For Immediate Release:
July 7, 2011
Richard H. Schwartz, President of the Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA)        Phone: (718) 761-5876

Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) announced today that it is initiating a campaign to have the Jewish community apply lessons of Tisha B’Av (which starts this year on the evening of August 9) to responding to current environmental threats.

“Thousands of years ago, Jews failed to respond to the warnings of the prophet Jeremiah, with the result that the first Temple in Jerusalem was destroyed,” stated JVMA president Richard H. Schwartz. “Today, we have modern day ‘Jeremiahs’ warning that it is not just Jerusalem, but the entire world that is threatened. Many climate scientists, including James Hansen of NASA, are warning that climate change could reach a tipping point and spin out of human control within a few years, with catastrophic consequences, unless major changes are soon made. We have been receiving many wake up calls, including the severe heat waves (2010 tied 2005 for the warmest year and the past decade was the warmest decade since records have been kept), floods, wild fires, droughts, and storms and much more. In a 2007 report, 11 retired US generals and admirals stated that the effects of global climate change, including droughts, flooding, wildfires and severe storms, will sharply increase the number of refugees and increase the prospects for instability, violence, terrorism and war.”

JVNA is urging rabbis to connect the many calamities that occurred to the Jewish people on Tisha B’av through many centuries to the major threats to Jews, Israel and all of humanity today. The group advocates that tikkun olam (the healing of the world) become a major focus in all sectors of Jewish life today.

JVNA also urges consideration of an inconvenient truth that is generally being ignored: animal-based agriculture emits more greenhouse gases (in CO2 equivalents) than all the cars and other means of transportation worldwide combined according to a 2006 UN Food and Agriculture Organization report. Making the situation even worse, that same report indicates that the consumption of animal products is projected to double in 50 years. If this happens, it will make it very difficult, if not impossible, to reduce overall greenhouse emissions enough to avoid very severe effects from global climate change.

Further information about these issues can be found at the JVNA web site and at Also, JVNA’s acclaimed, award-winning documentary “A Sacred Duty: Applying Jewish Values to Help Heal the World” can be seen at

Richard H. Schwartz, Ph.D., is the author of Judaism and Vegetarianism, Judaism and Global Survival, and over 150 articles located at He is President of Jewish Vegetarians of North America (JVNA) at, Director of the Veg Climate Alliance at www.vegclimatealliance.orgs, President of the Society of Ethical and Religious Vegetarians (SERV) at, and can be contacted via