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Shame on “Climate Leaders” Who Downplay Animal Agriculture, and the Food on Our Plates

I joined the global climate march last week in Manhattan, and I had the opportunity to pick the brains of dozens of environmental activists and leaders on the subject of what is causing the climate crisis. The march was organized by the group Fridays For Future (FFF), and was mostly made up of bright, beautiful, and inspiring young people, some of whom were only 15 years old (see the pics below). I repeatedly asked the following question throughout the event: “According to Oxford University, what is the “single” biggest thing that anyone can do to reduce their carbon footprint, and fight the climate crisis?” Not one person, out of 50 or so, mentioned a Vegan or Plant-Based diet. Plenty talked about riding their bikes, recycling, taking mass transit, using less water, and two people did say “become a vegetarian”, but nobody mentioned Veganism, or the adoption of a Plant-Based diet. Although I was not surprised, I was still bummed out, and I realized that it was not just coincidental. Right now, many of our so-called climate leaders are failing our young activists and future generations miserably by not talking about animal agriculture (Big Ag), and our broken food system. Animal agriculture is arguably the biggest contributing factor to the climate crisis, yet it is completely dismissed by many of the climate movement leaders. Why? As usual, follow the money. Like many other so-called “health” or “environmental” organizations, these individuals and institutions are all about maintaining the status quo and increasing revenue at all costs, even if it means compromising their integrity. If they were to be honest about animal agriculture and plant-based diets, much of their funding (and lifestyle perks) would likely disappear. It is tragic on many levels, as so many smart and impressionable young people look up to these “captains” of the climate movement, and follow their lead. No wonder so few knew anything about Big Ag, Plant-Based Diets, and Veganism. 🙁

“You can’t call yourself an environmentalist and eat meat. Period.” – Howard Lyman

Fridays for Future (FFF) is still trying to find itself, and in some respects is doing solid work. I have gone to multiple events that they have put together over the years, but unfortunately, there is still no mention of Big Ag, Plant-Based Diets or Veganism at their gatherings, or on their website (I typed in vegan on their site and there were zero hits). Although most of the protesters were unaware of animal agriculture’s impact on the planet, many were clearly hungry for more information. But again, not one person was familiar with Veganism or Plant-Based Diets. What is Fridays For Future thinking? According to the FFF website, “Fridays For Future is a youth-led and organized global climate strike movement that started in August 2018, when 15-year-old Greta Thunberg began a school strike for climate. In the three weeks leading up to the Swedish election, she sat outside Swedish Parliament every school day, demanding urgent action on the climate crisis. She was tired of society’s unwillingness to see the climate crisis for what it is: a crisis…” It is interesting that FFF mentions Greta Thunberg, who is vegan, as being an inspiration. I am reminded of an FFF climate event that I attended a few years ago when I was yelled at by a 30 something year old organizer who screamed “this is no place to be talking about Veganism!”. Apparently, the woman was upset with my efforts to speak with the young activists about Plant-Based Diets and animal agriculture’s destructive impact on our planet. We all have bad days, but my guess is that this woman’s anger had a lot more to do with the prospect of having to consider both the implications of Big Ag, as well as the food on her plate, rather than anything that I had to say. 

I was struck by the countless number of activists who were unaware of the disastrous impact of animal agriculture, and as a result, would not even consider our food system as a possible cause of the climate crisis. I was also alarmed by the few individuals who were at least familiar with Big Ag, yet still chose to use the word vegetarian, instead of Vegan (they were clearly unaware of the dairy industry’s destructive impact to the environment, animals, and their own health). My guess is that these climate groups discourage their members from using the term Vegan for fear of upsetting their supporters, and ability to raise money (Click here to learn more about the psychology of people who defend and promote animal agriculture & the Standard American Diet (SAD) from Dr. Melanie Joy).

