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Please become a vegan

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Alan C.
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Re: Please become a vegan

#21 Postby Alan C. » August 14th, 2008, 9:56 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Rami
Every person can reduce their use of animal products, even if they do not completely eliminate them.
Rami, if you read this whole thread (and others on this forum) You will see that some people don't have a choice,
Here in large parts (not all) of Shetland, meat is all that can be grown, would you see the people here starve? Or would you have them import food from the other side of the world? When half of the other side of the world is starving?
Vegetarianism is a great concept, but vegetarians don't seem to put much thought into the consequence of global vegetarianism.

You live in the US where vast amounts of grain, cereal, and vegetables can be produced, not everybody is so lucky.
Please give a little thought about peoples circumstances before criticizing their dietry habits.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

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Emma Woolgatherer
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Re: Please become a vegan

#22 Postby Emma Woolgatherer » August 15th, 2008, 12:08 am

Alan C. wrote:Here in large parts (not all) of Shetland, meat is all that can be grown, would you see the people here starve? Or would you have them import food from the other side of the world?
Hope Rami doesn't mind me butting in here, but you've got me thinking. As I've said before, I'm not advocating that all Shetlanders should become vegans, but just suppose for a moment that, over the course of a few generations, all of you did. Would that really be such a disaster? Presumably Shetlanders already import a fair amount of plant food (though I shouldn't think it's all from the 'other side of the world'), since they can't live on meat alone and they don't all grow their own veggies. The bulk of a healthy omnivore's diet will come from fruit, vegetables and grains. Would it be so terrible if a larger proportion of foods were imported to Shetland? A few more sacks of dried pulses. say? From countries where a significant amount of land would be freed up for crops for humans by ending the growing of crops for livestock? And would it be so very terrible if Shetland's grazing land were allowed to revert to something like it used to be before the sheep came?
Shetland's native trees are now confined to a few holms (small islands) and crags inaccessible to sheep. However pollen and wood preserved in peat bogs show that scrubby woodland once covered much of the islands. Given shelter and protection from grazing animals, trees, whether native or planted, can and do grow. SNH is working with land holders and local bodies to establish good management practices to protect and enhance Shetland's natural and planted woodland and where appropriate to encourage new planting.
(Scottish Natural Heritage)
The profusion of plant life on the cliffs - in what amounts to a frigid, salt-lashed desert, lead one to wonder just how green the hills and valleys of Shetland must have been, before humans imported sheep and fire some 7,000 years ago.

In just a few places some stunted native trees have survived, such as the single Hazel at Catfirth in Nesting, the Rowans on loch islands in Northmavine and Shetland's last wild Crab-apples on a cliff face at Fora Ness in Delting. In recent years the Shetland Amenity Trust has sponsored schemes to restore at least some of Shetland's native trees and shrubs, helped by many enthusiastic local gardeners ...

Shetland's peat formed partly because of the damp, cool, climate - which helps to exclude oxygen from the layers and thus retards rotting and recycling - and partly because for several thousand years after the last glaciation there appear to have been few if any grazing animals in the islands - allowing plants to grow unchecked.
(Visit Shetland)

There was a time, of course, where sheep were essential, where a Shetlander couldn't have survived without mutton. But is that really still true? And don't we value other things these days, like native woodlands and biodiversity? Is the economic and social and aesthetic value of those 325,000 sheep really so much higher than the economic and social and aesthetic value of what might flourish in their absence? Can we possibly predict that?
Alan C. wrote:Vegetarianism is a great concept, but vegetarians don't seem to put much thought into the consequence of global vegetarianism.
You may be right, Alan. That's probably because it seems so unlikely, or at least such a long way off, that we don't think we have to. It's a bit like the Liberal Democrats contemplating forming a government. But isn't it also possible that it really wouldn't be as bad as many non-vegetarians fear?

Emma

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Rami
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Re: Please become a vegan

#23 Postby Rami » August 15th, 2008, 7:43 am

Alan C. wrote:
Rami
Every person can reduce their use of animal products, even if they do not completely eliminate them.
Rami, if you read this whole thread (and others on this forum) You will see that some people don't have a choice,
Here in large parts (not all) of Shetland, meat is all that can be grown, would you see the people here starve? Or would you have them import food from the other side of the world? When half of the other side of the world is starving?
Vegetarianism is a great concept, but vegetarians don't seem to put much thought into the consequence of global vegetarianism.

You live in the US where vast amounts of grain, cereal, and vegetables can be produced, not everybody is so lucky.
Please give a little thought about peoples circumstances before criticizing their dietry habits.


