Veganism for environment

This subforum is for discussions of any issues and concerns that impact the environment, such as biodiversity, global climate change, genetically engineered plants and animals, human population, animal and nature conservation, natural disasters, etc.
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poeticoxana
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby poeticoxana » 26 Feb 2012, 18:33

Great discussion.

I am really grateful to everyone who devoted their time to post their valuable thoughts and experiences to do with vegetarianism, veganism and sustainable food.

I would like to emphasise that just calling me and vegans "preachy" or "passive aggressive" will not magically take the issue away. These adjectives can be applied to any person who holds any sort of beliefs, sticks to their values and is not banging it on people's head with a hammer.

Another thing I would like to point people's attention to is the research issue. Vegan organisations are very careful about which studies they use - which is wise, partially because so many eyes are watching and wait for us to make an unsupported claim. However, environmental benefits of veganism are not rocket science and stand to common sense.

Consider the issue of second-hand calories: which we can get directly from plants or second-hand from meat after laborious process of converting plant energy into meat, during which most energy is lost into life processes of animals.

And the other issue of green-house gases, to which livestock is a major contributor - and this fact is recognised not just by a "puny" bunch of vegans, but by the UN and is published in their report.

http://www.vegansociety.com/news/UN-cal ... ucts-.aspx
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Lily » 26 Feb 2012, 22:26

Where did the last tomatoes and Zuchhini you ate come from?


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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Forest Dryad » 27 Feb 2012, 10:35

From my greenhouse. :D
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Corwen » 28 Feb 2012, 12:56

Consider the issue of second-hand calories: which we can get directly from plants or second-hand from meat after laborious process of converting plant energy into meat, during which most energy is lost into life processes of animals.
This seems logical until you consider that many livestock are raised in areas that can't support any other sort of crop and these animals eat grass which we can't digest! Examples being sheep reared in upland areas or wild rabbits and deer living in forests/heathland. The environmental impact from rearing such animals is negligible and may even be positive as their grazing contributes to land management and the preservation of rare habitats. Compare eating calories from one of these animals to eating the alternative- farmed grains or vegetables, and the meat may well be more environmentally positive.

The logical thing is to eat meat that has come from these areas- upland lamb and mutton and game, and not to eat meat intensively reared on a grain based diet like some beef and pretty much all pork. Then your meaty diet will do the planet good.
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby cat » 01 Mar 2012, 12:27

apologises to all a I have not read all the posts.

a few things i would like to mention.

why does is Anorexia never mentioned in these posts?!
http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/default.aspx?page=1428

I realise there are some very healthy vegans out there and vegetarians and meat eaters .

However as soon as i see I am changing my diet... or i am not eating... or because of spirtual reasons... I thinks hummm eating disorder?

One problem I have personally with all this is Education not why are we doing this. But how ?

This may be me seeing a skinny low energy (physical) person that cannot eat with me as a friend as i have not met the requirements of their diet / beliefs ect. but then i have many friends so i will have to make a gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, organic,made from spring water cake! :adrift:

SO rather than all talking about why! why don't we post up some recipes of what we eat and we can all share in this wholesomeness :warm: . I will find some of mine. have some nice recipes. we could share and then pick and choose what we like (for what ever reasons). :cloud9:

I'm a Omnivore not a Carnivore or a Herbivore and i like sprouts! :hug:

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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby cat » 01 Mar 2012, 12:45

Lentils?
as an example
Air miles/road miles (or carbon foot print if you prefer)

in the UK all i could eat if i grew my own veg in the winter....

a variety of pickles 'beer' cider and jams (though I'm not sure what the score is with yeast ) chards if the winters not too bad and the rabbits don't munch em. sprouts cabbages any spuds I've stored ditto apples. turnips dried herbs and spices . and honey though again not sure about the score with bees either..Im sure there's a stack of other stuff too.


Now the big question.

