Celebrating Two Icons of our Movement

“Not knowing when the dawn will come, I open every door” – Emily Dickinson.


Share Vega’s message about animal agriculture and climate change.
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Dear Climate Healers,

Leadership abhors a vacuum.

In December 2023, over 200 health journals called on the United Nations (UN), political leaders and health professionals to recognize that the myriad environmental crises we face today are truly one indivisible crisis and must be tackled together to preserve health and avoid catastrophe. They declared that this overall environmental crisis is now so severe as to be a global health emergency.

This declaration mostly fell on deaf ears in national capitals around the world. Denmark was the only country to do something as it legislated a tax of $100 per year per cow, but deferred it to start in 2030. Even in Denmark, there is no sense of urgency unlike the UN Climate Chief, Simon Stiell, who warned that we have “only two years left to save the planet.”

Perhaps, it is naive to expect political leaders to take action on our existential crisis since these are the same political leaders who let 800 million people starve worldwide, even though they are able to feed 92 billion land animals and slaughter them annually. As a result, 8 million people die from hunger or hunger related causes each year.

On the watch of our political leaders, poor diets engineered through false education and perverse government subsidies kill another 15 million people from chronic diseases annually. Our political leaders haven’t addressed this ongoing carnage either.

When there is such a dearth of leadership from the political class, we celebrate extraordinary citizen icons who rise up from the grassroots to lead action on behalf of all life.

Saturday, Jun 22, 2024, was a pivotal day in the lives of two such icons of our movement. At the Baker Wetlands Exploration Center in Lawrence, Kansas, we celebrated a surprise 80th birthday party for Judy McCoy Carman, an icon of our movement and author of “Homo Ahimsa: Who we Really are and how we are going to save the world”, “The Missing Peace: The hidden power of our kinship with animals,” “Peace to All Beings: Veggie Soup for the Chicken’s Soul,” and “Born to be Blessed: Seven Keys to Joyful Living”.

Judy was born in 1944, the same year the word “Vegan” was coined in the UK. She grew up with animal heads on the walls and a polar bear rug on the floor of her home, as her dad was a big game hunter in addition to being a skilled surgeon. But little Judy loved animals and when she grew into an adult in the sixties and early seventies, she went vegetarian and about thirty years ago, she went Vegan once she understood the impact of dairy and eggs.

Judy now believes that going Vegan is the most important thing that anyone can do for their health, for the animals and for the planet.

She also believes that we, the people, can stop pandemics, stop the destruction of the planet and stop harming ourselves spiritually, morally, ethically and physically, by stopping our consumption of animal products.

She says that it is totally up to us, individuals, to do this as we cannot expect corporations and governments to suddenly slap their foreheads and turn over a new leaf to do the right thing.

For decades, her family considered Judy’s Veganism to be a passing phase. Very few members of her family, apart from her sister, Anna, are Vegan, but on the occasion of her 80th birthday party, the whole family came together to create a completely Vegan pot luck dinner for her special celebration.

When Judy walked through the door of the Baker center, to her amazement, she was greeted by Wall-E, a Vegan chocolate Labrador retriever who lives with JoAnn and Joe Farb in LeCompton, KS. This was so appropriate because Judy firmly believes that dogs and cats are the true ambassadors for a Vegan world as their love for humans is reciprocated and transformed into the human love for all animals.

It is with deep sorrow we share that also on Jun 22, 2024, Dr. John McDougall, a visionary physician, author, mentor, dear friend and another icon of our movement, died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Oregon. He was 77.

Born in 1947, Dr. McDougall suffered a stroke at the age of 18, which left him with a lifelong disability and a hunger to understand the root cause of diseases so that they can be truly cured. He was a passionate truth seeker, who unearthed the four deadly dietary deceptions: the Protein deception, the Calcium deception, the Omega-3 deception and the Carb deception, which he highlighted in his McDougall Research and Education Foundation website. His collection of ten favorite one-liners is a classic piece that should be required reading for everyone in our movement.

Dr. McDougall healed tens of thousands of people directly and millions indirectly through his books, videos and most importantly, the McDougall program, now managed by his daughter, Heather McDougall.

I got to know Dr. McDougall when he introduced himself in an email dated Dec 26, 2019:

“I have read your ”White Paper,” visited your website, and am now reading Carbon Yoga.

I would like to introduce myself: Physician, Author, Speaker, and Researcher: Dedicated to Diet and the Environment for my remaining years.

I received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ACLM (American College of Lifestyle Medicine) this year: This video of my evening includes a challenge for the members to take up climate change as their main cause.

I also have included a more complete discussion on Diet and Climate Change.

