Introduction to Issue 2

Dear Readers,

You will notice that a theme that is running through our current issue is that of climate change.  As the world waits in anticipation of the next climate summit in Paris in December, one cannot but be fearful that it will not deliver what is necessary in order to avert the environmental catastrophes that await us unless we act now.  The world is heating up.  We are currently on track to far exceed a temperature increase of 2°C, beyond which global warming will move us past some irreversible environmental tipping points.

Worse still is the fact that governments, as well as environmental organisations, remain silent about the enormous contribution of animal agriculture to the conditions that bring about climate change – primarily, the emission of greenhouse gases such as methane.  A switch to a plant-based diet by large swathes of the population would have the effect of reversing this damage far more quickly than measures to reduce CO2 emissions such as driving fewer cars, for example.   Switching to plant-based diets would also mean that large areas of land, currently being used by livestock, could be given over to forestry – a measure which would mitigate even further the harmful effects of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

On top of all this, we have climate sceptics in positions of power who say that climate change is not real.  They are doing irreparable damage, not just from their inaction in government, but by giving people the impression that nothing is wrong and that they can simply continue with business as usual.  It is clear that there are powerful vested interests at work.

In addition to switching to a plant-based diet, we have many green and renewable sources of energy at our disposal – both here in Ireland and elsewhere – and we look at how we could make the switch to these cleaner and more plentiful energy sources on page 34.  We also look at the idea of giving rights to nature.  This has the potential to protect animals as well as the environment.

With the summer holiday season now coming to an end, how have vegans fared on their holidays abroad?   Three vegans tell of their experiences.   Ireland’s first vegan festival is taking place this November and the newest member of our team, Moldovan TV and newspaper journalist, Tanya Scutari, has an interview with the event organiser.

We look at an old idea which is now coming back into use – ‘the commons’.  This is the sharing and management of the resources that should be available to all of us such as land, water and air.  It also refers to projects in which people work together voluntarily without payment, or when they create something that they make freely available to all.

Why would any of us want to make changes in our lives unless they had the potential to make us happier?  With this in mind, we review a documentary by Helena Norberg-Hodge which discusses the issues around globalisation and looks at ways in which we can be happier, healthier and live more meaningful lives by choosing the ‘local’ option.

The shadow of the TTIP still looms before us here in Europe and we look at the issues that are involved on page 38.  We also have articles on wild herbs, soap making, recipes, courses, book and movie reviews and more.

We hope you enjoy reading!