Here are just a few eye opening stats on the meat and dairy industries as they relate to the climate crisis (as per
– A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. 
– Californians use 1500 gallons of water per person per day. Close to Half is associated with meat and dairy products.
– Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions (this number could be as high as 87% of all greenhouse gas emissions today).
– 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef (1 pound of potatoes requires only 34 gallons of water). 
– Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.
– Animal agriculture is the most destructive industry facing our planet today.

“We have a system that is based on making money off of death, disease, and destruction, something that we have never faced before.” – Dr. Sailesh Rao

According to a position paper published by Dr. Sailesh Rao, animal agriculture accounts for 87% of greenhouse gas emissions, and is regarded as the “leading cause of climate change.” 
Click here to learn more about the findings from Plant Based News. 

Click here for the full report from the Climate Healers website.
Click here for the trailer to Jane Velez Mitchell and Dr. Sailesh Rao’s superb 52 minute documentary titled “Countdown to Year Zero”, which can now be streamed on Amazon Prime.

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use…It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car (these only cut greenhouse gas emissions)…Agriculture is a sector that spans all the multitude of environmental problems. Really it is animal products that are responsible for so much of this. Avoiding consumption of animal products delivers far better environmental benefits than trying to purchase sustainable meat and dairy.”
– Joseph Poore, University of Oxford 

As per the Guardian’s Environment Editor, “The new research (Oxford) shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75%, an area equivalent to the US, China, European Union and Australia combined, and still feed the world. Loss of wild areas to agriculture is the leading cause of the current mass extinction of wildlife.”

Vegan diets can also reduce food costs by up to one third, according to another Oxford study that compared the cost of seven sustainable diets to the current typical diets in 150 countries. It found that whole food, plant-based diets were the cheapest in high-income countries such as the UK, USA and Australia. ⁠Vegetarian diets came in second, while flexitarian diets with little meat and dairy reduced costs by 14%. Moreover, Plant-based diets are recognized as being much better for heart health, cancer risk, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and other diet-related health issues as well (in addition to having a significantly lower carbon footprint than other diets). 

So, why isn’t everyone advocating for Plant-Based Diets? Here is an excerpt from an excellent piece by Dr. Sailesh Rao titled, “Why Al Gore and Bill McKibben Don’t Promote Veganism”. (Click here for the full article)

“To solve climate change, we need to bring the earth’s temperature back to its safe zone without causing harm in other respects. There are only two things we can do, starting today, that fit this description:

1) Go Vegan; and
2) Burn less Fossil Fuels.

Please note that my emphasis is different from that in mainstream circles, where these two steps are usually framed as:

1) Eliminate Fossil Fuels; and
2) Eat less meat.

The latter framing leads to inaction, since in my experience, everyone already thinks they are eating less meat than someone else they know. Secondly, a total elimination of fossil fuels is almost impossible for people to achieve today. Therefore, this mainstream framing promotes apathy, which serves to maintain the current economic system based on consumption and growth. In contrast, millions of people have already gone Vegan and millions of people are already burning less fossil fuels by becoming more conscious of their consumption patterns. This changes our lifestyle to one of conscious simplicity, which is precisely what we need to become sustainable…Gore and McKibben are merely salesmen for the “triple bypass surgery” so that we may continue with our destructive lifestyles – until we die of stroke or cancer…”

There are still way too many so called climate “leaders” and organizations who refuse to acknowledge that animal agriculture (Big Ag), and the Standard American Diet (SAD), are the biggest contributors to chronic illness, animal suffering, and the climate crisis. These people and organizations are dangerous, and for the most part, full of it.   


1. The biggest contributing factor to disease and premature death in the US is the food on our plates. In fact, about 80% of all chronic diseases in the US are caused by the Standard American Diet (SAD), and to a lesser extent, other lifestyle factors. Animal fat, animal protein and cholesterol are directly implicated in the chronic diseases that plague so many people on the Standard American Diet (SAD).
2. 75 billion innocent animals live lives of complete misery, and are slaughtered each year in order to support our catastrophic food system.
3. Animal agriculture is arguably the most destructive industry facing our planet today, but most of these climate “hotshots” don’t even want to acknowledge it for fear of losing their popularity and money, if they were to admit being wrong.    

