Stop it! I thought to myself as though my insides were about to implode from the stress. He gripped the ram by the horns and dragged the animal to slaughter, the screaming sounds haunt me as though the creature knew what was about to happen, the white around his eyes clearly visible as the lids were wide open from anxiety. The memory of the death of this ram, of the brutality of physical violence has certainly caused me to become a pacifist and each time I witness violence this Stop it! screams deep within me and stirs an unbelievable sense of sadness.
I became a vegetarian because I am thoroughly against violence. However, I take a rational approach to righteousness and it is rational to accept that most people eat meat. The problem here is that they must learn to eat meat properly. Any farmer who slaughters an animal in a manner that would provide the least amount of pain, who enables farm animals to lead a natural life free from suffering, who reduces their carbon footprint by using sustainable methods of agriculture is okay by me.
I became a vegetarian twenty years ago now also because of the impact of mass production capitalism is having on our environment.
Our planet is dying.
The same Stop it! burns within me when I hear that in only the last century almost 500 species of animals have become extinct, that the human population has doubled in the last 40 years, that all this marketing and mind control that tell people what to think and what to like and how to act has left them completely oblivious to reality, entertained by a mediocre existence where they have diseased morality into fashion for popularity.
I have heard morons who have stopped eating meat still eat vegetarian burgers from McDonalds, indirectly supporting the very symbol of this capitalist destruction that is killing our earth. McDonalds is responsible for the slaughter of tens of thousands of cows everyday, the suppliers being known to use inhumane methods including electric shocks. In addition to this demand by the masses, these suppliers are clear-cutting forests in order to pasture lands for these cows, cows themselves producing staggering amounts of methane where cattle-breeding, enteric fermentation, manure and livestock management in general has now become responsible for large carbon footprint of greenhouse gases.
It is projected that the human population will only increase to almost 10 billion people in the next thirty years, putting food and water security at high risk, increasing our activities that demand more electricity, cars, coal and carbon, steadily cutting down more trees in this cancerous deforestation in order to build infrastructure that only degrade our planetary mechanisms that are supposed to fight global warming. As global warming causes the earth to heat up, the ice that protects us begins to melt as its’ capacity to reflect solar radiation is reduced.
What exactly is climate change?
There are two types of greenhouse effects caused naturally by the sun and artificially by humans. Natural, solar effects raises the surface temperature that is balanced by infrared radiation that is released into space and all this is controlled by the atmosphere that traps just enough to enable life on earth, otherwise we would be an icy planet with no life.
There is absolutely NO DENIAL that global warming is happening and there is scientific consensus on the subject that clearly articulates that the cause of these global changes is human activity. Anthropogenic climate change is an existential threat to the survival of not just our species but the planet as a whole. The increase of greenhouse gases concentrated in the atmosphere due to the incredible industrial changes that have occurred over the last century caused predominately by capitalism has slowed the process of heat escaping earth and thus warming it up as the heat is being absorbed by our oceans, melting ice that usually reflects solar radiation back out into space and changing weather patterns.
The weather patterns including wind and rain enable this natural balance that are rapidly changing the structure of carbon cycle that moves carbon from oceans into and out of the atmosphere, it cannot keep up with the increase of carbon release due to human activities. Burning coal for electricity, indeed electricity itself is polluting the earth so violently that it is suffocating the Earth’ natural ability to release and absorb the carbon dioxide. The global ocean oxygen has steadily decreased.
It is important to draw focus on what is beautiful and our need to protect this beauty – our ecological system – by reducing our carbon footprint. But, what would that look like? When you think of the senseless murders of elephants and rhinoceros that has left them at the brink of extinction only because of the demand screaming out of some Asian countries particularly China because people believe the ivory from their tusks will cure illness or make them wealthy makes it hard to believe that we even remotely stand a chance. This includes shark finning and mass fishing, tigers and other important species that threatens the natural balance of our ecosystem. Don’t forget our friendly western neighbours and their appetite for whaling despite international condemnation.
These changes to human activities are also impacting on humans themselves, where it is estimated that drought, flood and other climate related weather events such as heatwaves have left hundreds of millions of people displaced, starving or undernourished and dead.
How can we stop this?
It is impossible to do so without rapid, mass changes, something as ‘devastating’ as shutting down all McDonald’s food chains that is emblematic to this destruction like the cigarettes is to cancer. One does not need to stop eating meat. It is about being conscious of the impact eating meat can have overall and that we each as individuals have a responsibility to eat limited amounts of meat sourced by humane farmers who use sustainable agricultural approaches. It is to be conscious of what you are doing.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change would agree. While science may enable us to change the growing impact of carbon dioxide by developing technologies that will assist earth to remove carbon and convert biomass, negative emissions technologies may not be available in time as the speed of human activities requires radical changes to our activities.
Deforestation is largely caused by agriculture and infrastructure that is impacting on atmospheric carbon and so we should make every effort not only to protect forests, but to re-grow them by planting. I love hiking and gardening for a reason, it is important that a national strategy embeds a practice of re-forestation and replanting forests and trees. The most relevant, however, is food and water security. Agricultural practices must be modified that take a more sustainable approach, such as silvopasture as well as the use of enhanced technologies and non-toxic fertilisers that reduce the overall footprint.
The key, overall, is education. Family planning, awareness of the myths behind superstitions that cause an increased demand for ‘exotic’ animals, and certainly the terrible social dynamic that now characterises themselves as a product to market that fuels activities without conscious thought. They do not eat because others are not eating meat, because it is a tool to look good and thus an unrealistic attempt to actually make a difference.
International law that attempts to mitigate the growing impact of climate change by developing national based strategies that effectively reduce their carbon footprint, and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was developed to acknowledge the impact we were having. But, this was not without its challenges, the growing attacks by ‘climate change deniers’ who are funded by big organisations to claim that there is no real threat. The framework did not solidify steps but merely opened a channel of discussions around ways in which the framework could recover the damage we had done, leading to the Kyoto Protocol that made it obligatory to reduce and control carbon emissions. The United States has still refused to sign it. Even so, compliance to the Kyoto Protocol itself – despite many countries signing it – have not been as effective as intended and thus amendments were made to pressure advanced improvements, support developing countries and determine contributions that pushes for better domestic and legal improvements to climate policy.
Climate change is real, it is happening. We need to rehabilitate the mind and go back to the traditional basics. One does not need to give up completely, they just need to practice more thought in the decisions that they make.