Philosophy

The environment.
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donutsizzle
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Hi all. The environment matters. A lot. It sustains life. If we (humans) destroy the environment, we destroy ourselves.

I believe we are in fact eroding the foundations of our life-sustaining environment. There are several causes of this. The most overwhelming and present of these is climate change caused by a build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.

Another problem is the destruction of natural habitats, such as through deforestation, etc.

One hugely contributing factor to both, and to world hunger in general, is cows: dairy and beef. In order to produce dairy and beef, a far, far greater quantity of consumable food and water must be spent on sustaining the lives of cows. Clean water is also wasted in the processing of cow products.

Furthermore, cows take up space. The more "free range" and "grass fed" the beef/dairy is, the more space those cows took up. The rainforest is being demolished not to make use of its wood and other resources, but mainly to use the flattened lands for farms, especially dairy/beef farms. If you do not care at all about animal cruelty (most cows live their entire lives in an area smaller than my apartment), or about hormones and other weirdness being introduced into our diets, still the sustenance of cows for beef and dairy is unethical in that it destroys land, food and clean water that is better served to other purposes.

Then, there is climate change. Methane has a far more potent greenhouse effect than carbon dioxide does. The beef industry produces enough methane and CO2 to rival the CO2 emissions from ALL OTHER INDUSTRIES (not counting transportation emissions). We are destroying forests, which help to regulate our greenhouse gases, often by burning them, which releases CO2, to replace them with dairy farms, which produce massive amounts of CH4 and CO2.

What can you do? STOP SUPPORTING THE DAIRY/BEEF INDUSTRIES! Stop eating cheese, stop drinking milk, stop with the hamburgers, the steaks, knock off the yogurt and nix butter. At least cut back to a bare minimum, once a month or once a week. This is one, necessary, major step that individual people must begin taking if we are going to save our environment and thus save the human species from extinction.
david s
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david s 24 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1192C
While I definitely support the environment, and I try to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, I can't personally bring myself to give up, or reduce, my beef consumption.

I do agree that cattle are a major contributor to greenhouse gases.(It doesn't matter if I agree or not, facts are facts.) However, I also think there are alternative ways to farm beef that would reduce the likelihood of strong environmental impacts.

For one thing, we need to wholly stop feeding corn to cattle. It fattens them up, yes... and that's about it. It causes digestive problems, leading to an increase in the methane gas they... emit... and this isn't even touching how these digestive problems vastly increase stomach bacteria, which increases infections. To prevent cattle from getting infections, they're given antibiotics on a regular basis. In turn, you get a smaller dose of these drugs when you eat the beef. Since you're not getting a full dose, if you get an infection, the infection has a chance to survive, and forms a resistance. Antibiotics in beef are causing strains of bacteria to become drug resistant.

Also, fatter beef makes fatter people, right?

Anyway, that's not to say that beef is unhealthy. Not at all. Beef can be done right. While it does take up a rather large amount of resources, I'd like to see more beef be like Kobe beef. Really really good meat. I wouldn't mind reducing the amount of beef I eat by a lot if it were far better meat.

As for milk, it's absolutely absurd to ask people to quit drinking milk. Milk is a major part of people's nutrition. Sure, it's possible to go without it, but it's not practical to expect everyone in the world to go without it. However, I also agree that there are flaws with how it's managed. For one thing, the vast majority of milk people drink is Holstein milk, which is essentially just water and fat. It's not very nutritious, and the reason it's so common is, you guessed it, because Holsteins produce a lot more milk than other breeds of cattle. We're mass-producing the lowest quality products, when people would be far more satisfied with smaller amounts of good product.

If we switched to higher quality ingredients, I'd imagine more people would be content with these sorts of things.

However, there's another thing that we greatly need to work on in the farm world. Actually, a few other things. First, you have chickens. Chickens have particularly nitrogen rich manure. In other words, their crap is toxic. However, it can be used as fertilizer. That nitrogen is really needed for plants. However, the increase in nutrients brings nutrient run-off. This run-off of nutrients ends up in rivers and streams, causing algal blooms, the algae sucks the oxygen out of the water and before you know it, you have a dead river. But wait, there's more! Where to rivers go? To the ocean! Have you heard of hypoxic zones? Hypoxic zones are when an area of the ocean has too little oxygen to sustain its usual ecosystem. A hypoxic zone can be very bad, since it's usually at the mouth of a river, where life would normally be most common. Right now in the U.S., two of the biggest fishing industries are almost dead from hypoxia: The Chesapeake Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Both have taken huge hits from fertilizers upstream on the Potomac, Susquehanna and Mississippi rivers.

