Sounds really possible.
(Those of us who are able, that is.)
Drink less non-human animal milk, too. (Unless you need what’s in it, like calcium, and can’t find it anywhere else.)
See, factory farming on land – cows, pigs, chickens, etc. – may be America’s Number One source of Greenhouse Gases. Factory farming in water – many seafoods – is a very bad scene for other reasons: diseases, unhygienic, pollution, etc. But demand for flesh-foods of all kinds is going through the roof, with big parts of the Third World (China, India, etc.) now ‘coming online’ in that regard. And many natural fisheries are already in danger of being ‘fished out.’ Hence, we need to eat less of all flesh foods.
But substituting plant foods is problematic because the recent “Green Revolution” was mainly wrought by petro-fertilizers, and they’re going the way of the dinosaurs, so more plants is not an option. And I think letting GMOs out into the planetary gene pool – eg, to increase crop yields or selected nutrients that way – is way too big a threat without knowing the long-term and even very-long-term consequences; we’ve only got one planet folks! (For now.)* And increasing arable land by burning forest adds carbon dioxide and other Greenhouse Gases to the atmosphere, and takes away trees that help remove these gases from the atmosphere.
Hence, eat less of everything if we can.
Obviously people with eating disorders who don’t eat enough, or with malnutrition or simply true hunger (vs. psychologically-induced pseudo-hunger) or certain health problems, or perhaps who are elderly and/or frail, etc., shouldn’t worry about this. But the rest of us, especially the 2/3 of Americans who are overweight (Canadians and Brits are up there too), could use this for extra motivation, if overeating is a problem.
Also, let’s not stop partying, people! But is every meal a party? every supper? Not where I come from!!!
And let’s not cold-turkey it and drive ourselves crazy and set ourselves up for failure. Perhaps a good program to start with/build up to (in the beginning) is the Orthodox Church’s “fasting” schedule. (That’s “abstaining,” for you Catholics and High Church Protestants.) Most Wednesdays and Fridays of the year, the 40 days before Christmas, the 40 days before Holy Week, Holy Week itself, the period between Pentecost and the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (June 29), the first half of August, and a few other “fast” days throughout the year. (Old Calendar or New Calendar.) Before I became Orthodox, but was considering it, I was told I shouldn’t try to fast; spiritually it wasn’t a good idea. But I see no reason why people not currently considering Orthodoxy couldn’t adopt some or all of its fasting practices as a simple eating program. Like I’ve said, Orthodox “ascesis” may turn out to be a great idea for the whole human race and the earth! Fortunately or unfortunately, the decentralized structure of the Orthodox Church means there is not in every sense a uniform practice of fasting. I could point you to websites that might seem to conflict, or in going overboard in describing the strictest forms of the fast may discourage and demoralize. What you might want to do is consult an Orthodox parish near you; I’m sure they’d be glad to help!
(*–An experimental community should move to a bubble-enclosed island and mess around with GMOs for a few centuries to make sure they’re safe. I mean it. Otherwise, we could f— ourselves for good!)
So said the head of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals on TV the other day: factory-farming of livestock is a major cause of greenhouse gases, with them farting and burping and pooping so much.*
(My apologies to that lawyer-kid, although in fairness, what we’re talking about here is not “natural processes,” but the astronomical increase in livestock by humanity in recent centuries, now even in the Third World as it too “modernizes” and eats lots more meat.)
In addition, she pointed out that the fires from burning away forest for pasture and farming to feed the beasts, and in so doing taking away trees that remove carbon dioxide from the air, compound the effect. And of course, it takes alot more crops to produce meat than to feed humans directly with the crops.
Turns out last November the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO [not Schwarz!!]) reported on this. The animals’ poor diets are part of the problem, and that can be improved with positive benefit GW-wise, but it sure looks like “prosperity” will outstrip those efforts easily:
“With increased prosperity, people are consuming more meat and dairy products every year, the report notes. Global meat production is projected to more than double from 229 million tonnes in 1999/2001 to 465 million tonnes in 2050, while milk output is set to climb from 580 to 1043 million tonnes.