First, allow me to say how pleased I am that the conversation on this forum has been so civilized and friendly. I really feel that this atmosphere is conducive to real conversation.

I am not proposing global veganism overnight. I don't presume to have all the answers. I am proposing that we all try to reduce our use of animal products as much as possible - for the sake of the animals. More later,

Rami

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Re: Please become a vegan

#24 Postby Rami » August 15th, 2008, 8:57 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Alan C. wrote:Here in large parts (not all) of Shetland, meat is all that can be grown, would you see the people here starve? Or would you have them import food from the other side of the world?
Hope Rami doesn't mind me butting in here,

Well, OK. If you must. But just this once! :rolleyes:

Emma, my vegan love, please butt in and as often as you can. :kiss:

but you've got me thinking. As I've said before, I'm not advocating that all Shetlanders should become vegans, but just suppose for a moment that, over the course of a few generations, all of you did. Would that really be such a disaster? Presumably Shetlanders already import a fair amount of plant food (though I shouldn't think it's all from the 'other side of the world'), since they can't live on meat alone and they don't all grow their own veggies. The bulk of a healthy omnivore's diet will come from fruit, vegetables and grains. Would it be so terrible if a larger proportion of foods were imported to Shetland? A few more sacks of dried pulses. say? From countries where a significant amount of land would be freed up for crops for humans by ending the growing of crops for livestock?


Good points. I understand that there are several issues to be weighed here. Animal rights, health, economic issues, environmental issues... Being a vegan and believing in equal consideration of interests, I consider animal rights to be paramount. There is simply no scenario in which I would be OK with animal suffering. It would be the same as my consenting to slavery or torture of humans. So, I think Emma's point is a good one. Goods are already transported to the Shetlands, so import some more grains, veggies, nuts and fruits. How would that be problematic?

There was a time, of course, where sheep were essential, where a Shetlander couldn't have survived without mutton. But is that really still true?


Probably not. And if the raising and killing of mutton is no longer necessary for human survival and/or well-being, then I don't consider it to be justified.

Alan C. wrote:Vegetarianism is a great concept, but vegetarians don't seem to put much thought into the consequence of global vegetarianism.
You may be right, Alan. That's probably because it seems so unlikely, or at least such a long way off, that we don't think we have to.


I agree. And I want to make the point that it does not have to be an all-or-nothing kind of thing. In other words, just because a foreseen problem seem insuperable right now, that does not mean that all efforts should be abandoned. Every little bit helps. We don't need to worry about global veganism. It's not going to happen tomorrow or next year. It may never happen. It doesn't matter. If we are capable of obtaining everything we need without deliberately causing unnecessary suffering, then we should not deliberately cause unnecessary suffering.

And I honestly don't understand what hardship global veganism would create. Yes, food will have to be transported to some parts of the world. So? Chances are that goods are already transported there anyway.
It's a bit like the Liberal Democrats contemplating forming a government.


Hahahahah! I know what you mean...

But isn't it also possible that it really wouldn't be as bad as many non-vegetarians fear?


I don't mean to be confrontational, but in my experience, when non-vegans bring up such objections to global veganism, they are not really concerned about it, but are merely searching for a way to justify their non-vegan ways. I am not saying that this is what our boys here are doing, but it seems to me that such arguments are often a way of saying "See? It will never work. I would create problems. So, we should just keep eating meat, hunting, etc. Heck, we ought to do it in order to preserve the delicate balance that exists." At least this was the kind of discussion I had with someone on the Richard Dawkins forum and a few other places...

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Re: Please become a vegan

#25 Postby Compassionist » May 10th, 2009, 8:01 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Compassionist wrote:I am most impressed that you have been a vegan for so long. I have just become a vegan and have been finding it rather difficult. Any tips?

Well, what is it exactly that you find difficult? Are you missing certain foods? Are you finding your diet bland and repetitive? Are you worried that you're not meeting your nutritional needs? Are you losing weight rapidly?! Image What sort of meals are you eating now? I'd be happy to help in any way I can. It's rather nice to be an old hand at something ...

Compassionist wrote:It should be taken into account that all of these can be shipped as dry goods, which means that they can be transported by waterways from far-away places without refrigeration or vacuuming, since they don’t spoil in a week or so. Thus importing e.g. lentils requires less of energy than an equal amount of meat or dairy products, which need to be kept in cold while transporting.

Absolutely. But I still think it's worth looking at what we might produce nearer to home if demand for plant protein foods increased and demand for animal foods decreased. For social and economic reasons, as much as anything.

