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VEGETARIAN ACTION NEWSLETTER #32

OMNI
VEGETARIAN ACTION NEWSLETTER  #32, November 9, 2016
Edited by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace, Justice, and Ecology
 (#4 Feb. 12, 2014; #5 March 12, 2014; #6 April 9, 2014; #7 May 14, 2014; #8, June 11, 2014; #9 July 9, 2014; #10, August 11, 2014; #11 September 10, 2014; #12 October 8, 2014; #13, November 12, 2014; #14, December 10, 2014; #15, January 14, 2015; #16, Feb. 11, 2015; #17, March 11, 2015; #18, April 8, 2015; #19, June 10, 2015; #20, August 12, 2015; #21, September 9, 2015; #22, Oct. 14, 2015; #23, Nov.    ; # 24, Dec. 9, 2015; #25, Jan. 13, 2016; #26, Feb. 10, 2016; #27, April 13, 2016; #28, May 11, 2016; #29 June 8, 2016; #30 Sept. 14, 2016, #31 Oct. 9, 2016).   1576 total OMNI Newsletter posts as of Apr 12, 2016.    Thank you Marc.

All previous numbers of Vegetarian Action are available on the Blog  http://jamesrichardbennett.blogspot.com/

Contents: Vegetarian Action #32
Vegetarian and Vegan Magazines
Vegetarian Journal
VegNews Media Review
Two New Vegan Books
How Not To Die” by Dr. Michael Greger (see Health section)
The Vegan Way by Jackie Day

Health, Nutrition
Fran Alexander, “What We Eat,” about John Ikerd’s Visit 11-2-16
Zaraska, Meathooked
Anderson and Kuhn, What the Health!
Greger, How Not to Die
Respect, Protection of Animals, Empathy, Compassion
Five Farm Animals More Intelligent Than Your Pet Dog
Climate Catastrophe: Mitigation, Adaptation
Center for Eco-Literacy
Climate Catastrophe:  Population Growth and Consumption
Google Search


Vegetarian and Vegan Magazines
Vegetarian Journal Issues
The practical magazine for those interested in Vegetarian Health, Ecology, and Ethics.
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More Back Issues

Google Search, 10-27-16
https://www.vrg.org/journal/index.php
Vegetarian Journal is the practical magazine for those interested in Vegetarian Health, Ecology, and Ethics. The Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG) is a ...
www.vrg.org/journal/subscribe.htm
The Vegetarian Journal is published by The Vegetarian Resource Group, a non-profit educational organization. The 36-page Journal contains informative ...
www.vrg.org/journal/vj2016issue3/index.php
The Vegetarian Journal is one project of The Vegetarian Resource Group. We are a nonprofit organization that educates the public about vegetarianism and the ...
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VEGNEWS MEDIA REVIEWS
This magazine has several pages on media in each number.  The Nov./Dec. 2016 number has 3 pages on books, films, and online sources.
Books: 
Taymer Mason, Caribbean Vegan: Meat-Free, Egg-Free, Dairy-Free.  Authentic Island cuisine for every occasion.
Robin Raven.  Illustrated by Kara Schunk.  Santa’s First Vegan Christmas.  Picture book for children in rhyme.  After embracing vegan, Santa “extends kindness to all animals.”
Elspeth Probyn.  Eating the Ocean.   The disastrous consequences of commodification of our oceans.

