Interfaith leaders call for a Plant Based Treaty in efforts to avert a climate catastrophe

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We, the undersigned religious leaders from many faiths, urge world leaders, governments and delegates to the Glasgow Climate Change Conference to endorse the Plant Based Treaty as an essential component of efforts to avert a climate catastrophe.

We are doing this because our world, the world that God initially was able to call “very good”(Genesis 1:31), is now threatened as never before, with human extinction a very real possibility. Please consider:

  • Recent severe climate events have occurred at a time when the global temperature has risen about 1.1 degrees Celsius (about two degrees Fahrenheit) since the start of the industrial revolution. Climate experts project that this increase will be between 2C-5C degrees by the end of this century if business continues as normal, triggering far worse climate events.
  • Climate experts fear that self-reinforcing positive feedback loops (vicious cycles) could result in an irreversible tipping point when climate spins out of control, with catastrophic results;
  • There will likely be tens of millions of desperate refugees fleeing from severe heat waves, droughts, wildfires, storms, floods, and other climate events. These disasters will make instability and war far more likely.

Because of the above, everything possible must be done to reduce climate change, starting as soon as possible. Shifting to renewable energy sources, producing more efficient cars, lightbulbs, and other items, recycling, and composting are all positive steps.

However, the best approach to try to avert a climate catastrophe is through a societal shift toward plant-based diets. Such a shift has a major advantage that the other positive changes lack. It not only significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, because there would be far less cows and other farmed animals emitting methane, a very potent greenhouse gas with a far greater ability to heat up the planet than CO2 per unit weight. It also has the potential of dramatically reducing CO2 presently in the atmosphere by permitting reforestation of over a third of the world’s ice-free land that is currently being used for grazing and raising feed crops for animals. This could reduce the current 420 parts per million of CO2 in the atmosphere to a much safer level below 350 ppm, which is a threshold value according to climate experts. 

Fortunately, it is much easier to adopt a plant-based diet today because of the abundance of plant-based substitutes for meat and other animal products. Many have the appearance, texture and taste so similar to those of the animal products that even long-time meat-eaters can’t tell the difference. 

Shifting to plant-based diets and reforestation would have many additional advantages, including reducing the current loss of biodiversity, the epidemic of diet-related diseases, the very inefficient use of land, energy, water and other resources, the massive mistreatment of animals, and prospects for future pandemics, thereby being much more consistent with basic religious values.

Most importantly, it would help leave a habitable world for future generations.

So, please join us in endorsing the Plant Based Treaty and please help make averting a climate catastrophe a societal priority.

“In virtually every religion on earth, creation is sacred. While the decisions made at COP-26 will involve politics, economics, and science, they also intimately involve faith traditions and their billions of adherents. It is too late to do anything short of all we can do. Inclusion of the Plant-Based Treaty is absolutely vital to a complete, courageous, and viable stand against climate change.” 

— Victoria Moran, co-founder, The Compassion Consortium

“Curbing climate change will require humanity to shift to plant-based diets, inspired by religious teachings.” 

— Rabbi Yonatan Neril, Founder & Executive Director, The Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development 

“The best approach to try to avert a climate catastrophe is through a societal shift toward plant-based diets. It not only significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions, because there would be far fewer cows and other farmed animals emitting methane, it also would dramatically reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide by permitting reforestation of over a third of the world’s ice-free land that is currently being used for grazing and raising feed crops for animals. This could reduce the current 420 parts per million of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to a safe level below 350 ppm.” 

— Richard Schwartz, Emeritus Professor and President Emeritus of Jewish Veg 

“The welfare of the planet, humanity, and all life, is inseparably connected to how we treat one another. The Plant Based Treaty is a vital step in shifting our current path of destruction and harm, towards one of healing, wholeness and creating a sustainable world that works for all.” 

— Rev. Shad Groverland, Executive Director, Unity Worldwide Ministries

“The religious imperative to preserve and protect the Divine Creation demands a major shift to plant-based diets that will reduce emissions of methane gas, facilitate reforesting, and reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide to much safer levels. Animal agriculture has garnered relatively little attention despite being one of the most damaging drivers of the planet’s destruction due to its greenhouse gas emissions, land degradation, deforestation, biodiversity loss, water consumption and pollution. Kudos to the Plant Based Treaty organization for highlighting this ‘cow in the room.’” 