“The global livestock sector is growing faster than any other agricultural sub-sector. It provides livelihoods to about 1.3 billion people and contributes about 40 per cent to global agricultural output. For many poor farmers in developing countries livestock are also a source of renewable energy for draft and an essential source of organic fertilizer for their crops.” [Emphasis added.]
Oh, yeah, dairy products too: milk, butter, cheese, casein, yogurt, (sodium) caseinate, lactose, etc etc etc.
But what’s clear is that once again, we “prosperous” of the world consuming all that meat and dairy, are screwing the whole planet, especially the poorest. But of course, if we consume less meat and dairy, some real people (Screw corporations!) will get less money and thus be harmed. Therefore what’s needed is a coordinated campaign to consume less meat and dairy, AND “economic conversion” help for the real people harmed thereby.
Makes me think of an idea from recent(?) Catholic and Orthodox fasting/abstaining practice, like for Lent/the Great Fast: The money you “save” from giving up meat (and for Orthodox, dairy also), you don’t bank, but do something better with – traditionally, give to the poor or charity; how about a more direct connection to the real people who make the stuff?!
It can be done. I don’t eat alot of meat, and I’ve been lactose-intolerant since my religious-inspired vegan stint in the ’90s. Many flavored soymilks actually taste better than cow’s milk now, and apparently lots of people are foregoing cheese on their pizzas or Mexican food already because of the fat content, so you won’t stick out as much as you/I did even a few years ago! They’re even fortifying some soymilks with calcium (and other nutrients it lacks), and there are other sources for calcium too.
As for milk for human babies… and even their daddies**…! For that matter, apparently it’s even possible for many women to “induce lactation” without a recent pregnancy or birth, so they could donate their milk to interested families, reducing human use of cow’s milk even further. And doing so is real natural birth control, during lactation and for two months to two years after stopping… sure to appeal to many!
(*–This choice of words will bring the kiddies running!!)
(**–As far as I’ve looked into the “adult nursing relationship” concept – by reading only! – the common idea that the partner has to suckle 6-8 times per day around the clock doesn’t seem necessary, as long as the other times the lactating woman expresses instead [to keep the milk flowing]. ISTM the extra milk can be donated, used in cooking – what about cheesemaking? [After all, “Blessed are the cheesemakers“!] – or simply discarded. NB: Breast milk does contain lactose, so if you’re lactose-intolerant, you might need to see if you can do something about that. The guys quoted on the first page of this PDF seem to think it’s easy, though their research is ten years old, so if it worked you’d think we’d have heard more about it since then, eh? I’d try it, for nothing else but the sake of my next relationship or marriage, but dairy stinks to me since I went off it, like, even fresh milk smells sour to me – not much motivation there!)
When I recently calculated that parts of San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties near the California coast were the best places to live amid GW for now, I neglected to factor-in water resources. Those places are going to get mighty drier, mighty fast.
I now favor the cooler and wetter side of the San Francisco Bay Area… for now. But not right on the Bay or ocean, of course. And forget Silicon Valley: long-term, it’ll be flooded by rising sea levels. [Earthquakes? Pshaw!]
I liked Tasmania and New Zealand, but recently heard they’re going to get substantially drier too. (Though NZ is marketing itself to Europeans afraid of the coming Little Ice Age in a century or two!!) Quito, Ecuador and Caracas, Venezuela [Viva Chavez!] actually look nice longer-term, but climatologically they’re pin-points, and won’t hold enough people to be significant longest-term. Of course, no place will!
