the country.

From 1981 to 1990, December temperatures remained below freezing, and about 47% of the country had snow for Christmas. The average depth of snow measured at 3.5 inches, as recorded by the University of Arizona on behalf of the Associated Press. But in 2011 to 2020, the average December temperature hovered around 35°F, and snow covered just 38% of the country on Christmas day at a depth of 2.7 inches.

The largest deficit of snow spans much of the Midwest, where coverage fell from 55% from 1981 to 1990 to about 41% in 2011 to 2020. The average depth of snowfall on Christmas day decreased from 3.5 inches to 2.4 inches in the same respective time periods.

A separate study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) also shows declining probabilities of snow on Christmas for much of the U.S., with major decreases in the chance of snow in Washington and Iowa. In Dubuque, Iowa, chances of a white Christmas dropped from 63% in 1981 to 2010 to 42% today, a whopping 21% decrease. In Walla Walla, Washington, there is now less than a 10% chance for snow on December 25, down from 19% in 1981 to 2010.

There are, however, slight increases in snow probability on Christmas for New York, Philadelphia and Concord, New Hampshire.

Xubin Zeng, atmospheric scientist at the University of Arizona, points out that the changes are still minor, and the cause — whether climate change or natural weather variability — is yet to be determined. But Zeng notes that the data on fewer snowy Christmases lines up with global warming trends.

There is some concern that we’ll experience even fewer white Christmases in the future, making this scenario a nostalgic memory rather than a reality.

“With climate warming, the prospects of a white Christmas in many parts of the U.S.A. will be slim indeed,” Mark Serreze, director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center in Boulder, Colorado, tells AP.

It’s something many scientists will be keeping a close eye on in the years to come, especially now, as parts of the country face megadroughts and could find some relief with snowfall.

“It matters for many as an emotional weight of how the season ought to feel or how we think it ought to feel,” said Twila Moon, National Snow and Ice Data scientist. “But the climate scientist in me is also very interested in having a white Christmas because it’s an indicator of how much and what type of precipitation we’ve gotten. And that is also really important because so much of our country is dealing with extreme drought right now.”

Drought-hit town hopes Chile’s new leader will take back water from Big Avocado

Leftist Gabriel Boric won a landslide to become Chile’s president and backs reform to improve water rights and access for communities like Petorca

The post Drought-hit town hopes Chile’s new leader will take back water from Big Avocado appeared first on Climate Home News.

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A ‘Green’ Energy Project Leaves A Mississippi Town Gasping For Air

EPA Reverses Trump’s Fuel Mileage Rules On New Cars

The new rule is a climate win, requiring cars and light-duty trucks to average at least 55 miles per gallon by 2026.

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The Problem: “Nobody is Afraid of This White House”

Kurt Bardella in USAToday: Democrats have a problem with fear and by that I mean, absolutely no one is afraid of them. Last week began with the House of Representatives voting to hold former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows in contempt of Congress. You would think that the threat of criminal prosecution would provoke cooperation […]

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Citizens’ Climate Radio Ep. 67: Experiencing climate data through art

Citizens’ Climate Radio Ep. 67: Experiencing climate data through art

Citizens’ Climate Radio Ep. 67: Experiencing climate data through art

Citizens’ Climate Radio is a monthly podcast hosted by CCLer Peterson Toscano. Browse all our past episode recaps here, or listen to past episodes here, and check out the latest episode in the post below. 

How can we help the public embrace the science that reveals our climate has been changing dramatically and very quickly? And more than that, how do we make them feel and experience the data so profoundly that it causes them to respond? 

These are the questions UK-born artist Caroline Roberts brings to this month’s episode of Citizens’ Climate Radio, and to her art installation, the present of my life looks different under trees. This piece is an immersive installation of cyanotypes that has been exhibited at BOX13 ArtSpace and HCC Southwest in Houston, TX.

Originally from the UK, Caroline moved to Houston, Texas, 18 years ago. She explains that a story about drowned forest thousands of years ago in the UK, along with recent flooding in her city, inspires and informs her artistic work. 

