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Avoiding Meat & Dairy Is 'Single Biggest Way' To Reduce Your Impact On Earth

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The biggest analysis to date reveals the huge footprint of livestock - It provides just 18% of calories but takes up 83% of farmland.  The new research shows that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% ...  And still feed the world.  Since most of the mass extinction of wildlife is due to habitat loss, vegan lifestyles would greatly slow the dying out of wildlife species.

 

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use,” said Joseph Poore, at the University of Oxford, UK, who led the research. “It is far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car,” he said, as these only cut greenhouse gas emissions.

 

the comparison of beef with plant protein such as peas is stark, with even the lowest impact beef responsible for six times more greenhouse gases and 36 times more land.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/may/31/avoiding-meat-and-dairy-is-single-biggest-way-to-reduce-your-impact-on-earth

 

 

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Problem is, I dislike nearly all vegetables. I do try to cut way down on dairy and meat, though. Another benefit is to reduce animal cruelty - something we should also push for in the industry that does exist.

 

For the people who support this, I'd suggest they not describe it as 'reducing your impact on the planet' which gets a response from a lot of people of 'who cares', but instead use a phrase that's more clearly negative about the benefits of doing so, such as 'preventing destruction of the climate', although ya, even that has too many saying who cares.

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56 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

Problem is, I dislike nearly all vegetables

 

You are hardly alone.  Your dislike is widespread, as attested to by the huge popularity of burger joints.  And the demand for (buffalo?!!) chicken wings.

 

However, it is a matter of habit and nothing more.  And one habit can be replaced by another.  I switched over to being a vegetarian in stages, over a few years.  I never made it to vegan but a younger generation, in a more progressive atmosphere, might, perhaps, be more receptive and adaptable.

 

56 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

Another benefit is to reduce animal cruelty - something we should also push for in the industry that does exist.

 

Excellent point.  Cruelty is almost built into the cattle, poultry and fish farm industry.  Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle in 1906, exposing the horrors of the slaughterhouse industry.  And still, conditions are little improved, to this day:   https://www.amazon.com/Slaughterhouse-Shocking-Inhumane-Treatment-Industry/dp/1591024501

 

56 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

For the people who support this, I'd suggest they not describe it as 'reducing your impact on the planet' which gets a response from a lot of people of 'who cares', but instead use a phrase that's more clearly negative about the benefits of doing so, such as 'preventing destruction of the climate', although ya, even that has too many saying who cares.

   

I suspect no matter which way it's said, the same people will scoff.  We know who they are.  And of course, the livestock and fast food industries will oppose any changes that might affect the quarterly bottom line.  They already lobby in Congress and make large campaign contributions to keep lawmakers in their pockets.                                                                     

 

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5 minutes ago, bludog said:

... <snip> ... the huge popularity of burger joints.  And the demand for (buffalo?!!) chicken wings.

 

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buffalo_wing

 

Called that because they were invented in Buffalo, NY.

 

Humans are omnivorous. We've been eating meat so long that it is part of our natural diet, and is good for us. Eating meat helped early humans develop larger brains than their ancestors.

 

But it isn't good for us in the quantities at which most Americans eat it (including me).

 

My brother is a PhD biologist. He will typically eat a big salad on which he sprinkles about an ounce or two of ground chicken. He says that that amount of meat per day is healthy.

 

Tomorrow morning we're going out for a late brunch, and I'm going to have liver and onions. Supper will be salmon patties and potato salad. Way more protein than I should be getting. But I like it.

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27 minutes ago, bludog said:

However, it is a matter of habit and nothing more.

 

That isn't correct though. Some things are habits - picking what to eat from things we're ok to eat, not eating some things - but disliking foods isn't that.

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13 hours ago, Craig234 said:

That isn't correct though. Some things are habits - picking what to eat from things we're ok to eat, not eating some things - but disliking foods isn't that.

 

I have found that what you eat/like is what you have become accustomed to.  Sure there are certain items for which there might be individual aversion. E.g., I don't really like apples.   But when it comes to broad categories of foods like meats, dairy, fish, grains, veggies and fruits, I believe it's a matter of habit.

 

In my twenties and early thirties, I ate lots of meat.  But in my mid thirties I switched over to mostly grains, veggies and fruits but still allowed myself eggs, cheese and fish in limited quantities.  Now, the bulk my diet consists of:---  Beans, corn, oatmeal, whole wheat, brown rice,  potatoes, nuts, carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, bananas, citrus fruits, especially grapefruit and melons.  In smaller quantities, I also allow myself, some eggs, yogurt, cheese, and sustainably wild-caught Alaskan salmon.  No beef, pork, mutton or poultry.