How with out taking supplements or resorting to imported or high CO2 produced foods do I have a balance diet ? I'm ignorant you see !

proteins fats starches sugars vitamins and minerals.


cat

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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Lily » 04 Mar 2012, 12:33

last week, a friend who recently went vegan informed me you cannot get all nutrients needed from that diet without supplements. correct me if I'm wrong.

made me go "hmmmm". I thought with miso, tempeh etc. you'd do fine but apparently not even. kinda bankrupts the idea for me.
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby andromeda » 04 Mar 2012, 14:37

Personally I have experienced the pain of the plants when they get pulled out of the soil so I do not see plants as being less important or sensitive than animals. Crystals, minerals and everything else in the planet which is natural has feelings and ideas too. It is actually my own crystals that taught me that we should not be pulling them from the earth in the first place because they serve a purpose too

Yet mother Earth has created us in a way in which everything is inter related and eats each other. Trees eat soil (as all plants do) and the fungi eat the trees. But we humans like all the creatures in the planet need to eat to live. Perhaps we need to eat less, more natural and local rather that save only animals and sacrifice only plants

To be honest one of the reasons I am a lazy gardener is because I hate killing things but being a frutarian is not really possible. Eating a lot of nuts is not an option because to much of a good thing is not beneficial. On the other hand most of the nuts in Britain are imported too so it does not help the environment either

For me balance and gratitude for what one takes has been my point of compromise and buying local when it is possible

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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby WrenWyrd » 07 Mar 2013, 11:22

I thought I'd raise this thread from the dead since I am still reflecting on many of the issues we outlined. I think it's a bit of a shame that poeticoxana's arguments for veganism were so easily brushed aside, although of course the video which Lily link to shows that the problem is more complex than that. If I sum things up:

-Meat consumtion is extremely costly for the environment (more than importing food) and reduces humanity's capacity for feeding its population.
-There would be better ways to produce meat (and dairy) than factory farming but we'd neverthelss have to eat far less meat than we do.
-Vegetable production involves slavery and therefore can be as harmful for human beings as meat production is for animals.
-There are better ways to produce vegetables but most of our production is still highly problematic.

Granted, it's not a simple question of veganism versus factory-farm-consumption, but we kind of closed the vegan argument a little too quickly. Given the points I made above, it's easy to say that "it makes no sense to be a vegan because, anyway, you've imported your tofu, your organic vegetables were produced by slaves, and you need supplements so it's not really natural" (I'm simplifying here), especially while we remain invloved, as meat eaters, in most of the above anyway. Of course even if I was a vegan who grows her own food organically, the computer I'd own would still be reliant on a modern form of slavery and have a hugely negative environmental impact. That's hardly an argument in favour of meat consumption! I feel like we've over-used that type of skewed argument on this thread.

So even though the thyme that is in my fridge right now comes from "Israël" (read: occupied Palestine), I've decided to drastically reduce my own meat consumption. That will not prevent me from also making more informed choices when it comes to vegetables, clothes, and so on (which I've already been paying attention to).
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Corwen » 07 Mar 2013, 18:18

Is there not an organic box scheme near you Kima?

Speaking personally any veg we buy comes from Riverford, who don't air freight anything and who either grow the veg themselves or buy from a network of growers in the UK, France and Spain. Its all seasonal and fresh. We also grow probably 60% of our own veg and maybe 30% of our fruit (just planted an orchard to increase this), its easy with a freezer to grow bulk crops and then freeze them, and the CO2 of the freezer is more than offset by the lack of transport and wastage compared to buying at the supermarket. I know not everyone has access to an allotment but most people are near a local organic box scheme. Herbs can be grown on a window sill and dried in the sun for winter use or over the wood stove in the autumn, no need to get them from Israel, though you may have to accept coriander is a seasonal luxury, its not so nice dried. Actually eating seasonally makes things really special again, when they are in season.

As for meat, as I've said already upland produced mutton/lamb and wild game like rabbit and venison has a positive environmental impact. Factory farming and dairy is not good though, so maybe we should eat these in small amounts as a luxury if at all.
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Kris Hughes » 07 Mar 2013, 22:57

There is no way I could afford to eat a healthy vegan diet where I am in rural Colorado. If I still lived in a major European city, that's a different story. I don't want to be a vegan anyway, though.

I won't eat meat where the animals have been confined in barns/stalls/cages/feedlots though, and I'm working on dairy.

But you know what's really wrecking the environment? People. The problem is too many people. If all the crusaders who spend so much time and energy telling people we need less cows put it into telling people we need less people, it would ultimately be better in my opinion. We need to get below zero population growth worldwide. Way below. I opted not to have kids decades ago for this very reason. As well as cutting down on the captive breeding program for humans, we need to start putting the earth's health ahead of our own health obsessions.

