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Thread: veganism in cold climates

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    kriz's Avatar
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    Default veganism in cold climates

    My very lovely relative in Norway does not support veganism in cold climates for environmental reasons. She belives it takes much more energy to ship vegetables, beans etc. across the globe than to raise farm animals. Transport causes more damage to the environment according to her.

    I explained that industrial farming and even ecological farming (in bigger scale) is bad for the environment, and in addition causing animals to suffer. Anyhow, she says it makes sense for me to be a vegan in California, where I'm able to find vegetables grown just around the corner, but I cannot use my environmental reasons in Scandinavia, only the health and animal suffering parts. Of course, I know what you guys think about eating animals in whatever climate - but what other argument would you use against people who justifies 'eating meat in the winter' because they're convinced it causes less damage to the ozone layer?
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

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    I would say - look into an animal's eyes and tell it about the Ozone Layer.

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    Re: PFC

    :P but how would her going and chatting to an animal about the ozone layer either answer her questions or show your stance on the matter ?

    With all due respect, if i were the relative in question and you said that to me as your response to what was asked, I'd think that you were either barking mad, or trying to avoid answering the question directly.

    To be honest, even I'm not sure what your point is ...
    I mean, after all transport uses petrol and causes pollution which contributes to enlarging the ozone hole, yes ?
    Her point is that extra transport leads to extra environmental damage...

    Or is your point that she should go and talk to animals about environmental problems like the ozone hole instead of discussing it with you ?
    :P I don;t think that's a very helpful or polite response, if this is the case, and it's likely to make her think that vegans are barmy and prefer to talk to animals than to other humans about things.

    Er... anyway, i don;t advise using that answer you suggested.
    I'm not trying to be belligerent or anything, i genuinely don;t have the faintest clue what you were trying to imply in your vague answer, and it seems to have a lot of negative connotations.


    Re: the Question being asked

    I live in the remote isles, in an area which is very close to Norway. The only way to get the vast majority of food on or off the isles is by boat, and a lot of it travels far by truck before then. Because of the way the corporate supply to the UK works a lot of food has also travelled from all corners of the globe even before all of this happening, so it does indeed travel far usually unless it is local.

    The biggest industry here is raising cows to be made into beef. The second biggest is commercial fish farming. For obvious reasons (involving the massive wastage of food through flesh production) , a lot of food must also be imported and shipped over to be fed to these creatures too.
    It will also come as little wonder to us here that despite the fact that it is technically possible for the islanders here to eat less flesh and sustain themselves with a few very small herds of cows fed with local grass they prefer to eat the 8-10 times inflated amount of flesh which can be provided through artificial methods - methods which include the aforementioned importing of grains, medicines for the animals etc.
    As a result, a lot of flesh also is shipped up to these isles generally is flesh made from the bodies of animals raised within factories, which are notorious for their environmental destruction etc.

    At any rate, much of the land here which could be used to grow crops is used simply to put cows on for them to graze... as a result, the natural soil erosion caused by the poor climate here is much exacerbated by the erosion caused by "livestock" grazing.... all the same, stuff which is pretty low-maintenance could still be grown even on many of the semi-ruined areas (ie turnips, carrots etc).

    You might also want to ask your relative what happens to the masses and masses of methane which the unnaturally swollen herds of cows in the world produce.... it is easy for people to think of it as "just a few cows farting" but actually the methane threat is becoming really rather critical these days and enslaved cows are a surprisingly big contributor towards damaging ozone gases !

    But yes, locally raised animals - what do they eat, what do they drink, where does that come from, what do they produce (ie toxic gases or excrement) and where does that go ? Where are they raised and what else could be grown there which would produce more food ?

    Does your friend consider the perpetuated perversion of species simply for humans to devour their flesh and no other reason not to be an environmental issue, ie maintaining "domesticated" species of animals which otherwise would be incapable of existing due to their unnatural upbringing and state (ie those unfortunate souls which are referred to by humans as "dairy cows" or "laying hens") - that is to say, how is her approach to environmental damage defined ?

    These are all important questions which you might be interested in discussing with your Norwegian friend.

