Join rabble.ca's Vegan Challenge!

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Catchfire Catchfire's picture
Join rabble.ca's Vegan Challenge!

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Join rabble.ca in taking the Vegan Challenge during Earth Week from April 17-23.

rabble.ca staff, contributors and users are encouraged to go vegan for a week to help protect the environment, show compassion for animals and enjoy some wholesome nutritious and yummy food!

Going vegan is one of the strongest ways most of us can contribute to Earth Week and make every day Earth Day! Making your "hoofprint" smaller will reduce your ecological footstep by cutting down on your carbon footprint, diminishing pollution of air, water and land, and helping stymie the destruction of ecosystems being swallowed up to produce feed for farm animals.

Do it do it!

This is the brainchild of rabble intern (and vegan), Noreen Mae rabbletv curator Anita Krajnc. The link above has all sorts of tips for newbie vegans to stay healthy and on course. I will be participating in this event along with most other members of rabble's staff (including Rebecca, I think?), and probably talking about my experiences here. One challenge I foresee is that I will be travelling in the middle of the week, which may complicate things a little.

Anyway, anybody else want to give it a shot?

Caissa

Nope. I'm a committed carnivore.

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Not much in the way of food choices here for a vegan. I suppose it's possible.

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

Boom Boom: that's one of the problems with this undertaking that we'll be dealing with. Veganism is only possible for a specific socioeconomic group, usually Western, usually urban, middle class. As you point out, it's just not appropriate for northern communities. Moreover, many cultures in the world who don't eat meat or dairy don't call themselves "vegan." They just call it "dinner." This doesn't have much to do with why I am not a vegan every day--but I think it's important to take conscious stock of your diet, especially when its environmental impact is so significant.

So, I'm glad you brought that up.

MegB

I like meat as much as the next carnivore, but I can totally do without it for a week. I was vegetarian for years when my eldest was young (she didn't want to eat animals).  My issue will be foregoing other animal products - I'm rather fond of eggs, cheese and milk (and am not a big soy milk fan). 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

That's the argument I usually subscribe to, Life, but isn't it true that a local, sustainable vegan diet will be even better for the environment, since it uses less resources than a meat-based one?

Lachine Scot

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

This is based on the assumption that a vegan diet is better for the environment- that is 100 per cent false.  

I disagree. Just because it's not absolutely perfect for the environment doesn't mean that it's not relatively better and consumes less resources.

Life, the unive...

This is based on the assumption that a vegan diet is better for the environment- that is 100 per cent false.  

Most bean curd and other 'vegetable protein products are made from GMO soya's (mostly under the Monsanto brand).   Other mass produced food available in your grocery store - and this includes raw veggies and fruits- will have been grown through the use of massive amounts of pesticides and herbicides.  The labour, environmental, health and sanitary regulations they are grown under are far below the standards you would expect and really belong in the factory farming category- except we seem to only reserve that grouping for livestock farming - which is wrong. Most of the comments in the quote in the opening post are factually wrong.   Just as much land is being destroyed for sugar cane and corn planting (for ethenol) as any livestock production.   In fact most of the destruction of good forested land is for the growing of crops- whose by-products are fed to livestock not the other way around- than they are for say livestock pasture.  So large scale fruit and vegetabe production is just as culpible in rainforest destruction and other bights on the land as livestock production. There are some very wrong-headed and non-factual statements in those prose.

A far better approach would be to encourage the purchase of locally, small farm raised food, including meat.   Way better for the environment, way better for your health and way better for making a statement against industrial food.  An even better alternative would be to actually get to know some of those farmers and base your views on facts, not myths.   These farmers have to compete and try and stay viable in a system that is stacked against them.   Promoting unhealthy for the environment alternatives like this promotion does is a step in a very wrong direction. 

We are an small-scale organic farm.   Like most true organic farms in it for the long term, animal agriculture is irreplaceble part of keeping our land healthy, productive and suitable to grow food for generations to come.  

Dodger718

Hmmmm...wondering if I can pull off being a kosher vegan for a week. Worth a shot, I suppose. I'm basically vegan all day anyway since that's the only kosher stuff near the office.

Life, the unive...

Catchfire wrote:

That's the argument I usually subscribe to, Life, but isn't it true that a local, sustainable vegan diet will be even better for the environment, since it uses less resources than a meat-based one?

I sort of answered that in my edit.  But here goes with I hope a fuller explanation.