Cutting the population won't be fun, but neither will the alternative. I'm sure if there were a couple of billion less humans, there would be a lot less cows cluttering up the place.
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby WrenWyrd » 09 Mar 2013, 16:06

@Corwen: The veg I eat are almost entirely local and organic, the Isrealian thyme is an oddity for me (there are no herbs in winter at the local/organic stall). When I eat meat it is also local, and subjected to Swiss regulations which are strict by international comparison, but not strict enough in my opinion.

Still researching! I've found interesting articles about the sentience of plants, which confuses matters yet a little bit more:

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... nted=print
http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/20 ... nted=print
http://www.cup.columbia.edu/static/mard ... one-debate

But then I found a great response! http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle ... t-animals/
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Astrid » 14 Mar 2013, 08:50

I think it is really nice that this tread has been brought back up ;) As the vegan however I would just like to correct a few things for those reading along ;)

Firstly being vegan is a naturally choice for the human body ;) The only supplement that a vegan needs, that meat eaters get through their diet, is a supplement of b12. Now b12 comes from an earth bacteria that most animals (and humans before modern life) would consume because the vegetables and plants eaten would have some dirt on them. However today we clean our vegetables very meticulously and thus the naturally way of getting b12 has become a bit unreliable and thus as a responsible vegan you will do good to supplement that to be safe. Although b12 can be stored in the body for years and I do have friends who don't supplement b12 and instead go get their levels checked at the doctor every 6 months instead. But other than that everything the body needs is available in a whole food plant based diet. I would recommend the documentary "Forks over Knives" as good easy digestible presentation of the science behind the wholefood plantbased diet (and how it fixes a lot of the lifestyle diseases that challenges today's society).

Secondly, in terms of tofu and other none local foods I would say this. We vegans come in all shapes and sizes from the ultra eco-friendly-perma-agriculture hippie to the fast-lane-junk-food-vegan. Therefore I can only speak for my own veganism. I think advocates for veganism spends a lot of time promoting tofu and substitute products such as faux meat in order to convince meat-eaters that they can be vegan without changing a damn thing about their diet. However personally I believe this is not sustainable for environment and health reason. In my own diet I don't eat tofu and other products that are not locally produced. Tofu is popular among vegans, especially those from the states, but by no means do you have to include such things in your diet, as a vegan, in order to be healthy. ;)
That being said however I think it is a common misconception that Veganism is about perfection or pure-ism, it is not. Veganism is about intention and compassion. Just because you can't do everything dosn't mean you should do nothing - do what you can. Which also what Corwen was implying I believe ;) Just because I extend by circle of compassion to non-human creatures does not mean that I do not care about my fellow man, slavery, overpopulation and everything that comes with it. You can easily find meat eaters, such as Corwen, who does scores more for the environment and the human condition than I do with my veganism. I believe we have to start where our passion strikes us and then extend our circle of compassion as our capacity grows. So for me that journey started with all the lovely beings we share the planet with, that then grew into a concern for the planet itself and in the future will probably grow to include all those other important issues as well. What I just want to say is that one form of activism does not exclude the other ;)

Finally as a side note to Kris Huges comment that she cannot afford to eat a vegan diet I would just refer to the above and say it all depends on what sort of veganism. If you buy all the faux products then yes veganism will make you go bankrupt in a matter of days XD however a wholefood plant based diet is actually way cheaper (beans tend to be a lot cheaper than meat ;D ) my own monthly food budget went down by 1/3 when I started eating vegan. So from ca. 350$ (234£) pr. month for two people to ca. 240$(160£). And I could probably make it go lower since I still have certain indulgences in my diet that are more expensive but not necessarily required nutritionally ;)

Sorry if it ended up a bit long - I just wanted to give my two cents on the new posts ;)
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Aphritha » 14 Mar 2013, 16:12

Excuse me, I have a dumb question....
Firstly being vegan is a naturally choice for the human body ;) The only supplement that a vegan needs, that meat eaters get through their diet, is a supplement of b12. Now b12 comes from an earth bacteria that most animals (and humans before modern life) would consume because the vegetables and plants eaten would have some dirt on them. However today we clean our vegetables very meticulously and thus the naturally way of getting b12 has become a bit unreliable and thus as a responsible vegan you will do good to supplement that to be safe. Although b12 can be stored in the body for years and I do have friends who don't supplement b12 and instead go get their levels checked at the doctor every 6 months instead. But other than that everything the body needs is available in a whole food plant based diet. I would recommend the documentary "Forks over Knives" as good easy digestible presentation of the science behind the wholefood plantbased diet (and how it fixes a lot of the lifestyle diseases that challenges today's society).
Can good clean dirt from your own garden help supplement b12?


