Global campaign offers Pope Francis $1 million to try vegan for Lent to save the planet

Paul McCartney, Moby, Mena Suvari and more back campaign led by 12-year-old activist

LONDON, Feb. 6, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A major global campaign, backed by many celebrities, environmentalists and scientists, is calling on Pope Francis to try vegan for Lent to 'help fight climate change with diet change'. In return, Million Dollar Vegan (MDV) is offering $1 million to a charity of the Pope's choice should he agree.

Launching internationally, the MDV campaign highlights the devastating impact of animal agriculture. It has a greater impact [] on global warming than the fuel emissions from the entire global transport sector*, is a leading driver of deforestation and biodiversity loss, and causes suffering to billions of animals. These are issues that Pope Francis raised in his 2015 Encyclical Letter, Laudato si'.

In a letter to the Pope written by 12-year-old campaigner Genesis Butler, with the help of the Million Dollar Vegan team, Butler outlines the connection to climate change and pollution, the inefficiency of animal farming and its link to world hunger, extinction of wildlife and suffering of farmed animals.

Butler said: "Farming animals causes much suffering and is a leading cause of climate change, deforestation, and species loss. When we feed animals crops that humans can eat, it is wasteful. With a growing world population, we cannot afford to be wasteful."

Each person who goes vegan for Lent will save emissions equivalent to flying from London to Berlin. If every Catholic on the planet participates, that's equivalent to the Philippines not emitting CO2 for a year**.

Butler has asked to meet Pope Francis so she can discuss the issues in her letter.

CEO of MDV, Matthew Glover, commented: "We're launching this bold campaign to jolt our world leaders from complacency. For too long they've failed to act on evidence of the damage caused by animal agriculture; many have subsidised that very industry, but we cannot afford for them to remain silent. We're thankful Pope Francis has spoken on these issues, which is why we're asking him to try vegan for Lent, and set an example of how we can align our principles of compassion with our actions."

MDV is encouraging everyone to try vegan for Lent. Download a free Vegan Starter Kit at [], and sign a petition asking the Pope to try vegan for Lent.

* Representing 14.5% [] of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, compared to 14% [] GHG fuel emissions from the transport industry.

**Dr Joseph Poore, Oxford University

Supporters of Million Dollar Vegan Paul McCartney, Moby, Woody Harrelson, Mena Suvari, Chris Packham, Joaquin Phoenix, George Monbiot, Benjamin Zephaniah, Jay & Katya Wilde, Evanna Lynch, Peter Egan, Oli Sykes, Derek Sarno, Earthling Ed, Captain Paul Watson, Dr. Joseph Poore (Oxford University), Dr Neal Barnard MD, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn MD. More to be announced.

Media Contact Heather Ripley Orange Orchard 865-977-1973 []

Full version of press release, letter, images and videos available here [].

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