Something for us all to ponder … time to do ”your bit?”

Human society under urgent threat from loss of Earth’s natural life

 

A few excerpts …..

“This is the most thorough, most detailed and most extensive planetary health check. The take-home message is that we should have gone to the doctor sooner. We are in a bad way. The society we would like our children and grandchildren to live in is in real jeopardy. I cannot overstate it,” he said. “If we leave it to later generations to clear up the mess, I don’t think they will forgive us.”

 

The biomass of wild mammals has fallen by 82%, natural ecosystems have lost about half their area and a million species are at risk of extinction – all largely as a result of human actions, said the study, compiled over three years by more than 450 scientists and diplomats.

 

Oceans are no longer a sanctuary. Only 3% of marine areas are free from human pressure. Industrial fishing takes place in more than half the world’s oceans, leaving one-third of fish populations overexploited.

 

Two in five amphibian species are at risk of extinction,

 

More than 3.6m hectares of pristine tropical forest was lost in 2018

 

Pollinator loss has put up to $577bn (£440bn) of crop output at risk, while land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of global land.

The report notes how the discharges are overwhelming the Earth’s capacity to absorb them. More than 80% of wastewater is pumped into streams, lakes and oceans without treatment, along with 300m-400m tons of heavy metals, toxic slurry and other industrial discharges. Plastic waste has risen tenfold since 1980, affecting 86% of marine turtles, 44% of seabirds and 43% of marine mammals. Fertiliser run-off has created 400 “dead zones”, affecting an area the size of the UK.

 

Grazing areas for cattle account for about 25% of the world’s ice-free land and more than 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Crop production uses 12% of land and creates less than 7% of emissions.
Meat and dairy production uses 83% of farmland and accounts for 58% of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions but only 18% of food calories

God help us? I don’t really think so, do you?

Ark.

70 thoughts on “Something for us all to ponder … time to do ”your bit?”

    1. The decimation is horrendous, much of which the average Joe neither sees or is aware of.

      The stats regarding animal farming is mind blowing, as are the stats about pollutants (plastic etc)
      Global awareness is crucial, but going from awareness to action is another matter.

      I was having a discussion about eating meat with my godson the other night while we waited for the soccer to start.
      His response/s to the issue of deforestation because of grazing etc was … ”Well, maybe, yeah.”
      Like religious deconversion, you can present all the factual evidence you like but if there is a mental block or a Don’t Really Care attitude then I have no idea how to reach that degree of Glazed-Over entrenchment.
      Something at a personal, visceral level has to trigger a positive reaction.
      For me it was the look Bobbi gave me with her head on my lap.
      That was enough.
      I’m no saint and acknowledge there is a degree of hypocrisy involved and probably more if I were to examine minutely. However, I reckon I’m on the right track, and that is a start.
      I just wish my crew ( and my godson) would have their own Eureka moment in this regard.

      Liked by 3 people

        1. Mind boggling.
          I am doing my utmost not to use plastic bags, and up-cycling – or whatever the term is – the plastic we do.
          We never take plastic bags when we shop any more, but so much of our stock is packed in plastic.
          I just wish supermarkets once and for all would simply stop providing plastic bags for packing.

          Liked by 2 people

          1. That little symbol on tuna cans: “Dolphin Safe,” supposedly meaning they don’t use drag nets, or something, that also kill dolphins. Apparently companies are quite liberal about using the symbol without actually meeting the standards.

            Liked by 1 person

  1. The fossil record shows that when a species disappears from the world, it doesn’t return. All our hominin ancestor and their cousin species went extinct. It’s a safe bet we will, too. Bad thing for us, but maybe a good thing for the planet.

    Reading those stats above, I can’t get too worked up over human fetuses being aborted. After all, we’re not an endangered species. I feel obligated to do my bit: I always encourage lovely evangelical ladies to consider going the abortion route, instead of being so selfish about bringing their unwanted brats into the world. Call it a civic duty, if you like.

    (Yes, I’m full of the milk of human kindness. Full of something, at any rate — it may not be milk…)

    Liked by 2 people

  2. We have a problem. We need solutions. So far, so good.

    The danger here is falling into the trap of associating one thing to another as if it were causal and therefore assuming the problem has been identified (in this case, associating meat and dairy with 83% of ‘farmland’ and then associating this land use to a caloric output of ‘only’ 18% vs agriculture that uses the remaining 17% of ‘farmland’ but produces a much higher caloric output). The assumption here is that meat and dairy production ’causes’ a low output of calories per meter squared plus produces a large carbon footprint as a byproduct all of which harms the environment versus fruit and vegetables that cause a much higher output of calories per meter squared and offers a much lower carbon footprint as a byproduct. This discrepancy in output is then related to loss of habitat for other critters as well as an increased loss of species through extinction.

    Well, the solution obviously must be to stop eating meat and dairy, am I right? But here’s the question: is the solution to environmental degradation with loss of habitat and extinctions found by not eating meat and dairy?

    No.

    The problem has been framed incorrectly as caloric output per meter squared to serve an ideological framework rather than a reality-based framework. The problem isn’t meat and dairy and the solution is not veganism; the problem is degrading the biosphere and the solution is to implement sustainable practices. That’s real environmentalism.

    But that doesn’t raise money for the various environmental movements. Like any despot knows, the best way to create unity is to identify a common enemy. So there has to be a Bad Guy… in this case meat and dairy.

    This format is standard operating procedure to vilify targeted economic sectors by ‘environmentalists’… you know, those people who sell themselves as actually caring about the quality of the biosphere but then urge you to act in a way they deem is doing your part to ‘save’ the ‘environment’ against the Bad Guy. This is whacked. Following this advice in a dedicated way, unsurprisingly, makes you a ‘good’ person… and doesn’t everyone want to be a good person? It also makes it easy for those who have bought into this message to not only invest more in it but are rewarded morally as if they are now permitted to look out and see others who are not an equivalently dedicated as one’s self, not as much a part of the Good Guy ‘saviors’ group but who somewhere on the scale of the the Bad Guy ‘villains’. The outright villains are almost always portrayed as those making the most money from these ‘anti-environmental’ practices rather than the ‘redeemables’ who are not yet as dedicated as the ‘good’ person.

    Thus, the hierarchy is produced and we can now place people on it. Sound familiar?

    This is yet another version of the same ideology that empowers social justice warriors of every ilk on every complex issue to bring the moral component to the foreground and create Bad Guys. It’s an ideological framework brought to bear on real world problems – like environmental degradation – that are quite complex and yet offers at least in part a highly simplistic solution doomed to fail.

    The problem with this ideological approach to real world problems ALL of us face is that it’s factually wrong. Acting on the ideological assumptions will not offer any lasting solution to the original real world problems because the cause has been misidentified. But it will divide people into the necessary hierarchy, the necessary Us and Them camps, that pretty well guarantees no social cohesion, no mutually advantageous consensus, and so the problems will continue unresolved because it’s been framed as a moral problem. It’s not. It’s an environmental problem BECAUSE many of the practices used degrades the environment beyond its sustainable limit. Sustainability is the solution because unsustainable practices is the problem. Not meat. Not dairy. Not water. Not people. Not morality. All that framing is wrong. It’s about environmental sustainability.