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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Astrid » 16 Mar 2013, 11:37

well i theory yes but the problem is that the bacteria that makes b12 is not an omnipresent one so you wont find it all dirt PLUS obviously most dirt contain other dangerous thing that are potentially risky for our health ecoli for example - i mean it is with good reason we scrub our veggies clean ;D but a lot of vegan foods like soymilk and such are also supplemented with b12 but if you wanna get a better understanding then listen to Colleen Patrick-Goudreau's podcast she did and episode on b12 that is very informative without getting boring and dry http://www.compassionatecook.com/writin ... amin-b12-2

In general she is just a great source for info and her cookbooks are absoloutly amazing - I would not be such a joyful vegan witout her :D
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Corwen » 17 Mar 2013, 17:39

The study about B12 being on unwashed vegetables found it on veg grown in human manure and then poorly washed (our gut bacteria create B12, though it doesn't get absorbed and thus ends up in poo). Doesn't sound like anything that a normal person might want to take up! B12 isn't found in useful amounts in normal soil.

The fact that there isn't a single people on Earth who traditionally follow a vegan diet probably shows that it isn't really sensible or practical in the long term without supplements made possible by food-science. Even the Jains consume some dairy products. B12 deficiency is serious and most vegans only avoid it because they eat fortified food, whether they realise it or not, or because their bodies stocked up on it before they became vegan. This isn't an argument against veganism though, after all science makes all sorts of things possible that aren't possible otherwise.

That said though abstaining from factory farmed meat is a very good thing for the environment, food is a significant part of everyones impact, about 5% as this useful chart shows: (http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesi ... rev1.shtml ). MEDC stands for More Economically Developed country by the way.
But you know what's really wrecking the environment? People. The problem is too many people. If all the crusaders who spend so much time and energy telling people we need less cows put it into telling people we need less people, it would ultimately be better in my opinion. We need to get below zero population growth worldwide. Way below. I opted not to have kids decades ago for this very reason. As well as cutting down on the captive breeding program for humans, we need to start putting the earth's health ahead of our own health obsessions.

Cutting the population won't be fun, but neither will the alternative. I'm sure if there were a couple of billion less humans, there would be a lot less cows cluttering up the place.
Its not simple though, Americans use 50 times more resources than Indians so we could afford 50 more Indians for each American we get rid of! On a smaller scale Americans emit more than twice the CO2 British people do on average. Australians and Canadians are even worse. What the world really needs is less Westerners, or maybe I should say less people with western lifestyles.
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Astrid » 18 Mar 2013, 10:41

The study about B12 being on unwashed vegetables found it on veg grown in human manure and then poorly washed (our gut bacteria create B12, though it doesn't get absorbed and thus ends up in poo). Doesn't sound like anything that a normal person might want to take up! B12 isn't found in useful amounts in normal soil.
In general the whole b12 is just a little messy - science wise. There have been all sort of proclaimed sources of b12 like algae, seaweeds, certain exotic types of teas. But most of these source have been established to contain the inactive form of b12, that most likely does more damage than good since they then take up receptor space and prevent the absorption of active b12, or have not been put through peer-reviewed human trial yet.

Like Corwen says we do create b12 ourselves, but while guinea pigs are totally fine with getting their b12 by eating their own feces, most of us modern folks are not ;) As to whether putting a spray or pill of b12 in your mouth that was grown on molasses and fermented in lab is more or less unnatural than eating a slice of cheese made from the maternal milk of another species and then fermented in dairywork must be up to the individual. To me it is not. In my opinion we should live life forward and improve as we get smarter ;) I am the benefactor of many science and societal improvements and evolvements. For example I'm also a big fan of electricity, penicillin, windmills, women's rights, democracy and so forth.

