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News at Brighter Green

Executive Director Mia MacDonald Quoted in Civil Eats Article 1/26/15

Executive Director Mia MacDonald was quoted in Advisory Board member Anna Lappe's article on Chatham House's recent study on peoples' understanding of climate change and food, particularly meat production. You can view the Civil Eats article here.

New Report Released by Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition on the Unsustainable Impacts of Livestock and Soybean Production in Paraguay 1/22/15

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition, published a new report entitled, "Meat from a Landscape Under Threat: Testimonies of the Impacts of Unsustainable Livestock and Soybean Production in Paraguay". You can access the report here.

Brighter Green Featured in NYC Meatless Monday Press Release 1/22/15

Brighter Green and Executive Director Mia MacDonald were featured in NYC City Council Representative Helen Rosenthal's press release on the push for NYC to adopt the Meatless Monday campaign.

Executive Director Mia MacDonald Appears on Our Hen House's Highlight Reel Podcast Episode 1/10/15

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald appears on Our Hen House's highlight reel episode on January 10th. The original TV episode can be viewed here.

East African Girls' Leadership Initiative Program Update 1/10/15

Brighter Green and Tribal Link released a January Program Update on the East African Girls' Leadership Initiative. You can access it here.

Brighter Green and Humane Society International Publish COP 20 Policy Recommendations 12/4/14

Brighter Green and Humane Society International published a policy recommendation document on animal agriculture and climate change for the COP 20 meeting in Lima, Peru. You can access the document here.

Brighter Green Releases Summary on Forthcoming Nature's Rights Paper 10/14/14

Brighter Green released a summary of a forthcoming nature's rights paper entitled Nature's Rights: Rivers, Trees, Whales, and Apes.

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The Farm Sanctuary Movement Reaches Asia

September 18, 2014 10:54am
Filed under:
Tied up Indian dairy cows

Tied up Indian dairy cows

As social awareness increases over dietary choices, industrial farming methods, and animal welfare, more individuals are choosing a vegan lifestyle while simultaneously the farm sanctuary movement is becoming a global phenomenon. Farm sanctuaries provide a retirement home for animals removed from the agricultural industry, and often build community awareness regarding animal behavior, healthy eating habits, and the environmental impacts of our diets. In India, two such farmed animal sanctuaries are changing the country for both animals and people, by creating safe homes, building vegan communities, and implementing humane education efforts.

Activism in China: Q&A with Associate Wanqing Zhou

August 7, 2014 10:00am
Premiere at Vegan Hut in Beijing

Outside of the film's premiere at Vegan Hut in Beijing

This blog originally appeared on the Our Hen House website on July 23, 2014.

Today, I'm excited to tell you about a screening tour across China of the 30-minute documentary WHAT'S FOR DINNER? Providing a unique look into the rapid growth of industrialized animal agriculture in China, the film follows various people in Chinese society—from a retired pig farm worker to a vegan restaurant owner—and examines the impacts of the country's huge shift in food production and consumption on sustainability, public health, food security, climate change, and animal welfare.

WHAT'S FOR DINNER? is a production of Brighter Green, a public policy "action tank" on environment, animals, and sustainability, for which I've been fortunate enough to work this summer, in addition to my internship with Our Hen House. You may remember Brighter Green's important work from OHH's interview with Jessika Ava on Episode 216 of the podcast, or from Jessika's collaborative feature with Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald on the expansion of industrialized dairy production in Asia, based on Brighter Green's latest policy paper, "Beyond the Pail: The Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia."

Climate Change and Food Security

May 2, 2014 3:35pm

Climate change will continue to affect crop yields significantly.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Working Group II recently published a report titled "Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability." One of the major issues that the report raises is that of food security, exploring the connection between mounting pressures due to climate change and agriculture. These links between climate and food are intrinsically tied to inequity.

Brazil’s New Dietary Guidelines: Cook and Eat Whole Foods, Be Wary of Ads

March 13, 2014 12:11pm
Brazilian homes

Brazilian homes

By Mia MacDonald and Judy Bankman

This blog originally appeared on the Civil Eats website.

What if your national dietary guidelines advised you to cook and enjoy fresh, whole foods, and serve them with friends and family while thinking critically about advertising? Hard to imagine, isn’t it?

Well, that’s exactly what Brazil’s Ministry of Health is recommending with the “food based” dietary guidelines it issued recently.

Got Milk?: New Policy Paper on Industrialized Dairy in Asia

February 24, 2014 9:30am
Dairy consumption is increasing all over Asia

Dairy consumption is increasing all over Asia

Brighter Green is excited to announce the release of a new policy paper exploring the growth of industrial dairy systems in India, China, and countries of Southeast Asia. The report, Beyond the Pail: The Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia, explores the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies.

American Hippopotamus: The Meat Question

January 8, 2014 8:00am
A yawning hippo in the wild

A yawning hippo in the wild

In 1910, Louisiana congressman Robert Broussard introduced a bill to import African Hippopotamuses to the swamplands of the U.S. Gulf Coast to supplement the U.S. food supply. Author Jon Mooallem’s longform nonfiction multimedia story “American Hippopotamus” published by The Atavist details the origins and tracks the fate of this idea, which ultimately never came to fruition. The piece is a fascinating narrative and profile of two of the proponents of this scheme, who were once enemies fighting on opposite sides of the Boer War: American scout Frederick Russell Burnham (The inspiration for Boy Scouts and Indiana Jones), and Fritz Duquesne.