Emma


So sorry about the hugely delayed reply. I completely agree that local production would be preferable to importing. I suffer from bipolar disorder and I need to have the right blend of Omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids. Fish oil seems to be the only way to get this bland. So, I have been taking fish oil (the taste is awful). I tried flax seed oil but they don't have the right proportion. For those who don't have bipolar disorder this may not be a problem. For me this is a problem because the right blend of Omega 3,6 and 9 help to stabilise my mood. Thanks again for your offer to help.

Ron Webb
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Re: Please become a vegan

#26 Postby Ron Webb » May 10th, 2009, 10:35 pm

Only in the last paragraph does Hawting touch on the real issue here:
Richard Hawting (quoted by Compassionist) wrote:The environmental argument for a vegan diet is not even the sole reason that many give for changing their eating habits. For many, animal welfare is the utmost concern and for others benefits to one's health can also be convincing. Whatever the main reason for becoming vegan, it appears as if it will have to become more and more necessary if we are to continue feeding a growing population and hope to stop climate change.

The present world population, estimated at 6.77 billion, would probably not be sustainable if all of us adopted a modern Western lifestyle. Perhaps it would be sustainable if we were all vegans. Perhaps we could even sustain ten or twenty billion people if we all lived on algae harvested from underground septic tanks, or if we deforested the entire planet to make room for factory farms.

But do we want to?

In my opinion, the question is not how to continue feeding a growing population, but why? Regardless of our lifestyle or our food choices, we know that at some point we will need to limit population growth.

I would far rather live on a planet with only a couple of billion people, with plenty of wide open countryside, natural forests filled with wild creatures, and a diverse diet that includes a moderate amount of meat, fish and dairy products. I do not care to live huddling elbow-to-elbow on a crowded planet eating nothing but vegetables, nor would I wish that lifestyle for my children. Instead of urging everyone to become vegans, which at best will only buy us some time, I think we should be urging everyone to use contraceptives and limit family size.

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Re: Please become a vegan

#27 Postby Compassionist » May 10th, 2009, 11:36 pm

Ron Webb wrote:Only in the last paragraph does Hawting touch on the real issue here:
Richard Hawting (quoted by Compassionist) wrote:The environmental argument for a vegan diet is not even the sole reason that many give for changing their eating habits. For many, animal welfare is the utmost concern and for others benefits to one's health can also be convincing. Whatever the main reason for becoming vegan, it appears as if it will have to become more and more necessary if we are to continue feeding a growing population and hope to stop climate change.

The present world population, estimated at 6.77 billion, would probably not be sustainable if all of us adopted a modern Western lifestyle. Perhaps it would be sustainable if we were all vegans. Perhaps we could even sustain ten or twenty billion people if we all lived on algae harvested from underground septic tanks, or if we deforested the entire planet to make room for factory farms.

But do we want to?

In my opinion, the question is not how to continue feeding a growing population, but why? Regardless of our lifestyle or our food choices, we know that at some point we will need to limit population growth.

I would far rather live on a planet with only a couple of billion people, with plenty of wide open countryside, natural forests filled with wild creatures, and a diverse diet that includes a moderate amount of meat, fish and dairy products. I do not care to live huddling elbow-to-elbow on a crowded planet eating nothing but vegetables, nor would I wish that lifestyle for my children. Instead of urging everyone to become vegans, which at best will only buy us some time, I think we should be urging everyone to use contraceptives and limit family size.


I completely support family planning and sustainable population for this shared planet. My parents had two children, one died aged 8 days and I am still alive and I have had only one child and do not plan to have any more. How do you ensure that family planning is implemented worldwide? How do you ensure that people don't live a lifestyle with large ecological footprints? Apparently a rich American child has 300 times the ecological footprint of a poor African child. Of course, one option is to let nature take its ruthless course through natural selection where the able enough survive and reproduce and the unable die out. Or we could use our foresight and use family planning and have a sustainable lifestyle of moderate ecological impact.

I don't know how you would convince the Duggars http://www.duggarfamily.com to use family planning. They have 18 children and still want more! After all, according to Psalms 127:3 "Children are a heritage of the Lord!"

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Re: Please become a vegan

#28 Postby Ron Webb » May 11th, 2009, 12:18 am

Compassionist wrote:How do you ensure that family planning is implemented worldwide? How do you ensure that people don't live a lifestyle with large ecological footprints?

I don't know, but I think you'd have an even tougher time implementing veganism worldwide -- and even if you succeeded, you haven't really solved the sustainability problem. You've only postponed it.