MORE NEW VEGAN BOOKS
Greger (see Health)
Macmillan Launches The Vegan Way By Jackie Day Into Bookstores Nationwide by Jackie Day on October 29, 2016 in healthyveganvegan cheesevegan clothes
Seizing the opportunity to capture the ever growing interest in all things vegan, St. Martin’s Press at Macmillan has published The Vegan Way: 21 Days to a Happier, Healthier, Plant-Based Lifestyle That Will Transform Your Home, Your Diet and You by Jackie Day (oh, hey! that’s me!).
This week’s launch follows the success of Macmillan’s plant-based “How Not To Die” by Dr. Michael Greger – an instant New York Times Best Seller.
As Jackie Day explains, the surge in interest to publish vegan books is markedly evident across the book industry.
“There were so many wonderful publishers that were anxious to have The Vegan Way that it went to auction! I’d love to assume this is just a testament to my impeccable research and writing skills (heehee…) but the truth is, I think the book industry is abundantly aware that people are eager to learn how to live a happy, healthy life without harming themselves, or others. Everyone is going vegan and publishers want to enjoy the beautiful – unstoppable – wave.
Fresh out the gate, the book has already been met with favorable reviews.  Dr. Neal Barnard, President of Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, says The Vegan Way is “the perfect starting point” for those who want “to get on the path to long-lasting health and wellness.”
Publishers Weekly says The Vegan Way is “playful and upbeat” and “marvelously succeeds.” Even those who have been vegan for years are writing that they’re still learning so much more from the book.  *toot* *toot* lol
And I hope you’ll enjoy it too!
Whether you’re vegan-curious for your health, the animals, the environment, or a combo of all three – there’s something for everyone in The Vegan Way.
From tips on cooking, cruelty-free fashion, cleaners and cosmetics, to deciphering those lengthy ingredients lists… AND from kicking that pesky dairy cheese habit to finding vegan booze, fast food, and fun: The Vegan Way has it ALL.
Stay tuned for a variety of awesome book launch festivities right here including super easy and tasty vegan recipes… and a huge VeganEgg giveaway announcement to kick-off World Vegan Month on November 1st!

It doesn’t take a lot of money to become vegan; it just takes the will to be kind. How awesome is that?


Health, Nutrition
Fran Alexander.  “What We Eat.  Healthy Eating Means Knowing Where It Comes From.”   NDAG (11-1-16).   Fran invites readers to attend a lecture (Nov. 2, 2016) by John Ikerd titled “Why Bigger Is Not Better,” a critical analysis of the food industry.  He is author of Sustainable Capitalism: A Matter of Common Sense, Essentials of Economic Sustainability, Crisis and Opportunity, and Small Farms Are Real Farms.


http://images.perseusbooks.com/image/pbg/week/classic/260x/72/liquid/center/color/ffffff/99/9780465036622.jpg
Meathooked:  The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat.  By Marta Zaraska  Basic Books, 2016.
Review from Perseus Academic.
One of the great science and health revelations of our time is the danger posed by meat-eating. Every day, it seems, we are warned about the harm producing and consuming meat can do to the environment and our bodies. Many of us have tried to limit how much meat we consume, and many of us have tried to give it up altogether. But it is not easy to resist the smoky, cured, barbequed, and fried delights that tempt us. What makes us crave animal protein, and what makes it so hard to give up? And if consuming meat is truly unhealthy for human beings, why didn’t evolution turn us all into vegetarians in the first place?

In Meathooked, science writer Marta Zaraska explores what she calls the “meat puzzle”: our love of meat, despite its harmful effects. Zaraska takes us on a witty tour of meat cultures around the world, stopping in India’s unusual steakhouses, animal sacrifices at temples in Benin, and labs in the Netherlands that grow meat in petri dishes. From the power of evolution to the influence of the meat lobby, and from our genetic makeup to the traditions of our foremothers, she reveals the interplay of forces that keep us hooked on animal protein.

A book for everyone from the diehard carnivore to the committed vegan, Meathooked illuminates one of the most enduring features of human civilization, ultimately shedding light on why meat-eating will continue to shape our bodies—and our world—into the foreseeable future.
Marta Zaraska is a Polish-Canadian journalist whose science writing has appeared in The Washington PostNewsweekLos Angeles TimesScientific American, and New Scientist, among others. Zaraska divides her time between France and the United States. 

Meathooked Google Search, 10-27-16
www.theglobeandmail.com › ... › Books › Book Reviews  The Globe and Mail
Feb 19, 2016 - Title Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year ... The Polish-Canadian journalist Marta Zaraska's case against eating meat ...
https://www.newscientist.com/.../2075985-meathooked-ho...
New Scientist
Feb 3, 2016 - In MeathookedMarta Zaraska takes on the task of unpicking why so many people – in the West, especially – seem to be addicted to meat.
https://www.kirkusreviews.com/.../marta-zaraska/meathoo...Kirkus Reviews
Oct 28, 2015 - With an open mind, a vegetarian journalist examines our “love affair with meat.” Zaraska cites evidence that vegetarians live longer and familiar ...
May 19, 2016 - In Meathooked: The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat, science writer Marta Zaraska does a great job of ...