 

13 hours ago, laripu said:

Humans are omnivorous.

 

That means we can live on plants alone, meat alone, or a combination.  Bears, except for the Polar Bear, are also omnivorous.  There are populations that thrive without any meat at all and other groups that do well with lots of meat.

 

13 hours ago, laripu said:

We've been eating meat so long that it is part of our natural diet, and is good for us. Eating meat helped early humans develop larger brains than their ancestors.

 

Early humans often found themselves on the edge of starvation.  Meat, being a more concentrated source of nutrients and calories than a similar volume of plants, allowed for the development of larger brains at a time when there was evolutionary pressure on our species, for the development of better intelligence.  The death, on average, of less intelligent individuals before they could reproduce was the key factor.  There is no evidence that other species with high meat diets develop bigger brains.

 

The situation today is quite different and most Americans are not calorie-deficient ...  Just the opposite.  Meat is no longer necessary ...  Only traditional.  And an ingrained habit in many.

 

But the planet-wide benefits of weaning ourselves from meat are enormous, as laid out in the OP.

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I have a friend whose nephew ate nothing but hamburgers, sandwiched in buns, with ketchup, and beer, morning, noon and night.  Then I didn't see him for about four years.  When I met him again, he had blown up to such a state of obesity that I didn't recognize him.  And aptly, he had become a professional butcher.

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I like this thread bludog! 

The idea of resource, and how much is required to produce a pound of meat. You need to produce what animals need to eat, mostly wheat, and of course lots of water and nowadays fossil fuels mostly. Then there is the methane gas that say cows emit from both sides. 

I have been a vegetarian, but not a vegan for almost a decade now and I can say I really don't miss meat. But that's me. What we need  to do is understand the mix and reduce at least

part of the amount we now consume. When I say we, I mean literally all humans. 

Another thing that would make a lot of sense is to take half the land on Earth, and just leave it alone. This is what Edward O.Wilson recommends. 

 

https://www.audubon.org/magazine/september-october-2015/eo-wilson-wants-us-leave-half-earth

 

Peace!

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Take an average American that might vote Democrat, and tell them that the agenda of the left is to make everyone vegetarian, and they'll never vote Democrat again.

 

Think about cultural sensitivity. The hamburger is part, an important part, of American culture. You have to be sensitive to this culture too. Don't ask typical Americans to give up burgers or you'll lose them forever. Or steak. Or crawfish in Louisiana. Or pork in China.

 

I'm not saying that your assertions are wrong, just that they're unacceptable in this country.

 

If you want people to eat much much less meat, conversion will have to be slow and seen - by them - to be to their benefit by taste, not health. 

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28 minutes ago, laripu said:

Take an average American that might vote Democrat, and tell them that the agenda of the left is to make everyone vegetarian, and they'll never vote Democrat again.

 

Think about cultural sensitivity. The hamburger is part, an important part, of American culture. You have to be sensitive to this culture too. Don't ask typical Americans to give up burgers or you'll lose them forever. Or steak. Or crawfish in Louisiana. Or pork in China.

 

I'm not saying that your assertions are wrong, just that they're unacceptable in this country.

 

If you want people to eat much much less meat, conversion will have to be slow and seen - by them - to be to their benefit by taste, not health. 

the same could be said with shutting down the huge patent rights that pharmaceutical company's are granted. What you'll get is the people who say, hell no, they ain't taking my meat and potato, minus the potato; no include a sliver of potato, got to have that. Pretty soon the beef industry will go crazy nuts on your ideals regarding even just a  small sliver of reduction

regarding meat. Just like the NRA goes ape like nuts. No you can't have any regulation. Soon they'll take all your guns. 

 

It would take a more subtle approach requiring inventive industries fostering new vegetarian foods that are good tasting and extremely healthy to boot. Then, you see all these healthy people, the mover's and shakers of society choosing to eat mostly vegetarian foods. You got to fool them into it.

 

It's kind of like Mark Twain's character Tom Sawyer, where he makes white washing the picket fence seem almost like a holiday to his buds. "Not everyday you get to white wash a fence."

Er, something like that anyways. The point being, be creative.

 

Peace!