Truly sustainable agriculture requires a return of nutrients to the soil to keep it healthy.   Animal agriculture done on a responsible and sustainable scale is really the only way to do that in a way that will keep the soil healthy long term.  Believe me in my almost 40 years of farming experience we have tried to find ways to keep the soil healthy through plough downs and other techniques.   It just doesn't work over the long term.   In most cases the land starts to see serious problems within about 10 years.   We eventually just gave into reality and expanded into full scale livestock production (and by that I mean for more than just our own use).  Prior to that we had been mostly a vegetable and fruit farm with a few speciallty cash crops like spelt.

It is simply not true that even in relative  terms that a vegan diet is better for the environment in terms of the impact of production.   Where the diet impact dividing line gets drawn is not meat vs vegan - but industrial vs sustainable.   Most of the food vegans will be eating in most settings will have been 'grown' in just as environmentally damaging actions as industrial livestock.   The impact as well on the health of farm workers on all the herbicides and pesticides used in many of the countries' food found on our grocery store shelves is appalling.

Most organic and even bio-dynamic farmers who have been farming for any length of time will tell you that animal agriculture is essential to keeping soil healthy - and not just for the manure.   My pastures are one of the best carbon sinks around for example.  A healthy, rotated pasture system has been shown to sequester amazing amounts of carbon - so it isn't all about cow farts.

Life, the unive...

Lachine Scot wrote:

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

This is based on the assumption that a vegan diet is better for the environment- that is 100 per cent false.  

I disagree. Just because it's not absolutely perfect for the environment doesn't mean that it's not relatively better and consumes less resources.

That would be true if it were true but it isn't.

Le T Le T's picture

I think that Life makes some really good points. I also think that veganism for the love of animals is pretty eurocentric and given the impact that agriculture has had on animals on this land i think that it's pretty short-sighted.

I'm not sure one way or the other about environmental aspects of veganism. As people have pointed out it's not straight forward. As far as the ethical i don't get the hierarchy. Why are animals more worthy of respect than plants? Why are migrant workers and other people who produce food valued less than cows? Veganism as an ethic is plagued with conundrums.

 

Sorry Noreen, veganism had little to do with social or environmental justice in my eyes.

 

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

You should pitch an article response to rabble.ca, life. editor[at]rabble.ca

Le T Le T's picture

I'd love to read that article if you're up for it, Life.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

 Le T brought up the social justice aspect which is you're talking about 'sustainability' is intertwined with environmental aspect.   An example of unintended consequences of diet choices can be illustrated by what's happened with quinoa as it's become more and more popular choice and promoted in veggie and vegan diets in N. America and Europe.   Beyond the ecological factor in terms of energy resources used to import it, it's a great food.  A complete protein, highly nutrious and versitile in it's uses and a realitive low input crop.   Tasty too.     However the consequence beyond our borders start getting a little fuzzy in terms of over all ecological soundness.   While traditional farmers in areas in South America where it has been a staple for thousands of years are seeing higher prices and incomes it's being priced out of reach for a large part of local populace because of international demand.    People who grew up with it no longer eat and are changing to more processed and ironically cheaper and even imported foodstuffs like noodles and rice.

Lard Tunderin Jeezus Lard Tunderin Jeezus's picture

Just askin': Wouldn't a vegan challenge make more sense when fresh local produce is in season?

Le T Le T's picture

Great example, ElizaQ. Food is truely remarkable as an intersection of many forces.

RevolutionPlease RevolutionPlease's picture

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

Just askin': Wouldn't a vegan challenge make more sense when fresh local produce is in season?

 

First thing that came up in my head too.  Why April?

RosaL

Catchfire wrote:

Veganism is only possible for a specific socioeconomic group, usually Western, usually urban, middle class. 

Of course there are vegans who eat all kinds of expensive and hard to find stuff but the same is true of omnivores. 

Near-veganism is common in India amongst some very poor people. I rely heavily on dried beans and lentils - I think that is probably what is most distinctive about my diet. I don't see that there are socioeconomic prerequisites for that. Beans and lentils (and rice) are staples of the poor all over the world - hardly exotic ingredients. It would be difficult to eat more cheaply. 

 

Dodger718

Lard Tunderin Jeezus wrote:

Just askin': Wouldn't a vegan challenge make more sense when fresh local produce is in season?

Actually, I'd love to do the vegan challenge when my backyard garden starts producing!