Cowspiracy Film Makers Announce NEW film: What the Health!
Kip Anderson and Keegan Kuhn, the talented and passionate men behind the groundbreaking documentary Cowspiracy have just announced their next film: What the Health! They’ve been working on it for the past year, and have finally announced the project on indiegogo and surpassed their initial funding goals in less than 24 hours! THAT’s how much folks want informative films such as this to be made.
The film makers describe it as: “a combination of Cowspiracy and Forks Over Knives on steroids.”
It’s a “ground breaking feature length documentary that follows the exciting journey of an intrepid filmmaker, Kip Andersen, as he uncovers the impacts of highly processed industrial animal foods on our personal health and  greater community, and explores why leading health organizations continue to promote the industry despite countless medical studies and research showing deleterious effects of these products.”
cowspiracyI’m so excited to see this film! It’s about time the general public knows what’s going on behind the closed doors of a health industry that profits from disease, and prefers to push pills rather than promote a healthy diet.
I’ll be sure to update everyone with more information on the new film as I get it. (Be sure to sign up for the My Vegan Journal Newsletter.) In the meantime, if you haven’t seen Cowspiracy yet, you’re in luck – because it’s super easy to view.  With Leonardo DiCaprio on board as an executive producer, it’s now streaming on Netflix. Start the popcorn, grab a blankie, and cue it on up! 
Hurray for great films that inspire folks into action to create a better world for all!

ANDERSON AND KUHN, WHAT THE HEALTH!, Google Search, 10-27-16
directory.trihealth.com/.../brian-kuhn-general_surgery-vascular_surgery-...
Motivated by the immediate results vascular surgeries offer, Dr. Kuhn works ... is to help each patient also get the most out of life through improved vascular health. ... MD practices Vascular Surgery and General Surgery in Anderson, Hillsboro, ...
kimberlysnyder.com/.../what-the-health-with-keegan-kuhn-oral-health-1...
Feb 29, 2016 - What The Health! with Keegan Kuhn & Oral Health 101 [BIO Podcast: ... who worked with Kip Anderson, a guest we have had previously on our ...
www.nationalobserver.com/.../dicaprio-backed-cowspiracy-directors-fin...
Feb 8, 2016 - Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn's film, Cowspiracy, could have ended ... next film, which will look at the health consequences of eating meat.
vegnews.com/articles/page.do?pageId=7490&catId=1
Feb 15, 2016 - Cowspiracy filmmakers Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn rose $132,608 via crowd-funding platform Indiegogo (246 percent more than their ...
https://meatonomics.com/.../an-exclusive-interview-with-cowspiracy-film...
Oct 2, 2014 - An Exclusive Interview With “Cowspiracy” Filmmakers Kip Andersen .... inhabitants of the ocean, nor the overall health of the ocean it seems.
https://newint.org/.../cowspiracy-documentary-vegan...
1.      
New Internationalist
Sep 24, 2015 - Cowspiracy's unique selling point is Anderson himself. .... Because Andersen and Kuhn create false villains in the fight against climate change. ... Is it possible that we subordinate environmental health to our own selfish ...
responsibleeatingandliving.com/.../keegan-kuhn-kip-andersen-cowspirac...
All we want to do is make this world a beautiful delicious place with healthy, ... We're going to now talk to Keegan Kuhn and Kip Andersen, the co-directors of a ...
Also see VegNews interview of Kuhn in the Nov./Dec. 2016 number p. 81.  Kuhn: This film “reveals how damaging animal-based diets can be to our health and why some of the largest health organizations are failing to address it.”