 

 

 

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57 minutes ago, laripu said:

Take an average American that might vote Democrat, and tell them that the agenda of the left is to make everyone vegetarian, and they'll never vote Democrat again.

 

Think about cultural sensitivity. The hamburger is part, an important part, of American culture. You have to be sensitive to this culture too. Don't ask typical Americans to give up burgers or you'll lose them forever. Or steak. Or crawfish in Louisiana. Or pork in China.

 

I'm not saying that your assertions are wrong, just that they're unacceptable in this country.

 

If you want people to eat much much less meat, conversion will have to be slow and seen - by them - to be to their benefit by taste, not health. 

 

If you just did it that way, it'd be a political disaster - a lot of idiots lost their minds over curly light bulbs that were better.

 

But there's no point in Democrats winning if they don't support good policies - and that means looking at both the right policy on food and how to get public support for it.

 

There is one side that has a few people who profit greatly from selling meat, and they are happy to not tell the American people anything about why that might not be a good idea, and just take the money. In fact, they'll even pass laws making saying critical things about beef a crime - ask Oprah. Ag Gag laws.

 

But the point of democracy is for people to be informed - first amendment, freedom of the press to tell the people why a policy is good and change their mind and strike down those ag gag laws - and for the people to be able to then support good government policies.

Rationally, the best policy might not be politically acceptable - I've read that insects are a VERY good food to farm nutritionally and for the environment and they could cure world hunger. I don't want to eat that. That's politically impractical for a long time here - I have to think I'd break the law if that were the choice.

 

But you shouldn't just give up because the immediate response to a better policy is negative. That's the point of the political system to do better than that.

 

Otherwise you might as well just have two parties and call them Yin and Yang and pick their policies by flipping coins and say it doesn't matter who wins, but fight for the team you picked anyway!

The way to do this is to:

 

- Identify the best policy options

- Do market research into what can be sold politically

- Create a marketing campaign to sell it

- Decide whether it should be more or less of a focus in the campaign - if it sells well as a policy for winning votes, run on it; if not, have it as a less prominent policy (but don't mislead people, like Republicans lie about their real plans - if it's THAT bad politically you might have to hold off doing it and make a longer term plan).

- Determine the time frame that works. Is this a fast education campaign for immediate implementation, or will it take years? Does a phased plan make sense (very likely in this case)?

 

I guess we could take issues such as car safety or air pollution.

The private industry was happy making cars without safety features and with high pollution. Cheaper and more profitable, and if you wanted to be some liberal, sorry, the competition would take advantage and put you out of business. So just don't rock the boat.

 

Those were good fits for a government role - research the topics, recognize better options, and make them laws. Require changes to cars that were gradual enough to be practical, and build public support for them with education.

And frankly, the government isn't actually doing well enough at the education part - millions of lives have been saved by government-required safety improvements and lives have also been saved by the air improvement - but many people don't hear about that and it's let Republicans have the political leeway to start rolling pollution standards back.

 

Hell, they had a hard enough time with squiggly light bulbs. I was replacing light bulbs sometimes in WEEKS until I got squiggly ones - they lasted a decade or more. I went to the market to replace one after a decade, and found they don't exist anymore - now they've been made to look more like 'old' light bulbs and I wonder if that's the reason.

 

One more thing - a policy does need to respect people's freedoms and balance benefits with that. Cigarettes are still a legal choice - arguable if that's a good idea - but an example how government has balanced the research and education - warning labels, ads, and so on - with freedoms.

 

The challenges are more when there are distortions for corrupt  reasons. For example, people who profit from polluting energies are able to dump the costs of the harm on the public and pocket the profits, instead of having their dirty product accurately priced, because they donate to politicians to get that benefit.

 

Maybe a burger should cost twice as much to better reflect the actual cost and that would have some of the benefits needed without any other laws. Of course that raises the question of fixing issues by punishing people with less - like solving traffic with big tolls - and that raises the issues around income inequality.

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10 hours ago, bludog said:

 

I have found that what you eat/like is what you have become accustomed to.  Sure there are certain items for which there might be individual aversion. E.g., I don't really like apples.   But when it comes to broad categories of foods like meats, dairy, fish, grains, veggies and fruits, I believe it's a matter of habit.