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

RosaL wrote:

 

Near-veganism is common in India amongst some very poor people. I rely heavily on dried beans and lentils - I think that is probably what is most distinctive about my diet. I don't see that there are socioeconomic prerequisites for that. Beans and lentils (and rice) are staples of the poor all over the world - hardly exotic ingredients. It would be difficult to eat more cheaply. 

 

 

 Rice is an 'exotic' ingredient if you're talking about Canada.  With the exception of wild rice, which isn't the same nor reasonably able to be produced in any sort of great quantity, it isn't grown in Canada because it's not feasible climate wise to grow it at any sort of scale.    Some varieties of beans and lentils are grown quite well and are great staples with good possibility for local sources.   With rice the closest you're going to get is Florida, California, Louisiana and a few other southern States.     

 

RosaL

Le T wrote:

I think that Life makes some really good points. I also think that veganism for the love of animals is pretty eurocentric and given the impact that agriculture has had on animals on this land i think that it's pretty short-sighted.

I'm not sure one way or the other about environmental aspects of veganism. As people have pointed out it's not straight forward. As far as the ethical i don't get the hierarchy. Why are animals more worthy of respect than plants? Why are migrant workers and other people who produce food valued less than cows? Veganism as an ethic is plagued with conundrums.

 

Sorry Noreen, veganism had little to do with social or environmental justice in my eyes.

 

It would be eurocentric, I suppose, if we only cared about European animals. Historically, vegetarianism and veganism have ancient roots and none of them are European. Animals have emotional lives, intellect (not human intellect but intellect) and they feel pain - emotional and physical pain. That's the relevant difference between animals and plants. Nobody is saying migrant workers matter less than cows. Moreover, I think most of us have the sense to say that in marginal situations you eat what you can get and factory farming is one thing and hunting (for food, not for sport) is another. Some of us have actually thought about these issues and we're neither stupid nor ignorant.

 

RosaL

ElizaQ wrote:

 Rice is an 'exotic' ingredient if you're talking about Canada.  With the exception of wild rice, which isn't the same nor reasonably able to be produced in any sort of great quantity, it isn't grown in Canada because it's not feasible climate wise to grow it at any sort of scale.    Some varieties of beans and lentils are grown quite well and are great staples with good possibility for local sources.   With rice the closest you're going to get is Florida, California, Louisiana and a few other southern States.     

 

When I say 'exotic' I mean expensive or hard to find. And when I mentioned rice, I had in mind the poor of the world.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

RosaL wrote:

Historically, vegetarianism and veganism have ancient roots and none of them are European.

Can you please back that up?  People say things like this over and over, but I've never actually had anyone come up with a specific example.

Life, the unive...

Catchfire wrote:

You should pitch an article response to rabble.ca, life. editor[at]rabble.ca

Thanks - too busy though for even much time on babble.  The greenhouses are hopping and takes up most of my energy.   Tomatoes reached the two leaves stage today - so spring will come eventually.  That post was about the longest thing I've written in a month.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

Catchfire wrote:

Moreover, many cultures in the world who don't eat meat or dairy don't call themselves "vegan." They just call it "dinner."

Name one.  One single culture that traditionally does not eat any meat, eggs or dairy.  Please include insects in the non-vegan category.

Veganism is hipster eating.  It's all about the purity, the style, the status of "I'm more environmentally conscious than you are."  It's not especially healthful, it's not, as Life pointed out above, really about the environment.  It's about the appearance and the social and the philosophical (which is, at base, about the social).

Did you know that the prairie ecosystem cannot be preserved without animals?  Bovines, more specifically.  Since we no longer have the buffalo, Cypress Hills National Park has had to allow cattle to range on the prairie because it was dying.  They are introducing some buffalo now, but our cattle farmers have helped to preserve a rare piece of virgin prairie. 

Of course, we could just plant beans because raising cattle is just bad.  ;-)

PS:  Please note I don't have antipathy to vegetarian or even vegan dishes or vegans and vegetarians.  I don't eat a lot of meat, love beans and lentils and am heavy on the fruit and vegetables.  If I am at dinner with vegan or vegetarian friends I would never criticize their choice of meal, nor have I ever done so.  What I take issue with is an argument that is full of holes that get filled up with moral indignation or superiority - and that's just what this sort of challenge is.  A call to live up to somebody else's arbitrary moral standard.  That really irks me, given the amount of energy I put into eating responsibly and locally.

RosaL

Timebandit wrote:

RosaL wrote:

Historically, vegetarianism and veganism have ancient roots and none of them are European.

Can you please back that up?  People say things like this over and over, but I've never actually had anyone come up with a specific example.