HOW NOT TO DIE, an instant New York Times Best Seller by
Michael Greger, MD.
The vast majority of premature deaths can be prevented through simple changes in diet and lifestyle. In How Not to Die, Dr. Michael Greger, the internationally-recognized lecturer, physician, and founder of NutritionFacts.org, examines the fifteen top causes of death in America—heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, Parkinson’s, high blood pressure, and more—and explains how nutritional and lifestyle interventions can sometimes trump prescription pills and other pharmaceutical and surgical approaches, freeing us to live healthier lives.
The simple truth is that most doctors are good at treating acute illnesses but bad at preventing chronic disease. The 15 leading causes of death claim the lives of 1.6 million Americans annually. This doesn’t have to be the case. By following Dr. Greger’s advice, all of it backed up by peer-reviewed scientific evidence, you will learn which foods to eat and which lifestyle changes to make to live longer.
History of prostate cancer in your family? Put down that glass of milk and add flaxseed to your diet. Have high blood pressure? Hibiscus tea can work better than a leading hypertensive drug—and without the side effects. What about liver disease? Drinking coffee can reduce liver inflammation. Battling breast cancer? Consuming soy is associated with prolonged survival. Worried about heart disease (our #1 killer)? Switch to a whole-food, plant-based diet, which has been repeatedly shown not just to help prevent the disease, but arrest and even reverse it.
In addition to showing what to eat to help prevent the top 15 causes of death, How Not to Die includes Dr. Greger’s Daily Dozen—a checklist of the foods we should try to consume every day. Full of practical, actionable advice and surprising, cutting edge nutritional science, these doctor’s orders are just what we need to live longer, healthier lives.
All proceeds Dr. Greger receives from all book sales are donated to the 501c3 nonprofit charity NutritionFacts.org.


Respecting, Protecting Animals, Empathy, Compassion for Animals
FIVE FARM ANIMALS THAT ARE PROBABLY SMARTER THAN YOUR DOG by Anna Vallery
If you knew that farm animals were as intelligent as your children or pets, would you stop eating meat? If you answered “yes,” then it might be time to do so.
From pigs to cows, sheep to chickens, farm animals are all much smarter than we’ve ever given them credit for. Pigs learn their names and can do tricks like a dog. Cows, goats, and chickens all have incredibly complex social constructs, and they have best friends just like we do.
These are all amazing, sentient beings, yet, because we think of them as commodities, they are never afforded the respect or care that they deserve. Thinking that farm animals are in some way different than our cats and dogs is a cultural construction that allows us to rationalize mass-producing and slaughtering these animals for food. However, when we take a step back and learn how intelligent these creatures really are, suddenly we can begin to break down our preconceptions and see farm animals as someones not somethings.
1. Pigs
More and more, people are waking up to the fact that pigs are highly intelligent. These lovable animals are one of only a few species that can recognize themselves in a mirror. The mirror recognition test measures how self-aware an animal can be. Typically, this test is done by letting an animal look at the mirror. You then put a red dot or some other marker on the animal’s face that was not there before. If they try to remove the dot after looking in the mirror, you can be sure they know it is them looking back from that devilishly handsome reflection. Human children don’t pass this test until around age two! Dogs and cats have yet to pass the test.
Researchers at the University of Cambridge found that not only do pigs recognize themselves, but they also show an understanding of how mirrors work, and can use the reflections to find food.
As if that wasn’t enough to convince you that pigs are incredible intelligent, they are also known to play games (in exchange for a delicious treat). Pigs like to play with toys, such a balls, and are prone to getting bored if they aren’t provided with enough stimulation.
2. Cows
Cows have extremely good memories. It has been found that they not only recognize faces, but they will remember faces even after a long period of time. Cows also remember where to find the best grazing spots and directions to their favorite watering hole.
Perhaps it is this great memory that makes them the ideal best friend. Cows form strong bond and friendships with other cows and will even select a “cow clique,” and hang out with only their best friends.
And as if the cow cliques weren’t enough, cows even have a social hierarchy among the members of their herd. There is typically one cow who is the “boss” and dictates the behavior of her followers. If a cow doesn’t want to listen to this head cow, they are isolated from the herd (just like high school). And when a new cow is introduced to the herd, she has to network and build relationships with other members of the herd before she is fully accepted.
3. Chickens
Chickens have proven that they aren’t necessarily “bird-brained.” Like pigs, chickens can learn to do puzzles and play games.
While we might not think of chickens as being especially affectionate animals, this is far from true. Chickens are amazing mothersand take care of their babies long before they have hatched. It has been found that they “talk” and “purr” to the eggs during incubation. When the chicks hatch, hens are even more loving. They defend their babies form predators, show empathy for their chicks, and teach their young everything they need to know.
All the clucking and purring mom did to the eggs was actually the beginning of her lessons. When chicks are hatched, moms continue to teach them all the ways of the chicken. They teach them what is safe to eat and what to avoid. They also teach them about the social hierarchy, or pecking order.
Baby chicks are pretty brilliant right from the beginning. They are known to show object permanence, the ability to understand an object exists, even when they can’t see it. Chicks develop this ability when they are around two days old, while it take human babies six months to learn this skill.
4. Sheep
Sheep have gained he reputation of being followers who don’t ask questions. They are considered one of the less intelligent species in the farm world. This, however, is just not true!
One example of their amazing intelligence is that sheep are capable of recognizing all kinds of faces. They recognize sheep in their flock and are aware when these sheep are missing. They can recognize “bully” sheep, and get distressed when they come around. These sheep can even recognize the person who cares for them and the sheepdog that herds them! If the appearance of another individual is altered, the sheep have no problem still identifying who it is, and they can keep track of over 50 different sheep faces!
If you make a sheep mad, chances are they are going to remember you and that event for over two years! Talk about a grudge.
5. Goats
Finally, we have our goats. Goats never cease to make us smile with their sheer enthusiasm for life. It turns out that goats aren’t only adorable, but they are incredibly good at problem solving. Researchers from Queen Mary University of London and the Institute of Agricultural Science in Switzerland always suspected that there was more to goats than meets the eye and found that goats are excellent at puzzles.
These researchers presented goats with a puzzle, originally intended for primates, and placed food inside a box that can only be reached by solving the puzzle. The goats had to use their teeth to pull on a rope to activate a lever, and then lift the lever up with their muzzle. If they were able to do this correctly, out came a glorious snack. When the goats were given the challenge again ten months later, they did even better!
They’re determination plus aptitude for challenges allows them to apply these problem solving skills to help them get to food other animals wouldn’t be able to reach. Goats in Morocco, for example, are known to climb trees to reach the tastiest branches.
Reconsidering How We Think About Farm Animals
People love their dogs and cats, most want to treat their pets with the kindness and respect they truly deserve. Farm animals, unfortunately, rarely get treated in this manner. Though they have proven to be just as smart, adorable and loving as their dog and cat counterparts, they are still categorized as a “commodity.” The more we learn about these farm animals and how similar they are to the animals we bring into our homes, the more we want to change the situation we place them in.
Once we acknowledge how amazing these animals truly are, it becomes harder to justify the ways we abuse them. While it might be uncomfortable to challenge the idea that farm animals are food, when we know what we do about their intelligence and abilities, don’t we owe it them to share the truth?