 

In my twenties and early thirties, I ate lots of meat.  But in my mid thirties I switched over to mostly grains, veggies and fruits but still allowed myself eggs, cheese and fish in limited quantities.  Now, the bulk my diet consists of:---  Beans, corn, oatmeal, whole wheat, brown rice,  potatoes, nuts, carrots, broccoli, kale, spinach, onions, bananas, citrus fruits, especially grapefruit and melons.  In smaller quantities, I also allow myself, some eggs, yogurt, cheese, and sustainably wild-caught Alaskan salmon.  No beef, pork, mutton or poultry.

 

 

That means we can live on plants alone, meat alone, or a combination.  Bears, except for the Polar Bear, are also omnivorous.  There are populations that thrive without any meat at all and other groups that do well with lots of meat.

 

 

Early humans often found themselves on the edge of starvation.  Meat, being a more concentrated source of nutrients and calories than a similar volume of plants, allowed for the development of larger brains at a time when there was evolutionary pressure on our species, for the development of better intelligence.  The death, on average, of less intelligent individuals before they could reproduce was the key factor.  There is no evidence that other species with high meat diets develop bigger brains.

 

The situation today is quite different and most Americans are not calorie-deficient ...  Just the opposite.  Meat is no longer necessary ...  Only traditional.  And an ingrained habit in many.

 

But the planet-wide benefits of weaning ourselves from meat are enormous, as laid out in the OP.

 

Great post!

 

The reason for the increase is the because it is much more difficult to raise or hunt an animal for food, rather than just going to the store.  My grandmother grew up on a farm and said that people wouldn't eat as much chicken if they had to chase it around a yard, lop it's head off, and then spend an hour plucking feathers.  

 

I am mostly vegetarian.  I usually only eat meat when I go to a restaurant for breakfast.  A few pieces of bacon a couple times per month is a small cheat.

 

When my daughters were growing up in the 80's, we were completely vegan because of all the food allergies.  Now that was work.  No ready access to all the vegan foods that we find in the stores now.  I made my own soymilk, tofu, and burgers from dried soybeans.  It was a 3 hour round trip to get organic bread.  I had to buy a couple months bread, and then freeze it away.   I made my own granola. Convincing a 6 year old to eat umeboshi paste on her corn on the cob because she was allergic to dairy, was not easy. Popcorn with brewer's yeast for snack.

 

The most important thing I noticed about my vegan kids is that they all have perfect teeth.  They are in their 40's and have perfect teeth.  No cavities.

 

I don't drink dairy.  My morning coffee has pea protein drink in it.  But I do use some butter and cheese.  Not much.  About a pound each per month.  I buy 1 dozen organic eggs per month from a local grower.  I love shrimp, but only buy U.S. shrimp.  Since it costs a fortune, I can only eat shrimp scampi as a treat.

 

I try to make as light a footprint as I can.  

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, laripu said:

Take an average American that might vote Democrat, and tell them that the agenda of the left is to make everyone vegetarian, and they'll never vote Democrat again.

 

Think about cultural sensitivity. The hamburger is part, an important part, of American culture. You have to be sensitive to this culture too. Don't ask typical Americans to give up burgers or you'll lose them forever. Or steak. Or crawfish in Louisiana. Or pork in China.

 

I'm not saying that your assertions are wrong, just that they're unacceptable in this country.

 

If you want people to eat much much less meat, conversion will have to be slow and seen - by them - to be to their benefit by taste, not health. 

 

Nobody is trying to force anybody to do anything against their will. 

 

It is an information campaign to reduce the amount of meat people are eating.  Most people are reducing their meat consumption for health reasons. 

 

 

 

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On 6/2/2018 at 1:10 AM, bludog said:

However, it is a matter of habit and nothing more.  And one habit can be replaced by another.

 

It is a matter of culture, not merely habit. Turkey at Thanksgiving, ham at Christmas, backyard BBQ with the extended family, cookouts at the beach, burgers in summer camp. My Mom made roast chicken and fries every Saturday at lunch (when I was a child), and the whole family was together. Many other families have a special weekly meal that includes meat. Asking people to give that up is like asking them to give up Mom.

 

You can't replace a cultural expression with a different cultural expression any more than than you can make a sincere worshipping Catholic into a Muslim. It will not only be rejected, it will provoke rejection of everything that comes along with it.

 

The vote of the religious right, since the 70s, was lost for cultural reasons. A lot more people eat meat than hate gays. If not eating meat becomes part of the platform on the left, the Democrats will be down to their core base of 20%. And most of that 20% will still eat meat, but hide it from their friends on the left when they do.

 

If you want 75% of the population to believe that social security and Medicare equal communism (instead of the current small number), then tell them that social security and medicare go along with vegetarianism.