    The usual next step by the misguided Good Guys is to get enough public support so that governments can be used by the ideologues to impose their hierarchical ideology on the public by punitive measures because, as is the usual accompanying assumption, they don’t really know what’s good for them so they need to be forced to comply. (Yeah, that fixes everything… like, never.) And then the lack of progress is blamed not on the ideologues who have forced all of us on to this path but on those who fail to achieve the purity of actions the ideologues demand, the moral capital needed to fix this moral problem. The hierarchy determines where the moral problem is and who is maintaining it (eating meat and dairy, presumably). But notice that the original assumptions are never, ever questioned or revisited by the faithful and so no lasting solutions are ever found.

    This is the danger here. The causal assumptions are wrong because the framing is wrong.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are always underlying issues and no doubt each camp wants their version to rise to the top.
      Cream floats but so do turds.
      The core issue of course is the imbalances caused by economic self interest.
      However, that said, there are ethical and moral issues attached to the consumption of meat and dairy.
      The more people, the more land is required to feed them.
      So while there are lies, damn lies and statistics, the decimation of natural forests to graze livestock has some very serious long term consequences that could be avoided or at least tempered.

      And if one takes into consideration the chronic damage caused by over fishing then consuming animals just to satisfy our taste buds is probably not such a good thing at all.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’ve assumed the wrong problems, that these factual problems of unsustainable practices are somehow ‘versions’ we get to pick and choose. Either a practice is environmentally sustainable or it is not. That is demonstrably knowable. It’s not the ‘thing’ that is being practiced that is at fault for environmental degradation but the consideration of whether the practice is sustainable or not. What I’m trying to say is that this concern is not a moral issue but a scientific one. That’s where the focus on environmental issues and restoration must finally rest, and the sooner more people realize this, the sooner we can start implementing real solutions to real problems and not get sidetracked and stymied by this social justice morality schtick.

        There is no issue of some ‘dubious’ economic self interest motivating the sustainable raising of cattle on marginal lands unsuitable for any other kind of farming. This is how many people live. And you’re vilifying them as producers of meat and dairy. It’s not the cattle or pigs or goats or chickens that makes these lands of lower caloric output and it’s not a questionable moral position for these subsistence farmers to raise multiple generations of people on this marginal land. Nor is it morally questionable for them to sell these at market or morally suspect why anyone might buy them.

        I suspect like most vegans I’ve talked to, you have a picture in your head – probably quite unpleasant – of what ‘meat’ means using a moral metric not of your own making and then applying it to all cattle and dairy. After all, life exists only by the death of life. Hard fact to wrap one’s head around and difficult to accept but true, nevertheless. (Which is why we have myths to teach us this hard truth and how we can cope with this fundamental, brutal, yet necessary aspect of living by killing.) Not killing creatures for our dietary consumption is the simplistic ‘solution’ that is no solution I’m talking about. This won’t alter the real problem of unsustainable environmental degradation… but it makes many people fell better as if they’re actually doing something about this problem when in fact they are not. You are not accounting for what’s true; you are accounting for what you believe is true – meat is bad – and then applying it widely. These are not the same. What I’m saying is that you’re vilifying the wrong thing here.

        Nor is there any question that our human biology is evolved to be omnivore, including the metabolic ability to eat meat. Presuming this trait is immoral is like claiming the use of sexual organs should be equivalently restricted by the moral concerns of others who somehow know better. You may feel justified regarding the eating or abstinence of meat by how you frame it morally, just as you do regarding your own sexual organs, but your morals do not determine which biological traits will now be ‘environmentally acceptable’ for others and which ones will not. You selecting the wrong thing.

        That you seem to lean towards making this a moral issue for what obviously concerns you doesn’t alter these facts. But vilifying meat itself under the guise of doing what’s ‘right’ for the planet clearly goes beyond acting on your personal preferences and becomes an advocacy for a wider implementation of your version of social justice by diet. And you will discover this soon enough it you try to tell the subsistence farmer whose family’s welfare depends on meat and dairy, consuming and selling these products, that you know better, that your morality should be imposed on them… for the ‘good’ of the planet.

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        1. I broached the morality/ehical issue because it is personal to me ( and a lot of others) . I did not say it was the driving issue.

          However, intensive livestock farming along with over fishing is having serious repercussions, none of them can be classified as good.

          As for changing the economic perspective regarding ” the subsistence farmer whose family’s welfare depends on meat and dairy,” if he could be shown that farming some thing else was equally or more profitable it is quite likely he would change without a moments’ hesitation.

          From your perspective we might just as well go back to hunting whales allow a nation such as the Japanese all the access to fishing they want and while we are at it why bother stopping hunting rhinos, wearing furs killing snow leopards, elephant etc?

          More people requires more resources.
          Which, in many cases means more land.
          It is not a finite resource and can be put to more productive use. And if we are eating other animals simply to satisfy our taste buds then that is simply stupid.

          Liked by 3 people

    2. Hello Tildeb.

      It’s an environmental problem BECAUSE many of the practices used degrades the environment beyond its sustainable limit.

      Wouldn’t you agree that the factory farming methods used today and the expansion of those using the same techniques are unsustainable? That is the problem with the ever increasing meat diet, the ability to supply the meat with out harming the environment is not possible. Some thing always has to give or pay the price. Over hunting / fishing, the ruining of the habitat, the devastation of the environment, the loss of land to housing needs to name just a few. Plus there is said to be alternatives to effectually feed the populations. I do not know why the “future ways to farm” that are shown in every expo and touted as solutions are not used world wide if they are as good as they are claimed to be? Hugs

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Scottie, some of these are good questions but we have to be careful not introduce assumed conclusions, too. For example, is factory farming of meat sustainable regarding the environment? The answer is undoubtedly yes.

        But you qualify that immediately by saying it must not ‘harm’ the environment. That’s a different kettle of fish. Almost everything everyone does ‘harms’ the environment, and critters are not immune from this same charge, either. But we know perfectly well that ‘harm’ done by subtracting the energy from here and returning it there ‘harms’ the environment in so far as it changes the environment. And this is the trump card often played by ideological environmentalists, as if this necessary energy change was inherently and morally bad because this removal of energy kills life to enable the survival of other life. And this causes suffering, an essential ingredient to the life cycle itself. If we can balance this energy exchange to the core principle of sustainability, then we have mitigated the environmental costs. Don’t forget, people are a natural part of the environment, too. To hear far too many ideologues, humanity is a cancer. We’re never going to implement workable solutions under this assumption.

        Just as an aside regarding suffering, the Genesis myth tells us exactly this, that to live (leave Eden) means we have to take on suffering as a natural part of life. If we want to live, we have to accept this necessary ‘evil’. And those who bring new life into the world – women – pay a much greater cost in suffering and so men who also play their part bringing about this new life must assume a greater burden of social payment (providing for the family unit) to remain equal.