Climate Catastrophe: Mitigation, Adaptation


Contrasting practices that exacerbate climate disruption with those that build resilience and support health.
Today it is becoming more and more evident that the major problems of our time — energy, the environment, climate change, food security, financial security — cannot be understood in isolation. 
They are systemic problems, which means that they are all interconnected and interdependent, and they require corresponding systemic solutions. To put it in another way, systemic problems have harmful consequences in several different areas, while systemic solutions solve problems in several of those areas. In this essay, I shall illustrate this important insight with the example of food systems and their causal connections with climate change.
Climate science is now an established scientific field, and its basic findings are well known. When sunlight warms the surface of the Earth, a large portion of the reflected thermal radiation is absorbed by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the early history of the planet, this "greenhouse effect" created the protective envelope in which life was able to unfold, but since the Industrial Revolution, human activities have generated excessive greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, excessive amounts of heat have been trapped by the greenhouse effect, resulting in the global warming of the Earth's atmosphere beyond safe levels. Warmer air means that there is more energy and more moisture in the atmosphere, which can lead to a wide variety of consequences — floods, tornados, and hurricanes; but also draughts, heat waves, and wildfires. All of these consequences are threats to global food security.
Industrial agriculture
The links between industrial agriculture and climate change are twofold. On the one hand, industrially produced food systems are energy-intensive and fossil-fuel based, and thus contribute significantly to climate change. On the other hand, the crops grown in the genetically homogeneous monocultures that are typical of chemical farming are not resilient to the climate extremes that are becoming more frequent and more violent.
Industrial agriculture originated in the 1960s when petrochemical companies introduced new methods of intense chemical farming. For the farmers the immediate effect was a spectacular improvement in agricultural production, and the new era was hailed as the "Green Revolution." But a few decades later, the dark side of chemical agriculture became painfully evident.
It is well known today that the Green Revolution has helped neither farmers, nor the land, nor the consumers. The massive use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides changed the whole fabric of agriculture and farming, as the agrochemical industry persuaded farmers that they could make more money by planting large fields with a single highly profitable crop and by controlling weeds and pests with chemicals. This practice of single-crop monoculture entailed high risks of large acreages being destroyed by a single pest, and it also seriously affected the health of farm workers and people living in agricultural areas.
With the new chemicals, farming became mechanized and energy-intensive, favoring large corporate farmers with sufficient capital, and forcing most of the traditional single-family farmers to abandon their land. All over the world, large numbers of people left rural areas and joined the masses of urban unemployed as victims of the Green Revolution.
The long-term effects of excessive chemical farming have been disastrous for the health of the soil and for human health, for our social relations, and for the natural environment. As the same crops were planted and fertilized synthetically year after year, the balance of the ecological processes in the soil was disrupted; the amount of organic matter diminished, and with it the soil’s ability to retain moisture. The resulting changes in soil texture entailed a multitude of interrelated harmful consequences — loss of humus, dry and sterile soil, wind and water erosion, and so on.
The ecological imbalance caused by monocultures and excessive use of chemicals also resulted in enormous increases in pests and crop diseases, which farmers countered by spraying ever-larger doses of pesticides in vicious cycles of depletion and destruction. The hazards for human health increased accordingly as more and more toxic chemicals seeped through the soil, contaminated the water table, and showed up in our food.
In recent years, the disastrous effects of climate change have revealed another set of severe limitations of industrial agriculture. As Miguel Altieri and his colleagues at SOCLA (the Sociedad Cientifica Latinoamericana de Agroecologia) point out in a recent report, the Green Revolution was launched under the assumptions that abundant water and cheap energy from fossil fuels would always be available, and that the climate would be stable. None of these assumptions are valid today. The key ingredients of industrial agriculture — agrochemicals, as well as fuel-based mechanization and irrigation — are derived entirely from dwindling and ever more expensive fossil fuels; water tables are falling; and increasingly frequent and violent climate catastrophes wreak havoc with the genetically homogeneous monocultures that now cover 80 percent of global arable land. Moreover, the practices of industrial agriculture contribute about 25 to 30 percent to global greenhouse gas emissions, further accelerating climate change.
