A celebrity-backed global campaign created by Veganuary founders Matthew Glover and Jane Land offers to donate $1 million to charity if Pope Francis goes vegan for Lent to save the planet.
The Million Dollar Vegan campaign aims to highlight the negative effect of animal agriculture on the planet including climate change, deforestation, and species loss.
“We are launching this deliberately bold, audacious campaign to jolt our world leaders from their complacency,” said Glover.
“For too long they have failed to act on evidence of the damage caused to people and the planet by animal agriculture. Worse, many have defended and subsidized that very industry. But the evidence now is stark and compelling, and we cannot afford for them to remain silent any longer.”
“We are thankful that Pope Francis has spoken out on these issues and that is why we are humbly asking him to try vegan for Lent and set an example of how each of us can align our principles of caring and compassion with our actions.”
As part of the campaign, 12-year-old animal rights and environmental campaigner Genesis Butler wrote a letter addressed to the pope, emphasizing the devastating impact of animal agriculture and how it contributes to the suffering of animals, extinction of wildlife, and world hunger.
“Animal farming is a leading driver of climate change, deforestation, and species loss,” Butler wrote on the letter.
“It pollutes land, waterways, and air, and is so wasteful of food that we will struggle to feed a growing population, while it also causes suffering to billions of farmed animals.”
“For the sake of animals, all people, our future, and this planet, we are calling on Pope Francis to demonstrate leadership on these issues by trying vegan for Lent.”
The campaign also includes a petition asking the pope to go vegan for Lent. If he agrees, the Blue Horizon International Foundation will donate $1 million to a charity or charities of the pope’s choice.
The campaign is supported by musicians Moby, Paul McCartney, and Oliver Sykes as well as actors Woody Harrelson, Joaquin Phoenix, Evanna Lynch, and Mena Suvari.
It is also supported by scientist Joseph Poore of Oxford University and environmentalists George Monbiot and Chris Packham.
The Million Dollar Vegan campaign also produced a free Vegan Starter Kit written in different languages and with country-specific content to encourage people of all backgrounds to go vegan for Lent.