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    My point is perfectly simple - there is no reason, and no excuse, for anyone to eat an animal. In fact even rearing animals for meat depletes the Ozone Layer. So, I am saying that the Ozone Layer is a poor excuse for flesh eating, and if I were an animal about to be eaten I would not be interested in hearing that argument, even if there were evidence to back it up.

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    Sometmes I say things to illustrate a point, not because I always expect people to take me literally. My point is - yes, Environmental Damage is a grave concern but not an excuse to sentence millions of innocent creatures to a life of torture and an agonising early Death. It's like someone saying 'War - go and ask that orphaned child lying in the Hospital bed in Iraq, see if he thinks it is necessary'. Sorry, I thought my point was quite obvious. I'll spell it out better, next time.

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    Does she think that animals eat air?

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    Yes, and animals are transported, too, plus their feed, etc. And then there's the gasses that the animals themselves expel, plus the noxious fumes from the slaughterhouses, tanneries, and meat production plants, not to mention all the water and energy used to power farm machinery and meat production.

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    Thank you guys for the feed back. My relative says she eats only organic Norwegian meat (I'm not sure it's 100%, though..) so therefore she claims to be more environmentally friendly than a vegan in the same region.... I'll keep reading your input. You're such an interesting and knowledgeable bunch.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

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    Quote PinkFluffyCloud
    I would say - look into an animal's eyes and tell it about the Ozone Layer.
    He, he, he...this is actually the types of comments we throw at each other sometimes.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

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    There is a connection between organic meat and apparent better treatment for the animals involved including slaughter and transport. I doubt that there would be much difference.

    As John points out - the animals are eathing something and if there are enough animals locally then there would be crops being imported; producing a very inefficient ratio of animal feed to 'animal product'. If the animals are eating exclusive local organic product then it is fair to assume that other crops would also be able to survive and produce a much better nutritional ratio of acreage to product as Astrocat points out.

    You might like to remind your relative that ruminant animals are having a susbtantial effect on the ozone through the release of methane which is ten times more active in destroying ozone molecules than carbon dioxide. Cow's also expell carbon dioxide whereas crops bind the carbon...
    "if compassion is extreme, then call me an extremist"

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    Astrocat - She only refers to depletion of the ozone layer caused by transporting all those veggies and nuts going to northern countries when she talks about environmental damage, nothing else. I don't know, but if people could stop buying all the non-essential crap, which have to be transported across the globe, it would improve our environment significantly. People in general have gadget mania. We have to slow down our consumerism over all, even food consumption. The western world are overfed and overcluttered. Our garages and storage spaces (not to mention houses) are so full of junk that we hire professional organizers to help us out. Actually, I think most vegans are very aware of what and how much they buy, so that in itself should be a good argument for vegan environmentalism.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

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    Thank you, vegan blue, I know you're right. The other day we drove by a place where cows are kept outside ("free range"!) and it might very well have been an organic farm, I'm not sure, but the stench was just unbearable!!. I've never smelled anything like it in my life. And there were thousands of cows, as far as the eye could see. I was inhaling toxic gases right there! I'm sure the land cannot be used for anything else in our lifetime, the soil must be completely destroyed.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

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    Quote PinkFluffyCloud
    Sometmes I say things to illustrate a point, not because I always expect people to take me literally. My point is - yes, Environmental Damage is a grave concern but not an excuse to sentence millions of innocent creatures to a life of torture and an agonising early Death. It's like someone saying 'War - go and ask that orphaned child lying in the Hospital bed in Iraq, see if he thinks it is necessary'. Sorry, I thought my point was quite obvious. I'll spell it out better, next time.
    PFC, I've noticed that on this forum, nobody seems to understand irony. Your illustration of an orphaned child is excellent, though unfortunately posters seem to take everything literally.
    Eve

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    Quote eve
    PFC, I've noticed that on this forum, nobody seems to understand irony. Your illustration of an orphaned child is excellent, though unfortunately posters seem to take everything literally.
    Maybe you and I are just a bit dry, eh, Eve?

