The cracked-dry bed of the Almaden Reservoir as seen on Feb. 7, 2014 in San Jose, California.

2013 went down as the driest year in California’s recorded history.  A major reservoir outside of Sacramento has been reduced from 83% to 36% capacity in just over 2 years.  In the Central Valley, 1,200 square miles of land is sinking at a rate of 11 inches a year from the drilling of groundwater.  And the annual measure of the Sierra Nevada snowmelt done every April 1st indicates that the end isn’t in sight.

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Raising animals for food is one of the largest sources of carbon dioxide and the single largest source of both methane and nitrous oxide emissions, which contribute to global warming and climate change.

When the first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, people were concerned about air and water pollution and the survival of endangered species. They talked about how the growing human population was crowding out wildlife and how we all have a responsibility to take care of the planet. Now, 44 years later, there are 3.5 billion more of us in the world, and our appetite for energy, land and meat has skyrocketed.

It’s time for a renewed call to action for the planet and wildlife, and we can start by taking extinction off our plates.

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Animal agriculture is one of the leading causes of global warming and is responsible for more water pollution, topsoil depletion, deforestation, and wildlife destruction than any other human activity, yet the public as well as many environmentalists still consume animal products without making that connection. Together, we need to educate folks that a diet change is an easy way to help the planet.

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This year marked the 30th celebration of Meatout, an international day of awareness devoted to educating the public on the many benefits of a vegan diet. Every year, the campaign and our activists accomplish numerous feats that never fail to impress; however, Meatout 2014 has been a landmark year. With proclamations from mayors and governors across the United States, national and international media press, a network of passionate animal activists behind us, and a coalition of organizations and businesses with a common mission to spare as many animals as possible, Meatout 2014 undoubtedly changed the diets and minds of thousands.

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Do you think of going vegan as something that college kids do? It’s true that young people might be leading the way, but there is a place for more vegan meals in your menu no matter your age. Whether your 18 or 80, taking steps toward plant-based eating can make a difference in your life, your legacy, and the world around you.

Here are five reasons why it is truly never too late to go vegan.

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Countless areas around the world are experiencing drought like never before and the number of areas being affected is on the rise. Here in the United States, one such area is the state of California, which is currently experiencing one of the worst droughts on record.

In response to the alarming situation, Governor Edmund Brown has declared a state of emergency, and President Obama has pledged $183 million in emergency funding. In an Op-Ed article to The New York Times, Professor James McWilliams examines the amount of water that’s needed to raise agricultural crops and its relation to California’s current drought-stricken status.

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According to a new study, published in Cell Metabolism, the increased risk of developing cancer from consuming high amounts of animal protein is comparable to the increased rate of developing cancer from smoking cigarettes.

Researchers looked at the dietary habits of 6,318 adults over the age of 50 and found that those who consumed the highest levels of animal proteins were four times more likely to die of cancer than those who had low-protein diets.  The study also showed that individuals who ate lots of meat and dairy were more likely to die at an earlier age.

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Idaho’s dairy industry is pushing legislation that would make it a crime to document animal cruelty occurring on farms “agricultural operations” within the state. Under Bill SB 1337, any person caught taking photographs, video or audio recordings of animal farming practices could end up in jail for a year and face a $5,000 fine.

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Join us for Meatout on March 20th, when caring activists in all 50 U.S. states and dozens of other countries will encourage their community to explore vegan eating. This year we’re celebrating the 30th anniversary of Meatout, which was started back in 1985 by our founder Dr. Alex Hershaft. In honor of this milestone, we’ve set a goal to distribute 30,000 vegan food samples to illustrate how delicious and convenient vegan food can be. And we need your help to make it happen!

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FruitVeggieHeart_520x480Valentine’s Day is this week, bringing a heightened sense of affection, caring and love to our everyday routines. February is also known as “Heart Month,” drawing attention to heart heath by raising awareness of the number one killer in the United States – heart disease. Every year, 600,000 Americans die from heart disease, with many of these deaths being preventable. So what better way to take care of your heart and show yourself a little love than by adopting a vegan diet.

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