But back to chickens! Chickens live in HELLISH conditions. Imagine living in a room that's a 5 foot cube.(5x5x5) Not quite big enough to stand upright. Now imagine the floor is a bunch of bars, and you use the floor as your toilet. Now imagine that you had your teeth removed. And the only thing you have to eat is corn. Also imagine that you share that tiny cell with two other people. Welcome to a chicken farm!

Seriously, we need the government to increase free range funding. And make ethics laws pertaining to chickens.

However, what I've been saying here prally doesn't have that much effect on the environment, at least not in a positive way, right? I'm still suggesting we have beef, chickens and milk. Why can't I just do away with those things?(Well, I mean I really like them, but that's kinda not what I'm getting at.)

Truth be told, all the things we're eating are atrocious for the environment. For one thing, corn isn't good for animals, for humans or for much of anything. For another thing, the fields that we use to produce food take up vast amounts of space, and we almost invariably monocrop over large areas, which is begging for pests and disease. Furthermore, aside from the plagues that we're bringing on ourselves, and the inevitable dust bowls ∞ LINK ∞ that come with our obsession over exploitation, we're also having problems with carbon control. A lot of places that have farming now no longer have trees. This is a problem. Trees take in carbon, and they also prevent erosion. Trees are very much needed. But we're getting rid of them. Because we're stupid.

Ultimately, whatever you eat, you're hurting the environment for it. Coffee? Massive erosion, takes up nutrients in nutrient-starved areas, it's a pain in the arse to ship, not to mention the labourers making it are rather poor and essentially slaves. The same thing for cocoa. Don't drink coffee or eat chocolate, it's bad for the environment and for humanity.

Tea? Nope! Grown as a monocrop in regions where it's not particularly sustainable. Labourers aren't much better off than coffee or cocoa labourers.

Wheat? Nope. Monocropped, spreading pests. Pesticides are killing the honey bees.

What's worse than that? Well, virtually all fruit take tremendous amounts of resources to ship or harvest, they take up nutrients in otherwise dead regions(Israel grows a lot of bananas, despite being in a desert, because they redirect rivers and pump dry the aquifers.) and fruits really aren't that needed. A lot of nuts take tremendous amounts of resources to grow, a lot of water(See California.) and they're a royal pain in the arse to even crack open. >_>

Then there's cotton! Cotton takes... what is it, 1000 gallons of water to make one pair of jeans? Jesus, it's way too much! But what are alternatives? Polyester and nylon are oil products, so we all know that's bad for the environment. Wool is an animal product, we've been through how much that sucks. Flax? Can flax even work? Does anyone wear flax anymore?

But here's something we *CAN* do: Reduction! For one thing, I don't need to buy more clothes, I have plenty as is. I also tend to buy my clothes used. Like, really used. I have a lot of clothes that are from 50+ years ago. Right now I'm wearing... let's see... well, my jacket I bought new, it's cotton and nylon, I bought it directly from the company that sells it, saving on shipping, though admittedly they outsourced a lot of their labour to China, so it's Chinese made. The vest I have on I bought used at a salvation army. The pants were bought new, but I've had them for a few years, and I don't expect to be rid of them anytime soon. The shoes are about a year old now, and I expect them to keep going for another two or three years. The socks... I think they're getting close to 10 years old. The underwear is at least 4 years old, though I have some underwear that's over 12 years old. My belt is somewhere around 7 years old. I tend not to get new things very often, you see.

But also food stuffs! To save ourselves money and to help the environment, my family grows probably around 40% of their vegetables. We also manage to hunt for around 1% of our meat(Hunting's been rough in recent years, otherwise it'd be closer to 40%.) and we try to buy local food when we get other stuff. Even so, we're not perfect when it comes to sustainability. We also drive fuel efficient cars.(Several Toyotas and a Honda. The Prius gets around 60 MPG, which is pretty awesome.)

But this still doesn't save the environment. Sure, we use more efficient versions of everything possible, we try to grow our own food, we also virtually never throw food away, and the food we humans can't eat, we either feed to the wild birds, or we feed to the pugs.(And there's not much food that we won't eat. My family virtually never has discard meat for the dogs, even if it is freezer burnt.) People need to stop being so picky about stuff. I was always taught that throwing away food was a sin, so I always cleaned my plate. Always.