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    Quote kriz
    My relative says she eats only organic Norwegian meat ( I'm not sure it's 100% true, though..) so therefore she claims to be more environmentally friendly than a vegan in the same region....
    Vegans normally say that even if animals are different from humans, a sheep is as 'important' - for itself - as a human is to itself, and even if we are different, the pain we feel, when we feel pain, is equally painful.

    There are many known environmental issues re. eating meat, including all the water factory farms use, not to mention all the food they eat (a lot more humans could have been fed on a given agricultural area if we would eat plant based food instead of having someone else eat plant based food and eat them afterwards). Talking of Norwegian meat, there have been several cases where the meat Norwegians believed to be local wasn't, but that's not a main issue here.... In country like Norway, which might be covered by snow several months every year, we can't grow food for the animals either. So they have to eat dried food, imported food or special food made for animals that are 'produced' for food. Since a cow would be lost in the cold snowy climate, it will be kept indoors for long periods, and might need supplements of B12 or vitamin D (it will get vit. D from sundried hay as well). Back to ethics: if we really respect that their life and pain is as 'important' to them as our lives is to us, I'd say that her commentaries would be either a good reason to move to a warmer climate, or to eat more dried/stored food in the cold periods.

    I've heard this comment before, and wonder if these people are equally worried about the environmental issues associated with the cotton, tea, rice, fruit and vegetables they eat in the winter months? Pretty much everything animals - or non-vegan humans - eat in the winter in countries like Norway, is either imported, dried/stored, or in some cases grown in greenhouses. For some funny reason (and I might know which ), non-vegans seem to be much more concerned about the plants vegans import when they live in cold climates, but not about all the imported orange juice, peanuts, chocolate, coffee, tobacco, wine, avocados, beans, clothes, cars TVs, radios, computers, CDs and cell phones they use every month of the year themselves...

    Norway is a special case: most people in Norway live in the Southern part of the country, from Oslo and southwards. Many so called 'ethical meat eaters' (I know....) eat rein deer meat. Do they realize that the areas where the rein deer live, is further away from Southern Norway than areas in Southern Europe, where they can grow vegan food in seasons (much earlier in the spring, much later in the fall) where Norwegians can't grow vegan food locally?

    We are not designed to live this far from Equator. If someone deals with this issue by eating animals, they ignore the fact that the life of a cow is as important for itself, as our lives are for us, and that the pain and frustration captured animals feel are as painful and frustrating as our own pain and frustrations are for us.

    http://www.vegforlife.org/earth.htm
    http://worldanimalfoundation.homeste...nvionment.html
    http://www.brook.com/veg/
    I will not eat anything that walks, swims, flies, runs, skips, hops or crawls.

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    Thanks, Korn. I have some very good stuff from all of you to show her now. I never thought about transporting meat from the northern part of Norway would probably require the same amount of fuel as transporting oranges and nuts from Spain. Norway is such a long country!
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

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    that is a wonderful comment pfc. how could anyone look into a helpless animals eyes and then eat him/her? animals dont understand what the ozone layer is therefor how in the world is that fair to them.
    "you dont have to be tall to see the moon" - african proverb

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    Thankyou, Foxy, my point exactly. Even if I thought it would repair every hole in the Ozone Layer right now, I could not condone eating a animal.

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    Quote PinkFluffyCloud
    Even if I thought it would repair every hole in the Ozone Layer right now, I could not condone eating a animal.
    Really? Well, I just might. One of the main reasons that I consider eating animals to be highly problematic is that, not only does eating them not repair any holes in the Ozone Layer, but it actually makes the problem worse. I guess I value the natural environment more than I value big brown eyes...

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    Quote Hasha
    Really? Well, I just might. One of the main reasons that I consider eating animals to be highly problematic is that, not only does eating them not repair any holes in the Ozone Layer, but it actually makes the problem worse. I guess I value the natural environment more than I value big brown eyes...
    Blimey, I'm stunned! I've never 'met' a Vegan before who would honestly say that! I haven't eaten meat for nearly 18 years, so I suppose it seems so unnatural now to think of animals as a source of food. To be completely honest, I have always loved animals more than anything else in the World, so if I had the choice between the sky falling in on me and killing/eating animals, I would have to stand back and watch the sky cave in.