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Re: Please become a vegan

#29 Postby Compassionist » May 11th, 2009, 12:33 am

Ron Webb wrote:
Compassionist wrote:How do you ensure that family planning is implemented worldwide? How do you ensure that people don't live a lifestyle with large ecological footprints?

I don't know, but I think you'd have an even tougher time implementing veganism worldwide -- and even if you succeeded, you haven't really solved the sustainability problem. You've only postponed it.


I agree with you. But how do we solve this problem? Obviously, the Duggars are counting on God to solve the problem through the return of Jesus Christ and miraculous providence of resources for God's heritage. I am not able to count on God given the plethora of suffering and injustice in life.

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Re: Please become a vegan

#30 Postby Emma Woolgatherer » May 11th, 2009, 1:22 am

Compassionist wrote:So sorry about the hugely delayed reply. I completely agree that local production would be preferable to importing. I suffer from bipolar disorder and I need to have the right blend of Omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids. Fish oil seems to be the only way to get this bland. So, I have been taking fish oil (the taste is awful). I tried flax seed oil but they don't have the right proportion. For those who don't have bipolar disorder this may not be a problem. For me this is a problem because the right blend of Omega 3,6 and 9 help to stabilise my mood.
Don't you find it very difficult, though, to control your intake of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids so that they are in the "right proportion"? How do you measure it all? Because vegans on average have a significantly higher Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio than the general population, which may be the cause of vegans' shorter life expectancy compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarians and fish-eaters, this is something I do take seriously. So for the last few years I've been taking a supplement to increase my Omega 3 intake, as well as having ground flax seeds on my muesli and cooking with rapeseed oil, but it's a bit of a hit-and-miss affair, because I don't measure the levels of Omega 3, 6 and 9 I have in my food. I wouldn't know how to begin to do that. The supplement I take is vegetarian, and possibly vegan too, though it doesn't say so. It's called Cerebrum, and it's in capsule form, and contains DHA from marine microalgae (which is where fish get theirs from). There is another algal supplement, called V-Pure, which is definitely vegan and contains both DHA and EPA. I won't quote the advertising spiel, but it's worth having a look. Both supplements are pretty expensive at the moment compared to ones derived from fish, but that may change as fish stocks continue to decline. This might be something you would want to look into, Compassionist. Where are people going to get their Omega 3 from if fish stocks collapse, and don't recover?
A new research paper on the production of fish-derived fatty acids has concluded that the continued promotion of omega-3s for their health benefits is irresponsible in the face of depleting fish stocks.

Published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the study predicts the collapse of all commercially exploited fish stocks by around 2050.

According to the authors led by David Jenkins, a medical scientist, the health benefits of omega-3 are insufficiently substantiated to justify the scale of promotion the fish-derived lipids are receiving. These “overdramatized” health benefits are putting pressure on fish stocks, they claim.

“Our concern is that fish stocks are under extreme pressure globally and that studies are still urgently required to define precisely who will benefit from fish oil,” said Jenkins, a doctor at St Michael’s Hospital and a professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Nutritional Sciences.
"Omega-3 not healthy enough to eat into fish stocks, claims study", Lorraine Heller, 23-Mar-2009)

Emma

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Re: Please become a vegan

#31 Postby Emma Woolgatherer » May 11th, 2009, 2:23 am

Ron Webb wrote:The present world population, estimated at 6.77 billion, would probably not be sustainable if all of us adopted a modern Western lifestyle. Perhaps it would be sustainable if we were all vegans. Perhaps we could even sustain ten or twenty billion people if we all lived on algae harvested from underground septic tanks, or if we deforested the entire planet to make room for factory farms.

But do we want to?

In my opinion, the question is not how to continue feeding a growing population, but why? Regardless of our lifestyle or our food choices, we know that at some point we will need to limit population growth.
And at some point, we will, according to most projections. Global fertility rates are falling. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs reckons that the world's population will probably peak at around 9.2 billion in 2050; the US Census Bureau puts it at 9.5 billion. Of course, it would be better if we could slow down the growth even more quickly, but one of the best ways of doing that is by reducing poverty, and poverty reduction is always accompanied by increased consumption, including increased consumption of meat and other animal products. So I think the issue of how to feed the world's population is something we need to tackle urgently, regardless of what happens to the size of that population.
Ron Webb wrote:I would far rather live on a planet with only a couple of billion people, with plenty of wide open countryside, natural forests filled with wild creatures, and a diverse diet that includes a moderate amount of meat, fish and dairy products. I do not care to live huddling elbow-to-elbow on a crowded planet eating nothing but vegetables, nor would I wish that lifestyle for my children. Instead of urging everyone to become vegans, which at best will only buy us some time, I think we should be urging everyone to use contraceptives and limit family size.
Why is it an either-or? Why can't we do both? Surely we need all the time we can get.

