New Zealand prides itself on an image of “clean and green” – an image we use to promote ourselves overseas. Tourists visit our islands to experience nature and exporters ubiquitously market NZ products as ‘pure’ and uncontaminated. Green we might be. Clean we are not.
“There’s two worlds. There’s the picture postcard, which is Queenstown and up in Mt Cook and all that kind of stuff which is perfect and where they make the Hobbit movies, and all that is amazing. But most of New Zealand, 70 per cent of it isn’t like that. It’s actually really badly polluted and we are just getting worse and we crucially need to have that clean green image to sell all of our products overseas.”
A couple of years ago, the New York Times ran a piece busting our little snow-capped façade. Rightly pointing out that we are deluding ourselves and the rest of the world with our “clean and green” promotion. The reality is very different. As the article points out, one of the main culprits (for most of our environmental problems) is animal agriculture. It is also the issue we are most reluctant to talk about.
I went back and reread the first post I put up on this blog, called Getting Started (30 July). When I started on this journey, I wasn’t sure going vegan was the right thing to do, but I wanted to find out if I should. Yet, I found myself strongly resistant to doing the necessary research. It is difficult to be objective about something like consuming animal products while activity engaged in the activity you are trying to critique. I decided to ‘go vegan’ for a year and then make a decision.
My Comments on the Post – A global movement towards veganism could help stem rate of the current ecological meltdown, but the train has already left the station. We have to work now to find solutions for the impacts of global warming over the next couple of centuries as well as make the necessary changes to halt further global warming.
The easiest, immediate solution would be for the overwhelming majority of people to switch to a primarily plant-based diet and lifestyle. However, I fear that the very same ‘solution aversion’ principle will apply. What we eat is so much a part of our identity and giving up what people believe they are entitled to as the ‘superior’ species – using animal bodies for their own convenience and preferences – could make them deny a plant-based lifestyle as a solution even in the face of our own extinction.
Humans as a species have some serious ‘kinks’ in our biological brains that may have had evolutionary advantage on the African savannah thousands of years ago, but are no longer beneficial (for ourselves or other life on this planet).
Solution aversion. That’s what Duke University researchers call our society’s collective refusal to address climate change. Their recent study found that people don’t deny a warming earth on scientific grounds — they deny it because they just don’t like the solutions.
But what if the solution to climate change isn’t actually burdensome? What if instead of complicating and disrupting our lives it enriches them and makes us happier and healthier? What if it’s delicious?
We don’t have to relinquish our cars, move to the woods, and get off the grid to conquer climate change. The real solution is simple and easy: eat plants.
Though the figures vary, World Bank scientists have attributed up to 51 percent of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions to the livestock industry. The cows, pigs, chickens and other animals raised for food across the globe — and the industry of which they’re a part — contribute…
The primary focus of the report is on rising sea levels and what this means for the coastline, storm surges, infrastructure and fresh water resources. This is the single most important threat facing New Zealand right now and for the future.
We have only a few years left, at best, to make radical changes to save ourselves from ecological meltdown. A person who is vegan will save 1,100 gallons of water, 20 pounds CO2 equivalent, 30 square feet of forested land, 45 pounds of grain, and one sentient animal’s life13 every day. We do not, given what lies ahead of us, have any other option.
If you claim to care about the environment, then going vegan is not an option. If you want to argue this position read Hedges’ article first, then we can talk. [The list of linked references at the end of the article are also worth reading.]
A vegan world will not solve all our problems, but it will give us a chance and more importantly time to sort the rest of it out.
“What veganism means to me is striving for a better world. It’s being conscious of your actions and the decisions you make. I ask myself, by doing this am I going to harm anyone else or am I going to harm the environment, which is later on going to harm someone else. That’s my thought process in all of this. It’s about striving for a better world.”
Quote taken from the video at the end of the article.
Many people want to do the right thing, we want to strive for a better world. Misleading information makes that more difficult, especially when it is misinformation people really want to be true.
Even if you do not care about animals these are statistics we cannot ignore. As the impacts of climate change start to really kick in, land available for agriculture and water become even scarcer than they are now. As we increase the populations of our own species and the animals we eat, we consume resources faster than they can be replaced. We destroy habits for countless species.
Our extraordinary little planet has had mass extinctions in the past. Why are we so hell bent on going there again?
If we could just stop and do things differently, we could feed everybody, and our grandchildren would not have to live through the ecological nightmare that will be their inheritance.
Now, is the time we need to stop and rethink – Right Now!
The Hamilton City Council’s monthly update arrived in the letter box and most of it is about the new Hamilton City River Plan. It’s a lovely plan, mostly about upgrading parks, further development of pedestrian walkways, and at Hayes Paddock they are even going to build a swimming hole …