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    Quote Hasha
    Really? Well, I just might. One of the main reasons that I consider eating animals to be highly problematic is that, not only does eating them not repair any holes in the Ozone Layer, but it actually makes the problem worse. I guess I value the natural environment more than I value big brown eyes...
    Depends on your perspetive, if it wasn't for humans desire to devour animal flesh, factory farming would not exist and there wouldn't be the numbers of farm animals contributing their methane to the destruction of the ozone layer. If people ate less dead animals, less animals would be bred and ultimately, the destruction of the ozone layer would lessen. That's how I see it.

    And I consider those big brown eyes an integral part of the natural environment .

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    Quote feline01
    Depends on your perspetive, if it wasn't for humans desire to devour animal flesh, factory farming would not exist and there wouldn't be the numbers of farm animals contributing their methane to the destruction of the ozone layer. If people ate less dead animals, less animals would be bred and ultimately, the destruction of the ozone layer would lessen. That's how I see it.

    And I consider those big brown eyes an integral part of the natural environment .
    Yes, it is the Natural Environment for ALL of us, man and beast.

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    I know that we are just being fanciful here but let's clarify what causes ozone depletion. The ozone layer is being depleted and that is resulting in a hole over the continent of Antarctica.

    Scientists believe that ozone depletion is caused by a family of synthetic chemicals called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). They are used as coolants for refrigerators and air conditioners; aerosol spray propellants; and as a component in foam packaging, home insulation, and upholstery. Less importantly, a chemical called halon is also thought to be responsible.

    On the other hand, we humans create ozone when exhaust --typically from cars and factories-- reacts with sunlight. Close to the ground this is bad and it creates smog. It is promoted by warm, dry weather and poor air circulation. It tends to be an urban problem but it can drift away from cities and damage vegetation.

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    Quote Hasha
    Really? Well, I just might. One of the main reasons that I consider eating animals to be highly problematic is that, not only does eating them not repair any holes in the Ozone Layer, but it actually makes the problem worse. I guess I value the natural environment more than I value big brown eyes...
    Now some of your previous posts make sense to me.

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    Quote feline01
    Depends on your perspetive, if it wasn't for humans desire to devour animal flesh, factory farming would not exist and there wouldn't be the numbers of farm animals contributing their methane to the destruction of the ozone layer. If people ate less dead animals, less animals would be bred and ultimately, the destruction of the ozone layer would lessen. That's how I see it.
    I couldn't agree more. My point is that if we have to choose between a certain number of animals and the natural environment, then it's better to choose the natural environment. In the end, not choosing the natural environment leads to the death of more animals later on, so in a sense, you didn't save much. Which, of course, does not mean that I see raising and then killing animals as being environment-friendly, far from it, in fact.

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    Quote Hasha
    I couldn't agree more. My point is that if we have to choose between a certain number of animals and the natural environment, then it's better to choose the natural environment. In the end, not choosing the natural environment leads to the death of more animals later on, so in a sense, you didn't save much. Which, of course, does not mean that I see raising and then killing animals as being environment-friendly, far from it, in fact.
    Yes, but that argument doesn't make any sense because most of the animals bred largely today are bred by humans anyway. So it just goes back to the argument FOR Veganism, doesn't it?

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    We humans got ourselves into the environmental mess we're in, now we have to find solutions. Eating animals will never be a solution, people just try to find any way that they can to justify their own flesh cravings.

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    Quote PinkFluffyCloud
    Yes, but that argument doesn't make any sense because most of the animals bred largely today are bred by humans anyway. So it just goes back to the argument FOR Veganism, doesn't it?
    Of course. What I was commenting on before was your belief/comment that even if eating animals were a solution to the problem of Ozone Layer destruction, you still wouldn't think that meat-eating is okay. That's where we differ. If eating animals were indeed the answer to the enormous environmental destruction, then I'd say okay, fine. But, given that meat-eating is part of the problem and certainly not a part of the solution, yes, we do go back to the argument for veganism. It's just more of an environment-based than a big-brown-eyes-based (i.e. individual-based) argument.

