The world has serious problems, such as climate change, peak oil, and resource depletion generally. Economists should be leading the charge on these types of issues, but except for the very few “ecological economists,” like Herman Daly, they say increasingly strange things about a parallel world which seems to have only a tangential relationship to the one in which we actually live.
A case in point is the recent book The Climate Casino (2013) by William Nordhaus. His book is quite insightful on several levels. The Climate Casino is a disturbing book, but unfortunately some of what makes it disturbing is not intentional on the part of the author.
Chris Hedges has seen "Cowspiracy"
Chris Hedges was a war correspondent, worked for the Greens in 2008 and 2012, and was part of the “Occupy Wall Street” movement. He’s also, interestingly enough, a Presbyterian minister. He is known to me personally mostly as the author of War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning, a book which is at once interesting, powerfully written, and quite disturbing. It was so powerful, in fact, that I couldn’t finish it. Forcing myself to finish it would be like forcing a vegan to watch slaughterhouse footage. I get it already; I don’t want to watch it.
Chris Hedges is also now a vegan, citing serious environmental concerns. He describes this in his recent article, “Saving the Planet, One Meal at a Time.” Continue reading
What does "respect" mean?
The recently-concluded Denver event “Hoofin It” (August 17-20th) featured a different hoofed animal each day at different restaurants for customers to eat. The meat is from “responsibly raised hoofed animals,” and it was a benefit for the Colorado Food Guild, and tickets were not cheap: $60 for dinner for one person. The theme of the event was “respect your dinner.”
Had this been just another event of the “happy meat” people, vegans would have greeted this news with yawns and the ritualistic rolling of the eyes. But this event had an unexpected feature; the key sponsor was The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). Continue reading
Dr. Robert Goodland died on December 28, 2013. He is best known as the lead author (with co-author Jeff Anhang) of “Livestock and Climate Change” (WorldWatch, November / December 2009), which made the case that livestock agriculture is responsible for over half of all human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. He worked at the World Bank for over two decades and was sometimes referred to as “the conscience of the World Bank.” Continue reading
Methane is a lot worse than we thought, but there is some good news about the climate as well, already well publicized. Al Gore has gone vegan. In the past many people have complained about Gore’s lack of interest in combating a key cause of climate change. Well, now our hopes have been realized: Gore is a vegan. The “revelation” has been confirmed by The Washington Post.
This is a hugely interesting fact about which quite a bit of ink has already been spilled. The most interesting facet of this story is how amazingly little we know about Gore’s veganism. Continue reading
Chasing Ice is a just-released documentary which makes climate change both undeniable and vivid. James Balog, a National Geographic photographer who was once a climate change skeptic, sets out to photograph evidence of the effects of climate change. He goes to the far north with a team of fellow adventurers (dubbed the “Extreme Ice Survey”), where he sets up cameras in really hard-to-get-to places to take time-lapse photos of glaciers and ice caps, so that we can find out just what is going on. Continue reading
Waldo Canyon Fire (NASA)
Politicians fiddle while Colorado burns. We need to change our lifestyle if we want to avoid this fate or one like it. You can’t “grow the economy” without increasing fossil fuel use and without making climate change worse, not to mention the other serious problems which economic growth will make worse — resource depletion, soil erosion, species extinctions, and world hunger. People need to understand this and learn to live with less. Continue reading
Can we have both economic progress and save the environment? Yes, we can have a sustainable economy and keep people employed, feed the hungry, and keep everyone warm during the winter. But the country as a whole will be poorer — a lot poorer — and it is a mistake to underestimate the costs. This may sound like some Republican argument, but it is the truth, and the country needs to face it, and the equally important truth that we have to make these painful changes anyway. Continue reading
In a recent e-mail interchange including both vegans and non-vegan recipients, one of the questions raised was whether we (the vegans) thought that the world was doomed unless the world goes vegan.
This sounded like a rhetorical question, as if to say, “surely you don’t think the world is doomed unless we adopt your narrow, sectarian point of view?” However, I don’t think it’s a rhetorical question. It’s an important question for vegans as well as non-vegans. We need as vegans to know how to position ourselves in the coming world changes. Continue reading
We have a “Post-Carbon Institute” to address our reliance on fossil fuels. But there is no “Post-Methane Institute.”
Methane, the second largest human-caused contributor to global warming, often doesn’t get any respect. The constant focus on “carbon” leads people to believe that our only climate change issues are issues with fossil fuels and carbon dioxide. A key source of methane is livestock (basically, belching cattle); in fact, livestock agriculture is also a significant source of carbon dioxide as well. Continue reading
Last January 21, the KPOV show “All Things Vegan” aired an interview of me in which we discussed a number of issues, the most important of which is why the environmental issue is important for vegans. The following clip gives the segment of the show which interviews me (it’s about 17½ minutes long). Click the picture below to listen to the interview. (EDIT: This link was broken, so I have replaced it with the link to the “All Things Vegan” show. The interview with me starts at about 40:25).
We joined the “iMatter” youth-led march for climate change action yesterday, shortly after it left Cuernavaca Park in Denver. There were several hundred people who marched up 15th Street to Civic Center Park. We had our “Go Vegan” signs, and weren’t quite sure where we would fit in, but finally joined the march just in front of the Greenpeace contingent, which looked like the most animal-friendly bunch. Continue reading
A key cause of climate change
Which is worse for climate change, feeding grass to cows or feeding corn to cows? Basically, this is the wrong question we should be asking, but in the process of answering it, we can see what the right question is. Continue reading
A key cause of climate change
It hardly seems fair to attack an article in which Bill McKibben, a tireless and effective advocate for much needed action on climate change, issues “a call for America to divest its heart and stomach from feedlot beef.” McKibben, like Michael Pollan, is attempting to define grass-fed beef as good, and factory farmed (corn-fed) beef as bad. From a political and ethical point of view, this isn’t a bad approach. In Colorado some years ago a ballot initiative restricting hog farms found the vegetarians and the cattle ranchers on the same side.
But does this make sense scientifically? Continue reading
A key cause of climate change
Some advocates of grass-fed beef argue that well-managed pasture land builds soil carbon. But when you look at the sources behind these claims, the evidence just isn’t there. Continue reading