Anyway, back to other stuff!

Literally everything you eat or own is bad for the environment. Very bad. The only way we can sustain ourselves is to reduce our impact on the environment. So what can we do?

I nominate we help control the human population.

Now I'm not saying genocide or eugenics. That would be very... Hitlery of me. I'm not a fan of those things. Mno.

But I do think we need to stop f***ing like bunnies just so we can have more kids. You want a kid? Adopt. I've decided I never want to have kids of my own, and I may adopt some day, but even that's not super likely. Instead, I'm perfectly content with not having kids.

I also think we need to prevent people from having so many kids. We can replace labourors with machines at this point, so we don't need people have 10 kids to help on the farm anymore. I think we can settle with one child families for a good while, but we should also avoid increasing life expectancy for a bit, too, lest we have an aging population our children can't support...

Let's face it, we need robots. And fewer people.
donutsizzle
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I don't much like doing this, but it's really hard to respond to really long posts without breaking it down into subpoints. So:

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I can't personally bring myself to give up, or reduce, my beef consumption.


"can't?" what an intercoursen cop-out. Of course you can. It's easy. Just instead of eating a hamburger, don't.

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I also think there are alternative ways to farm beef that would reduce the likelihood of strong environmental impacts.


Not significantly. Cows are machines that turn food into less food, plus methane. No matter how you slice this toxic pie, it will be no less toxic when you eat it.

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beef is unhealthy.


I know you said the opposite, but you're wrong. Beef is utterly unhealthy. Cholesterol is an animal product. Eating beef is like eating heart disease. Even "good beef." Furthermore, all meat, regardless of how it was raised, increases cancer growth. This result has been replicated study after study. Beef is death; eat it and die. You might as well eat cigarettes.

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Milk is a major part of people's nutrition.

Any nutritionally positive impact milk might have as a result of its calcium and other nutrients is counteracted by the bulk of hormones, lactic acid, cholesterol and mucous therein contained. In fact, unbiased studies reveal that the lactic acid in milk errodes bones at a far greater rate than the calcium can strengthen them.


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If we switched to higher quality ingredients, I'd imagine more people would be content with these sorts of things.


Your faith in people seems rather selective. Egocentrism?

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First, you have chickens.


I promote the reduction of meat and other animal product consumption to a bare minimum, perhaps once a week for animal products (eggs, dairy) and once a month for meat, though not in an overly consumptive, indulgent way. In the same way that the majority eat meat for nearly every meal, they could have one of those meals. I don't expect this result anytime soon, but the first thing is for people to stop denying the necessity of such reduction.

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Seriously, we need the government to increase free range funding. And make ethics laws pertaining to chickens.


While my own arguments have nothing to do with animal rights, if you're going to champion them I can't understand how you would then still condone keeping animals in captivity for the purpose of slaughter/exploitation, however "free range" it may be.

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Truth be told, all the things we're eating are atrocious for the environment.


This argument is similar to "Sure, Russian Roulette's dangerous, but people die just walking down the street minding their own business. Are we going to outlaw that, too? I say we attack the greatest offenders first, which are animal farms, then we can reappropriate that land and move on to targeting other farming/marketing/consumptive practices.

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Flax? Can flax even work? Does anyone wear flax anymore?


hemp.

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buy clothes used.


agreed.

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my family grows probably around 40% of their vegetables.


For land owners during suitable climate times, this should not be unusual.

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Hunting


I might be able to get behind an "Only eat the meat you kill" initiative. People are so sheltered from the bloodshed that goes into their sandwiches.

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People need to stop being so picky about stuff.


Agreed. Fatty, oily, sugary, salty foods have ravaged our taste profiles. We need to get back to appreciating the truly diverse flavors that are subtle and thus have been numbed by our drug addictions (to sugar, oil, fat, and salt).


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we help control the human population.


The audacity you have in calling dairy reduction a "ridiculous" thing to expect people to agree to, then suggesting this....

ANYWAY

The point is, we've got to do something. Reducing meat and dairy consumption is an essential early step.
david s
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david s 24 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1192C
Sorry, I know I shouldn't respond without reading a post, but I do feel I have to inform you, and I hold nothing against you if you feel the same to me, that I couldn't manage to get even half of the way through your post. Or rather, I shouldn't say "couldn't", according to you, because of the pedantic twisting of the meaning. I could, but didn't.