Our fossil-fuel based industrial agriculture contributes to greenhouse-gas emissions in several distinct ways: directly through the fuel burnt by agricultural machinery, during food processing, and by transporting the average ounce of food over a thousand miles "from the farm to the table"; indirectly in the manufacture of its synthetic inputs, e.g. of nitrogen fertilizer from nitrogen and natural gas; and finally by breaking down the organic matter in the soil into carbon dioxide (during large-scale tillage and as a consequence of excessive synthetic inputs), which is released into the atmosphere as a greenhouse gas. In addition, massive amounts of methane (a greenhouse gas many times more potent than CO2) are released during large-scale industrial cattle ranching.
The degrading of healthy organic soil by chemical fertilizers and pesticides increases the soil's vulnerability to drought by reducing its capacity to capture water and keep it available for crops. A further devastating effect of the over-fertilization that is typical of current chemical farming practices is the nutritional overload in our waterways, caused by runoffs of agricultural nitrates and phosphates, which lead to oxygen depletion in rivers and to so-called "dead zones" in the oceans, which are no longer inhabitable by most aquatic life.
From a systemic point of view, it is evident that a system of agriculture that is highly centralized, energy-intensive, excessively chemical, and totally dependent on fossil fuels; a system, moreover, that creates serious health hazards for farm workers and consumers, and is unable to cope with increasing climate disasters; cannot be sustained in the long run.
Agroecology: a sustainable alternative
Fortunately, there is a viable and sustainable alternative to industrial agriculture. It consists of a variety of agricultural techniques, often based on traditional practices, that have recently emerged around the world, and have greatly expanded over the last two decades. With these techniques, healthy organic food is grown in decentralized, community-oriented, energy-efficient, and sustainable ways. The ecologically oriented farming techniques are known variously as "organic farming," "permaculture," or "sustainable agriculture." In recent years, the term "agroecology" has increasingly been used as a unifying term, referring to both the scientific basis and the practice of an agriculture based on ecological principles.
When farmers grow crops organically, they use technologies based on ecological knowledge rather than chemistry or genetic engineering to increase yields, control pests, and build soil fertility. They plant a variety of crops, rotating them so that insects that are attracted to one crop will disappear with the next. They know that it is unwise to eradicate pests completely, because this would also eliminate the natural predators that keep pests in balance in a healthy ecosystem. Instead of chemical fertilizers, these farmers enrich their fields with manure and tilled-in crop residue, thus returning organic matter to the soil to reenter the biological cycle.
Organic farming is sustainable because it embodies ecological principles that have been tested by evolution for billions of years. Organic farmers know that a fertile soil is a living soil containing billions of living organisms in every cubic centimeter. It is a complex ecosystem in which the substances that are essential to life move in cycles from plants to animals, to manure, to soil bacteria, and back to plants. Solar energy is the natural fuel that drives these ecological cycles, and living organisms of all sizes are necessary to sustain the whole system and keep it in balance.
A key principle of agroecology is the diversification of farming systems. Mixtures of crop varieties are grown through intercropping (growing two or more crops in proximity), agroforestry (combining trees and shrubs with crops), and other techniques. Livestock is integrated into farms to support the ecosystems above the ground and in the soil. All these practices are labor-intensive and community-oriented, reducing poverty and social exclusion. In other words, agroecology is able to raise agricultural productivity in ways that are economically viable, environmentally benign, and socially uplifting.