The problem with the California coast, of course, is that when my new Nice Zone creeps northward over time, it’ll bump into the oldest residents of that region, the redwoods. Some tough choices will have to be made when that time comes. Not unlike having to go back to some more coal and nuclear when oil and natural gas run out… if we have enough of the latter to provide the time we’ll need to ramp-up the former… (hopefully temporarily) compromising anti-GW efforts and global peace and security, respectively. Of course, as I’ve said, GW is our worst chronic global problem, very-long-term; Peak Oil, Third World “dirty” industrialization* and the bad First World diet already coming with it, and the (hopefully) temporarily-shrinking magnetic field of the planet, are IMHO worse acute problems, much-shorter-term.
[*–‘Chinese Communism: Screwing Workers and “the People” Just Like The Man!’]
This AOL link will break. In the meantime, observe how they point out benefits to the Global North, as the NY Times and I have already said. If you work harder, you’ll see how they don’t neglect detriments elsewhere, and planetarily, but still, this is misleading and shameful.
They also neglect the expected Little Ice Age in the Upper North Atlantic, including their favored Greenland and Iceland. We’re already seeing fauna migrating southward from the UNA – because it’s cold maybe?!! They could be the Gulf Stream monitoring system scientists are looking for!
In the Book of Genesis, God tells humanity to “be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion.” Some “Christians” use this as religious cover to dismiss concern about the apparent ability of the planet to sustain many more human beings [or at least, many more First-World human beings!!!], and to destroy the environment. But it occurs to me that these commands were given before the Fall. After the Fall, humanity’s chief concern is different: to reunite with God in His Uncreated Energies/Activities.
Traditionally more than a few Orthodox have tried to collaborate with God through monasticism, ie, a lifestyle of NOT multiplying, and of using as little of the earth as possible. Even practicing Orthodox laity try to include some of this asceticism in their lives, including abstaining from marital relations most Wednesdays and Fridays, during the four Fasting Periods (“lents”) of the year, several other prescribed days each year, any nights before and after receiving Communion… as well as the fast-related dietary self-restrictions during these periods, and in the weeks leading up to the Great Fast (ie, Great Lent, or just Lent, the pre-Pascha/Easter fast). I believe many of these practices persist among Eastern Catholics, and some of them persisted among Latins (Catholics of Western Rite) before the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, and among many older Latins even afterward – though since the ’60s they have all retained the practices of fast and abstinence on Ash Wednesday and the Fridays of Lent, and some bishops seem to want to bring back the year-round “fish on Fridays” practice.
Furthermore, a number of Protestant groups embrace what might be called a certain neo-asceticism, such as Amish, Mennonites, some Quakers, some individual liberal mainstream Protestants, and even some “conservative” Protestants, under the rubric of “How ought a Christian to live?” Some pacifists extend their ethic to “simple living,” or at least advocating it, in the spirit of 1700s New Jersey Quaker John Woolman, who sought to remove from his life anything containing “the seeds of war,” including profiting from slave labor and foreign trade in unnecessary clothing accessories. (In fact, he predicted the U.S. Civil War.)
As I have reflected previously, greater asceticism may be the lifestyle of the next two thousand years, as we face Global Warming, Peak Oil, and the other coming difficulties – lest we destroy ourselves even before the Lord returns in Glory! Though as He said, ‘Don’t go around moping, unwashed, in ratty clothes, but smile, clean up, dress adequately’ (more or less!). For Orthodox, asceticism is the privilege of collaborating with God in this world, and becoming more God-like (NOT “god-like”)!
I guess the Congressional Democrats really are what the theocons (who hate America) like to call most of America, “surrender monkeys,” for caving-in to another Bush veto threat on a timetable for abandoning his Iraq/Oil/civil war/Empire quagmire. Minimum wage? I thought we did that months ago!
Until the Monarchy Party gets off the ground, there’s always these guys…. I was once more sympathetic to the Green movement than I am today obviously, but if we could just replace the Democratic affiliation of voters, votes, and (most, apparently) Democratic members of Congress, with Green(s), 100 pct., all at once, it’d be an improvement. I actually voted for my Green U.S. Rep. candidate in November, but only because I’m in a very safe Dem district, and wanted to make a statement. Call me a Green Monarchist Realist Anti-abortionist maybe!