I was basically saying "I don't give a crap what you're saying, I know it's bad, I eat it anyway. Deal with it."

Let's not consider that methane itself can be harnessed as a fuel and burnt. Of course, that creates CO2, but CO2 is 1/8 as potent a greenhouse gas as Methane, and the use of cattle produced gas would reduce fossil fuel use, if it could be done on a realistic scale. Not likely that'll even happen though.

I do hope, at the very least, that you realize your views are extreme. Right or wrong, they're extreme. I'm not saying you're doing the wrong thing, if I could be happy being so vehemently vegan, that'd be wonderful. But I am not happy like that.
donutsizzle
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Hm. I realize now my indignation and disdain for peoples' attitudes in general came across rather vitriolic. For this I apologize. I meant no personal attack, nor any personal offense.

Nonetheless, I stand behind the sentiment of my statements. "I couldn't do that" is the most common response I hear when people accept that meat and dairy are destroying our bodies and planet and continue to eat them on a daily basis. And it really is bullexcrement. Of course you (a person) could cut back on meat and dairy intake. It's not only possible, but it's easy. People are just resistant to change, have been solidified into destructive habits by generations of propaganda.

I do not think my views are extreme. I think they are simply sane. The way we (humans, Americans) are producing and consuming food is insane. To cut back on meat and dairy is the only reasonable thing to do once you've (one's) realized how mass consumption of these things is affecting our planet and bodies.

If you look at my post, you will see I am not advocating "vehement veganism" but simply reduction to something closer to sustainable. Something reasonable. The way we are producing and consuming food now is not reasonable in any way.

I agree with your comments about wheat and corn, both of which are linked to innumerated health problems especially since we began genetically modifying them. I have nothing against GMO itself, as a concept, but data seems to support that many of the ways we have genetically modified our foods are having (correlate to) widespread detrimental effects we did not anticipate.

On the note of methane being used as a fuel source, I support research into this. If it could be sustainable, that could be pretty great. It will not change the fact that beef and dairy are unhealthy (and cruel, though that's not my particular issue with it).

Again, allow me to reiterate: I respect you as an equally intelligent and capable individual as myself. I simply look around, see the way we humans are systematically destroying ourselves, and I can't help but think, "we should not do this."
david s
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david s 24 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1192C
Yeah, sorry about my previous posts. I was being way too emotional and rude, without trying to be calm and logical about things.

What I meant by "I couldn't give up beef" isn't that it's impossible, but that it's something that is far outside of what I'd be willing to do. I'd sooner give up cars. Especially if you throw out dairy. It's not something impossible, in fact I'm intending to give vegetarianism a try for lent.(But still eat eggs and milk. Sorry. That makes it lacto-ovo-vegetarianism.) However, I find that it's not something I would be willing to do to stop eating beef.

I mean, my favourite foods all involve beef or milk somewhere. Pennsylvania Dutch beef pot pie, which is essentially a beef stew, beef ravioli, hamburgers, steak, even the curry rice I make has milk and butter in it. Then of course pizza just isn't pizza without cheese, and cheese from other animals just doesn't taste right. But my all-time favourite food should tell you that, when it comes to morality, you won't get me to stop eating beef: I like Wiener Schnitzel.(Some people make it with pork, but I don't care for pork.) Properly made, Wiener Schnitzel is something along the lines of this: A sliver of a baby cow, killed before it ever ate a blade of grass, sliced thin, battered in egg, breaded and pan fried, served with a garland of kale, a slice of lemon and a large side of spaetzle. If I'm not willing to stop eating that on moral grounds, there's little you could say to stop me from eating beef now.(That being said, in the early 1900's if you told me what was going on in the beef industry, I'd have my stomach pumped, then blow my brains out.)

However! It should be noted that even as extreme as that may be, I seldom consume Wiener Schnitzel. It's uncommon for me to have it twice a year, even.

I do wholly agree that our over-consumption is terrible for our bodies and our environment. However, this isn't just beef: IT'S EVERYTHING! That's the thing I hate about Capitalism, it has to grow, regardless of the consequences. This is the recipe for disaster. We need to limit ourselves on everything. Too much of anything is bad, and again, I think we have too many people...

I do have to say, however, that the health impacts your talking about aren't as big of a thing, in and of themselves, as you are making them out to be.