        Anyway, one of the greatest sustainable practices is to fully empower women to have control over their reproductive life. When this happens, the birth rate plummets to replacement levels. With this comes the associated reductions across the board of all kinds of practices and products that currently help fuel unsustainability. This single feature is one of the mostly prized global achievements any of us can offer to actively support the planet and ranks at the top of necessary practices. If Western people who enjoy this state of individual freedom and responsibility would spend as much effort and energy helping our sisters around the world achieve the same as they do decrying meat and arguing we have no right to judge cultures that fail to provide this life-sustaining standard, we could start to make some serious and lasting headway into adapting to the core principle in all environmental impacts: sustainability.

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        1. Hello Tildeb. I understand humanity is part of the environment and it is the destruction of our own habitat we need to live that I am seriously concerned with. Just this weekend I was reading about how in the Midwest farm states in the US the waste products of factory farms are overflowing the lagoons used to keep them in due to rain and flooding which causes huge problems with ground water. Even with out that the disposable of lagoons full of liquid sewage is also getting in the water supply as well as contaminating crops. If there are better ways to handle the waste from these farms they are not using them. I do not pretend to have the answers, but I would like to keep living, including having a decent life that includes water to drink, food to eat, and air to breathe. While I understand the harm to life of the animals argument and the moral concerns I really hate the idea of trashing the only planet we have to live on for temporary gain. I may not live forever, and I do not have kids, but I would like to see my species keep going on it time. it just seems to me we are doing everything we can to destroy they environment we need to do that. Hugs

          Liked by 3 people

        2. …as they do decrying meat (and arguing we have no right to judge cultures that fail to provide this life-sustaining standard,)

          I prefer to use the term enlighten and educate – then we have no right to judge cultures that eat dolphins or whales for example.
          Or cultures that believe having lots of kids symbolizes wealth.

          Liked by 2 people

  3. This existential crisis is extremely complex and multifaceted, but it can be condensed down to two simple premises: 1) that the “successes” of modern civilization (i.e. the tremendous growth of the human population, and the great strides in technology we’ve made) have outpaced our collective wisdom and ability to control ourselves, and 2) that our competitive and quarrelsome nature is preventing us from resolving these environmental problems in time to avoid catastrophe.

    These very well may be our epitaph.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Agreed. As we can’t solve all the problems individually, all we can do is tackle the bits we can.
      Tildeb’s view, while it has some merit – the empowerment of women is crucial – much of the other things come across as:
      We can’t do that because ….” rather than what can we do.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. No Ark, I have not said, “We can’t do that because…”. What I have said is that the very first step in solving real world problems is identifying what the problem really is. Vilifying things like cattle and dairy as if these were the problems we can do something about is not identifying the very problems used to justify this vilification. The problem is not cattle. It’s not dairy. It’s not eating meat. So the solution is not a vegetarian diet. That does diddly squat addressing the problems outlined in the OP. The problem is in the PRACTICES that are not environmentally sustainable. You’re blaming the cart for the horse’s direction, so vilifying the horse doesn’t alter the direction.

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        1. The problems are multifaceted.
          That much is obvious.
          But saying we have to identify the problem suggests we should do what? Form a committee?

          I did not say the problem was eating meat any more than I said the solution was a vegetarian diet.

          That argument is absurdio reductum.

          Shifting from meat to vegetarian/vegan won’t sort out the issues regarding fossils fuels or pollution. But it is a start.
          It is simply an example of doing something positive.
          So is not using plastic.
          Over utilizing of natural resources and ESPECIALLY animal natural resources
          will have a knock on effect that will impact all the planet – as the article pointed out. Pollinators are a prime example.
          We as individuals can’t do all things, therefore we do what we can. Or at least we should .
          So moving away from a meat/fish based diet to a plant based diet can only have a positive effect, irrespective of the ethical considerations regarding eating those that share the planet with us.

          Liked by 2 people

        2. Hello Tildeb. I have read the conversation through and there is a point I would like to make clearer. You talk about sustainability of a system as important. Well using the US as it is the one I know most about, the factory farming of food animals as it is done and increasing is not sustainable at this rate. It is putting too large a strain on the support systems. Everything from the food that needs to be produced to feed the animals, to the water, to the waste processing and removal is already over taxed. We simply have too many animals in too small an areas and less land to grow food for them. Not to mention the damage from the fossil fuels needed for equipment and electrical generation to support these farms. The damage to the environment from this is causing huge problems for both the humans and the other non-livestock animals. So yes the increase in people eating meat, the increase in eating meat is a part of what is destroying the environment or the habitat we need to live. I say this as a person who eats meat. We have cut down on the amount of meat we eat but we have not managed to eliminate it altogether. I think you are making this an either or situation. We don’t need to make this that drastic to save the planet. I personally think not eating meat is healthier and better overall, but reducing the need for so many food animals is a great step toward the solution. We are adding more humans to this planet every day, and we can not keep having all of them eating large amounts of meat at the rate we do today. That is not sustainable. Hugs

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          1. I agree that factory farming as it is done today in some places is not sustainable but my point is that the practice is at fault (considering the density and associated degradation and widespread pollution from the Carolina flooding last year), not the idea. Factory farming can be successfully done – and is – in many places at much lower concentrations and with proper waste management. There are many farms in Michigan that 1) recycle all the waste from their concentrated pig farms, and 2) produce all the energy using the waste to operate their factory farms. So your question about factory farming of animals can be done and can be sustained with the right practices.

            Liked by 1 person

          2. Hello Tildeb. I know you are a person that checks your sources so I will only add that my friends in MI disagree with your assessment. They dislike and fight against the factory farms. I will ask them to send me the information if you are interested?

            However that aside you still are not addressing my point of increasing need. As we know the population is increasing at a rapid rate. Here in the US we are constantly bombarded with the advertisements to eat meat from a verity of animals. We are encouraged to eat as much animal meat as we can. It really is pervasive. This simply can not be sustained at the rate of human population growth and the resources needed. Something will have to give as it already is at the breaking point on water and on animal food growing land.

            I am not going to try to quote you the land animal food growth / human food growth charts, I am sure you have already seen them. They show that as more animal feed is needed the less is given to human food needs.

            There is a crisis on this planet where the unrestrained human increase has stretched every other resource the limit and beyond. Humans are not going to stop having sex, and they refuse to stop having offspring. So the only way to really save our habitat is to change the behavior of those humans. Less meat is a start. Less requirement on polluting energy sources is another.

            The inescapable fact is that as animals we humans planet wide are killing the environment we need to survive. Part of that is our overwhelming need for meat. Maybe that is something we wont ever be able to get rid of and it may well be our demise. However lowering or stopping the eating of animals will go a long way to saving our habitat and saving us.

            I think I have address you point of factory farming done correctly. It is simply a matter of time until no matter how efficient the current consumption of meat expanded to the growth rate of humans wanting meat is not sustainable. We need to find a better way. Maybe the meat grown in labs approach.