Actually, I am opposed to urging everyone to become vegan. I would rather urge people to eat much less meat, less fish, and less dairy produce. But we need a multi-pronged approach here, Ron. Yes, pass round the condoms. Yes, limit family size. But you'll always get some people who want to have a dozen kids. So you need some people, like me, who don't have any kids at all, to keep the average family size down. Similarly, even if most people reduce their consumption of meat and animal products to what could be a sustainable level if it were universal, you'll always get some people who continue to eat huge amounts of the stuff. So you need vegans to keep the average consumption down. There you are, you see. We're living on nothing but plants and fungi so you don't have to. :wink:

In any case, whatever population policies are adopted, even under the most optimistic scenario, the world's population won't be reduced to 2 billion before around 2300. The way we're going, the wide open countryside and natural forests and wild creatures will all be long gone before then.

Emma

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Re: Please become a vegan

#32 Postby Ron Webb » May 11th, 2009, 4:22 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:And at some point, we will, according to most projections. Global fertility rates are falling. The United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs reckons that the world's population will probably peak at around 9.2 billion in 2050; the US Census Bureau puts it at 9.5 billion. Of course, it would be better if we could slow down the growth even more quickly, but one of the best ways of doing that is by reducing poverty, and poverty reduction is always accompanied by increased consumption, including increased consumption of meat and other animal products. So I think the issue of how to feed the world's population is something we need to tackle urgently, regardless of what happens to the size of that population.

I am skeptical of those projections, because I think they are based on the very assumption you are making, that reducing poverty will reduce population. I think they have the cause-effect relation backwards: more likely it's reduced family size that reduces poverty, not the other way around. But it doesn't matter, because in my opinion nine billion is still way too many people to be sustainable. Or at least nine billion people living the kind of lifestyle that I think is minimally acceptable.
Why is it an either-or? Why can't we do both? Surely we need all the time we can get.

The "either/or" is that we can either have a sustainable population of (say) two billion people living a moderate Western lifestyle, or nine billion vegans; but we can't sustainably have both Western lifestyle and nine billion people. (I'm obviously just making up these numbers to illustrate my point -- I have no idea what the actual limits are, and I don't think anyone else does either.)

In any case, whatever population policies are adopted, even under the most optimistic scenario, the world's population won't be reduced to 2 billion before around 2300. The way we're going, the wide open countryside and natural forests and wild creatures will all be long gone before then.

Maybe, maybe not. In my opinion there's a chance the human population will be reduced to near zero by then. That would be the least optimistic scenario, I guess, but I have a bad feeling about where we're headed, and I'm not sure any amount of tofu-eating or condom-wearing is going to save us.

Okay, this is just way too depressing to end the evening with. Sorry about that. :shrug:

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Re: Please become a vegan

#33 Postby Compassionist » May 11th, 2009, 6:43 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Compassionist wrote:So sorry about the hugely delayed reply. I completely agree that local production would be preferable to importing. I suffer from bipolar disorder and I need to have the right blend of Omega 3,6 and 9 fatty acids. Fish oil seems to be the only way to get this bland. So, I have been taking fish oil (the taste is awful). I tried flax seed oil but they don't have the right proportion. For those who don't have bipolar disorder this may not be a problem. For me this is a problem because the right blend of Omega 3,6 and 9 help to stabilise my mood.
Don't you find it very difficult, though, to control your intake of Omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids so that they are in the "right proportion"? How do you measure it all? Because vegans on average have a significantly higher Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio than the general population, which may be the cause of vegans' shorter life expectancy compared to lacto-ovo-vegetarians and fish-eaters, this is something I do take seriously. So for the last few years I've been taking a supplement to increase my Omega 3 intake, as well as having ground flax seeds on my muesli and cooking with rapeseed oil, but it's a bit of a hit-and-miss affair, because I don't measure the levels of Omega 3, 6 and 9 I have in my food. I wouldn't know how to begin to do that. The supplement I take is vegetarian, and possibly vegan too, though it doesn't say so. It's called Cerebrum, and it's in capsule form, and contains DHA from marine microalgae (which is where fish get theirs from). There is another algal supplement, called V-Pure, which is definitely vegan and contains both DHA and EPA. I won't quote the advertising spiel, but it's worth having a look. Both supplements are pretty expensive at the moment compared to ones derived from fish, but that may change as fish stocks continue to decline. This might be something you would want to look into, Compassionist. Where are people going to get their Omega 3 from if fish stocks collapse, and don't recover?
A new research paper on the production of fish-derived fatty acids has concluded that the continued promotion of omega-3s for their health benefits is irresponsible in the face of depleting fish stocks.

