Summary: Connect together the bigger picture
It is my hope that this series of posts have demonstrated several things.
1: Global warming, the factors contributing to greenhouse gas emissions, and the factors affecting our most precious carbon sinks, are not as simple as many mainstream media reports would have us believe.
2: It’s all a bit more complicated than ‘cars and power stations are melting the ice caps, we’re all doomed’.
3: The solutions are also somewhat more complicated than ‘buy a few electric cars and build some wind turbines and we’ll all be OK’.
4: Electric cars, well, still need electricity, and wind turbines use a vast amount of concrete to stay upright. If you really want to ‘go green’ try getting a job closer to home. Using no car at all because you walk to work, that’s the ultimate green transport. Even if we stopped running cars completely and burning fossil fuel in power stations right now today, the pollutants in the atmosphere would take the entire 21st century to clear, and all that time, the effects of global warming would persist.
5: Some of the factors involved in global warming, major factors, are seemingly innocuous things that the mainstream media rarely seem to cover, like fluffy white clouds and freshly ploughed fields. We do not look at a picture of a ploughed field and instantly think ‘oh look, global warming in progress’.
6: No disrespect intended to the film-makers, and no axe to grind with the vegan movement in general, but the movie Cowspiracy is just plain wrong, it is a ‘dramatised pretend documentary’ or ‘docu-drama’ that uses cherry-picked data and ignores vast amounts of contradictory science.
7: Simply giving up meat and dairy and all becoming vegetarians will do virtually nothing to alleviate our present environmental problems. Converting large amounts of the world’s grasslands to croplands would actually make things worse. If folks give up meat and dairy and start eating more rice and wheat and soybeans, greenhouse gas emissions will likely go up over the next few decades.
8: The problem is industrialised agriculture. Becoming vegan won’t change a thing. It’s our ‘abusive attitude’ to farming in general that needs to change.
Since the industrial revolution began, almost 250 years ago…
What have we done wrong?
- The population explosion. We used industrialised agriculture, and fossil fuel power to boost the human population to unsustainably high numbers in a very short space of time
- We ripped up the trees and ploughed the grasslands to plant wheat, corn and soybeans, and we flooded fertile fields to grow rice
- We dramatically over-fished the oceans, and killed a lot of the world’s fish stocks
- We ripped up the forests to grow maize and soybeans, to make cheap cattle feed, vegetable oils and biomass fuels
- We planted too many monocrops, used too much fertilizer, and polluted many of our rivers and seas
Now we have oceans devoid of fish, grasslands diminished, cattle living in steel pens in CAFOs, ankle deep in their own shit, sick, obese, taking antibiotics. Traces of antibiotics get into cheap meat, and humans are developing ‘antimicrobial resistance’ as a result. Wheat grows on the grasslands, so the people all eat wheat, making them fat, driving metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance and causing widespread autoimmune illness because half the human race are not biologically adapted to tolerate eating gluten.
The forests are massively diminished, chopped down to grow maize and soybeans to feed the unhappy sick cows and chickens. The topsoil is depleted, releasing carbon into the atmosphere instead of sequestering it for decades into the future. Rivers are polluted, flows diminished and freshwater fish stocks depleted. The oceans are half-empty, and the lack of oceanic life, and rising seawater acidity, means there is nothing to suck up atmospheric carbon dioxide from all the cars and power stations burning fossil fuels.
While wind, wave, sunshine and tide are ever present, governments have moved too slowly to give businesses tax incentives to develop renewable energy supplies. Still, in 2016 now, only 21% to 22% of world energy production comes from renewable sources. Still only 3% to 5% of transport is powered by any form of clean or renewable energy. Considering that global warming has been on the agenda as a “major international imperative” since 1990, this is a shameful lack of progress in a quarter of a century.
- The air is polluted
- The soil depleted
- The oceans weakened
- The forests weeping
- Animals are widely mistreated
- Humans are overweight, diabetic, stressed out dying of heart disease and riddled with cancer
I think it’s fair to say, we’re in a bit of a mess and not doing as well as we could be. Read more