I would however like to state that b12 is the only thing you can't get directly from a vegan diet. Everything else you get if you eat diversely and mainly whole foods. But this last point goes for all vegans, vegetarians and meat eaters. For example in Denmark, where I come from, many meat eaters suffer from lack of E-vitamin. Which is never a problem on a good vegan diet. Which is just one reason why we as a society could all stand to eat more plants :wink:
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby WrenWyrd » 20 Mar 2013, 14:20

I've started a little experiment. I prepare only vegan food for myself, cook vegetarian meals for my partner (twice a week), but still eat what he prepares for me (twice a week) and allow myself total freedom when I eat out. This allows me to learn how to manage a majority of vegan meals and to explore the effects it has on me while still make sure I have all the nutrients I need.* My consumption of animal products goes way down and it isn't at all frustrating since I can indulge a few times a week. I also give myself time to talk through the topic with friends and family and to think about it in depth.

*I'm not implying that one cannot be healthy on a vegan diet, but I am already on another restrictive diet for health reasons. I cannot eat any kind of pulses, mushrooms, wheat, and a long list of fruits and vegetables at the moment, so going completely vegan would be extra tricky, and asking others to prepare meals for me would be totally crazy.

As for B12, you can find it in Marmite :cloud9:
I'd be more concerned about iron, because you need very large servings of vegetables to come close to the amount found in smaller portions of meat - and those iron supplements make me sick.
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby Astrid » 20 Mar 2013, 19:09

I think it is great that you're are doing what you can if you have some health challenges that limits you. One of my good friends is currently suffering from a serious illness which means he can only eat salmon, chicken, eggs, 7 different veggies, salt, garlic and rice. So obviously in that case it would be a real challenge to be vegan since he is not even getting the nutrients he needs as it is. So as I said above the key is to always do what we can and not just do nothing because we can't do everything ;)
I had completely forgotten marmite I have heard it contains b12 and another vegan friend actually uses it to get her b12. However Marmite generally has to be ordered home from the UK if you live in Scandinavia so it's a bit cumbersome and no good for us environment wise XD
In terms of Iron there is no need to worry. We talk about two types of iron when comes to human absorption. I don't know their names in English but one is only found in animal products and the other is found in both animal products and vegetable sources. The one that is found only in animals is easier to absorb in the human body and that is why people tend to think we vegans don't get enough iron. However Iron deficiency is a general problem in our society. In Denmark a big study of the population showed that 40% of Danish women only get around half the iron they need (and Denmark is at the very top of the list when it comes to meat eaten pr. capita). However if you eat a good whole food plant based diet you will have to make an effort not to consume enough iron ;D This is due to the fact that almost all leafy greens (kale, spinache, lettuce), beans (kidney, soy, mungo), seeds&nuts (wallnuts, peanuts, sesame seed) and dried fruits (abricots, raisans, prunes) are great sources of iron and if you make sure to get some C-vitamin at the same time you need to eat even less since c-vitamin boosts iron absorption. I found this list: http://www.vrg.org/nutrition/iron.php from the vegan resource group it gives a nice overview of how much iron is in different foods ;) But listen to this podcast: http://www.compassionatecook.com/writin ... ral-iron-2 if you want to get a little more in depth info in a very appetizing format! :D
I think going Vegan tends to be a process for most of us - or at least becoming a healthy vegan tends to be XD. Just like any other big lifestyle change it simply takes time to process all the info, figure out how you want apply it, learn to cook new things, etc. It took me several attempts before I finally turned vegan and in the end it was definitely having done my home work that made me succeed as well as this delicious pizza pesto: http://www.veggieful.com/2012/07/vegan- ... ecipe.html (who knew there is actually life after cheese?!)
I'm what we call an Ethical vegan so I'm Vegan because I don't want to contribute to violence towards animals period. To me the health and environment advantages are just wonderful bonuses to being vegan. This means that for me every vegan meal eaten is awesome because it means someone somewhere was not breed or killed solely for our pleasure :) So I think it is awesome that people like you are being conscious about what you eat and moving towards living in accordance with your own values.
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Re: Veganism for environment

Postby WrenWyrd » 08 Apr 2013, 18:58

This video (by the Vegan Society) addresses quite a few of the farming-related issues that we've discussed on this thread: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-bp2-bsR ... r_embedded
The others in the series are all good: http://www.vegansociety.com/resources/m ... ction.aspx

Too many videos will endoctrinate you by shocking you out of your wits with images of violence done to animals and exaggerated claims, but these make a more convincing argument in my opinion.
Hedge-bandit, song-bomb, dart-beak, the wren
hops in the thicket, flirt-eye; shy, brave,
grubbing, winter's scamp, but more than itself–
ten requisite grams of the world's weight.
Carol Ann Duffy


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