Cruelty-Free and Sustainable Meat?

January 3, 2014 3:49pm
Would you eat a lab created burger?

Would you eat a lab created burger?

At the New York Academy of Sciences Frontiers in Agricultural Sustainability: Studying the Protein Supply Chain to Improve Dietary Quality seminar a few weeks ago, scientists unveiled a new and exciting development into sustainable and cruelty-free meat and leather (an oxymoron, to say the least): lab created meat and leather.

New York to Lead on Food and Climate Policy? Bill de Blasio and the "Foodprint" Resolution

December 23, 2013 5:04pm
Fruit for sale in NYC

Fruit for sale in NYC

This blog post originally appeared on the Civil Eats website.

Can progressive food and climate change policy and programs in the U.S.’ largest city begin with a “whereas”? New York may be about to find out. In 2009, a then-member of New York’s city council agreed to support a “Resolution to Reduce NYC’s Climate ‘Foodprint’” drafted by organizations with varied priorities but a shared rationale: Food and agriculture are significant contributors to global warming. New York City (NYC) could reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and, at the same time, create a healthy, sustainable, and equitable food landscape for its eight million residents.

Update on Brazil: The Effects of the Soybean and Meat Industries

November 4, 2013 4:00pm
Soybean fields in Brazil

Soybean fields in Brazil

Brazil, the world's second largest producer and exporter of soybean, and the world's largest exporter of poultry, reports a 39 percent drop in greenhouse-gas emissions between 2005 and 2010.

However, this "good news" is not all its cracked up to be. For the first time, greenhouse-gas emissions from the agriculture industry make up the largest share of Brazil's total emissions.

Chipotle's Bold Move Towards Food With Integrity

October 8, 2013 10:47am
Chipotle's menu, displaying how they source their foods

Chipotle's menu, displaying how they source their foods

In response to Chipotle's new harrowing ad depicting the realities of factory farming, the Executive Director for the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance said that "It's a fabrication of how food is produced and fabrication that drives the sales for the food they produce".

Well, that is simply not true.

Junk Food Marketing Makes Big Moves in Developing Countries

October 3, 2013 10:56am

KFC marketing in China has targeted the rising middle class and capitalized on their aspirations.

By Judy Bankman and Ross Miranti

This blog originally appeared on the Civil Eats website.

KFC TV commercials that have aired in China over the last few years reveal a remarkably wide range of marketing techniques. In the ads, humor, irony, playfulness, and sentimentality present the restaurant’s quick-serve food as something that can help families bond, nourish athletes, entertain children, and even make teenagers cooler. Overall, the ads associate KFC with a modern lifestyle, suggesting (implicitly of course) that the Chinese can get their piece of middle class affluence–along with a full belly–for a reasonably low price.

India and the Hidden Consequences of the Nutrition Transition

September 4, 2013 9:28am
An egg seller chats on his phone in India

An egg seller chats on his phone in India

Note: This blog originally appeared on the Civil Eats website.

In India today, hordes of people under 30 line up outside McDonald’s to order the Chicken Maharaja Mac: India’s beef-free version of the Big Mac. Fast food and sodas are “all the rage now,” in the country according to public health activist Shobha Shukla.

Where Food Injustice Wanders Next: South Africa

August 30, 2013 2:00pm
Filed under:
Coca Cola in South Africa

The transnational giants Coke and KFC have increased their presence in urban South Africa in recent years.

One of the defining landmarks in Johannesburg, South Africa is the Coca-Cola dome: A 19,000-person arena sponsored by the beverage giant. Coke has become increasing popular in South Africa, where an average of 254 Coke products were consumed in 2010. That's more than the international annual average of 89 per person and quickly approaching the 403 Coke products consumed by the average American.

The Little Emperor’s Burger

August 16, 2013 9:39am
KFC in China

KFC in China

Note: This blog was written by Judy Bankman and Elektra Alivisatos and was originally published on Civil Eats.

When I asked my friend living in China about fast food restaurants there, he responded, “they’re constantly packed with young people.” Though most Chinese know that American fast food is unhealthy and leads to weight gain, the growing trendiness of “Western” fast food among young people in China has contributed to its increased consumption. American franchises such as KFC are thriving. In the U.S., the chain amassed 4,618 locations in 61 years. In China, though, KFC boasted 4,260 locations in only 26 years. China now consumes twice as much meat as the U.S., a whopping 71 million tons per year.

Mexico: Public Health, Rising Obesity and the NAFTA Effect

July 31, 2013 1:44pm
Filed under:

Note: this post was originally published on Civil Eats and Food Tank.

On a visit to southern Mexico in 2008, I was shocked to see Coca-Cola billboards dotting rural highways, and roadside tiendas selling bottles of Coke along with local produce. Mexico consumes more gallons of sugary beverages per year than any other country. It’s certainly not coincidental that 9 million people in Mexico are suffering from diabetes.

Mexicans also just surpassed the U.S. as the most obese nation in the world, with an astonishing prevalence rate of 32.8 percent. Mortality rates due to heart attack, diabetes, and high blood pressure have increased significantly along with the spike in obesity rates. The main driver of these troubling health concerns is the energy-dense, nutrient-poor “Western” diet, which has already changed the food landscape in Mexico, pervading areas both urban and rural.