Published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the study predicts the collapse of all commercially exploited fish stocks by around 2050.

According to the authors led by David Jenkins, a medical scientist, the health benefits of omega-3 are insufficiently substantiated to justify the scale of promotion the fish-derived lipids are receiving. These “overdramatized” health benefits are putting pressure on fish stocks, they claim.

“Our concern is that fish stocks are under extreme pressure globally and that studies are still urgently required to define precisely who will benefit from fish oil,” said Jenkins, a doctor at St Michael’s Hospital and a professor at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine’s Department of Nutritional Sciences.
"Omega-3 not healthy enough to eat into fish stocks, claims study", Lorraine Heller, 23-Mar-2009)

Emma


Thank you for a detailed and helpful response. I don't control the blend of Omega 3, 6 and 9. I compared how my mood is when I am on flax seed oil versus cod liver oil. The latter works better. Cerebrum is too expensive. I feel bad about the fish that die due to fishing. Also, fish stock depletion is another problem - perhaps sustainable fishing policies need to be implemented worldwide. If I could prevent all death, suffering and disease and make all living things omnipotent and omniscient and omnipresent and omnibenevolent and omniculpable I certainly would have done that a long time ago. It is not enough to have good intentions. Ability to fulfill the intentions is essential. Unfortunately, I lack the ability.

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Re: Please become a vegan

#34 Postby Compassionist » May 11th, 2009, 7:10 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:In any case, whatever population policies are adopted, even under the most optimistic scenario, the world's population won't be reduced to 2 billion before around 2300. The way we're going, the wide open countryside and natural forests and wild creatures will all be long gone before then.


We could just select the less healthy and less intelligent 90% of the global population (Thankfully, I will definitely be amongst these 90% given my bipolar disorder) for painless death while asleep. The plan could be carried out in secret by the elite 10% of the world who control 90% of its resources. Surely, this is a lot more painless than the daily grind? Doesn't the needs of the elite outweigh the needs of the dross like myself? Given the fact that the richest 10% of this planet enjoy a selfish lifestyle of luxury and high ecological footprint it would appear that they already implement the policy of their needs taking precedence over the needs of the proletariate. I am aware that there are exceptions (but it is the exceptions that prove the rule) e.g. Warren Buffet who donated 80% of his wealth and lives a relatively low footprint lifestyle although certainly not as low as a poor family in a Third World country. If this culling of the dross is implemented I reckon we could reduce the world population to less than a billion this year! After all, life is a ruthlessly meritocratic rat race where the able enough survive and reproduce and the unable die out. After all, 99.9999% of all living things to have ever evolved on Earth are already extinct. Surely, there is nothing wrong with taking this painless method of selection by the elite 10%? History shows that if you have enough power you can get away with anything e.g. the Europeans got away with colonisation, slavery, slave-trade and the culling of the natives. And they did it by inflicting a great deal of pain. Death by carbonmonoxide while asleep is compassionate by comparison. It is obvious that the selfish prosper while the selfless perish. Those who sacrificed themselves in the World Wars (and other smaller wars) perished while the rest got on with survival and reproduction. Before anyone asks, no, I do not consider this solution to be moral or legal but then when has that ever stopped those with power? Laws can be and has been created to suit those with power. I must be feeling suicidal yet again. I suppose this method of suicide could be called Suicide by Proxy of the Elite 10% of Humanity! Every 3 seconds a child dies of poverty on this planet. Surely, the Elite can at least implement a quicker and painfree method of selection?