For one thing, I too am familiar with the research about red meat causing cancer similar to cigarettes. However, it's often misunderstood. For one thing, it's not the meat that's causing the cancer, it's actually a preservative used in red meat to make it last longer, and it is not something produced by the cow. The preservative is not used in vegetables, but if it was it would have the same effect there.(It's used in red meat in general.) It also varies in impact based on how long it's cooked. Meat that is rare has virtually none of this property, whereas meat that is well done has this property to an extreme. Organic beef does not contain this preservative, and does not cause cancer through this means.(I don't know if there are other ways it does, but if there are, they're on a much lower scale than this.) Furthermore, the comparison to cigarettes is misleading. For one thing, even someone like me doesn't consume beef every day. A smoker often smokes a lot every day. The difference in dosage is tremendous, actually. Someone who smokes a lot will still be getting dozens of times the carcinogens of even the most voracious beef-eater.

As for the milk siphoning calcium from the body, I'm not clear on the research relating to it, but I'm very skeptical of the concept. For one thing, there's the simple-man's argument of "If milk is bad for you, why does literally every mammal produce it as the soul food source for their infants?". This argument is simple and not particularly data-related, but it's generally a good, simple logic. Still, data is more important here. To me, this sounds like an illogical conclusion for various reasons. For one thing, to the best of my knowledge, your teeth are the only "bones" exposed to the acid in the milk, and that the amount of time for that is so low that it would actually be negligible. Second, milk still contains many other vitamins and minerals that your body needs. Even assuming that it does leach calcium more than it replenishes, which I highly doubt is true but I'll entertain it for the moment, it could be considered both bad and good for you.(Like how someone says that soda/energy drinks dehydrate you because of the caffeine. While caffeine does cause you to dehydrate faster, as it is a diuretic, the majority of the drink is still water, so it actually replenishes hydration faster.[I'm not saying milk replenishes calcium faster, though I think it may very well actually do so.] I know energy drinks hydrate more than they dehydrate because I once spent an entire month drinking nothing but energy drinks. Was it fun? No. Do I recommend it? Hell no! Did I survive without drinking anything else? Yes. Did I gain weight? You bet.)

I'm also not sure that the milk siphoning calcium thing is actually accepted by the general scientific community. This would make it fringe science.(A distinction must be made among fringe science, pseudo-science and bad science. Bad science approaches things from a scientific manner, and is incorrect due to some form of error. Pseudo-science is something that resembles science, but cannot be truly tested physically. Pseudo-science is not necessarily incorrect, but it's also not testable, and is therefore not scientific. fringe science is science on the borders of what is accepted. It may be correct or incorrect, but lacks sufficient data to be accepted as a whole by the scientific community.) I may very well be wrong on that, it's possible that I just didn't realize that it was published and accepted in academic journals, but I thought that the research for that wasn't widely accepted.(I tried looking it up once, but all I could find was these health-nut websites saying the same thing, I couldn't even find the source.) That's not to say it's incorrect, but I still really doubt it.

However, all the things I've been saying, I really do care about the environment, and I do take steps to reduce my impact. For one thing, everyone in my family drives relatively fuel efficient vehicles... however, for some reason my family has decided that me, the person who drives the most in the family, I have to drive the least efficient vehicle.(I go to my university 35 miles from home almost every day, and despite the fact that we have two sedans and a bloody prius, I drive our 2002 Toyota Tacoma. Don't get me wrong, as pick-ups go it's awfully efficient, but I DON'T NEED A PICKUP TO CARRY ME AND A BACKPACK! It gets 21-23 mpg, whereas the Prius C gets ~60 mpg. My old vehicle was a Honda Accord, and before she tragically died at the beginning of this last semester, she got 24-26 mpg, which I still thought was pretty bad.) Even with our more efficient than normal cars, we do a lot of driving, so it's not all that great...

I mentioned before that we grow our own vegetables, but I didn't mention that we actually grow a rather large number of trees. You literally can't see my house from the road in the summer except for one angle, despite it being right next to the road, because it's surrounded by trees.(That one angle used to have a maple tree, but the tree fell in a tremendous storm a few years ago.) We often plant more trees, and we take trees that have fallen or died for whatever reason and we use them as firewood for our wood stove.(Not the most environmentally friendly thing, but I suppose it's not as bad as a burning coal, right?)