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    Quote Hasha
    Of course. What I was commenting on before was your belief/comment that even if eating animals were a solution to the problem of Ozone Layer destruction, you still wouldn't think that meat-eating is okay. That's where we differ. If eating animals were indeed the answer to the enormous environmental destruction, then I'd say okay, fine. But, given that meat-eating is part of the problem and certainly not a part of the solution, yes, we do go back to the argument for veganism. It's just more of an environment-based than a big-brown-eyes-based (i.e. individual-based) argument.
    Yeah, I see we are in agreement that meat-eating adds to the problems, I guess that is the basis for your Veganism? We just don't agree on the big-brown-eyes bit. I would actually have to chose to discontinue living rather than eat animals if it came down to it. I feel that strongly about it. Animals just aren't food in my vocabulary!

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    Actually, PFC, the basis for my veganism is rather heterogeneous, and it would be a distortion of reality (a distortion of reality on my part, I mean) to claim that it has nothing to do with big-brown-eyes. It's just that the environment-based argument seems like the most intellectually coherent one. Now, in the highly improbable case of someone actually managing to persuade me that meat-eating is the solution to the environmental mess that we got ourselves in, then yes, I would say, okay, fine. I would okay it, but not without distress. So in a sense, the environmental argument is my intellectual alibi for the emotional need to spare the big-brown-eyes, if that makes any sense... (But again, if killing a pair of big-brown-eyes now were a prerequisite for there being any big-brown-eyes at all tomorrow, I would say, okay, fine.)

    What all of this is really about is the individual vs. group/community issue. What happens when there is no room for everyone? What happens if you're faced with either sacrificing certain members of a given group, even though they did nothing in particular to deserve it, or refusing to hurt anyone and thereby letting the group, with all or almost all of its members die? The rational thing to do, in my opinion, is to sacrifice some in order to save the group. But that doesn't mean that there is nothing deeply disturbing about doing such a thing, even so disturbing that one would rather just decide to, even find it impossible not to decide to, sacrifice nobody, even if it means that everyone will thereby die...

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    Quote Hasha
    (snip) Now, in the highly improbable case of someone actually managing to persuade me that meat-eating is the solution to the environmental mess that we got ourselves in, then yes, I would say, okay, fine. I would okay it, but not without distress. (snip) The rational thing to do, in my opinion, is to sacrifice some in order to save the group. But that doesn't mean that there is nothing deeply disturbing about doing such a thing, even so disturbing that one would rather just decide to, even find it impossible not to decide to, sacrifice nobody, even if it means that everyone will thereby die...
    Wow, Hasha. Speaking just for myself, I'm afraid that if meat-eating really were the solution to our environmental mess, then sorry, I can't help the environmental mess, because eating animals is out of the question.

    As for rationalising sacrifice, sorry, once again, that's not my scene, though there's nothing stopping you from sacrificing yourself. (just being ironic)
    Eve

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    Quote eve
    As for rationalising sacrifice, sorry, once again, that's not my scene, though there's nothing stopping you from sacrificing yourself. (just being ironic)
    Ironic? No, you're absolutely right. That's the thing. Sacrificing members of a certain group in order to save the group. Sure, it's rational. And if I were God, I would, with tears brought to my eyes by the suffering of my creation, kill so that the creation as a whole would go on existing. But, given that I'm not God, how can I decide to sacrifice anyone else? First of all, I don't have the power to do so, and if I did, would I really be trying to save the group or trying to save myself? Surely, the only honest thing I can do is to sacrifice myself and hope that enough others will follow my example...

    Except, it doesn't really work that way, does it?

    I guess what happens in reality is that, neither is there a God/man-playing-God who can calculate how many individuals need to be eliminated and then eliminating them according to a rational plan for the altruistic benefit of the group, nor are enough individuals willing to just sacrifice themselves. What happens is that you have too many individuals who simply cannot be eliminated in any 'rational' way, and then an even greater number ends up dying from starvation/disease/etc. brought about by the size of the population.

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    Though, I might add, humans have in relation to members of other species indeed played God. Except that we are of course not God, and we can't just pull off anything that we might like to be able to pull off. Hence the mess that we are in right now.

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    Well, if we're being 'rational' about it, I would say - 'get rid of the members of the community who cause the pollution' - i.e humans. Not that I am suggesting killing off the human race, but why on Earth should animals suffer for our folly?