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Re: Please become a vegan

#35 Postby Emma Woolgatherer » May 11th, 2009, 4:13 pm

Ron Webb wrote:I am skeptical of those projections, because I think they are based on the very assumption you are making, that reducing poverty will reduce population. I think they have the cause-effect relation backwards: more likely it's reduced family size that reduces poverty, not the other way around.
Again, why either-or? It's highly likely that causality works in both directions.
Ron Webb wrote:But it doesn't matter, because in my opinion nine billion is still way too many people to be sustainable. Or at least nine billion people living the kind of lifestyle that I think is minimally acceptable.
Well, at the moment, a billion people are living on less than a dollar a day, and nearly three billion are living on less than two dollars a day. I doubt that you could get much beyond "minimally acceptable" with that. The diets of the majority of the world's population, even if they are nutritionally adequate, are pretty restricted and repetitive. In the West we have an extraordinary level of choice, and even if we restrict our choices by substantially reducing our consumption of meat and other animal products we can still have very varied and interesting diets, and lifestyles that are well above minimally acceptable. We can make all sorts of changes to our lifestyles in order to make them sustainable and still enjoy them, still get pleasure out of life. In my view, clinging on to our existing Western lifestyles, even "moderate" ones, in the face of staggering global inequity, dwindling resources and climate change is both morally and practically untenable. Something's gotta give.
Ron Webb wrote:
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:]Why is it an either-or? Why can't we do both? Surely we need all the time we can get.
The "either/or" is that we can either have a sustainable population of (say) two billion people living a moderate Western lifestyle, or nine billion vegans; but we can't sustainably have both Western lifestyle and nine billion people.
Well, I agree with that last bit. My point was that there are plenty of other possibilities, plenty of ways we can increase our sustainability that don't involve universal veganism or mass human die-off.
Ron Webb wrote:
Emma Woolgatherer wrote:The way we're going, the wide open countryside and natural forests and wild creatures will all be long gone before then [2030].
Maybe, maybe not. In my opinion there's a chance the human population will be reduced to near zero by then. That would be the least optimistic scenario, I guess, but I have a bad feeling about where we're headed, and I'm not sure any amount of tofu-eating or condom-wearing is going to save us.
Maybe, maybe not. I'm not particularly optimistic, either, as you can probably tell. But one of the reasons for that is that it's catching: this kind of what's-the-point-we're-all-doomed-anywayism that your words imply. We're facing a self-fulfilling prophecy on a massive scale. Mark my words. :D

Emma

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Re: Please become a vegan

#36 Postby Emma Woolgatherer » May 11th, 2009, 5:34 pm

Compassionist wrote:Thank you for a detailed and helpful response. I don't control the blend of Omega 3, 6 and 9. I compared how my mood is when I am on flax seed oil versus cod liver oil. The latter works better. Cerebrum is too expensive.
Fair enough. They do have special offers from time to time, though, and checking my records I see that I've paid only £6.95 for 120 capsules (two months' supply) for three of my last four orders. I know that's still substantially more expensive than cod-liver oil, but it's still only 11 and a half pence a day!
Compassionist wrote:I feel bad about the fish that die due to fishing. Also, fish stock depletion is another problem - perhaps sustainable fishing policies need to be implemented worldwide.
Clearly they do, but, either way, where are we all going to get our Omega 3 from? Whether fish stocks get depleted or we restrict fishing to prevent that happening, we're going to have limited supplies of caught fish. Fish farms have their own problems, especially those that farm carnivorous fish like salmon, which are the ones that are highest in Omega 3. I think we stand a better chance with algae. But perhaps we need other sources, too. Mealworms are particularly high in Omega 3, apparently, and they're very easy to farm. Quite tasty too, I'm told. :D
Compassionist wrote:It is not enough to have good intentions. Ability to fulfill the intentions is essential. Unfortunately, I lack the ability.
It may not be enough to have good intentions, but it's a heck of a good start. Few if any of us fulfil all our good intentions; I certainly don't. But in order to achieve our intentions we have to intend what's achievable. Becoming a vegan is not easy, even for those who don't have concerns about managing bipolar disorder. Reducing your consumption of meat, fish, eggs and dairy is much easier, both to do and to encourage others to do.

Emma

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Re: Please become a vegan

#37 Postby Ron Webb » May 12th, 2009, 2:28 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Ron Webb wrote:I am skeptical of those projections, because I think they are based on the very assumption you are making, that reducing poverty will reduce population. I think they have the cause-effect relation backwards: more likely it's reduced family size that reduces poverty, not the other way around.
Again, why either-or? It's highly likely that causality works in both directions.

In my experience large families are a cultural and often a religious thing, and I don't see those things changing because of reduced poverty. I know several people who would have more children if they thought they could afford it. I know of nobody for whom the opposite is true.
In my view, clinging on to our existing Western lifestyles, even "moderate" ones, in the face of staggering global inequity, dwindling resources and climate change is both morally and practically untenable. Something's gotta give.

