ACTION: Save the Chimps in Cameroon!

Worldwide demand for palm oil is on the rise, as millions of people use it for cooking, cosmetic and beauty products, and snack foods. Look at the ingredients list of any junk food package and the chances are pretty good it will contain palm oil.

Unfortunately, this demand for palm oil is driving deforestation, as the industry cuts down rainforests to create new palm plantations. Naturally, this is devastating for people, animals, and biodiversity.

Now, this industrial production of palm oil is threatening to ravage Africa. The next target: Cameroon. Herakles Farms, a US-based corporation, is currently planning to destroy a giant swath of rainforest in Cameroon, threatening the habitat of chimpanzees and the subsistence of Cameroonian farmers.

According to Greenpeace:

New science shows that the rainforest Herakles wants to destroy is home to wildlife like elephants, chimpanzees, and other endangered wildlife like the red colobus monkey. It also provides for the livelihoods of more than 14,000 Cameroonians who rely on the forest for small subsistence farming, many of whom strongly oppose the project.

Yet Herakles Farms’ CEO Bruce Wrobel refuses to acknowledge these facts, instead claiming that the company is aiming to help the community through economic development. But the facts on the ground tell a different story. The Herakles Farms project is simply the wrong project in the wrong place.

…That’s why we’re calling on a U.S. corporation, Herakles Farms, to halt their plans to plow down an area of chimp rainforest ten times larger than Manhattan to create a palm oil plantation in Cameroon.

Please take a moment to write the CEO of Herakles Farms and ask him to cancel the plans for this site and choose a different location for their palm oil plantations — one that doesn’t threaten people, chimps, or biodiversity.

You can submit your letter easily on this page at Greenpeace.org.

 

Bill Clinton & His Vegan Diet Make an Impression on AARP’s Joe Conason

After nearly dying from heart problems arising from years of a meat-heavy diet, former US president Bill Clinton was forced to make a change. His doctors recommended he eliminate all the meat and dairy from his diet. He has said that he was at first reluctant to do so, but gradually removed all the animal products from his diet — and now he’s thrilled with his diet and his newfound health.

Joe Conason of AARP magazine recently met (and dined) with President Clinton, and found the vegan meal and conversation was an eye-opening (and even mouth-watering) experience for him:

When Bill Clinton invited me to lunch in May, I knew better than to expect fried catfish or barbecued ribs. The former president is now a devoted vegan… and he has pursued a healthier way of life for more than three years. While I figured our lunch menu might be bland, that would be a small price to pay for private time with a world leader who is anything but.

As it happens, the fit, trim and sharply attired Clinton, whom I’ve come to know well during more than two decades covering his career, is his usual gregarious, charismatic self. But a bland menu? Not even close.

And President Clinton was happy to tout the benefits of his new diet:

I’ve stopped eating meat, cheese, milk, even fish. No dairy at all.” He smiled and yanked on his waistband. “I’ve lost more than 20 pounds so far, aiming for about 30 before Chelsea’s wedding. And I have so much more energy now! I feel great.

You can read the full article at the AARP website here.

Advice on Going Vegan from the New York Times

Like many other omnivores, New York Times health columnist Tara Parker-Pope was inspired by former US President Bill Clinton’s journey from a deadly, meat-centric, junk-heavy diet to a life-saving vegan one. “After all,” she writes, “if a man with a penchant for fast-food burgers and Southern cooking could go vegan, surely I could too.”

As many new vegans do, Ms. Parker-Pope found that merely modifying her favorite animal-based dishes with processed, plant-based imitations of the meat and dairy products was often unsatisfying. Instead of giving up, though, she dug deeper and struck gold. Speaking with many vegans, including vegan chefs and authors, and trying their suggestions, she discovered the richly rewarding world of creative vegan cuisine and found new dishes she liked even better than her old meat and dairy favorites.

In her new article in the New York Times, she describes her journey and offers some mouth-watering menu ideas with links to recipes that passed her own taste tests. She also provides a list of recommended replacements for animal ingredients such as butter, eggs, and cheese, including a discussion of the uses for nutritional yeast.

Most seasoned vegans will agree with her conclusion that going vegan is a learning process with many rewards along the way. The most successful transitions to a vegan diet are those that embrace the journey as a process of exploration and discovery. We applaud Ms. Parker-Pope for going for it, and for sharing her story with the world.

You can read the full article on the New York Times website here.

Have you written about your own learning on the path to a vegan diet and lifestyle? If so, you can share it on our Facebook page.

The Food Revolution Summit: April 28-May 6

The Food Revolution Summit will take place from April 28 to May 6, 2012. Hosted by John Robbins & Ocean Robbins, this unprecedented international event will feature talks from luminaries in the fields of health, nutrition, ecology, and activism, including Dean Ornish, Bill McKibben, Vandana Shiva, Frances Moore-Lappé, T. Colin Campbell, Morgan Spurlock, and others. The entire event will be broadcast live for free viewing.

For details and registration (free), visit the website at foodrevolution.org.

Honeybee Deaths Linked to Corn Insecticides

A case study in interdependence: A new study published in the American Chemical Society’s Environmental Science & Technology journal links the rapid decline in bee populations to insecticides used in commercial corn farming. Yet another reason to go organic and boycott chemical corn.

Read the full story here.