Here are just a few of those who qualify for the “You Had Me Until I Realized You Were Dangerous, and Full of it” list.

Thumbs Down! (Something Stinks)

1. is an international environmental organization that claims to address the climate crisis. Its stated goal is to end the use of fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy by building a global, grassroots movement. Bill McKibben is apparently not a vegan but he heads the organization. The homepage of blames only the fossil fuel industry for the climate crisis and of course claims that they are “running out of time”. Their site has a countdown clock and unsurprisingly, a big window with various donation suggestions. I will not be giving to anytime soon as their refusal to advocate for Plant-Based Diets and Veganism only perpetuates the climate crisis, and is simply indefensible. I could not find a single mention of Big Ag, Plant-Based Diets or Veganism on their site. Bill McKibben, by omitting the elephant in the room (animal agriculture), tells people only what they want to hear. I recently heard him on Democracy Now! talking about Florida and the Hurricane season, and once again, all he could reference was fossil fuels. I love Democracy Now! too for the most part, but they really have dropped the ball as well on the importance of Plant-Based Diets and Veganism, and how they impact the climate crisis and COVID-19 (I reached out to them on multiple occasions and nobody ever responded in a meaningful way). Revenue for 2020 – $25 million
Click here for’s annual report. 
Bill McKibben’s net worth – $1-5 million
Click here for more information. 

2. Al Gore has a net worth of $330 million. How does that happen? Wise investments of course! Wink, wink. Apparently, in his environmental book, and film, “An inconvenient Truth”, Al Gore doesn’t even mention Veganism or the power of Plant Based Diets. It appears as though Al Gore became a Vegan in 2013 due to health concerns, but I couldn’t confirm what his status is today. Al Gore may still own a large cattle ranch as well. 
Click here to learn more about Al Gore’s wealth. 

Click here for Dr. John McDougall’s piece from 2013 on Al Gore.

3. Although Greenpeace has done a lot of great work, they only recently began acknowledging the power of Veganism, and Plant-Based Diets. They refused to be interviewed for the groundbreaking documentary “Cowspiracy”, and then turned around and tried to discredit the film. Like Bill Mckibben’s, and Al Gore, Greenpeace has long suggested that people should only try to eat less meat, which of course creates apathy, and has zero impact in helping the planet, animals, and the promotion of health and wellness. However, their approach proved to be a financial boon for the organization for a long time. It is believed by many that Greenpeace viewed Veganism as a radical and dangerous idea to promote, and that they recognized that they would lose financial support from their existing base if they were to be honest about animal agriculture, and the power of Plant-Based Diets and Veganism. There is evidence to support their concern: In 2015, Greenpeace raised $400 million in donations, while Vegan lifestyle promoting Sea Shepherd Global raised just $12 million. Oh yes, the financial costs of integrity!
Click here to learn more about Greenpeace.

4. David Wallace Wells (DWW) is an OP/ED climate writer for the NY Times. DWW wrote an article called “The Uninhabitable Earth”, which was the most read article in New York Magazine’s history. Strangely, there was no mention of Veganism, Plant-Based Diets, animals, or animal agriculture. It seems to me that DWW tells people what they want to hear, and as Dr. T. Colin Campbell likes to say, people love to hear good things about their bad habits. Hence, DWW’s apparent popularity, and growing wealth (his net worth is between $1-5 million). Clearly, whatever DWW is doing with the book deals and his NY Times gig, it seems to be working for his bank account. Since DWW’s article didn’t mention Big Ag, or Plant-Based Diets, I did a little research and discovered that he doesn’t think that vegan diets do much of anything. Yikes. And this guy is an Associate Editor with NY Magazine, and a writer on the climate crisis with The NY Times. Go figure. It seems to me that he is more concerned about his image/popularity, and book deals, rather than science.
Click here for an article where DWW falsely claims that being Vegan doesn’t do much of anything for the planet.
Excerpt from the DWW article: “Animal agriculture, all animals, not just red meat, accounts for 15 per cent of carbon emissions. If we could reduce that by 10 per cent we’d be talking about a 1.5% decrease globally, which is significant but…And while lab-grown meat has no carbon footprint it has other health problems. There are ways of raising meat without carbon; feeding cattle on seaweed cuts their methane emissions by 95 percent.” Yikes again. Until he comes clean, this guy definitely belongs on the list.