— R. David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland

“The Buddha’s teachings (the Dharma) explicitly includes all sentient beings in the circle of compassion and non-harming. Although global warming and other devastating effects of raising animals for slaughter was not a concern when the Buddha lived, 2500 to 2600 years ago, if the Buddha were alive today, there is no doubt he would have advocated for an end to factory farming on behalf of both our fragile environment as well as animals themselves.” 

— Bob Isaacson, co-founder and Executive Director of Dharma Voices for Animals

“Climate change is the greatest threat to our world, God’s world, today. I commend the Plant Based Treaty organization for its dedicated efforts to increase awareness that a societal shift to vegan diets is essential to efforts to avert a climate catastrophe. Their efforts must succeed so that we can leave a decent, habitable world for future generations.” 

— Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Dean, The David Cardozo Academy, Jerusalem, author and international lecturer

“As a scholar of religious ethics across religious traditions, I heartily embrace the Plant Based Treaty. Each religion teaches humanity to live simply and compassionately, to share and protect the vulnerable, all of which now indicates a plant-based diet.” 

— L. A. Kemmerer, Ph.D., MTS. and author of Animals and World Religions

“God gave humans dominion over the Earth after He created us in His “image”. This means we are to exercise the same type of ‘dominion’ shown to us by caring for and nurturing each other and all of the creatures He created and loves. Tragically, we are failing in our appointment as stewards of this planet! The principles and goals of the Plant-Based Treaty are entirely in keeping with the tenor and message of the Bible, and the charge given to us by God to take care of the planet and all of its inhabitants.” 

— Dr. Milton Mills, MD, and Seventh-Day Adventist

“All religions have one underlying premise: kindness, compassion, and avoid inflicting pain. There is a way, three times a day, we can practice this fundamental spiritual principle. Eat fruits, vegetables, nuts, grains and legumes, in all their wonderful combinations, and avoid killing animals. It’s that simple. As the saying goes, peace begins on your plate.” 

— Jane Velez-Mitchell, journalist/author

“Subsidizing the cultivation of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and legumes and urging our fellow citizens to eat plants and not meat will alleviate so many problems. For example, this will lead to significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions at a tiny fraction of the cost of developing alternative energy sources. As Jews, we are obligated to take good care of the Earth and conserve natural resources. We fulfill this obligation by eating plants and doing our part to slow and reverse climate change.” 

— Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, Executive Director, Jewish Veg

“Animal agriculture is polluting our planet and is a major threat to the safety of humanity. The Interfaith Vegan Coalition represents 36 member organizations and our partner the Animal Interfaith Alliance with 17 member organizations. Together, we urge Secretary-General Guterres to honor our cherished spiritual values by removing dirty animal agriculture from our food systems and practicing reverence for all sentient beings.” 

— Lisa Levinson, of In Defense of Animals and co-founder of the Interfaith Vegan Coalition

Many thanks for your consideration.

Very truly yours,

Signatories:

Organizations

AllCreatures (all-creatures.org)

Anglican Society for the Welfare of Animals (aswa.org.uk)

Animal Interfaith Alliance (animal-interfaith-alliance.com)

Animal Prayer Flag Project (peacetoallbeings.com)

Animals in Islam (animalsinislam.com)

American Vegan Society (americanvegan.org)

A Prayer for Compassion film (aprayerforcompassion.com)

A Well Fed World. (AWFW.org

Aytzim: Ecological Judaism (aytzim.org)

BEHT (beht.org)

Bhagvatinandji Education and Health Trust (beht.org)

Catholic Action for Animals (catholicactionforanimals.wordpress.com)

Catholic Concern for Animals (catholic-animals.com)

Circle of Compassion (circleofcompassion.org)

Climate Healers (ClimateHealers.org)

Christians for Animals – Poland (Facebook)

Christian Vegetarians and Vegans UK (christian-vegetariansvegans.org.uk)

Christian Vegetarian Association  (ChristianVeg.org)

Compassion Consortium (CompassionConsortium.org)

Compassionate Spirit (compassionatespirit.com/wpblog/)

Concern for Helping Animals In Israel  (chai-online.org

Compassionate Living (Compassionate-Living.org)

Creation Care Church (creationcarechurch.org)