            It may be too late for old critters like Ron and I. We tried really hard to take animal meat out of our diet. We bought every meat substitute in our local stores. They were not edible. We couldn’t stomach them. For us we would have a long drive to stores that sell good alternatives and the cost is something we can not absorb. So maybe teaching the young about what is happening and getting their tastes changed is the way to go. But the truth is the way we are going is not sustainable and not going to work. Hugs

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          3. The understanding you exhibit is typical and widely promoted as if true. For this, you are not to blame. We are bombarded with this message all the time and our children are raised in classrooms that assume it’s true and so it’s little wonder that most people believe it, assuming a zero sum game where the planet can produce X number of calories and a growing populations subtracts their needs. Because meat requires more energy in and lower yield out, the assumption is that this is vastly inefficient and harms overall productivity as well as harms the environment.

            The only problem with the model is that it’s not true.

            Believe or not, the problem we actually face is access to too many calories even though the population grows. The average daily consumption around the world is well over 2K per day now and no signs of it doing anything but increasing. And this has happened mostly by technological advancements and engineered food. So it’s not a zero sum game; it’s an ever expanding pie.

            Now throw in a declining birth rate over the past 50 years and you can begin to grasp why producing more food results in a larger slice of that pie per person. Increasing average wealth to create a global middle class with financial resources to purchase food (what took 24 men working 24 hours to thresh a metric ton of wheat in 1900 now takes one person 6 minutes) and you can better understand why lifespans are increasing while families shrink. Again, these are global averages. And, yes, there are still excessive environmental degradation occurring with some of these practices. These can be addressed.

            Also yes, there are more people, but now toss in genetic engineering and better crop yields and more efficient global transportation and you can understand how produced foods and crop production has soared while prices decline. So feeding the world is no longer so much about land use, per se; it’s about yield… and that includes meat. Already we’re growing meat in laboratories but not at industrial scale. Yet. So we don’t need a high ratio of land/sea to cattle/dairy/poultry/fish any more; we need a higher yield to continue to meet a rising demand. And there are many practices and technologies that continue to exceed this demand. One of those is factory farming. And, again, some of the practices cause significant environmental degradation. These can be addressed.

            Now here’s my concern:

            Imagine someone who sincerely believes as you do gains the political authority and enforcement to impose significant land use laws, significant dietary conditions/restrictions (something like imposing meat quotas, for example, or even outright banning) in the name of environmental protection to address not just practices that cause significant environmental degradation but centralized food production as a whole. Imagine you understand that this honest intention if carried out can actually harm food production and reduce the availability of calories globally. If you say anything against the original assumptions that are factually wrong, imagine being vilified as a proponent of murdering innocent animals and seen and treated as if you were a Very Bad Person selfishly unconcerned with the poor and the hungry and an enemy of the environment to satisfy your lust to eat flesh.

            Too Orwellian? I don’t think so.

            And, BTW, the A&W vegee burger sells out in my city every time shipments come in. Do you think the company will make changes based on public demand and increased sales? Do you think the public requires central planning to shift public consumption?

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          4. Hello Tildeb. I am confused that you think I was wrong about the continued growth of the number of people both in the world and in the US. I have just checked to be sure but here is the quotes.

            The median estimate for future growth sees the world population reaching 8.6 billion in 2030, 9.8 billion in 2050 and 11.2 billion by 2100

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Projections_of_population_growth

            Each year there are approximately 4 million births in the U.S. and 2.4 million deaths. The growth due to natural increase (total births minus deaths) is therefore 1.6 million per year. Yet according to the Census Bureau’s decennial census, U.S. population is growing by approximately 3.3 million per year.

            https://www.susps.org/overview/birthrates.html

            I do not see your point about people eating more than they need. That is something people do who can do so. That is not going to change. So as more people continue to eat more, the need for more food animals increases. This seems to mean more resources will be needed to produce more animals for more meat.

            Increased meat consumption
            As a global average, per capita meat consumption has increased approximately 20 kilograms since 1961; the average person consumed around 43 kilograms of meat in 2014. This increase in per capita meat trends means total meat production has been growing at a much faster than the rate of population growth.

            https://ourworldindata.org/meat-and-seafood-production-consumption

            Hugs

            Liked by 1 person

          5. Hey Scottie,

            Not sure where you got the idea that I thought the global population was getting smaller. I did say there is “a declining birth rate over the past 50 years” (which is true) and, “lifespans are increasing while families shrink” (which is also true). Perhaps you skipped the part where I said, “yes, there are more people…”.

            To be clear, I have never doubted the world’s population is increasing. But it is increasing at steadily declining rate of growth not from food shortages but from increasing wealth! I know that sounds weird, but the data backs this up. This is good news but not one explained to students or the vast swath of common people. And I have yet to hear a public environmentalist taking the time to explain this reality. I presume it’s because it doesn’t raise much money.

            What I clearly meant was that the model of a planet (one I claim has been widely taught and widely accepted is that that the planet can produce X amount of calories per meter squared but has an increasing population and so, therefore, we must eventually have to face a global critical food shortage even after raping and pillaging the planet’s resources) is wrong. Understanding food supply and demand using this model is therefore a sure path to misunderstanding the reality we do face and a guaranteed way to produce misguided solutions. That’s why I said it’s not your fault. There’s no reason why you should know the model is wrong.

            But it is.

            The reality is that the model shouldn’t be presented as if each of us pulls a sliver from an unchanging pie that represents the planet’s total caloric output. My point is that the pie itself has been, is, and shall continue to grow larger so that even with an increasing population, we can pull more and more calories from it without causing a global critical food shortage. In fact, obesity caused by the chronic consumption of too many calories is one of the fastest growing global health issues of our time… not just in developed rich western countries but in emerging economies that include parts of Africa and Middle East as well as India, and China. In my country of Canada, approximately one out of every three people in the hospitals taking up a bed is there receiving medical intervention directly related to adult onset diabetes and the health complications it yields.

            So the size of the caloric pie really is growing faster than the slivers being pulled from it. That’s what creates a calorie surplus. The argument that meat costs the food supply too many calories per meter squared is factually wrong. Too many people continue to use the old model rather than one that better reflects the reality we inhabit.

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          6. Addressed it in what way? Our treatment of the oceans is appalling.

            Specifically, using factory ships to provide a source of protein is a guaranteed method to cause environmental havoc and now we’ve long passed a tipping point in most farmed fish species. The technologies used for factory farmed fishing are brutal, thoughtless, stupid and very destructive.

            There’s a much stronger case I think to be made that eating fish from factory ships is offering profit and more environmentally destructive than the very worst abuses by Monsanto cubed.

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          7. So I hope that you can understand why I do not eat fish or any animal.

            While I am really impressed by what you have done/are doing with regard sustainability it might have limited medium/long term value if the oceans are desecrated and left barren of so much life.
            Perhaps it is time to step up to the plate and do our bit by stopping eating animals and fish/sea food?

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          8. The point I make is that I think a mistake is made to blame the thing itself rather than the practices that cause problems. Eating fish sustainably farmed, for example, I don’t think is a problem. In other words, it’s not the eating of fish; it’s purchasing factory ship fish that supports terrible practices.