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    Quote PinkFluffyCloud
    Well, if we're being 'rational' about it, I would say - 'get rid of the members of the community who cause the pollution' - i.e humans. Not that I am suggesting killing off the human race, but why on Earth should animals suffer for our folly?
    Again, if I were God...

    At any rate, I think that we (humans) will face some serious (i.e. massive & violent) dying in the near future, due to the fact that we will soon have used up some resources (in particular: oil) vital for the survival of the staggeringly high number of humans currently inhabiting this all-too-finite planet. Not something that I'm looking forward to, I might add, especially given that I see absolutely no reason to assume that I will be among the lucky survivors. Plus, I don't for a minute think that the 'innocent' (i.e. non-humans) will be spared.

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    Agreed, again! This is why we need to embrace Veganism on a large scale, NOW!

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    i consider animals to be part of the natural environment...

    Quote Hasha
    What happens if you're faced with either sacrificing certain members of a given group, even though they did nothing in particular to deserve it, or refusing to hurt anyone and thereby letting the group, with all or almost all of its members die? The rational thing to do, in my opinion, is to sacrifice some in order to save the group. But that doesn't mean that there is nothing deeply disturbing about doing such a thing, even so disturbing that one would rather just decide to, even find it impossible not to decide to, sacrifice nobody, even if it means that everyone will thereby die...
    i would refuse to hurt anyone and let the whole group die. i wouldnt beable to look into an animals eyes and say im sorry and then slaughter it.
    "you dont have to be tall to see the moon" - african proverb

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    To get back to the 'veganism in cold climates' issue, I believe that if a tiny fraction of the resources put into animal farming, their housing, medicines, feedstuffs, the machinery, transportation, slaughterhouse and refrigeration technology required, etc. etc., was diverted to plant raising technologies, then a wide range vegan foodstuffs could actually be produced locally in colder climates. After all, the Victorians had heated greenhouses producing pineapples etc. in the UK in the 19th century, before the development of plastics. And, Astrocat, I recently read an article about a man in Scotland, I think it was the Orkneys, producing strawberries in polytunnels, so Scottish local produce would definitely not have to be limited to root crops!

    With artificial lighting and modern materials, theoretically it should be possible to grow most plants anywhere. Greenhouses could be heated and lit using renewable energy sources, geothermal power, biomass, hydropower or wind turbines.

    And when it comes to transportation, our present dependance on state-subsidised aeroplanes is chronically unsustainable. But environmentally friendly air transport is also possible. Hopefully, the current research into lighter-than-air transport will lead to the development of cargo airships, which would be far more fuel-efficient than planes. After all, in the 1930s, the Graf Zeppelin was making regular trans-atlantic trips, carrying passengers and mail to Lakehurst and Rio de Janiero from Germany.

    Airships got a bad name after the Hindenburg disaster, but that was caused by hydrogen being used as lifting gas instead of the safe, inert gas, helium, which the Hindenburg was designed for. But helium was only available from the US, and ultimately, they wouldn't allow it to be sold to the Zeppelin corporation, because of the pre-war situation. So this is another example of a potentially environmentally-friendly technology which will benefit enormously from the recent huge advances that have been made in materials and design technologies, such as computer-control, photovoltaics, fuel cells, biodiesel, etc.

    As the environmental imperative inevitably becomes increasingly acute, the technologies which could potentially support veganism globally will emerge, to satisfy the growing demand for healthy, sustainable and peaceful lifestyles.
    once in a while you can get shown the light
    in the strangest of places if you look at it right

  39. #39
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    And think what fun it would be to glide silently around the world, just above the oceans, watching whales and dolphins migrating, while transporting some of those tasty, hard-to-grow tropical fruit treats, brazil nuts or whatever!