5. The Sunrise Movement claims to be non-violent, yet I couldn’t find anything on their website relating to our violent and destructive food system, Plant-Based Diets, and Veganism. They appear to be entirely focused on fossil fuels, and apparently, want nothing to do with animal agriculture (Big Ag). As per their website, “The Sunrise Movement is a youth movement to stop climate change and create millions of good jobs in the process. We’re building an army of young people to make climate change an urgent priority across America, end the corrupting influence of fossil fuel executives on our politics…It’s us vs. fossil fuel corruption. We can’t let them win. Senator Joe Manchin and the fossil fuel industry are in the way of a once-in-a-generation chance to act boldly on climate, and we’re DONE waiting. Join us for a 1-hr video call to connect with people like you across the country, hear our plan to win, and find your home in the movement.” In the words of the great Greta Thunberg, “Blah, Blah, Blah.” Again, I couldn’t find a single mention of animal agriculture, Veganism, or Plant-Based Diets on the Sunrise Movement website.

6. According to the global menace Bill Gates, “A hardcore Vegan might propose another solution: instead of trying all these ways of reducing emissions, we should just stop raising livestock. I can see the appeal of that argument, but I don’t think it’s realistic. For one thing, meat plays too important a role in human culture. In many parts of the world, even where it’s scarce, eating meat is a crucial part of festivals and celebrations.”  Wow, yikes again. And yes, Bill Gates actually wrote those words.
Click here to learn more about the awfulness of Bill Gates, and other billionaires. 

*Regrettable Mentions: Author Naomi Klein, filmmaker Michael Moore, and broadcaster David Attenborough.

THUMBS WAY UP! (People and Organizations Who Truly Inspire) 

Plant-Based Diets and Veganism are a part of the mission for both Sea Shepherd Global & The International Anti Poaching Foundation. In other words, these organizations rock!. 

1. Sea Shepherd Global  – Captain Paul Watson founded The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, which is focused on anti-poaching and marine conservation activism (he also co-founded Greenpeace in 1972). Here are a few excerpts of a piece he posted in 2015, called “An Extremely Inconvenient Truth”:

“I just received the latest update from Greenpeace on Climate Change. Interesting stuff but what is most interesting is what the report does not say. Nowhere in this report does it mention the contribution to greenhouse gases by the meat and fishing industries. The production of meat creates more greenhouse gases than the entire transportation industry yet it is mysteriously missing from this Greenpeace report…Greenpeace like the other large environmental organizations like Oceana, WWF, the Sierra Club, even Surfriders, absolutely refuse to acknowledge the fact that the production of meat is even a factor, let alone the leading factor for producing greenhouse gases…The most inconvenient truth about Al Gore’s film An Inconvenient Truth is that is does not once mention the impact of domestic animal production’s contribution to climate change. We need only reflect on the fact that we slaughter 65 billion (75 billion today) animals every single year and we take billions of more lives out of the sea every single year. This ecocidal massacre needs to stop. The damage this slaughter is doing to the ocean, land, natural biomass and the atmosphere is the underlying cause of the greatest threat facing our survival on Earth.”