            Ark, I think you can find similar environmental problems can be attached to all kinds of large scale farming of grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts, too.

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          9. Agreed, eating sustainably farmed fish is not a problem.
            However, that is, in a manner of speaking a non sequitur as there are huge problems with farming fish.

            Over-fishing has, as you have noted, probably / has reached a tipping point so the sustainable aspect is already out the window, and with increases in population coupled with increase in demand could well lead to a collapse of large parts of the industrial fishing industry in the not too distant future.
            100 years is no time at all, and I wouldn’t put a red cent against something catastrophic in terms of major extinctions due to human actions.

            As I mentioned, for me, not eating animals was an ethical decision.

            Changing cultural mindsets regarding these issues is a mammoth task, much like trying to have a rational discussion with a fundamental christian.

            I gave up eating fish before I gave up eating meat after reading how a number of formerly abundant species were listed as rare or critically endangered. And this was years ago during a holiday to Cape Town.

            Once again, eating animals is a choice , largely to satisfy our taste buds. Eating them is not crucial for our health or our survival.
            But the decimation of the animal kingdom and the degradation of our environment solely to allow us to eat animals and fish is going to have major repercussions.

            Ark, I think you can find similar environmental problems can be attached to all kinds of large scale farming of grains, vegetables, fruits, and nuts,too

            Quite possibly. But there is considerably less risk of these things going extinct, even though they are attacked by pest and bacteria (current reported devastation of Florida’s citrus fruit) from time to time.

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          10. “But there is considerably less risk of these things (grains, vegetables, fruits, nuts) going extinct, even though they are attacked by pest and even viruses from time to time.”

            Again, it’s not the things themselves that are the problem; it’s many of the practices of producing these things that can cause massive environmental problems including extinctions (which isn’t necessarily a bad thing depending on one’s perspective. No one I can think of would decry the loss of smallpox or polio as a unconscionable extinction). And I reiterate this point because identifying the problem – the practices and not the object being produced – is a necessary first step in implementing lasting solutions.

            And humanity can and does implement lasting solutions to real world problems we bring about… whether the object is water use or top soil or energy or food or health or whatever. I think this is important to realize – and have a personal obligation to do our bit to help bring about – when faced with doom and gloom anti-human rhetoric that portrays humanity itself as a blight upon the world. That’s not a perspective that brings about necessary changes in practice that can be demonstrated to deploy solutions. Nature is robust; and I think we are united knowing we just have to do our part in empowering its sustainability. The only difference and disagreement is in how and these are exactly the kind of discussions needed rather than the pablum so many are fed of going after just this thing or that thing as good or bad.

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          11. But you are still tacitly glossing over the issues of over fishing and factory farmed land animals by saying, in essence,- ”it’s okay, it just needs to be managed properly.”
            This neither addresses the horrendous conditions animals are farmed under or a solution to the depletion of the oceans.

            However, not eating animals is one solution.

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          12. I prefer to think of my attitude as a progressive approach that takes into consideration why something is done, accepts that something is going to continue to be done for various and often local reasons, but seeks to find a better way of meeting the same goals, finding what’s in everyone’s best interests… including future generations. It is my experience that bringing everyone to the table and excluding no one is the only way to get enough invested people on board to actually produce local solutions. In this vein, I recognize, for example, multi-billion dollar industries have both the means and the power to implement fundamental changes to practices that are in everyone’s best interests versus the campaigns that target various industries, target those who work in them, and target those people and subsidiary businesses and products who purchase and often enhance product values, as deeply divisive, deeply dangerous to the health and welfare of many people, deeply anti-social, deeply egotistical, deeply pious and self righteous and are a constant social force working towards despotism and populism in the name of something else.

            Just as in the examples of prohibiting alcohol or drugs or rock and roll for what many people consider really good reasons, altruistic reasons, social reasons that they naively believe will improve the health and welfare of other people less aware, less responsible, than themselves, so too do I see the same banning and censoring of other products gaining momentum seemingly unaware of any long last negative effects. To be sure, vilifying something like alcohol and supporting its ban may help some people feel really good about themselves, feel they are helping the less fortunate, helping to bring a lasting solution to the effects of alcoholism, and so on… completely unaware that this approach is what fuels what has now become a criminal activity… with all the pernicious effects such black markets produce.

            That one person decides to stop using this product or that for what that person considers ethical reasons is perfectly fine in a free and democratic society… as long as that same person recognizes the same rights and freedoms as others. And this is often where we run into problems. This is why I say vilifying, say, meat itself doesn’t produce solutions but causes a pernicious wider effects, divides people into camps, and creates tensions and conflicts that will yield exactly what the participants meant to avoid. That’s why I say I think it’s the wrong approach if what one is truly seeking are lasting solutions.

            So I’m not trying to gloss over some of the significant problems many industries cause; I’m trying to support a means to implement lasting solutions. You will never convince a subsistence fisher that his product is bad or a sports fisher that employing 50 local people in all kinds of other service industries is bad because it uses a fish. But if you ever want these people and their local expertise to work towards a solution to over fishing, then you are going to have to come up with a different approach than calling the abstinence of using the product ethical (which implies the product’s use is unethical).

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          13. then you are going to have to come up with a different approach than calling the abstinence of using the product ethical (which implies the product’s use is unethical).

            Why? Animals and fish are simply other species that inhabit the earth. Would you use a similar argument over cannibalism?
            So what lasting solutions are you considering to end the farming and consumption of meat and more importunately ( in terms of environmental impact) fish and other species of sea food?

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          14. Hello Tildeb. I understand what you are saying is because we can genetically modify crops to produce more calories / yield and we can pack animals into ever tighter spaces for growth that we can have unlimited food for a constantly growing and as you say over eating world. If these were the only two factors perhaps, but I still say there are simply hard limits to what we can do at this time. It is not the calories of each ear of corn, it is the number of ears of corn to share with the growing number of people.

            But the two factors above are not the only ones we have to consider. For example when the US made it a law that gasoline had to have a set % of ethanol in it that was because the corn market was down and needed a boost. Now feed corn for cattle has gotten much more expensive and harder for farmers to buy because so much is going for fuel. As we both mentioned the damage to the environment is also compounded as we increase the need for more product off the same amount of land. That environmental damage effects us all on this planet in far more wide spread harmful ways as we try to force the land to produce more crops and support more animals.

            As you mentioned people are over eating. They will keep doing that until there is not enough food and then they will fight each other for it. So as people will over eat and there is a limit to the amount of production of food animals, the ever increasing toll on the planet, the hard limit to resources needed for the growth of the food animals it seems very clear that reducing the need for animals products is necessary to save the habitat we need to live.

            Again saying that in the future we can get more calories out of each food item wont address the problem. Also we do not know if we can push the growth of food fast enough to match need.

            As I said earlier, when you take the meat production industry and factor in the environmental costs to continue to eat meat on the scale we are, it is not sustainable. Either we cut back or we destroy what we need to live.