    The Hindenburg had viewing balconies on either side and a restaurant, which of course, in my future fantasy, would serve an appetising selection of vegan delicacies throughout the awesome voyage!
    once in a while you can get shown the light
    in the strangest of places if you look at it right

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    Oh, and I forgot to mention plant breeding, which means that more and more varieties of plants can now be grown in climates which were once considered 'unsuitable' for them. For example, the Agroforestry Research Trust has varieties of nut trees adapted to the British climate, and soya beans are now being grown here organically, when 20 years ago that wasn't possible.
    once in a while you can get shown the light
    in the strangest of places if you look at it right

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    I must admit, I like your dreams kokopelli!
    On the great airs ships; Helium is a non-renewable resource and may oneday soon be so scarce that it will be so valuable we will look back on our floating balloon days and funny voices with amazed wonder.
    "if compassion is extreme, then call me an extremist"

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    Actually helium is continually being produced by radioactive decay in the earth's crust, and can be recovered from the air and gas fields.

    And airships would be an excellent way of conserving helium, now that virtually non-permeable plastics are available...simultaneously conserving fuel by providing lift energy...the ultimate technology of levity.

    The old airships definitely weren't vegan because in some of them the gas bags were made from 'goldbeaters' skin', layers of cow intestine. Although Zeppelins were made from lightweight double-layer Egyptian cotton with an impermeable rubber layer sandwiched between.

    It's not so much a dream, more a creative practical solution to our present transportation problems. It's minimalist and peaceful, like veganism. And there are currently several different companies producing airships, including a resurrected Zeppelin company in Germany.

    People need to IMAGINE a peaceful future, before they can begin to realise it.
    once in a while you can get shown the light
    in the strangest of places if you look at it right

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    Quote Hasha
    At any rate, I think that we (humans) will face some serious (i.e. massive & violent) dying in the near future, due to the fact that we will soon have used up some resources (in particular: oil) vital for the survival of the staggeringly high number of humans currently inhabiting this all-too-finite planet. Not something that I'm looking forward to, I might add, especially given that I see absolutely no reason to assume that I will be among the lucky survivors. Plus, I don't for a minute think that the 'innocent' (i.e. non-humans) will be spared.
    I'm sure you are right, Hasha, despite those who are visualising floating around in helium balloons! Human beings just love looking on the bright side and assuming that 'scientists' will solve the planet's problems. Well, I don't think so. However, when oil reserves run out etc, I won't be here to see what happens.
    Eve

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    Well, if everyone assumed the world is doomed, there would absolutely be NO CHANCE of any positive changes being made. So get down in your bunkers and hope to be among the 'lucky' (???) survivors.

    I'm a vegan because I believe peaceful co-existence is possible. To me, being a vegan and bringing up my children as vegans is a continuous demonstration of this possibility, one which I know affects other people around me, because it proves that no-one needs to kill to live, at any stage of their lives. I have seen people become veg*ns and reduce their consumption of animal products, and then go on to influence more people to change. That's why I believe change can be EXPONENTIAL, in other words, the rate of change will increase over time.

    We are developing vegan agricultural and technical solutions, and I'm glad that there ARE some scientists and technologists who are engineering solutions to the energy crisis. For example, we have found a 100% biodiesel supplier near us, and will now be able to run our tractor on recycled cooking oil. We have planted coppice woodland to run our cooking stove, which also heats our water, which we collect from our roof. These are all technical solutions which can be put to use wherever they're appropriate. Our next project will be to install a micro-hydropower plant.

    I know you've travelled, Eve, so you must realise that aeroplanes are the fastest-growing threat to the atmosphere. Airships could allow people the luxury of air travel, with a fraction of the harmful emissions caused by planes. I think it's a hopeful sign that they are being redeveloped, for a multitude of uses, such as coastal patrol, forestry and delivering goods to isolated communities as well as passenger transport.

    I'm grateful to all the people out there who are working for change, however gloomy the outlook appears. Discouragement and resignation certainly won't transform the world.

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    Who would've picked lighter than air balloons for the "Oh no, it's not vegan" thread! There is so much to look out for when there are so many alternatives. I didn't know, thankyou.