According to their website, “Sea Shepherd is an international, non-profit marine conservation organization that engages in direct action campaigns to defend wildlife, and conserve and protect the world’s ocean from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction…Animal agriculture and overfishing are killing the ocean. That’s why our ships are 100% vegan. Our talented galley chefs work tirelessly to provide three nutritious — and delicious! — vegan meals to the hungry crew during our direct-action campaigns protecting the ocean. It’s one of the hardest jobs on the ship, requiring constant creativity and ingenuity, especially on long campaigns at sea where fresh ingredients aren’t readily available.”
Click here to learn more about why Sea Shepherd is vegan for the ocean. 

2. The International Anti Poaching Foundation (, is another one of my favorite organizations on the planet. 🙂

Here is an excerpt of an interview with Ana Bradley (of Sentient Media), and founder Damien Mander.

Ana Bradley: Last week, there was a UN-backed report. I don’t know if you’ve seen it from Chatham House. And they were talking very clearly about how plant-based diets are crucial to saving global wildlife. And I’m curious, you draw that connection, your group of people, they’re all plant-based, they have a plant-based operation, you draw that relationship really clearly between agriculture, plant-based living, and wildlife. If you could talk a little bit about that.

Damien Mander: There’s two types of conservationists, there’s vegans and those that don’t want to take their work home. Pretty much. I got involved with conservation or grew my conservation interest, through a love for nature and the environment and animals. And the meat industry is responsible for the destruction of more wilderness here than anything else on the planet, either through a place to put animals or to grow food for animals. And then responsible for the death of 100 billion animals a year. So whether you’re in it for the conservation side or the animal side, or both, the easiest way to protect both of those things, is just stopping putting the animals in your mouth. And, you know, we carry that through into our operations. We’ve got 240 staff in Zimbabwe alone, a group of women doing one of the toughest jobs in one of the most remote and harshest locations, the toughest places on the planet, and they’re thriving, and they’re doing it on a plant-based diet. So if they can do it out there and do the job that they’re doing, the way they do it, then I don’t think there’s any excuse for anyone to at least give it a shot.
Click here to learn more about IAPF and Damien Mander’s wonderful work. 
Click here to learn more about why plant-based diets are crucial to saving global wildlife. 
Click here for National Geographic’s superb short film, Akashinga: The Brave Ones.

“Welcome to the Greatest Scam on Earth: taxpayer-funded animal agriculture.” – Philip Wollen

So, yes, shame on the many so-called “environmental” organizations and individuals who still refuse to be honest about the catastrophic impact of animal agriculture (Big Ag), as well as the game changing roles that Plant-Based Diets and Veganism need to play with regards to our health, animal welfare, and the climate crisis. Hopefully, they will soon have a change of heart, and choose instead to be on the right side of history. Unfortunately, we can’t wait any longer. Like the oceans we rise, and I just heard the good news that despite the undermining efforts of some of the folks mentioned above, there has still been a 30-fold increase in the number of vegans in the US, from 290,000 in 2004, to almost 10 million in 2019. Wow! Hopefully, these numbers will continue to grow each and every day. 🙂

Click here to learn more about the FFF global climate strike.
Click here to learn more about the events that were held during Climate Week NYC.
Click here for Jane Velez Mitchell’s excellent site

Click here to learn more about how avoiding meat and dairy products is the “single” biggest way to reduce your impact on Earth.
Click here to learn more about the environmental cost of food from Oxford University (this is the most comprehensive analysis to date of the damage farming does to the planet). 
Click here for an Oxford & U. of Minnesota Study that shows how meat is consistently associated with the largest increases in disease risk and has the highest negative impact on the environment.
Click here to learn more about how a vegan diet is cheaper and more sustainable than other diets. 
Click here to learn more from Plant Based News.
Click here to learn more about the inspiring Greta Thunberg.
Click here to learn more about the game changing work of Dr. Melanie Joy.
Click here to learn more about Big Ag and the climate crisis from Glen Merzer’s superb book “Food is Climate”.
Click here to learn more about David Attenborough’s hypocrisy. 
Click here to learn more about the growing number of vegans in the United States from the always excellent Food Revolution Network.

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