We also greatly reduce out heating bills a lot of the time by... well, bundling up. I don't know how intentional that is, I'm pretty sure my dad thinks the whole house is quite warm, but my room literally freezes in the winter. Rather than turn up the heat, I simply get more blankets. :P

We're also looking into greener energies. We're planning on putting solar panels up, and we're also interested in other energies.(I'm really interested in DIY solar heaters both for air and water. They seem to be under $50 a piece, and put our rather good heat.)

I'd post more, but right now my dad's trying to get me to do something, so I've gotta jet.
donutsizzle
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Perhaps not "giving up," but what about cutting back to once a week for dairy/eggs and once a month for meat? Is that unreasonable? You could supplement your diet with greater amounts of beans, assorted grains, leafy greens and other vegetables.

The meat-farming practices are still abhorrent, nearly as much so as they were in the early 1900s. The unsanitary nature of the industry back then has simply been replaced with a chemical barrage. Until very recently, McDonald's was subjecting all their hamburger meat to an ammonium-hydroxide rinse, as one small example.

∞ LINK ∞

Remember that scientists need money like everybody else, and industries have money to spend. There is a reason cigarettes were not exposed as being cancer-causing until decades after it had become quite clear to anyone paying attention.

As for the meat and cancer relationship--it is impossible to avoid carcinogens. There are already cancer cells within most of our bodies, just haven't developed into dangers, yet. Meat, more than being carcinogenic, has been shown to cause increased cancer growth. That is to say, the rapid increase in tumor growth and metastasis. A vegan diet has been shown, on the other hand, to slow and in some cases reverse cancer growth. Less meat=slower growth.
david s
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david s 24 United States MelancholicCholeric ISFJ 621 1192C
No, I honestly couldn't easily substitute beans for everything, and I straight up can't get rid of milk every day. I don't drink plain water, I just can't stand the taste of it on its own, which means my drink choices are tea, juice, milk and soda. Tea causes kidney stones, and I'm already at risk for those... and I already drink WAY too much tea. Second is juice, which is higher in sugar and acid than milk, in is actually causing the same leaching problem as milk, only much worse, in addition to obesity and various sugar-related illness. Soda has the same problem, except carbonation also adds to tooth decay. Milk is actually the healthiest alternative for me.

As for meat replacement, beans aren't as common in my region as you might think. I mean, we have them, but it's not something you can replace much with. And don't you dare try to say that beans taste just as good as meat, or that tofu can taste like meat. I've tried so many alternatives to meat that it literally would make a man sick, but in all my alternatives the only thing I've ever had that wasn't an animal product that tasted like one was "watermelon steak", which is just grilled watermelon, and it literally tastes like seared raw tuna.(Not very appetizing, to be honest, but it definitely tasted like something from an animal, not a watermelon.) Don't get me wrong, beans are good, but the texture and flavour is not even remotely close to replacing beef.

Also, good luck getting me to go without pizza. Don't get me wrong, I don't actually like meat on my pizza, but pizza is pizza and I simply will not go without it. I'm a university student, I literally depend on pizza.

But that wasn't what I was talking about with the beef industry. My one and only complaint about it in the early 1900's was what Teddy Roosevelt addressed with one of the biggest-impact legal reforms of all time: People not having safety devices, getting caught up with the cattle, getting stampeded to death, getting hacked up in the machinery and getting labelled as beef and sold in grocery stores. I do not tolerate cannibalism at all, and consider it something that must be purged and purified from the earth.

To be honest, though, cancer doesn't worry me. I mean, I think it's the leading cause of cancer in my mom's side of the family, but I'm more likely to die of the second cause of death from her side. But either way, I literally want to die all the time, and even if my life turned around and was suddenly better, I'd want to die by the time I'm 60. I've said before and I'll say again, if dying sooner or getting cancer was the only side-effect of smoking, and if it were cheaper, I'd smoke until I croaked, but it makes you smell bad, it screws up your voice and it's really expensive, plus it ages you so fast, and while I'm no looker, I still consider my appearance important.

Oh, how much I envy cherry blossoms! They get to die young while they're beautiful.

And also, I know that vegans have been found to live longer, but the science on that, while definitely accepted by science, is still uncertain on correlation versus causation. Even so, I'd have to know *why* meat causes cancer, and at what point in your life it causes it. If it causes cancer after I'm 60, then it doesn't concern me at all. Not even in the slightest.
donutsizzle
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Well, you've got 5 years to grow up and become as wise and enlightened as I am. Just kidding. I'm probably just brainwashed by some industry that wants my money so the machine can keep using my brethren and I as treads in the great tank of progress moving forward, mowing down all opposition.