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52 minutes ago, laripu said:

 

It is a matter of culture, not merely habit. Turkey at Thanksgiving, ham at Christmas, backyard BBQ with the extended family, cookouts at the beach, burgers in summer camp. My Mom made roast chicken and fries every Saturday at lunch (when I was a child), and the whole family was together. Many other families have a special weekly meal that includes meat. Asking people to give that up is like asking them to give up Mom.

 

You can't replace a cultural expression with a different cultural expression any more than than you can make a sincere worshipping Catholic into a Muslim. It will not only be rejected, it will provoke rejection of everything that comes along with it.

 

The vote of the religious right, since the 70s, was lost for cultural reasons. A lot more people eat meat than hate gays. If not eating meat becomes part of the platform on the left, the Democrats will be down to their core base of 20%. And most of that 20% will still eat meat, but hide it from their friends on the left when they do.

 

If you want 75% of the population to believe that social security and Medicare equal communism (instead of the current small number), then tell them that social security and medicare go along with vegetarianism.

 

There isn't any platform anywhere.  It is just people making decisions about their health FOR THEMSELVES.  

 

NOBODY IS MAKING ANYONE DO ANYTHING.

 

People want to eat healthier.  The information is out there that a diet heavy in animal protein is unhealthy for both us and the planet.  Everyone can make those choices based on the information.  

 

BTW, just because a heavy diet of animal protein is part of YOUR cultural norm doesn't mean it is everybody's cultural norm, or even an American standard.  I grew up on a southern diet of cornbread, vegetables, and meat used only for seasoning for vegetables.

 

 

 

 

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4 hours ago, laripu said:

It is a matter of culture, not merely habit.

 

Tradition is cultural habit.  Types of food traditionally eaten are one of the more material, shallower aspects of culture, which can and should change when they are no longer adaptable for a healthy planet.  Eliminate meats and the family can still gather together and renew their bond over a tasty, beautifully prepared, vegan meal.  Tradition can still be observed in the same way, except with plant-derived foods instead of animal flesh.

 

16 hours ago, laripu said:

Think about cultural sensitivity. The hamburger is part, an important part, of American culture. You have to be sensitive to this culture too. Don't ask typical Americans to give up burgers or you'll lose them forever. Or steak. Or crawfish in Louisiana. Or pork in China.

 

Since the fate of humanity and the entire animal kingdom hangs in the balance, great cultural sensitivity will need to be employed in the coming battle to enlighten the world population about the importance of eliminating meat from the human diet.

 

Because it turns out that converting the world to a vegan diet is far more important even, than phasing out the burning of fossil fuels.  The environmental impact of reducing farmland by 75% would save many species by restoring habitat.  And it would have a major favorable effect, not just on greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water conservation.  The environmentally beneficial effects of converting to vegan are far bigger than cutting down on your flights or buying an electric car.  An additional benefit will be the elimination of the ongoing abuse and cruelty of intelligent animals like pigs and cattle ...  Their horrible, confined lives and abject fear at the slaughter.

 

In addition to cultural traditions, we will be up against the entire livestock industry, from ranchers to stockyards to slaughterhouses, all fighting for their financial continuance.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, laripu said:

If you want 75% of the population to believe that social security and Medicare equal communism (instead of the current small number), then tell them that social security and medicare go along with vegetarianism.

 

This unlikely scenario would be the opposite of how to convince the public that plants are better food than animals.  Why would anyone against the consuming of animal flesh pursue such a self-defeating tactic?  Vegan lifestyles must be sold on their merits:---   New research shows that failure to convert the world to a plant-based diet, will result in environmental catastrophe.  But converting the world to a plant-based diet will reap future rewards for the world, thought to be unobtainable, until recently.

 

========================================================================================================================

 

What if good friends or relatives invited you and your wife to a non-traditional, vegan dinner.  Would you turn them down in revulsion and disapproval?  What if the dinner turned out to be artfully prepared, tasty and satisfying.  And then, after dinner, your friends discussed their reasons for switching to vegan.  Would you be offended?

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15 hours ago, TheOldBarn said:

Another thing that would make a lot of sense is to take half the land on Earth, and just leave it alone. This is what Edward O.Wilson recommends. 