I agree to some extent, but I don't think that individual lifestyle choices are ever going to solve anything. This is a collective problem, and it requires a collective (government-imposed) solution. I will vote for any measure that requires all citizens to change their lifestyles, but I will not voluntarily reduce my standard of living while most of the population, and in particular those without a social conscience, get a free ride. In my opinion, that is morally and practically untenable, because it rewards the wrongdoers and punishes the virtuous, and because it just won't work.
My point was that there are plenty of other possibilities, plenty of ways we can increase our sustainability that don't involve universal veganism or mass human die-off.

I hope so, but I don't see public opinion changing fast enough. Who was it who said, "Civilisation is becoming more and more a race between education and catastrophe?" I think catastrophe is winning.

I'm not particularly optimistic, either, as you can probably tell. But one of the reasons for that is that it's catching: this kind of what's-the-point-we're-all-doomed-anywayism that your words imply. We're facing a self-fulfilling prophecy on a massive scale. Mark my words. :D

Oh, I'm not suggesting we should give up. I'm saying that we should do what works (collective action) and not what doesn't work (individual action). And I'm saying that whatever solution we adopt should leave us with a minimally acceptable lifestyle (and that in my opinion includes meat), and we should adjust our target population to ensure that. Achieving sustainability at the cost of an enjoyable life would be a Pyrrhic victory at best.

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Re: Please become a vegan

#38 Postby Compassionist » May 12th, 2009, 9:12 am

Emma Woolgatherer wrote:
Compassionist wrote:Thank you for a detailed and helpful response. I don't control the blend of Omega 3, 6 and 9. I compared how my mood is when I am on flax seed oil versus cod liver oil. The latter works better. Cerebrum is too expensive.
Fair enough. They do have special offers from time to time, though, and checking my records I see that I've paid only £6.95 for 120 capsules (two months' supply) for three of my last four orders. I know that's still substantially more expensive than cod-liver oil, but it's still only 11 and a half pence a day!
Compassionist wrote:I feel bad about the fish that die due to fishing. Also, fish stock depletion is another problem - perhaps sustainable fishing policies need to be implemented worldwide.
Clearly they do, but, either way, where are we all going to get our Omega 3 from? Whether fish stocks get depleted or we restrict fishing to prevent that happening, we're going to have limited supplies of caught fish. Fish farms have their own problems, especially those that farm carnivorous fish like salmon, which are the ones that are highest in Omega 3. I think we stand a better chance with algae. But perhaps we need other sources, too. Mealworms are particularly high in Omega 3, apparently, and they're very easy to farm. Quite tasty too, I'm told. :D
Compassionist wrote:It is not enough to have good intentions. Ability to fulfill the intentions is essential. Unfortunately, I lack the ability.
It may not be enough to have good intentions, but it's a heck of a good start. Few if any of us fulfil all our good intentions; I certainly don't. But in order to achieve our intentions we have to intend what's achievable. Becoming a vegan is not easy, even for those who don't have concerns about managing bipolar disorder. Reducing your consumption of meat, fish, eggs and dairy is much easier, both to do and to encourage others to do.

Emma


I didn't know Cerebrum could be as cheap as 11.5 pence per day! Perhaps I should give it a try. Does it have as high amount of DHA and EPA as the bottled cod liver oil? Apparently EPA is important for mood regulation but the problem is that there has not been any large scale study.

Where would I get mealworms? Are they cheap? I agree that reducing the consumption of meat, fish, eggs and dairy is easier than total veganism.

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Re: Please become a vegan

#39 Postby Compassionist » May 12th, 2009, 9:20 am

Achieving sustainability at the cost of an enjoyable life would be a Pyrrhic victory at best.


I know plenty of people in Bangladesh who live a minimalist lifestyle (because they are poor) but are happy. I don't think things are required for happiness. As long as one is not in pain from injury or disease and has the basics such as adequate food and shelter and has people to love and are loved by other people that is enough. Fulfilling life = being mindful + grateful + optimistic + compassionate + constructive + balanced.

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Re: Please become a vegan

#40 Postby Paolo » May 12th, 2009, 1:19 pm

Meat is less of a problem than people, so please don't have children and make a genuine and permanent difference. If you can't force people to not eat meat you can at least ensure that you fill the world with fewer greedy mouths that need feeding.

Maybe we should practise cannibalism so people can have children, eat meat and still keep the population down?

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Re: Please become a vegan

#41 Postby Nick » May 12th, 2009, 4:10 pm

Paolo wrote:Maybe we should practise cannibalism so people can have children, eat meat and still keep the population down?

*smacks forehead*

Why didn't I think of that?

As the late, great Michael Flanders said "If the great Ju-Ju had not wanted us to eat people, why did he make them of meat?"

Can we have a TH cannibalism section...? :)


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