Dharma Voices For Animals (DharmaVoicesForAnimals.org

EcoJews (aytzim.org

Faith Action for Animals (Facebook)

Fraternité pour le respect animal  (FRA-Respect-Animal.org)

Freedom Farm Sanctuary, (Freedom-Farm.org.il

Global Jain Network

God’s Creatures Ministry (godscreaturesministry.org)

Green Zionist Alliance  (aytzim.org)

Hazon (hazon.org)

Honour God’s Creation Society

In Defense of Animals  (IDAUSA.org

Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development (InterfaithSustain.com)

Interfaith Council for the Protection of Animals and Nature

Interfaith Vegan Alliance (interfaithveganalliance.org)

Interfaith Vegan Coalition (www.interfaithvegancoalition.org

International Ahimsa Organisation

Institute of Jainology (jainology.org)

The Jain Vegan Initiative

Jay Mehta Mahavir Trust

Jewcology (jewcology.org)

Jewish Veg (JewishVeg.org)

Jewish Vegetarian Society – Israel

Jewish Vegetarian Society – UK  (JVS.org.uk)

Jews of the Earth (AYTZIM.ORG)

LUV4ALL (loveunityvoice.com)

Karuna Music and Art (willtuttle.com)

Mahavir Trust (opencharities.org/charities/298551)

Main Street Vegan Academy (mainstreetvegan.net/academy)

Midrashet Darkeinu (darkaynu.org)

Neohasid  (neohasid.org

One Love Animal Connection Ministry (olacm.org)

Oshwal Association of the UK (oshwal.co.uk)

Pan-Orthodox Concern for Animals (panorthodoxconcernforanimals.org)

PETA Lambs (petalambs.com)

Quaker Animal Kinship (www.ogmm.org/animal-kinship)

Quaker Concern for Animals (quaker-animals.co.uk)

Romeera Foundation (theromeerafoundation.org)

Sadhu Vaswani Centre (sadhuvaswani.org)

SARX (sarx.org.uk)

Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy (shamayim.us ) 

Shomrei Breishit: Rabbis and Cantors for the Earth (aytzim.org)

St. Francis Alliance (stfrancisalliance.com)

Together in Creation (togetherincreation.org)

Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry

United Poultry Concerns (upc-online.org)

Veganos Católicos

Vegan Spirituality (VeganSpirituality.com

World Vegan Assembly (worldveganassembly.org)

Young Jains (youngjains.org.uk)

Christian leaders

Rev. Micah Bucey, Minister at Judson Memorial Church

Rev. Alice Dee, Biopantheist Minister, vegan animal rights activist, founder of We Care About Animals, and author of Why Vegan? Reasons to Boycott Animal Use

Fr. Donatello, Catholic Priest, Animal Rights Advocate

Fr John Ryder, Spokesperson, Christian Vegetarian and Vegan Association UK

Rev. Shad Groverland, Executive Director, Unity Worldwide Ministries

Frank Hoffman, retired church pastor now serving the world as pastor of all-creatures.org

Essene leaders

Tami Hay. MA, RMT, Ordained Essene Minister

Jain leaders

Pramoda Chitrabhanu, Director of Jain Meditation International Centre

Dr. J. Jina Shah, Committee Chair, Ahimsak Eco Vegan Committee

Kabir Panth leaders

Jay Jaggessur, Mahant and President, Kabir Association of Toronto.

Rabbis

Jonathan Jaffe Bernhard, Executive Director of Shamayim: Jewish Animal Advocacy

Dr. Nathan Lopes CardozoDean, The David Cardozo Academy, Jerusalem: author and international lecturer 

Howard, Cohen, Congregation Shira Hayam

Rabbi Gabriel K Cousens, MD, MD(H), Director of Tree of Life Foundation and Rabbi for Kehilat Etz Chaim Shul

Hammai Engelmayer, rabbi emeritus of Congregation Beth Israel of the Palisades

Yonassan Gershom, author of Kapporus Then and Now: Toward a More Compassionate Tradition.

Shoshanah Hartman, hazutzim Hebrew School

Elias Herb, spiritual leader of Temple Beth Shalom, Salem, Oregon

Rabbi Miriam Hyman, Temple Beth El, Poughkeepsie, NY 

Akiva Gersh, teacher, writer, founder of “Vegan Rabbi” social media platform

Ariella Graetz, Kehilat Emet Veshalom, Nahariya, Israel

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg, senior scholar in residence, Hadar Institute, and author of many Judaica books.  