 

https://www.audubon.org/magazine/september-october-2015/eo-wilson-wants-us-leave-half-earth

 

Given human nature as it currently stands, Wilson's half-Earth idea, as laudable as it is, will probably never come to fruition.  In the future however, people's sensibilities are capable of change.  Teddy Roosevelt, among others, created national parks and much of the world followed.  And now, virtually every one of those parks is under assault by poachers, developers and drilling and mining interests.

 

There is another way however.  I have, for long, been associated with The Nature Conservancy:---     https://www.nature.org/about-us/?redirect=https-301&amp;sitelinks=LearnMoreAboutTNC&amp;src=sea.AWP&amp;gclid=CjwKCAjwo87YBRBgEiwAI1LkqVKcP0fjxRleRu5b7qRIbuc4CwGULswokLOBlLJoQ_8XS4Za0xXuDRoCFcsQAvD_BwE

 

One of the things they do is buy land which then, cannot be exploited or developed.  They team with individuals interested in protecting wild lands.  And they conduct science with the aim of conserving natural environments.

 
Acquiring Land

In the United States, The Nature Conservancy uses land acquisition as a principal tool of its conservation effort. The Conservancy has helped protect approximately 21 million acres in the United States and more than 103 million globally. We currently own nearly 2 million acres in the US and hold more than 3 million acres in conservation easements in the US.

Outside the U.S., the Conservancy does not generally acquire land for its own protection but instead works with local communities and national governments to encourage the protection of ecologically-sensitive land.

 

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4 hours ago, laripu said:

The vote of the religious right, since the 70s, was lost for cultural reasons. A lot more people eat meat than hate gays. If not eating meat becomes part of the platform on the left, the Democrats will be down to their core base of 20%. And most of that 20% will still eat meat, but hide it from their friends on the left when they do.

 

Is the Democratic Party to become the party of Ostriches, burying our heads in the sand, for fear of Republican disinformation?  We've already nearly given up on the economic inequality front.  Are we now to surrender on this even more important issue of our times?  By that metric, we should also give up on civil rights for minorities and LGBT, as well.  I say no.  We need to be the party of truth and justice and the common good;  Not the other party of the plutocracy.

 

Religion goes a lot deeper than choice of foods.  It is difficult to convince people of the reality of climate change because of how gradually it takes place ...  And also because climate has changed, by itself, more than once, in the recent past.    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

 

It should be far easier to convince people to change their diets, since effects of the livestock industry like changes in acidification, eutrophication, and the depletion of water tables are observable and measurable.  Every rancher has seen it for themselves.  And they happen in a much shorter time frame than climate change, clearly connected to animal husbandry.    Also, the vast space efficiencies of plant farming over raising livestock are so clearly demonstrable that almost anyone can understand.  Scientists hired to spout disinformation about meat production would have a much harder time convincing people than fake climate scientists.

 

That said, people will surely resist ...  Especially when prodded by the Right Wing Noise Machine, including their politicians.  It may eventually become necessary to place punitive taxes on meat and meat products, just like there is on alcohol and tobacco now; both vegetable products.  Or, given the graveness of the situation tax meat even higher.

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2 hours ago, bludog said:

In addition to cultural traditions, we will be up against the entire livestock industry, from ranchers to stockyards to slaughterhouses, all fighting for their financial continuance.

 

This ties in with inequality and economics.

Think about the massive industry of beef and pork (60% of all animals on the planet are now livestock) - the chicken and pig operations, largely in the south. The massive pollution they create, all that waste.

Why do people put up with it? When there aren't many jobs and those places are the ones that bring money in -- people can see them as needed.

 

Imagine those people had a 'basic wage' income or other ways to get income where they could support getting rid of the meat industry - that would change a lot.

 

It's like the appeal to 'coal workers' - it's not that the people are really crazy about the idea of the problems coal causes. It's that coal is seen as an almost romantic income for them.

Praising coal is showing concern for them. If they had other income, they wouldn't need to protect the idea of coal as much.

 

Any changes like this that disrupt large industries are going to run into resistance not only by the owners but by people benefiting economically in the region.

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Nature Conservancy does a great thing buying land, but I have to wonder how much of the need can be helped that way - that's a hell of a lot of money, and a company that can profit from the land can pay a lot more than a charity for it.

 

Eventually, as population grows and development grows, the pressure even on such purchased land I'd think could cause it to be taken back under eminent domain, a power in the constitution and now expanded to include private development.

This is a hard issue for conservation - forests are being destroyed for local economics, and however much the world wants to say 'preserve the nature and the animals', the local people pay the price for not developing any area.

