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Blog item: Animal, Vegetable... Minerals, Vitamins, Environment?

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3 comments, last: Jan-22-2009   Add a comment   Author:  PT (Jan-18-2009)    Play a Video
Categories: Philosophical & Quality of Life, Sustainable Living, Wildlife and Nature

Vegetable farmingOn the site you can read: "The biggest problems confronting America and the rest of our planet are disease, hunger, environmental devastation, and death. Every one of these traces its roots more or less directly to animal agriculture. Although most people are motivated by health concerns, it is important to realize that dietary choices have much broader implications for planetary survival".

Indeed, eating little or no meat is a significant way to reduce our individual "footprint" on the planet, and to make our own small mark to change the way farming is done and the way people eat. I for one buy organic for about half of the food I eat. Even if the cost for that is too high, eating vegetarian or low-meat (my own phrase) is helpful.

Changing one's habits, including eating habits, is often a slow or uneven effort.  As in many cases, changing to a vegetarian diet likely requires some learning about nutrition, and about how to cook tasty and fulfilling meals with vegetables.

The effort to change habits may rely in part on associating with other people who support that effort, or at least are accepting of its value to you, and may also depend on finding good information to support the effort to change habits.

Changing behavior patterns can also depend on location, such as being near a farmer's market or a good natural food store, or having some land to farm, in the case of vegetarian eating.  Sometimes individuals, couples, or families make hard choices and change friends, spouses, and/or locations so as to better support deeply held principles.  I have seen each of those occur.  Clearly such changes are an individual or family decision based on priorities.

I will write a whole article, or series, one day very soon, about the balancing of reality (jobs, income, habits, knowledge, preferences) with ideals (minimum carbon footprint, not harming animals, creating optimal communities, living in a peaceful or beautiful environment).

Related reading:
  Another Week On The Trek Toward A Drastically Ch... (Apr-6-2010)
  Vegetarianism And The Environment (Apr-4-2010)
  If Nothing Else, Save Farming (Nov-24-2009)
  Livestock and Climate Change (Nov-17-2009)
  What goes around, comes around? (Aug-17-2009)
  Study: Eating Red Meat Increases Risk Of Early D... (Mar-24-2009)
  The Food Safety 'Modernization' Act of 2009: Tro... (Mar-13-2009)
  We Make the Road by Walking - White Oak Farm CSA (Feb-7-2009)
  EU admits failure to protect biodiversity (Jan-5-2009)
  Monoculture or Polyculture (Dec-17-2008)

Click one tag to see readings related specifically to that tag; click "Tags" to see all related readings
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Comment by:  Wavehunter (William Coffin) (Jan-22-2009)   Web site
I agree with almost all that has been said here. I have been a vegetarian for years, and I eat healthy tasty food. It does require a little research to get started. If you simply cut out the meat and do not substitute it properly, you may find your diet short in protein, iron and B vitamins.

Environmentally, I know I could do better. I eat cheese and butter and I drink milk, and the cows that provide these give off methane - a serious greenhouse gas.

One point: it is not as simple as eating locally grown food. If you live in an industrialised country, farming may be highly mechanised and use chemical fertilisers. Food imported from, say, Africa may have been sown and harvested more simply, using human power instead of gas-guzzling machine power. I don't say avoid local food; I simply say that the calculation is a difficult one to make.
Comment by:  Greengecko (Rona) (Jan-19-2009)   Web site

I believe that it is important to become more aware of where our food comes from and it's impact upon the planet. Most of modern agriculture is deeply unsustainable in that it is based upon fossil fuels, which, as we all know, are fast depleting. I think that it is time to develop and explore more sustainable and local models of food production, in particular permaculture and organic methods. The Chinese and Koreans were skilled in organic and sustainable methods as much as four millennia ago. We have a lot to learn from other cultures about sustainability.

I think that whether you are vegetarian or not is not too important. What matters is that you eat mainly well-sourced, local and ethcal foods. Meat can be a part of that - especially wild meat and quality organic meat. There are also good arguments for cutting down our meat intake - we really don't need it, especially if we are not working hard and burning up lots of calories and fat. Even if we are, there are good alternatives readily available through food combining to get adequate and complete protein for ourselves.

Personally, I find many of the meat substitutes favoured by some vegetarians and vegans pretty execrable - especially TVP. But traditional veg and vegan foods (e.g. from India) are often amazing.

I think it is in our own best interests to eat proper organic and free-range foods because the health benefits are pretty clear. Just as well there is no real conflict between the planet's health and our own on that front.
Comment by: City Worker (Jan-19-2009)   

Sounds good. Knowledge is always helpful.

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About author/contributor Member: PT (David Alexander) PT (David Alexander)
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Member: PT (David Alexander) My lifelong pursuit, since age 18, has been to live more fully and find wisdom. This has involved studies with Zen masters, Tai Chi masters, and great psychotherapists while achieving my license as a gestalt therapist and psychoanalyst.

Along the way, I became aware of how the planet is under great stress due to the driven nature of human activity on this planet.

I believe that the advancement of human well-being will reduce societies addictive behaviors, and will thus also help preserve the environment and perhaps slow down the effects of global warming and other major threats to the health of human societies.

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