Asa Keisar, Founder of Lechathila Organization and author of Velifnei Iver “[You shall not put a stumbling block] Before the Blind.”

Jonathan Klein, Director, Faith Action for Animals  

Dalia Marx, Rabbi Aaron Panken Professor of liturgy and Midrash, Hebrew Union College – JIR, Jerusalem

Benjamin Minich, Kehillat Daniel, Jaffa, Israel

Yonatan Neril, founder and director of the Interfaith Center for Sustainable Development and co-editor of Eco Bible 

Joel Pitkowsky, Conservative rabbi, Congregation Beth Sholom, Teaneck, NJ

Razed Raphael, Darkeynu, Melrose Park, USA

David Rosen, former Chief Rabbi of Ireland and International Director of the American Jewish Committee’s Interreligious Affairs 

Hanan Schlesinger, cofounder of Roots/Shorashim/Judur, a joint Palestinian-Israeli grass roots peacemaking organization

David Mevorach Seidenberg, founder and director of Neohasid and author of Kabbalah and Ecology 

Haim Shalom, Kehillat Mevakshei Derech, Jerusalem.

Barry Silver, Esq, Spiritual leader of Congregation L’Dor Va-Dor in Boynton Beach, Florida and founder of Cosmic Judaism uniting science and religion 

Yedidya Sinclair, former Vice President, Energiya Global

Elliot Skidell, retired, Hewlett, NY

Faith Stansnyder (Cantor), Music of Faith, Milwaukee, USA

Dr. Shmuly Yanklowitz, PhD, Founder and President of Shamayim (a Jewish animal advocacy movement) and the author of 21 books on Jewish ethics

Moshe Yehudai, Raanana Congregation, Raanana, Israel

Lina Zerbarini, Kehilat Shalom Synagogue

Science of Mind leaders

Regina DeBarberie, Animal Chaplain

Unitarian Universalist leaders

Rev. Russell Elleven, DMin

Rev. John Gibb Millspaugh, Executive Director, Unitarian Universalist Animal Ministry

Interfaith leaders

Rev. Sarah Bowen, Interfaith clergy at Compassion Consortium; Dean at One Spirit Interfaith Seminary; author of Sacred Sendoffs: An Animal Chaplain’s Advice For Surviving Animal Loss, Making Life Meaningful, & Healing The Planet

Rev. Starr Regan DiCiurcio, author of Divine Sparks: Interfaith Wisdom for a Postmodern World

Julie Griffin, Co-Founder, World Vegan Assembly

Supreme Master Ching Hai, major advocate for veganism worldwide

Rev. William Melton, The Compassion Consortium

Loving Kindness leaders

Rev. Meenakshi Angel Honig, Author of Feel Good Now~ How to Feel Your Best & Have Your Best to Give & The Soulution~ 10 Compelling Reasons to Choose a Plant-based Diet

New Thought leaders

Rev Natalie Lehman, MSW, Co-Minister, Unity Spiritual Center of the Mohave Valley – New Thought Movement

Pagan leaders

Eve Sanchez, MA NCRTB AYT, Moon Child Sanctuary

All faiths

Sailesh Rao, founder and director of Climate Healers

Jenne Sindoni

Buddhist activists

Ben Isaacson, President of Dharma Voices for Animals

Susan Youngblood Lind

Eric T Lind

Christian activists (including Baptist, Catholic, Quaker, Protestant, Seventh-day Adventist) 

Judy McCoy Carman, author of Peace To All Beings and Homo Ahimsa

Kathleen Kastner, Vegan Spirituality, Exercise Physiologist M.S.

Gracia Fay Ellwood, editor of The Peaceable Table

Doug Franklin MA.

Amy Lacombe, Chapter Leader UU Animal Ministry (UUAM)

Thomas Wade Jackson, Filmmaker and Executive Director of The Compassion Project, Inc 

Stephen Kaufman, MD, Director of the Christian Vegetarian Association

Diana Molina, LCG. (Genomic Sciences)

Milton Mills, MD – CEO Gilead Medical Group, Inc

Janet Parsons MBE

Charles Patterson, writer, editor, therapist, historian, animal advocate, and award-winning author of ten books, including Eternal Treblinka: Our Treatment of Animals and the Holocaust

Derek Reeve

Cynthia Sampson, Compassion for All Living Beings Cooperation Circle, United Religions Initiative

Marta Saratowicz, Christians for Animals

Jack Sawyer, Ph.D.