 

This was really seen in Haiti, where the people were so poor they'd burn the trees for some charcoal as something they could make a few pennies from -  and there were almost no trees left in Haiti, causing them a lot of other problems.

 

171110c-haiti.jpg

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15 hours ago, LoreD said:

try to make as light a footprint as I can.

 

This is what everyone should be doing.  There are so many ways to lighten one's impact on the environment without giving up anything worthwhile.

http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/before-the-flood/articles/14-easy-ways-to-reduce-your-own-carbon-footprint/

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38 minutes ago, bludog said:

 

Is the Democratic Party to become the party of Ostriches, burying our heads in the sand, for fear of Republican disinformation?  We've already nearly given up on the economic inequality front.  Are we now to surrender on this even more important issue of our times?  By that metric, we should also give up on civil rights for minorities and LGBT, as well.  I say no.  We need to be the party of truth and justice and the common good;  Not the other party of the plutocracy.

 

This is an ongoing challenge for parties. I include the Republicans mainly for the almost theoretical Republican who might want to do the right thing.

The easy approach for them is to do what voters want to get elected. If voters are racist, you're racist. If voters want squiggly light bulbs banned, you want squiggly light bulbs banned.

 

This is why the right-wing noise machine is so important, because it's up to voters which issues to prioritize voting on, but if a Democrat saying 'civil rights, world peace, protecting the environment' is running against a Republican who says 'what matters is the new commie squiggly light bulbs and Muslim terrorists who want to kill you' but voters hear them a hundred times more than the Democrat, voters tend to say 'I'm voting for the guy who will get rid of these commie squiggly light bulbs and keep us from harm from the Muslims'. It's pretty close to buy elections, it's buying public opinion and which issues the 'retail politics' campaigns have decided to use to win the election. And sadly that's not changing soon.

 

I think this is why Democrats tend to do better when there's a backlash issue. Something the Republicans have a harder time planning for - the widespread disgust with Republicans after Watergate giving us one term of Democrats, the Great Recession in 2008 and the Iraq War going so badly helping give us Obama.


And even THEN we've been getting 'centrist' Democrats with plenty of corporate backing since after Reagan, and the elections have not been landslides for them.

 

Republicans helped a bit by giving us pretty bad nominees - Sarah Palin, Mitt Romney. And George Bush who lost, but not by enough. As bad as he was, he was still president with the help of that propaganda machine.

 

Some of what this means is that politicians do have to choose some between the 'right thing' when it's not what voters want, and getting votes - and for Democrats that means good policies so it's pretty much their issue, while for Republicans it means plutocratic policies voters don't want.

That's why while the Republican tax cuts gave 83% of the cuts to the top 1%, they still gave a tiny cut to 'everyone' so it could be sold as 'tax relief for the people'. Hell, the Koch brothers just ran an thanking a Democrat for voting for bank deregulation by saying she had saved 'Main Street' (the bill redefined 'small banks' exempt from regulation to include very large banks).

 

My point is, Democrats do need to consider the politics of the voters - why is the US still not using the metric system like the rest of the world, after Carter started to push it?

 

I think JFK was something of a model on this and doesn't get much credit for it. He ran as a cold warrior when the politics demanded that, but pursued peace, having to balance the conflict; he ran in a country opposed to change on civil rights, a racist country, where the southern Democrats said they would kill his entire legislative agenda if he pushed civil rights, and he had to balance that, also. So he did not push civil rights early on - yet polls showed 50% of the country thought he was moving 'too fast' on civil rights. Here's how he commented on the issue at a press conference:

 

QUESTION: Mr. President, this is a related question. It is about the Gallup Poll. It has to do with a racial question. Agents of Dr. Gallup asked people this question: Do you think the Kennedy Administration is pushing integration too fast or not fast enough? Fifty percent replied that they thought you were pushing too fast. Would you comment?

THE PRESIDENT: No, I think probably he is accurate. The fact of the matter is this is not a matter on which you can take the temperature every week or two weeks or three weeks, depending on what the newspaper headlines must be. I think you must make a judgment about the movement of a great historical event which is taking place in this country after a period of time. You judged 1863 after a good many years, its full effect. I think we will stand, after a period of time has gone by. The fact is that same poll showed 40 percent or so thought it was more or less right. I thought that was rather impressing, because it is change; change always disturbs, and, therefore, I was surprised that there wasn't greater opposition. I think we are going at about the right tempo.