And, in my experience, the struggle with life does not get better, and neither does one's actual ability to deal with that struggle, but a comforting (however false) sense of self-efficacy can come in ebbs and flows with the power of positive thinking.

God damn I'm just a rain cloud, huh?

In conclusion, this cascade of thought-terminating cliches is my way of conceding that this discussion may end without further grumbling from my side.
Tama Yoshi
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Tama Yoshi 23 Canada PhlegmaticCholeric INTJ 513 472C
I've come to accept that meat consumption is bad, especially red meat as it tends to be less ecological (more pollution) AND less good for the health (a comprehensive study showed that cultures that consumed red meats had lesser life expectancy. That doesn't say anything about other types of meat).

I've also read a few articles that highlighted the downright horrible conditions of modern massive farms. Since I don't really know our local farms, there's always a (high) chance my meat comes from "the bad places". I don't know about dairy, eggs, and such, but I expect this to be also quite bad. Modern farms don't treat animals like living things, just like machines. Capitalism tends to do that with humans too, so that's not really surprising when you think about it.

I still consume meat... but if I can leap on an easy vegetarian alternative, I'll do it. I really suck at finding things to cook (I don't want to cook 20 times the same thing in the row), and since I was not raised in a vegetarian way, there are hardly any recipes I know that are vegetarian. Thankfully, my girlfriend is vegetarian, so that steers me in the right direction.
I do feel a bit helpless about this, though. I wish it were possible to just change the way things were, with the huge meat industries. I see vegetarianism as a conscience cop-out in the sense that it hardly changes anything in the bigger picture.
donutsizzle
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There are endless free recipes available online. Meat, I must admit, has no particularly good substitutes. Beans, potatoes, and chick peas might be as close as it comes. Tofu, tempeh, seitan, etcetera are really not particularly good for you, but they can work, too. Eggs can be replaced as a binding agent by flax seed and water, and scrambled eggs can be replaced by scrambled tofu or chick pea mash. Milk, almond milk. Butter, vegetable oil. Vegetarianism changes you, and the more people who change themselves to reduce the demand on meat and dairy, the better. Also the demand on sugar has a dire need for reduction.

The studies I have seen have shown that any area that has lower animal consumption has a lower incidence of heart disease and cancer than any area that has increased animal consumption, including fish. If you are worried about animal cruelty, you can certainly buy from co-ops and organic food stores etc. that only offer free-range, grass-fed, etc., but that only reduces and does not eliminate cruelty, and, for me, is a secondary issue. Health and environmental impacts of these things are far more dire, in my opinion, but that's just me.

My favorite things to cook are simply vegetables steamed, roasted, and or sauced. Other things you can keep in mind are the abundance of available vegetarian soups, salads, chili, pasta (try for a wider variety of grains than just wheat. Spelt, etc. can make for better pasta and promote diversity in agriculture) smoothies, potatoes, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, etc.

Many vegetables/fruits are quite good on their own, even. Squash and avocados, for example. You can marinate eggplant like steaks. Cauliflower can be breaded (or not breaded) baked, and sauced like chicken wings. If you want more suggestions, let me know.
Whiteanger
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It was mentioned that Methane has a far more potent effect on our environment than Carbon Dioxide, however this does not change the fact that hundreds of millions of cars are producing CO2 at a more constant rate than cows are capable of tooting.

In fact cars are only one of the producers of CO2, as the majority of our machinery and technology are running directly off of oil or indirectly running off of power created by the consumption of oil.

While I see that the livestock argument is a valid case that is causing damage to our environment and ecosystems, I feel like it is a focused idea that only scratches the surface of the damage we are doing. By supplying people with meats and products that cause cancer and illness, we are effectively managing overpopulation which could likely be directly correlated to the damage to our environment. More people means more cows, more machinery and more emissions. I'm not saying that this is a good thing (in fact I would prefer that the human race continues on), however the reality is that eliminating livestock will not solve the problems of climate change. I believe the core issue is our inability to manage our lifestyles on renewable energy resources such as solar, hydro and wind power. This boils down to overconsumption, which has been mentioned and also relates to the livestock industry, however we are also growing vegetables using technologies that run off of coal and oil energies. Extracting oil and coal (ie. non-renewable resources) takes energy, which we're producing using more oil and coal. The extraction of materials and the creation and distribution of products all require the energy produced by burning fossil fuels, whether that product is food, clothing, technologies, houses, and any other product or material that has a use in today's society.