Of critical importance for the future of agriculture is the observation that resilience to extreme climate events is closely linked to agricultural biodiversity, which is a key characteristic of agroecology. In recent years, several surveys conducted after major climate disasters — e.g., Hurricane Mitch in Central America (1998) and Hurricane Ike in Cuba (2008) — have shown that farms using agroecological practices suffered less damage than neighboring conventionally farmed monocultures. Other studies showed that diversified farming systems are able to adapt to and resist the effects of severe droughts, exhibiting greater yield stability and smaller decline of productivity than monocultures. When soil is farmed organically, moreover, its carbon content increases, and thus organic farming contributes to reducing the CO2 content of the atmosphere. In other words, agroecology not only is more resistant to global warming than industrial agriculture; it also helps stabilizing the climate, whereas industrial agriculture aggravates climate change.
In the longest-running side-by-side comparison of organic and chemical farming systems, the Rodale Institute found that 27 years of organic practices increased soil carbon by almost 30 percent, while the fossil-fuel based systems showed no significant increase during the same time period. Moreover, the Rodale trials showed that corn and soybean yields from the organic systems matched the yields from conventional systems in normal years and exceeded them by about 30 percent in drought years. The Rodale Institute report concludes that its soil data "show conclusively that...regenerative organic agricultural practices can be the most effective currently available strategy for mitigating CO2 emissions." The report estimates that globally organic agriculture could sequester nearly 40 percent of current CO2 emissions. In other words, instead of being a major cause of global warming, agriculture could be a major part of the solution.
There is now abundant evidence that agroecology is a sound ecological alternative to the chemical and genetic technologies of industrial agriculture. The first global assessment of sustainable agricultural practices in the developing world was conducted by agroecologist Jules Pretty and his colleagues in 2003. They documented clear increases in food production over some 29 million hectares, with nearly 9 million households benefiting from increased food diversity and security. A re-examination of the data in 2010, extending the survey to 37 million hectares, showed that the average crop yield increase was 79 percent.  
In the last two decades, the realization of the contribution of peasant agriculture and of agroecology to food security have gained worldwide attention. Two major international reports (by IAASTD, the International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science, and Technology for Development, in 2009, and by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011) state that, in order to feed 9 billion people in 2050, we urgently need to adopt the most efficient farming systems, and they recommend a fundamental shift toward agroecology as a way to boost food production. Based on broad consultations with scientists and extensive literature reviews, both reports contend that small-scale farmers can double food production within 10 years in critical regions by using agroecological methods already available.
From a systems point of view, it is evident that agroecology is a systemic solution par excellence. If we changed from our chemical, large-scale industrial agriculture to organic, community-oriented, sustainable farming, this would contribute significantly to solving three of our biggest problems. It would greatly reduce our energy dependence, because we are now using one fifth of our fossil fuels to grow and process food. The healthy, organically grown food would have a huge positive effect on public health, because many chronic diseases — heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and so on — are linked to our diet. And finally, organic farming would contribute significantly to fighting climate change by drawing CO2 from the atmosphere and locking it up in organic matter.
In recent years, the Rodale Institute in Pennsylvania, Miguel Altieri's SOCLA in Latin America, and similar organizations around the world have trained thousands of farmers, proving that the shift from industrial agriculture to agroecological practices is not only urgently needed, but is also practical and can be achieved without new technologies or expensive investments. What we need now to scale up these practices from thousands of successful local and regional projects to the global level is political will and leadership.
Suggested further reading
Fritjof Capra and Pier Luigi Luisi, The Systems View of Life: A Unifying Vision (Cambridge University Press, 2014); Chapter 18 ("Systemic Solutions").
Tim J. LaSalle and Paul Hepperly, "Regenerative Organic Farming: A Solution to Global Warming," Rodale Institute Report, 2008.
M. Altieri, C. Nicholls, F. Funes, and other members of SOCLA, "The Scaling-up of Agroecology: Spreading the Hope for Food Sovereignty and Resiliency," www.agroeco.org/socla, May 2012.
J.J. Pretty, J., J. Morrison and R. Hine, "Reducing Food Poverty by Increasing Agricultural Sustainability in the Development Countries," Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 95, 2003.