QUESTION: Mr. President, in a related area of civil rights, after the events in Alabama this week, we have the situation now where the schools have been desegregated in Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, practically all of the States of the Deep South. Do you have a feeling that perhaps a milestone has been reached in this area, or do you see a continued really step-by-step progress from one city to another?

THE PRESIDENT: Step-by-step, I would think. What is impressive, as I said, and I don't think we realize the full significance of it, is that most of the work really has been done by Southerners themselves. In the case of Alabama, the five Federal Judges who signed that order were all from Alabama, all grew up in Alabama, and I am sure shared the views of the majority of Alabamans who, I think, are not for desegregation, but, nevertheless, met their responsibilities under the law, which we are trying to do. And I think what has happened in South Carolina, Florida in the last few days, Georgia, I think it is an impressive story. It is slow, step-by-step, but it will continue that way. But this Nation is passing through a very grueling test, and with the exception of a few aberrations, I think we are meeting it. And I say "we" in the national sense. We, as a country, are doing quite well. We have to do better, but I think there is some cause for satisfaction in most of the events that happened in the last two weeks.

 

Democrats have to deal with the politics - and Kennedy did not have a Fox News constantly attacking him, a right-wing noise machine nearly like today - if he had, he'd have had some big problems trying to do what he did with the balancing.

Democrats need to consider how to do the education part and to lead public opinion - and to balance it with getting votes. They have enough right-wing attacks on things like 'transgender' issues, or Nancy Pelosi suddenly being a supporter of MS-13 because she said they are human.

That doesn't mean abandoning the issues - you saw my suggestion before though that it can mean having some Democrats who don't support all the right issues if voters demand that, because the most important thing is for more Democrats who oppose the plutocratic takeover of our government to win.

So we need to stop letting Republicans win elections because the Democrats only offer someone who is right, but unelectable - we need to make plutocracy the issue, because Republicans are winning by giving voters whatever they want on every issue but plutocracy - and even lying that it's Democrats supporting the 'special interests'.

So, I'd see this issue of decreasing meat likely more as an education issue, than as a campaign issue, if it's going to lose votes for a while.

 

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12 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

So we need to stop letting Republicans win elections because the Democrats only offer someone who is right, but unelectable - we need to make plutocracy the issue, because Republicans are winning by giving voters whatever they want on every issue but plutocracy - and even lying that it's Democrats supporting the 'special interests'.

 

It's been said "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em".   Well we've been joining 'em without beating 'em for a long time now.  I believe the correct strategy is to oppose them on their most vulnerable flank;  increasing economic inequality, the continuing enrichment of the plutocracy, and the shrinking middle class.  That's why I supported Bernie.  The Republican Party can be continually attacked on this because they are firmly committed and cannot change course.   At this point it is their reason for being

 

21 minutes ago, Craig234 said:

So, I'd see this issue of decreasing meat likely more as an education issue, than as a campaign issue, if it's going to lose votes for a while.

 

Supplanting meat with a plant-based diet, worldwide, is the #1 environmental issue.  Second is phasing out the burning of fossil fuels.  Third, controlling industrial pollution.  If the same adaptive abilities which brought our species to the present technological pinnacle, cannot bring our excesses under control, we may prove too little adaptive not to join the 99% of dead end species on the cladogram.  Our extinction might not be far off.

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28 minutes ago, bludog said:

Supplanting meat with a plant-based diet, worldwide, is the #1 environmental issue.  Second is phasing out the burning of fossil fuels.  Third, controlling industrial pollution.  If the same adaptive abilities which brought our species to the present technological pinnacle, cannot bring our excesses under control, we may prove too little adaptive not to join the 99% of dead end species on the cladogram.  Our extinction might not be far off.


I think liberals need to not claim the issue is the 'extinction' of the human race - I think it's far more likely that the effects will be the killing and misery of MUCH of the human race, but that the wealthy will not be going extinct. I think it's far more likely for a lot of people to be killed than for all people to be killed.

 

Claiming the issue is extinction actually has a bit of a perverse political problem in that people are more likely to think, 'well the wealthy aren't going to kill themselves off, so we don't need to worry that much about extinction' - whereas they can understand a lot better than the wealthy will kill off a lot of people who aren't.

 

Even if extinction is a possibility, it seems more effective to talk about the lesser stage before that of mass killing and misery. But as that happens and te population shrinks, I expect things would stabilize and the remaining people could consider it a great success - a bit like how the wealthy came out way ahead from the Great Recession.

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