            Tildeb I think we are at a point where we are repeating ourselves with out advancing the conversation. I think we both feel we are correct on this issue. I suggest that unless we have new information to add we let this matter stand as we have presented it and others can decided what they think is correct.

            Thank you Ark for the space for an interesting conversation. Thank you to everyone who read along and especially to those who added their voice. Hugs for all.

            Liked by 2 people

  4. I think a lot of what everyone is saying has elements of truth and it has all contributed to the poor state the planet is currently in.

    I actually lay the main reasons as to why we have not progressed with alternative fuels and green government policies at the feet of the Christian climate change deniers and Christian government ministers. We can look at Trump’s outfit for a start and I am very aware of the Australian Liberal\National government and their attempts to downplay climate change and reduce funds for alternative energy over their years in power. The majority of Christians I blog have dismissed climate change and we all know the stupid and pathetic reasons they have to believe this.

    I think if the world did not have over riding religious BS to circumvent with every scientific issue and have to pander to these science deniers and their pseudo-science we would have already progressed in some way of saving our planet. I know of no one who is a normal person who would disagree with the science, it is only religious nuts that hold everything back to appease their invisible gods.

    In the future, if generations want to point the finger as they should, it should in our western countries be directed straight at pig headed Christian religious beliefs. In fact as our planet disintegrates and self-destructs I hope for their sake these dammed god worshippers will suddenly disappear.

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    1. Yes, sklyjd, religious fanaticism is a huge problem. Don’t forget, though, that certain business interests are also a huge problem. For example, ExxonMobil concealed its own scientific studies on anthropogenic climate change for decades (see: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-court-exxon-mobil-idUSKCN1P11ES ). As much as wilful ignorance (i.e. faith) is hindering our mitigation efforts, the mendacity of greed (i.e. the profit motive) might be even more obstructive.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And they even hired some of the same people who worked on behalf of the tobacco companies to cast doubt.

        So I find it amazing – truly astounding – that some people who think well in so many other areas of concern continue to buy into this bullshit from the oil-soaked Merchants of Doubt while ignoring today’s new breed of executives and CEOs and Presidents of oil companies who advocate for cohesive regulation and level playing field carbon taxes. They know what damage their product does and they know they have to change their business model.

        Note that several of the biggest electricity producers in the US are already doing long term investments by planning to have their product extricated from coal and gas and switched to renewables, electricity then offered to their customer base for no charge, but change their business model to earn profit by delivery charge alone.

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      2. I agree that the business interests are also a huge problem. However, I have always felt that the power of the people will force change and can overrule everything. If there are enough people demanding the truth and wanting change it will happen much faster than from a position of being the underdog or a minority group.

        The Christian church changed the western world politics due to the power of the people, and now in this 21st century we are up against this same unrelenting religion and the other major religions who all believe in godly powers so not a lot will change very quickly, and lets face it, climate change is an issue critical for the world and it needs to be done with the full weight of the people, and this is impossible within a religious dominated world.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Check this out, from: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/climate-change-public-opinion-more-americans-convinced-having-impact-on-world/

          About 72 percent of Americans now say that climate change is important to them, an increase of 9 percentage points since last March, and a 16-point increase since March 2015.

          In addition, the number of Americans convinced that climate change is mostly caused by humans has spiked to 62 percent, a jump of 8 points in just one year.
          […]
          Furthermore, nearly half of Americans (46 percent) now say they have personally experienced the effects of global warming, an increase of 15 percentage points since March 2015.

          But opinions vary widely based on political affiliation. The CBS News poll found 85 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents agree climate change is caused by human activity. While most Republicans acknowledge climate change is happening, only 34 percent of them agree humans are responsible.

          Another large gap in perception emerges when people are asked about the scientific consensus on this issue. According to the Yale-George Mason study, only 1 in 5 Americans realize there is overwhelming scientific agreement that climate change is caused by humans. This is called the Consensus Gap.

          Various studies have indeed shown that approximately 97 percent of climate scientists are convinced climate change is caused mainly by humans.

          “If the public understood that virtually all climate scientists were convinced that human-caused climate change was happening, and that it was serious, then the public would demand action,” Maibach explains.

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          1. These are the same scientists, the same scientific organizations, the same atmospheric understanding that revealed acid rain and ozone depletion, both of which were successfully addressed. But these issues did not have to face the Merchants of Doubt and those who think atmospheric understanding is just a particular belief out of many that are equivalently true. People actually think this way. And, just as a slight clarification, the 97% consensus is reflective of a high degree of likelihood (95%) that AGW is real, that it is happening, and that it is caused by rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases.

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  5. First thought: overdue a ‘God-given’ major nuclear war, no?

    You know: hit the reset button.
    But if the cranks are right (some of ’em, but not this one) it’s all been done before.

    Some others, like Hancock etc with their ‘major asteroid impact’ hypotheses make much better sense. Or, of course, we could always sit back and watch with morbid fascination … (I do that a lot*).

    * No point in trying to appeal to reason or make sense. Ya gotta reach ’em on an emotional level …

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  6. Silly Ark, have you forgotten it’s part of God’s plan? James Inhofe, Republican Senate head of Environment and Public Works Committee made it clear when he tossed a snowball across U.S. Senate floor to prove global warming was a hoax. “God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains.”
    “The arrogance of people to think that we, human beings, would be able to change what He is doing in the climate is to me outrageous,” he said. WTF?!!!!!

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      1. Can’t say for sure, but suspect God made plastic so Inhofe could have his attractive white secretary pop a single use coffee pod in the Keurig every time he says “darlin’, I’m felling peckish”.

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  7. Why not “do your bit” and stop eating palm oil and boycott any products – everything from lipstick to cookies and ice cream to pizza dough – that contain it? You could use exactly the same reasoning. Why not do your bit and turn off all electrical appliances. Don’t buy anything that comes by ship, truck, rail, plane, or car. Same reasons. Vilify anyone who uses any greenhouse gas emitting product, anyone who consumes anything that causes any kind of environmental degradation. And please don’t eat anything from water, either. If you do, you’re simply not doing your bit. I mean, where does this end, Ark, when you vilify the ‘thing’ rather than an unsustainable practice?

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    1. I do try to ”do my bit”.
      And I accept there are elements of hypocrisy often based on ignorance, but I try to become more savvy.
      What you are implying however, is, ”Well, fuck it … what’s the point of doing anything?”

      You sound almost like one of those climate change deniers!

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      1. Hang on, Ark; you’re jumping to a massive conclusion here that is exactly wrong.

        I have been a very strong life-long advocate of ecomodernissm by always, always, always coming at environmental impacts using the metric of sustainability. What I do not do, what I will not do, is fall into the trap of vilifying products and promoting this irrational ideology of ‘naturalism’ as is this is the great panacea, one that vilifies human existence as if it is a cancer of a pristine world. That leads to genocide. That ideology inevitably leads to people like Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society saying such atrocious things like “we need to radically and intelligently reduce human populations to fewer than one billion… Curing a body of cancer requires radical and invasive therapy and therefore, curing the biosphere of the human virus will also require a radical and invasive approach.”