    I was under the impression that helium is currently sourced from natural gas and pockets but also felt that there was not much remaining on Earth due to it's low atomic weight. A bit of web digging found the following.
    Here is a brief summary of the isolation of helium
    There is very little helium on earth as nearly all present during and immediately after the earth's formation has long since been lost as it is so light. Just about all the helium remaining on the planet is the result of radioactive decay. While there is some helium in the atmosphere, currently its isolation from that source by liquefaction and separation of air is not normally economic. This is bacause it is easier, and cheaper, to isolate the gas from certain natural gases. Concentrations of helium in natural gas in the USA are as high as 7% and other good sources include natural gas from some sources in Poland. It is isolable from these gases by liquefaction and separation of from the natural gas. This would not normally be carried out in the laboratory and helium is available commercially in cylinders under pressure.
    I figured that it would be very hard to take from the atmosphere since less than 0.005% is made up of helium and would take a lot of air to get a substantial amount - even if you could extract all of the available helium.

    There *are* so many people, as you say kokopelli, that are working for a change and not always where you expect them. My genetics lecturer gave a public lecture on the looming global fuel crisis quoting 2004-5 as the peak in the availability of global fossil fuel reserves - now when the world is consuming so much more, the oil is so much harder to extract and there are no new major finds to be had. The balance of how much energy going into collecting the oil and gas, and how much energy can be gained from that oil and gas - the gap is getting smaller. It will require a major shift in how we all operate in the short term future and not simply the next generation.

    If people learned in the sciences don't seek the answers - who will?

    Sorry about going off thread.
    "if compassion is extreme, then call me an extremist"

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    Quote veganblue

    I was under the impression that helium is currently sourced from natural gas and pockets but also felt that there was not much remaining on Earth due to it's low atomic weight.

    If people learned in the sciences don't seek the answers - who will?

    Sorry about going off thread.
    An excellent way to store the remaining helium, until you possibly needed it for something else, would be to use it to fill airships to take supplies to people living in the far north. Which is in fact what learned scientists are working on in Canada, and it will help to alleviate the fuel crisis, so you're not off thread at all. It all fits together perfectly!

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    I had not thought of the vast expanse of the sky as a store room!
    "if compassion is extreme, then call me an extremist"

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    As for fuel, I'm sure you could recycle my shoes to get fuel, but that's not the issue. The issue is, how are you going to get a lot (and I mean, a lot) of efficient, readily-available, cheap fuel. There are plenty of alternatives to oil, but none of them could replace what oil does now (I was convinced by this article). So, working for the future is great, but no matter how hard you, or anyone else for that matter, work, at this point, I can't imagine that it's going to be pretty; in fact, no matter what anyone does, I think it's going to be very ugly.

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    Hasha, have you ever seen the Robert Crumb cartoon called 'The Desperate Character'? (You remind me a bit of him)

    I admit the situation we're in seems dire.
    But I still believe change can be exponential, and the environmental stimulus will be a spur to adaptive ingenuity and increased efficiency. Since burning fossil fuels is what got us into this mess, the fact they're running out should really be welcomed. This is the best chance we'll ever have to find less damaging ways to fuel ourselves.

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    Quote kokopelli
    Hasha, have you ever seen the Robert Crumb cartoon called 'The Desperate Character'? (You remind me a bit of him)
    No, I must say that I haven't.

    Quote kokopelli
    I admit the situation we're in seems dire.
    But I still believe change can be exponential, and the environmental stimulus will be a spur to adaptive ingenuity and increased efficiency. Since burning fossil fuels is what got us into this mess, the fact they're running out should really be welcomed. This is the best chance we'll ever have to find less damaging ways to fuel ourselves.
    Fair enough. But, I think that no matter what we do at this point, the industrial civilization will not be able to survive the oil/natural gas crash. Not that I'm terribly fond of the industrial civilization, it's just that I can't imagine that this planet will be able to sustain 6 (or more!) billion people without the industry. So, I imagine that no matter what we do, a lot of people will die. I'm not saying that it doesn't matter what we (humans) do now. What we do now might make the difference between extinction (for example, if two or more countries decide to wage a full-blown nuclear war in order to get the last drops of oil) and a more peaceful, intimate, and nature-connected society (if we don't completely destroy the environment while we are starving/freezing/etc.) for those who survive. But I just can't imagine that the number of survivors will be anywhere close to 6 billion, no matter what we do.

    Basically, I think it has to get (a lot) worse before it gets (any) better.

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