A couple of favorite quotes,

C Robb W. 444°

"Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a renaissance painting to cook a meal." - E.O. Wilson
The green economist Herman Daly said we are treating the world "as if it were a business in liquidation".

There are those among us, less and less thankfully, particularly in the White House, that still believe John Locke's justification for private property rights, essentially that endless exploitation and expropriation of natural resources by us does no harm to them as there is plenty for all. The science, the media, even some churches now accept that we live in a world of environmental limits. We must all limit our consumption of resources so that there is enough for all.(Dresner 2002) Sorry Dick, all of our lifestyles are negotiable.

Let the negotiations begin.

references:
Dresner, Simon 2002 - The Principles of Sustainability published by Earthscan London

The Principles of Sustainability

~ Simon Dresner (author) More about this product
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4 replies

Charles M. 110°

"Destroying rainforest for economic gain is like burning a renaissance painting to cook a meal."

A painting is pretty pointless in the grand scheme of things and converting it to fuel is at least useful.

We can all be active in this process. Consider that a significant cause of deforestation is to grow soy, a significant amount of which goes to feed animals for meat production. If you're eating feedlot raised meat you're just paying someone to go chop down a rainforest tree for you (a bit like a reverse carbon offset).

In many cases, deforestation is a result of there being insufficient property rights. The native rainforest inhabitants do not own the land and are thus pushed off by developers. If these people actually had ownership of the forests then they'd likely be able to prevent much of the development.

Written in January 2009

C Robb W. 444°

Used to feed livestock:
73% of grain grown in Canada
40% of wheat grown in the UK
80% of the world's commercial soybean harvest
400,000 hectares of land in the US (an area the size of Germany)

85% of topsoil loss in the US attributable to ranching
15,000 litres of water to make 1 kg of beef
10kg of feed produces 1 kg of beef
66% of deforestation in Central and South America is to create livestock pasture
livestock are administered 8 times the amount of antibiotics as given to humans in the US.
1.3 million tonnes of Manure produced by livestock production in the US much of it treated as waste or becomes pollution.

Still want that burger?

source: The Atlas of Food by Millstone and Lang

Written in January 2009

Charles M. 110°

Thanks for putting up those stats. It just shows reducing our meat and milk consumption by 50%, or even 20%, would make more than an abundance of food available and release land and resources.

So why does this not happen? Agribusiness produces too much food. From their perspective there is no production problem. There is instead a **consumption** problem. So how do you make people consume more?

Nobody can eat 2kg of soybeans in a meal, but they can eat 200g of beef. By getting them to eat meat they thereby up the consumption which drives the whole agribusiness machine.

The manure from feedlot raised animals is treated as polluting waste. Yet, if those animals were less intensively farmed and free range, the manure would instead be replenishing the soil, reducing run-off and soil erosion.

Written in January 2009

C Robb W. 444°

What we can do:
1.Eat less meat personally, source it from local sustainable farms.
2.Educate others where you can.
3. Lobby your local, regional, and national governments to stop subsidizing destructive farming practices and to support local sustainable farming.

Written in January 2009

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