Sven Sorge

Estela Torres, FRA- Fraternité pour le respect animal

Hindu activists

Dharmada, Founder of Veganparadise.org

Interfaith activists

Gretchen Otten, Compassionate Consortium

Islam activists

Cathleen Hothersall, Plant-based world activist

Jain activists

Tejas S, Jaina

Pramoda Chitrabhanu, teacher, speaker and author of several books on vegan diet and veganism

Jewish activists

Alicia Albek, Founder of Vamos Vegan, Jewish Veg National Board member, Resilient Palisades Plant Based Solutions Team member

Lara Balsam, Director, Jewish Vegetarian Society UK

Noam Bedein, Founder and Director of the Dead Sea Revival Project and Middle East Ecotourism 

Anat Ben-Yonatan, PhD, The Coller-Menmon Program for Animal Rights and Welfare, Buchmann Faculty of Law, Tel Aviv University

Dan Brook, PhD, Author of Eating the Earth and other books and Professor of sociology at San Jose State University

Dr. Brandon Burr, Director of Food Policy, Center for a Humane Economy

Ellen Burr, environmental and climate activist

Jeffrey Spitz Cohan, Executive Director, Jewish Veg

Lionel Friedberg, multi-award wining producer, director, screenwriter, and cinematographer

Racine Hiet, Founder of LUV4ALL: Mother Earth Warns! Wake Up Your COMPASSION

Ivor Block, Public Relations, LUV4ALL: Mother Earth Warns! Wake Up Your COMPASSION

David Krantz,  president of Aytzim: Ecological Judaism

Lisa Levinson, founder of Vegan Spirituality, co-founder of Interfaith Vegan Coalition, Campaigns Director for In Defense of Animals

Dr Miriam Maisel MD, Family Practitioner, Lifestyle Medicine Physician, author, lecturer on Winchester University Plant Based Nutrition Course

Dan Misheiker, Lecturer in the Literature Department and Education Department, Levinsky College of Education and Co-founder of the Human-Animals Research group, Tel-Aviv University

Dawn Moncrief, founder and director of “A Well Fed Wiorld.”

Nina Natelson, founding director of Concern for Helping Animals In Israel

David Niekerk, Jewish Veg Board Chairman 

Lewis Regenstein, author of  several books on wildlife and the environment, including “Replenish the Earth: The Teachings of the World’s Religions on Protecting Animals and Nature”

Adit Romano, co-founder and co-director of Freedom Farm Sanctuary in Israel

David Schreiber, on steering committee of Jewish Climate Action Network

Richard H. Schwartz, PhD, President Emeritus at the College of Staten Island, and author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Vegan Revolution: Saving Our World and Revitalizing Judaism, and other books

Yael Shemesh, Associate Professor in Hebrew Bible at Bar-Ilan University and head of Fanya Gottesfeld Heller Center for the Study of Women in Judaism

Prof, Terkel Tel Aviv University

J. ‘VeganMan’ Tucker, Chair, EarthSaveMiami.Org & CEO, Save The Earth Ecocenter

Jonathan Wolf, a founder and leader of Jewish environmental organizations and projects since the 1970s, including Jewish Vegetarians of North America L’OLAM; The Jewish Environmental Network; and other groups

Unitarian Universalist activists

Rev Natalie Lehman, MSW, Co-Minister, Unity Spiritual Center of the Mohave Valley – New Thought Movement

Juliet L. Hutchings

Women’s Spirituality activists

Maple Rudynski

Undeclared

Hope Bohanec, Executive Director, Compassionate Living

Craig Cline, advocate for humans and non-humans, vegan, author of GoldenRuleism/Living A GoldenRule-Guided Life

Victoria Moran, author of 13 books on contemporary spirituality and compassionate living, and the founder and director of Main Street Vegan Academy

Jacque Salomon, Spiritual Life Coach-Social, Climate & Food Justice Activist, Speaker, Non profit founder