Hinduism and Buddhism (not universally in either, but in major schools of both). Jainism. (And Judaism describes the original creation as vegetarian.)

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

Timebandit wrote:

 

Did you know that the prairie ecosystem cannot be preserved without animals?  Bovines, more specifically.  Since we no longer have the buffalo, Cypress Hills National Park has had to allow cattle to range on the prairie because it was dying.  They are introducing some buffalo now, but our cattle farmers have helped to preserve a rare piece of virgin prairie. 

Of course, we could just plant beans because raising cattle is just bad.  ;-)

 

Similar thing in a certain type of rangeland in the southern states and parts of Oregon. The grassland was going downhill and biologists were trying to figure out why.  At the time it was blamed on overgrazing so they removed cattle.  Didn't help.   They eventually figured out that it was the interaction between ruminants, predator behavior and the grasses that was important to make it stay healthy over the longterm.  Basic interaction works like this,  ruminants when predators (like wolves) are around tend to bunch up more and on the outset appear to wreck and tear up the grasses where they are as well as concentrate their waste.  Then they move on.  Those patches end up being more fertile and grow better.  Repeat over the larger area.    In some areas they even reintroduced wolves and ranchers allowed them to kill off a percentage without getting upset.   In other areas like Oregon farmers recreated the bunching dynamic with tighter fenced areas and moved the herd around.

Life, the unive...

RosaL wrote:

Le T wrote:

I think that Life makes some really good points. I also think that veganism for the love of animals is pretty eurocentric and given the impact that agriculture has had on animals on this land i think that it's pretty short-sighted.

I'm not sure one way or the other about environmental aspects of veganism. As people have pointed out it's not straight forward. As far as the ethical i don't get the hierarchy. Why are animals more worthy of respect than plants? Why are migrant workers and other people who produce food valued less than cows? Veganism as an ethic is plagued with conundrums.

 

Sorry Noreen, veganism had little to do with social or environmental justice in my eyes.

 

Some of us have actually thought about these issues and we're neither stupid nor ignorant.

 

It might help if you didn't treat those of us who have also thought alot about these issues and come to different conclusions as neither stupid nor ignorant.   I was quite respectful in my comments (rare indeed eh Catchfire?)   I am totally fine if someone chooses to be a raw food vegan or whatever.  We all make our peace with the damage we cause through our daily choices in life - and none of us is immune to causation.  You will never hear a comments about that choice from me.  I grow food for some of them and we get along fine and have been doing so for years.  (I do understand that glass house works both ways by the way and there is lots of ill-informed comments from non-vegan, non-vegetarians)

What I object to is the holier than thou type of comments that vegan is superior for the environment, animal health (you see mono-culture vegetable, fruit and ceral grain agriculture kills a great many animals, butterflies and insects along with habitat too) or any number of issues.   The truth is it all stinks, but it all comes down to what we chose to accept as acceptable.  The only real solution is to all move into hunter-gatherer societies and live off the land- it all went down hill with agriculture - but I am not really prepared to give up my indoor toilet in the middle of a Canadian winter.  Selfish I know, but there it is.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

RosaL wrote:

Timebandit wrote:

RosaL wrote:

Historically, vegetarianism and veganism have ancient roots and none of them are European.

Can you please back that up?  People say things like this over and over, but I've never actually had anyone come up with a specific example.

Hinduism and Buddhism (not universally in either, but in major schools of both). Jainism. (And Judaism describes the original creation as vegetarian.)

Only small subsets of those groups are vegan.  Hindus eat dairy, Buddhist vegetarianism is optional - I study under a Zen master and have been to Shaolin, they still eat eggs and some meat - and even Jains eat dairy except, as I said, a small subset.  Judaism is not vegan or vegetarian at all, there is no evidence they ever were, even if their religious text implies that the garden of Eden was before the Fall of Man.  So as an overall culture, these are not really examples.  Even within the subsets that could serve as examples, it is just as I said - arbitrary philosophical and moral superiority (look how much better I am at being religious!), not actual, practical ecological or healthful advantage.

Humans are omnivores.  Given the option, we'll eat whatever is available.

RosaL

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

It might help if you didn't treat those of us who have also thought alot about these issues and come to different conclusions as neither stupid nor ignorant.   I was quite respectful in my comments (rare indeed eh Catchfire?)   

