In a fun but pointed YouTube clip, Dennis Kucinich says that if he were put in charge of the country he would order everyone to eat vegan chocolate-chip brownies. It's a quip, but he follows up by explaining that "the choice of diet affects the environment - resources, energy ... we need to be more thoughtful as a nation about the choices we make and the food that we consume."

Which brings us to today's topic: The holiday season, as they say, is a time for giving, and the new year is a common time to consider changes. Both of these tie in very well to a new initiative being put forth by a local group that promises to shower 30 people with free lunches, take-home foods, cooking classes and mentoring -- if they pledge to go vegan for 30 days.

As the press release from Friends of Animals notes, "Recent studies show that animal agriculture is responsible for at least 51% of all human-induced greenhouse gases. Your diet matters more than the car you drive." In other words, "The most direct way to help animals and reduce your carbon footprint is to go vegan!"

Based on an idea developed by Vegan Campaigns in London, the Vegan Pledge is being supported by local volunteers as well as many name-brand natural-foods companies who are donating products. It seems like a good idea -- though "vegan" is still a concept most people think of as foreign, scary and/or difficult, actually living that way can be surprisingly easy and fulfilling, and what better way to get that across than through the experience itself? That, at least, was probably Kucinich's thinking: People are scared to try "vegan" brownies, but will gladly scarf down these delicious treats that they only find out afterward are vegan.

Earth to Philly got the lowdown on the program from FOA Chapter Director Leila Fusfeld, who reports in this quick podcast (MP3, 2 MB) taped a few days ago that they've already filled 15 of the 30 spots. If you're thinking about changing your diet but aren't sure where to start, you can get more information at the FOA site or by contacting Leila directly.

(Happy Holidays, all! E2P Posting will be light until 2010.)