 

Citizens’ Climate Radio Ep. 67: Experiencing climate data through art

 

“The installation consists of 60 11-feet high panels, each one representing a year of Houston weather data and encircling the Back BOX like a grove of trees. Each varies in width based on the rainfall intensity, as measured by the number of days on which the total rainfall was greater than three inches: the point at which street flooding occurs. The panel color, from ice-blue to blue-black, represents the average nighttime temperature for that year. At first glance the immersive nature of this cyanotype installation provides a cool environment as Houston temperatures fall into autumn. However, a closer look gives the bigger picture: more shocking than any graph, this forest-like environment shows the story of rising temperatures and intensifying rain events.”

While Caroline started her career as a chemical engineer with the faith that science would save the environment, she soon realized that many fields and talents could contribute to environmental advocacy. Caroline has always relied on science, and after crunching the numbers about the future of the country’s coastline due to climate-related flooding, she found herself in a state of horror and shock for weeks.

Caroline wanted people’s jaws to drop when they saw her art, which visualizes the overwhelming information she has seen predicted for the near future. As environmental conditions over time have grown worse, her installation’s fabric coincides, growing heavy and darker and colder as the fabric winds through history and to the present.

Caroline says that viewers were “gobsmacked” by her forest of fabric, and hopes that all who see her piece will contemplate the view of their own life under trees.

 

Citizens’ Climate Radio Ep. 67: Experiencing climate data through art

 

For more information on the data behind this installation please continue to the story and data page.

Listen Now!

The Art House

For this month’s segment, you will hear a dramatic reading of Kamil Haque’s play, “Confessions of the Little Match Girl to the Star.” Kamil explains that in creating this piece, he chose to fracture a fairy tale, a nursery rhyme and the calling out to one’s “mama.” These common symbols of innocence form the spine of the play. 

To create the heart and soul of this piece, Kamil examined and extracted pieces from the transcripts of Greta Thunberg’s 2019 U.N.’s Climate Action Summit and George Floyd’s final moments in 2020. Through these channels he explores how two people on opposite ends of the age and racial spectrum express grief and anguish at their circumstances. How might their spirit and the spirit of their message live on literally and metaphorically?

“Confessions of the Little Match Girl to the Star” was performed at The BTS Center’s Climate Change Theatre Action 2021 event. It is read by Dr. Natasha DeJarnett, a public health expert and the chair of Citizens’ Climate Education board. 

You can hear standalone versions of The Art House at Artists and Climate Change.

Good News Report

Our good news story this month comes from Solemi Herandez, the Southeast coordinator for Citizens’ Climate Lobby. She tells us about her experiences at COP26 and shares good news about Climate Empowerment Article 12 of the Paris agreement. Solemi is hopeful for the future because of the involvement that she saw at COP26, and is hoping that more citizens will get engaged in climate work. 

We always welcome your thoughts, questions, suggestions, good news, and recommendations for the show. Leave a voice mail at (518) 595-9414 (+1 if calling from outside the USA). You can email your answers to radio @ citizensclimate.org.  

You can hear Citizens’ Climate Radio on:

Also, feel free to connect with other listeners, suggest program ideas, and respond to programs in the Citizens’ Climate Radio Facebook group or on Twitter at @CitizensCRadio.

Citizens Climate Radio · Ep 67 Experiencing climate data through art

The post Citizens’ Climate Radio Ep. 67: Experiencing climate data through art appeared first on Citizens' Climate Lobby.

AOC on Manchin: “Take the Kid Gloves Off”

Not as incendiary as I might have expected. “I do not believe that the situation is beyond repair, but I think that it’s going to take a different kind of thinking to get out of it than it did to get into it.”

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CCL pushes to keep climate in center of ongoing Build Back Better negotiations

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CCL pushes to keep climate in center of ongoing Build Back Better negotiations

Dec. 20, 2021 – In a statement yesterday, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) indicated he “cannot move forward” with the Build Back Better Act. But today, Majority Leader Schumer announced that the Senate will hold a vote on a revised version of the House-passed Build Back Better Act “very early in the new year.” Citizens’ Climate Lobby will continue to push hard to keep climate a central issue in the negotiations and for a carbon price to be added to the legislation.