How do we create enough green energy to sustain this type of lifestyle? And if that isn't possible, how do you change the lifestyles of the worlds populations when we've conditioned them to want this type of life? Here in North America we live the ideal lifestyle based around consumption. How do you change everyone's perspective?
donutsizzle
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I think you are underestimating the impact of livestock.

From ∞ LINK ∞

Quote:
Livestock are responsible for 18 per cent of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, more than cars, planes and all other forms of transport put together.

Burning fuel to produce fertiliser to grow feed, to produce meat and to transport it - and clearing vegetation for grazing - produces 9 per cent of all emissions of carbon dioxide, the most common greenhouse gas. And their wind and manure emit more than one third of emissions of another, methane, which warms the world 20 times faster than carbon dioxide.

Livestock also produces more than 100 other polluting gases, including more than two-thirds of the world's emissions of ammonia, one of the main causes of acid rain.

Ranching, the report adds, is "the major driver of deforestation" worldwide, and overgrazing is turning a fifth of all pastures and ranges into desert.Cows also soak up vast amounts of water: it takes a staggering 990 litres of water to produce one litre of milk.

Wastes from feedlots and fertilisers used to grow their feed overnourish water, causing weeds to choke all other life. And the pesticides, antibiotics and hormones used to treat them get into drinking water and endanger human health.

The pollution washes down to the sea, killing coral reefs and creating "dead zones" devoid of life. One is up to 21,000sqkm, in the Gulf of Mexico, where much of the waste from US beef production is carried down the Mississippi.


As to your final questions, I think the first step is communicating. People refuse to accept that cheeseburgers are one of the main contributing factors to the destruction of our planet and thus the seemingly inevitable destruction of the human species. Education, then action. Indulgence needs to be demonized in the same way cigarettes, crack, and sexual assault have been (and must continue to be) demonized. Then individuals can act according to their own consciences, now informed.
Whiteanger
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Hmm.. that particular link specifies 14% of the world's greenhouse gases, rather than 18%. Either you took that data from somewhere else, or manipulated it? Regardless, the article touches on an important factor; that Methane is capable of trapping more heat in the atmosphere than Carbon Dioxide by a long shot. While CO2 will stick around in the atmosphere for around 100 years, Methane will only take around 10 years. These two factors (warming potential and atmospheric loitering) are a likely cause to the confusion. Methane is overlooked due to it accounting for less than 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions, however it traps around 100 times more heat than Carbon Dioxide in a 5 year period, and 72 times more in a 20 year period. While Carbon Dioxide produces the bulk majority of greenhouse gas emissions, its impact is less than that of Methane.

It's incredible to think that decreasing the production of Methane would make a considerable difference in far less time than the same reductions in CO2 emissions would.

Here's the link to the website I found this information on :
∞ LINK ∞

I feel like technology could actually be the solution to this portion of the problem. We currently drain massive amounts of resources such as land, forests, water and oil in the sustainment of the meat industry, and yet we're pushing the boundaries of our understandings of stem cells to grow meat in laboratories. If this technology could be harnessed in an efficient and affordable way, we could curb our own impending doom.

Here's the link to Lab Grown Meat, which also references the impacts of Methane on the environment :
∞ LINK ∞

The issue I see with communication solving our problems is that it hasn't worked very effectively, or very quickly. People still smoke cigarettes, even though they know that it will eventually kill them. We make it inconvenient and expensive, and yet the addictive qualities hold people on the addictions and indulgences. Crack is similar, although isn't as wide spread. Sexual assault has been around for millions of years, as every species is prone to procreate based on the survival of a species. It's our social standards and beliefs that make sexual assault a bad thing, and yet it still happens all over the world (once again not as often as even 100 years ago, but it hasn't stopped happening). Because almost every person on this planet relies on and produces greenhouse gas emissions, the percentage of people, businesses and corporations that will continue to break laws and pay fines to skirt the system that hinders greenhouse gas emission production may be enough of an impact to continue the ecosystems decline.

Hopefully enough people are capable of using their better judgement and conscious to avoid the continuation of these emission-producing habits and actually stop the destruction of our planet.
donutsizzle
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I pasted the wrong link on accident. The link all that info came from is this: ∞ LINK ∞