I began my interest on climate and diet in 2006.

Please contact me at your convenience. I would like to lend my support in any way that I can.

John McDougall, MD”

Dr. McDougall was the first to write an endorsement for our white paper that we have posted on its web page. He was passionate about the environment, delivering landmark presentations on how we are eating ourselves to death and destroying planet Earth. He wrote that the animal agriculture industry was responsible for the majority of current climate problems and one part of the solution can be instituted overnight: a Starch-Based diet.

Dr. McDougall was a kind and generous human being who always made himself freely available for any speaking request he received. He delivered a Keynote address at our Vegan Convergence Of the Peoples #8 (V-COP8) entitled, “The Connection between Chronic Disease/Climate Change/COVID-19 = Diet.” A few weeks ago, he had agreed to speak at our upcoming urgent panel discussion, “The Earth on Edge: Two Years to Save Our Planet,” to be hosted by the Vegan Community on Jul 20.

Dr. McDougall followed our work at Climate Healers closely. At the conclusion of COP26 in Glasgow, he emailed us a note of encouragement,

“I followed your efforts at COP26. I understand your successes and failures, and the pain and disappointment.

At least you tried as hard as you could. I commend your commitment and your granddaughter will be proud of you.


When he read in a newsletter that I was consulting a cardiologist after passing out in a restaurant a couple of years ago, he wrote to me with the Subject line: “An Offer I Hope You Can’t Refuse”:

“We have a 10-day internet based, taken with much time flexibility, TeleMedicine/TeleHealth program. Anthony Lim, MD will be providing your medical care.

I make this offer at no expense to you. Consider, that it is possible that your health is failing. Wouldn’t you like to squeeze a few more productive years out of it? I can show you how.

John McDougall, MD”

The McDougall program that he offered at no expense to me has made a huge difference in my physical, mental and spiritual well being – it’s all connected. After experiencing the program, I wrote back to him that the McDougall program should be required in every high school in the world, because it is criminally negligent of our education system that children are not taught such basic health-promoting information.

Now, with the help of Judy Carman and the Million Vegan Grandmothers, we pledge to complete the planetary healing work that was Dr. McDougall’s life mission. In his honor, we dedicate the following

Top 5 Talking Points for healing the planet:

1. Going Vegan restores your physical, mental and spiritual health
2. Going Vegan ends world hunger
3. Going Vegan restores wildlife and Nature
4. Going Vegan cools the climate
5. Both burning fossil fuels and stopping the burning of fossil fuels heats the climate

The passing of Dr. John McDougall and the celebration of Judy Carman’s 80th birthday on the same day somehow feels like the passing of the baton in this Greatest Transformation in Human History. Appropriately, even the amazing McDougall program will continue under the able stewardship of his daughter, Heather McDougall.

To paraphrase what Heather wrote to her dad in her farewell note, “Thanks for what you did, Dr. McDougall. We will take it from here”.

With much love,
Sailesh on behalf of the Climate Healers Core team.
(Alison, Anne, BJ, Carl, Dakota, Dani, Deborah, Debra, Gabriele, Giva, Jamen, Kelly, Ken, Kimaya, Krish, Lisa, Liz, Maggie, Marco, Paige, Pareen, Paul, Ray, Sailesh, Sarah, Shankar, Stacey, Suzanne, Tami and Vega, the Cow and Climate Healer and her Veguitas)

Vegan World 2026: The Moonshot of Our Generation

Reflection on "Trees, Cows and Climate Change": How to Reverse Global Warming
Sailesh Rao
  • Linda Middlesworth
    Posted at 22:10h, 02 July Reply

    I am Judy’s age and my whole purpose in life is to spread the word that veganism is key for our survival! I too know Donald Watson created veganism for Judy and I, both born in 1944! 💜💜💜

  • Linda Middlesworth
    Posted at 22:13h, 02 July Reply

    Thank you dear Sailesh. Rao for your incredible work!

  • Sailesh Rao
    Posted at 00:47h, 03 July Reply

    Thanks, Linda, you are too kind!

  • Renee King Sonnen
    Posted at 03:20h, 03 July Reply

    Love to you and your work always! Renee aka Rowdy Girl

  • Tess Sus
    Posted at 03:58h, 03 July Reply

    Thank you Sailesh for what you do to animals, planet and people

  • Charles Behrens
    Posted at 16:28h, 03 July Reply

    This is a beautifully written tribute to two loving and caring people. Thank you Dr. Rao. I met John back in the 1990’s just after going vegetarian. He helped me to see why I needed to end the dairy too. He was a wonderful doctor to all people and the planet.

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