CLIMATE CATASTROPHE, POPULATION, CONSUMPTION, GROWTH, CARNIVORISM Google Search, Nov. 5, 2016
https://www.theguardian.com › Environment › Food
Mar 21, 2016 - Growing food for the world's burgeoning population is likely to send greenhouse ... Adhering to health guidelines on meat consumption could cut global food-related ... gas emissions, and therefore a major driver of climate change.” ..... If we keep eating meat, flying and wasting energy at current levels, then ...
https://www.theguardian.com › Opinion › Farming
Nov 19, 2015 - If 2 billion people were wiped out by a catastrophe mid-century, the planet ... Population growth is outpaced by the growth in our consumption of ...
https://www.chathamhouse.org/.../20141203LivestockClimateChangeBail...
by R Bailey - ‎Cited by 21 - ‎Related articles
Dec 3, 2014 - their meat and dairy consumption for climate objectives. .... Figure 3: Top 10 countries by forecast growth in beef, pork and chicken consumption, 2011–21. 0.0 .... with the largest livestock populations, only two – Australia and the EU .... below two degrees Celsius and avoid catastrophic climate change.36.
e360.yale.edu/mobile/feature.msp?id=2140
Apr 13, 2009 - It's overconsumption, not population growth, that is the fundamental ... of our impact on climate but also a surrogate for fossil fuel consumption. .... flow from poor areas to rich areas will bring a disaster to our world. ...... You don't have to "live like Ethiopians," but try living without driving a car, eating meat, ...
www.slate.com/.../meat_eating_and_climate_change_vegetarians_impact...
May 1, 2014 - As the population grows and eats more animal products, the consequences for climate change, pollution, and land use could be catastrophic. ... Attempts to reduce meat consumption usually focus on baby steps—Meatless ... Suppose everyone in the world voluntarily stopped eating meat, en masse. I know ...
https://www.scientificamerican.com/.../population-growth-climate-chang...
Dear EarthTalk: To what extent does human population growth impact global ... More people means more demand for oil, gas, coal and other fuels mined or ...

www.forbes.com/.../eating-less-meat-is-worlds-best-chance-for-timely-cli...
Apr 28, 2012 - But the world's best chance for achieving timely, disaster-averting climate change may actually be a vegetarian diet eating less meat, ... The human population is expected to grow by 35% between 2006 and 2050, while ... $100 billion — which they optimistically suggest means there's much room for growth.
www.biologicaldiversity.org/programs/population_and.../climate/
But unsustainable human population growth can overwhelm those efforts, ... facing us is continuing population growth and increasing global consumption of ...



Contents: OMNI Vegetarian Action Newsletter #31, Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Health, Nutrition
Recalling an older book:  Christopher Cook.  Big Business and the Coming Food Crisis
Animal Rights and Protection, Compassion for Sentient Creatures
The Dead Pit:  Animal Deaths by Research
Farm/Food Animal Intelligence
Jainism/Ahimsa and Animal Rights
8 Million Other Animals
Alabaster, World Day for Farm Animals

Climate Change and Industrial Agriculture
Google Search
Population, Climate Change, and Meat
Google Search

Chicken Industry Price Fixing


END VEGETARIAN ACTION #32, November 6, 2016


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