November 2016 Update: Thanksgiving Recipes, Leonardo DiCaprio, Land Restoration

Happy Thanksgiving!

As I wrote in a piece for Huffington Post two years ago, “The roots of Thanksgiving lie in expressing gratitude for harvests of crops. That’s right—Thanksgiving is actually a harvest festival.” Here are some delicious recipes to try:

If you want to watch a movie with family over the weekend, Leonardo DiCaprio has released a terrific new documentary, Before the Flood. Climate change “is the most important issue of our time,” he says. “The question is: Can we change our course in time?” Answers are offered by scientists as well as Barack Obama, John Kerry, Pope Francis, and Elon Musk. Watch the trailer here and watch the film for free on Youtube, Facebook, Apple, or other platforms.

This Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful for our family and friends, and our warm, comfortable homes. Let’s also think about our greater home—the planet—which is getting too warm to be comfortable for many of its non-human residents. Here are three exciting ways to tackle climate change:

  • Land restoration: My sister Sofia Faruqi, an environmental advocate, wrote an excellent article about why “Land restoration is not a choice. It is a necessity.” When environmental resources are depleted, countries fall into a vicious cycle of poverty and conflict. She speaks about her recent experiences in Ethiopia. Read the article in English or French.
  • Pricing carbon: Canada will soon be pricing carbon at a national level, but you can do so too from your home! Carbotax is a website that allows you to calculate your carbon footprint and contribute accordingly to help protect forests. I recently started offsetting my carbon footprint by making a monthly contribution, and you can too, here. I find this empowering!
  • Eating thoughtfully: Beef consumes 50 times more land than growing fruits and vegetables, and generates far more carbon emissions. A new study from Oxford University recommends carbon-taxing beef for the deforestation it causes and the methane it releases. The Oxford team states that the reduced beef consumption will also save half a million people from preventable deaths through heart disease, stroke, or cancer.

Good news! This election, voters in Massachusetts approved the most comprehensive farm animal law in the country. Massachusetts will require veal calves, pregnant pigs, and egg-laying hens to have enough room to turn around and extend their limbs. Sounds fairly basic, right? Unfortunately, these basic conditions are exceptionally rare on farms in the absence of legislation.

On this note, factory farmers in Canada are trying to punish a woman for giving water to pigs on a hot summer day. “It seems unfair that she should be the one compelled to explain herself,” writes Matthew Scully, author of Dominion, in National Review, “facing imprisonment for being merciful, while [the factory farmer] steps into court like some aggrieved pillar of the community.”

I had a wonderful conversation with Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Russo about his three-decade-long writing career. He recently released Everybody’s Fool, a sequel to his earlier book Nobody’s Fool. “My books are determined less by what I know than what I don’t know,” said Russo. “…The questions I ask in one book just lead to more questions, which lead me to write other books.” Read the full, fascinating conversation here.

One lucky person from this newsletter won a $50 gift card last month for writing an Amazon review of Project Animal Farm! Here are a few of the new reviews: “This book is EXCELLENT!!” “A wonderful and insightful page-turner.” “An incredibly eye-opening book.” “A phenomenal must-read.”

We’re being generous again before the holidays! My publisher Pegasus Books and I are running an Amazon giveaway of 10 books. Take a minute to enter it here.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sonia