        Yeah, right up until I tell him that he and his children are the viruses we need to ‘cure’. Surely you can see that as a rather large impediment to producing a workable solution.

        Now consider agriculture in this ‘nature good, man bad’ ideological metric you use to vilify meat:

        “No product of agriculture is the slightest bit natural to an ecologist”, says ecologist Stewart Brand. “You take a nice complex ecosystem, chop it into rectangles, clear it to the ground, and hammer it into perpetual early succession. You bust its sod, flatten it flat, and drench it with vast quantities of constant water. Then you populate it with uniform monocrops of profoundly damaged plants incapable of living on their own. Every food plant is a pathetic narrow specialist in one skill, inbred for thousands of years to a state of genetic idiocy. Those plants are so fragile, they had to domesticate humans just to take endless care of them.”

        (In fact, what we like to call ‘wilderness’ is itself a product of civilization that has had to remove indigenous peoples to preserve them. Humans – like all critters – require a removal of energy and a transformation of that energy in order to survive. In this regard, all life is a ‘cancer’, a ‘virus’ when it comes to changing the fictional ‘wilderness environment.’)

        The difference in any honest comparison between meat/dairy and vegetable/fruit based diet is one of scale combined with sustainable practices. One is not’bad’ and the other ‘good’. That’s the hierarchical ideology speaking. And it does not produce solutions to environmental degradation; it just creates victims and victimizers. Sound familiar?

        Just because I call foul on the ideological and anti-human rhetoric coming from so much of the environmental movement in how they frame real problems and publicly tout non-solutions that make them feel good, allow them to feel they are doing their bit ‘for the environment’ doesn’t mean I am against the environmental objective of correcting harmful practices. (But I am frustrated that people keep falling for this tripe.)

        Just the opposite.

        Banning plastic straws and vilifying meat is not doing one’s bit to change the environmental degradation humans inflict on their environment. What will change these practices is an ethical responsibility to sustainability, something I have advocated for in all kinds of ways not least of which is in the cost/benefit analyses used by businesses. By regulation, a lasting solution is to make industries account financially – including farming – for the cost of environmental degradation they need to produyce their products. A good example lately is supporting a graduated carbon tax and then holding governments responsible for enforcing them from the municipal to the federal.

        My point is that people are not the problem. Certain practices are the problem and so real solutions mean changing these practices… using the metric of environmental sustainability rather than empty vilification.

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        1. The point you are missing, or perhaps I did not make it clear enough is WHY I stopped eating animals.
          The reason had nothing whatsoever to do with ”saving the planet” or sustainability ,or saving the rain forest or anything of this nature.
          My reason was solely based on ethical and moral grounds: I did not see the need to kill another animal solely to sustain me and/or satisfy my taste buds.
          That is it, and it alone.
          That moving to a plant based diet has other benefits for the environment was for me a bonus.
          And other people recognise this fact which is why the stats were included in the article I linked.
          I emboldened this part as it is personal for me.

          People are the problem as it is people that partake of/initiate these practices.
          To try and separate one from the other is facile.
          And this is why I no longer partake of the practice of eating animals.

          Why do you?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Ark, your ethical reasons for becoming vegan are entirely your own. More power to you.

            But my point is that what you think of as doing your bit for the environment by not eating meat (therefore tacitly arguing that eating meat is bad for the environment) is what is facile. That reasoning is entirely ideologically driven with no basis in fact… except where you can draw upon unsustainable practices that degrade the environment. Meat doesn’t cause those practices; the practices cause that degradation. And such practices are found across the entire human diet. You are cherry picking here. So that portion of your reasoning is facile as is the imported assumption you may go along with of some higher morality you associate with not eating meat. That, again, is an imported moral hierarchy.

            Whenever I find this post-modern ideology of today’s dysfunctional ‘woke’ culture busy at work creating an artificial and divisive victim/victimizer framework (like the meat bad, vegetables good, meat eaters bad, vegans good), I find the associate moral defense component just as ubiquitous… and just as dubious and pernicious as it is in all its anti-enlightenment, anti-liberal guises.

            If we truly want to do our own bit, surely that starts with us. Each and every one of us.

            How do we do this? Responsibly?

            My argument is that operating by morals is a guaranteed way to not solve anything… except creating real world victims by the imposed good intentions of those who presume their cherry picking is reflective of reality.

            So a good start is don’t this.

            I am arguing that the means to do our bit starts with being responsible for how we frame the problem.

            Frame the problems using sustainability.

            And these very large problems are real and require very large real solutions to them. We need to support these large solutions. Politically. Economically. Socially. Religiously.

            Rather than substituting this feel-good ideology and then believing without evidence that one is doing one’s bit, I am arguing that supporting facile solutions under the guise of morality to ‘bad’ things is not now and never has been and probably never shall be a lasting solution. But it is a fundamental impediment to all large scale solutions because it doesn’t even identify the problem correctly but introduces, sustains, and grows this idiotic morality in its place.

            A good start is to stop using this framework but battle it with reason.

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          2. Eating meat – or rather the farming of livestock and its associate practices IS bad for the environment.
            As is eating fish/seafood
            The huge increases in population places a higher and higher demand for these resources and in the case of fish are not finite, and are not being replaced at the rate they are being extracted from the oceans.
            This practice alone is already having serious repercussions.
            Your argument is beginning to smack of smug self-righteousness and you are NOT paying attention to what I am ”saying” and continue to write reams and reams trying to explain a case for something I am not making.
            I have explained why I stopped eating animals.
            For me, everything else is a bonus to that reason.
            I hope I have finally made this point perfectly clear?

            And in all the several tomes you have now written you have only alluded to what you consider the solution to the problem.

            My question is this:
            What are YOU doing about it?

            Liked by 1 person

          3. And I apply it personally in as many ways as I can in a thousand different ways. You ask, so I’ll tell. You must enjoy tomes…

            Because I’m very fortunate, I have the luxury of spending my money selectively. And one the primary ways we have done so is to make our home and property a net carbon sink. Intentionally. It teems with life… as I know yours does, too.

            We intentionally try to implement sustainable practices in all things, in every day practices and transactions. We have no interior or exterior product that isn’t safely biodegradable.

            But that’s one small part. We live this way.

            I’ve helped to bring about a neighbourhood tree protected area in an urban setting where insurance rates are lower not just for me but hundreds of neighbours because flooding has all but been eliminated by me implementing proper watershed management using flora and smart development and convincing neighbours by demonstration how to have the same. That such managed properties add a very large increase to the value of their homes compared to the cost of implementing it plays significant part, too.