One of Sen. Manchin’s reasons for not supporting the legislation was that “the energy transition [his] colleagues seek is already well underway in the United States of America.” Though the energy transition is underway, it is not moving nearly fast enough to protect Americans from the worst impacts of climate change.

President Biden pledged to the world that America will reduce our greenhouse gas emissions 50% by 2030. CCL VP of Government Affairs Dr. Danny Richter said, “Without climate policies like those in the Build Back Better Act and a robust price on carbon, we will fall short of that critical goal. Our lawmakers must continue to try to reach agreement on these policies.”

Many Democratic Senators are publicly reiterating their commitment to ongoing negotiations and the importance of climate policies. Sen. Brian Schatz (D-HI) told CNN, “The planet is not going to pause its warming process while we sort our politics out. We owe it to future generations to figure out what can pass, and pass it.” Sen. Martin Heinrich said on Twitter, “No one will stop me from taking action on the climate crisis. […] Our President and many Democrats in Congress […] are more motivated than ever. Let’s stay fired up and find our opportunities for change.”

They’re right. No matter where political negotiations stand, the stability of our climate should not be a bargaining chip.

Majority Leader Schumer seems to agree. His statement today acknowledged that “our planet is warming so fast that extreme weather disasters are now commonplace in America and across the world.” He said clearly, “We were elected to address these many needs and we will not stop fighting until we do.”

CCL President Madeleine Para said, “When Congress returns in January, Citizens’ Climate Lobby will advocate for climate policies to be a centerpiece of whatever reconciliation package continues to be debated, and for inclusion of a carbon price. We will remind Congress and the White House of President Biden’s commitment to reduce emissions 50% below 2005 levels by 2030, and we will continue trying to get Republicans to walk faster toward climate action.”

Americans across the country are more concerned about climate change than they’ve ever been. Our grassroots organization is working to make sure every member of Congress understands this concern and shares their constituents’ sense of urgency to solve the problem.

Para added, “No matter what, this one particular bill is not the end for action on climate. It is part of an ongoing effort to enact policies that will ensure we return to a healthy climate.”

CONTACT: CCL Communications Director Flannery Winchester, 615-337-3642, *protected email*

The post CCL pushes to keep climate in center of ongoing Build Back Better negotiations appeared first on Citizens' Climate Lobby.

Coal Baron Joe Manchin Rejects Build Back Better, Potentially Killing It

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV), who famously shot a literal hole through the 2009 Cap and Trade bill, said Sunday he “could not” vote for the Build Back Better Act, likely dooming the bill in its current form.


His opposition, largely predicated on the bill’s price tag, came despite the bill being significantly scaled down to appease his concerns and assurances after the passage of the bipartisan infrastructure bill last month that he would negotiate in good faith.

In a written statement, Manchin – a millionaire coal baron and former executive at rightwing polluter-friendly bill mill ALEC– rationalized his opposition to the bill by invoking disinformation falsely blaming renewables for gas- and climate-driven blackouts in Texas and California, claiming BBB would move us too quickly to a clean energy economy.

On Sunday, many Democrats in Congress criticized Manchin’s position, but pushed to move forward with a vote on some version of the bill after the new year anyway.

“Today, Senator Manchin has betrayed his commitment not only to the President and Democrats in Congress but most importantly, to the American people,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal said in a statement. “He routinely touts that he is a man of his word, but he can no longer say that. West Virginians, and the country, see clearly who he is.”

For a deeper dive:

Associated Press, Vox, POLITICO, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNBC, CBS, Insider, MSNBC, NPR, MSNBC, The Hill, Slate, The Guardian; Climate: NPR, The New York Times, Axios, Vox, NBC News, NPR; Congressional reactions: The Washington Post, USA Today, Insider, MSNBC, The Washington Post, Insider, ABC, MSNBC, NBC, NBC, NBC, MSNBC, CNN; Opinion: The Washington Post, James Downie, The Washington Post, Karen Tumulty, The Wall Street Journal Editorial

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