            With the help of the local university, I organized a longitudinal test site in the middle of the city’s heat island for temperature management from this kind of small scale property designations. 4C cooler in summer on average with a measurable downwind cooling cone. Now I can demonstrate lower energy usage for both heating and cooling my home as well because of the property’s effects. Proper placement of coniferous and deciduous trees block winter wind while allowing maximum sun in the winter and maximum shading in the summer. No grass so no lawn mower, no blowers, no snow blower just good shovels, brooms and rakes. Our property provides various flora for bees and butterflies, fresh and clean water for birds and critters, no standing water for biting bugs to reproduce, but highly active and rich soil with a high absorption rate so there little runoff but provides water and nourishment for deeper roots for trees… trees that can withstand much higher winds and so lower property storm damage. We use rocks, stones, hardy ground cover and cut tree trunks rather than cement for paths and driveway. We have a fabulous fuel efficient car, a dedicated outlet for recharging EVs quickly. Our influence over family and friends is on display with their decisions to employ heat pumps and solar and wind arrays as well as redo their properties urban and rural to achieve the same or even better cost-saving and beautifying results. Every family member operates their homes and business with similar – and similarly beautiful and efficient – sustainable practices. We do our best to carry the principle with us into the marketplace regarding everything from packaging to energy, from composting waste to clothing (we have several wool sweaters today that has served 5 generations of family in all kinds of various iterations). Our pets select us and so we care for them. We have the ability to purchase goods and services as much locally and from neighbours as we can even though we often pay a higher price… because we inevitably receive much higher quality food, goods, and services in return. We know everyone’s name and they know ours because we think we’re all in this thing called life together. Community. Everything we do in our day to lives always has a consideration for sustainable practices without vilifying anyone or anything but always an eye out for the welfare of the community.

            I have been involved from everything from prison reform to Outward Bound programs for youth to try my level best to get younger urban people reattached to Nature, to teach people how to find meaningful, necessary, and lucrative work from Nature while regaining that special sense of connection with the wider world. I have donated time, money, and effort for sustainable programs academically, socially, politically, and economically and have fought many a losing public battle for sustainable consideration during city development. But I’ve had some success, too. I am very proud that I played some small part – especially with a sympathetic Engineering Department – in creating and selling the policy to local government that every new subdivision in the city’s ever-expanding urban landscape has to have a tiered water management system. This is usually in the form of three large graduated pools – each which plays a part treating the runoff and grey water from the entire subdivision naturally and in order, with special hardy flora, firm embankment trees and flowering bushes, and ending in a marsh-like pool of fresh and clean water teeming with life – through which all runoff not absorbed by the land (also paved in a variety of ways that allow maximum absorption rates) must pass before entering the watershed. New development now has these integrated park-like areas with very little grass but a suitable meadow/forest apron that has walking trails and playgrounds and bike paths filled with outdoor life available for every citizen who lives there to enjoy. That’s smart sustainable infrastructure done for reasons that mutually support each other while reducing long term costs. These pools and pipes require almost zero maintenance while reducing all kinds of subdivision water problems long into the future. This kind of effort yields massively reduced downstream treatment costs, reduced flood risks, and vastly improved quality of discharged water – including significant infusions of rock salt from winter road treatment. Solving environmental degradation requires larger scale solutions but it all starts by figuring out how to make stuff, how to do stuff, how to build stuff, how to organize stuff, cheaper and better and long-lasting for everyone that enhances rather than degrades our living spaces, that gets people united on improving their quality of life, of experiencing why sustainable practices are a benefit to all, why environmental consideration means doing our individual part to make it happen as best we can in whatever ways we can.

            I have also wasted a lot of time and effort trying to get portable plasma burners as part of the city’s waste management program. I have advocated for and failed to get a program in place that produces .00001% toxic release from 100% toxic waste with a .5 Km downwind cone from the burning, which has been defeated repeatedly while we fill up hundred of acres of arable land with a compressed toxic sludge that will continue to pollute for centuries… not just downstream but throughout the local water table. That’s how little most people know about what the net effect their political decisions have on future generations. But they’re willing to ban light bulbs. There is almost no consideration whatsoever on sustainability once ‘environmentalists’ clamor aboard the vilifying train and think they are ‘protecting the environment’ by refusing any and all reasonable solutions on the basis that there is a human footprint that changes ‘Nature’. Good grief. Now we truck our garbage out of country to pollute the land and water of others. Burning is bad, you see (even though I can show a never-ending profit for the program by siphoning off precious metals collected by the plasma burners with e-waste so that it pays for itself quickly, recycles valuable and scarce material, gets rid of everything, produces an energy byproduct that can fuel all kinds of things, and leaves a negligible foot print whose surface pollution can be secured and stored safely quickly and easily.

            But people don’t want to hear this because it interferes with an ideology they are comfortable with, as if doing something negligible on their own is sufficient to do one’s bit to feel morally justified. I despise that comfort and despair that far too many young people haven’t the first clue about how to be responsible citizens towards their environmental management. But many are proudly vegans.

            Liked by 1 person

          4. I was thinking specifically of a local woman who took great pride in producing a petition before Council with 25K names against the plasma burners I was proposing, looked me in the eye, and haughtily announced to the gathered Press that she did this BECAUSE she was a vegan and so unlike me she was justifiably ‘concerned’ about the quality of the farmland she depended on… as if that dietary choice automatically elevated her on a moral ground above the likes of me. That’s why I took the swipe, because it still rankles that such vast ignorance and stupidity she gathered could be repackaged as if pious because it was attached to the vegan label.

            And I see it reflected in high school students who honestly and earnestly believe that banning this and banning that and censoring this and blaming that produces solutions, that a young woman standing in a grocery store and raising her voice with a shrill ‘Ewwww…. yuck!’ next to the meat department (where vegan burgers are kept and sold) demonstrates her commitment to a higher consciousness, failing to grasp how much death she has wrought on the biosphere walking and breathing year after year. But I’ll bet she has used plastic straws back in the day with her Happy Meals!

            There is a widespread belief I keep encountering that seems immune from reality that what one eats is a moral issue first, which demonstrates the depth of entitlement so many privileged Westerners assume should be a character reference for everyone. It’s also true with the anti-smoking lobby and anti-car lobby and so on. Morality. And yet the problems associated with these things remain stubbornly in place.

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          5. Also, and to be clear, I don’t expect other people to do what I do and hold myself to some higher moral plane; I see problems, so I seek lasting solutions as best I can. But different people face different problems and so will use different solutions. The only metric I use is sustainability versus environmental degradation. Some degradation is fine but that has be balanced by more environmental investments that mitigate other degradation. This is our space shuttle called Earth and we have to pay more attention to sustaining its vitality rather than spend so much effort on creating hierarchies of blame.

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          6. And as I pointed out from the very beginning / my reason for not eating animals had NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with what may or may not be considered environmentally beneficial.

            However, the over-fishing of the oceans IS causing some serious problems.

            Liked by 1 person

  8. Now this idiot is what I am on about, there is to many of them with their brains in the bronze age and the decayed body of Christ.

    FMfcgxwCggCPHsMJFwPKgSVKJphvHdvg

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  9. God only helps those who help themselves… but it will take a bloody miracle to reverse the damage man has inflicted on our planet since plastic was invented. And if that is not enough, we now have bloody fracking and no one knows if there will be long term damage and IF the chemicals they use will contaminate our water supply if they are not managed properly.

    Liked by 1 person

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