What I object to is the holier than thou type of comments that vegan is superior for the environment, animal health (you see mono-culture vegetable, fruit and ceral grain agriculture kills a great many animals, butterflies and insects along with habitat too) or any number of issues.   The truth is it all stinks, but it all comes down to what we chose to accept as acceptable.  The only real solution is to all move into hunter-gatherer societies and live off the land- it all went down hill with agriculture - but I am not really prepared to give up my indoor toilet in the middle of a Canadian winter.  Selfish I know, but there it is.

I was addressing LeT's post, not yours. 

What is most disturbing to me is cruelty and needless suffering. Factory farming, I suppose, is what bothers me most. Any moral position - and I know you have some of your own - looks 'holier than thou' to those who don't share it Undecided

 

Life, the unive...

RosaL wrote:

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

It might help if you didn't treat those of us who have also thought alot about these issues and come to different conclusions as neither stupid nor ignorant.   I was quite respectful in my comments (rare indeed eh Catchfire?)   

What I object to is the holier than thou type of comments that vegan is superior for the environment, animal health (you see mono-culture vegetable, fruit and ceral grain agriculture kills a great many animals, butterflies and insects along with habitat too) or any number of issues.   The truth is it all stinks, but it all comes down to what we chose to accept as acceptable.  The only real solution is to all move into hunter-gatherer societies and live off the land- it all went down hill with agriculture - but I am not really prepared to give up my indoor toilet in the middle of a Canadian winter.  Selfish I know, but there it is.

I was addressing LeT's post, not yours. 

What is most disturbing to me is cruelty and needless suffering. Factory farming, I suppose, is what bothers me most. Any moral position - and I know you have some of your own - looks 'holier than thou' to those who don't share it Undecided

 

But like a religious fundamentalist you just can't leave me to my own.  I have no objection to anyone's lifestyle or beliefs, until they tip over into preaching that others are wrong- not different- but wrong.  What makes it worse is when they are basing that preaching on falsehoods, misplaced assumptions and lack of knowledge.  That is the fundamental difference.  On the food issue that cuts both ways by the way.

RosaL

Timebandit wrote:

Only small subsets of those groups are vegan.  Hindus eat dairy, Buddhist vegetarianism is optional - I study under a Zen master and have been to Shaolin, they still eat eggs and some meat - and even Jains eat dairy except, as I said, a small subset.  Judaism is not vegan or vegetarian at all, there is no evidence they ever were, even if their religious text implies that the garden of Eden was before the Fall of Man.  So as an overall culture, these are not really examples.  Even within the subsets that could serve as examples, it is just as I said - arbitrary philosophical and moral superiority (look how much better I am at being religious!), not actual, practical ecological or healthful advantage.

Humans are omnivores.  Given the option, we'll eat whatever is available.

I don't have time for this. I tried to cover most of these subtleties in brief by talking about "schools" and "vegetarianism and veganism". 

I know Judaism is neither vegetarian nor vegan. I only meant to point to a strain in Judaism that sees that as "the divine intention" or ideal.

It's not arbitrary: it is based on a rejection of violence, specifically, violence towards animals and it's of a piece with other elements of these religions. 

I don't think I am obliged to point to an overall culture, just to provide evidence that vegetarianism and veganism have ancient roots and those roots are not European. That, as I recall, was the issue.

 

RosaL

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

But like a religious fundamentalist you just can't leave me to my own.  I have no objection to anyone's lifestyle or beliefs, until they tip over into preaching that others are wrong- not different- but wrong.  What makes it worse is when they are basing that preaching on falsehoods, misplaced assumptions and lack of knowledge.  That is the fundamental difference.  On the food issue that cuts both ways by the way.

I'm pretty sure you're not a moral relativist so this really makes no sense to me. 

And yes when we disagree with people, we usually think it's because of their reliance on falsehood, misplaced assumptions, and lack of knowledge. that's the nature of disagreement and debate. 

polly bee

Well, I am no hipster, but I am in for the challenge Laughing.    Should be fairly easy since I haven't eaten any animal products for a couple years now.  It IS better for my health, by the way.  Much, much, much better.  That has been confirmed by my general practitioner, my nutritionist, and my rheumatologist.  As well as my scale, my skin, my blood pressure, and my cholesterol and RA levels.

I wish they hadn't called it a vegan challenge, I think what they are promoting is actually just a vegetarian challenge.  

As for all that stuff about a vegan diet requirining exotic, expensive earth damaging foods....meh.  During the winter I eat the spuds and root veggies I put up last fall, my own garden veggies I froze last fall, lots and lots of beans and legumes, and a huge variety of the very same stuff I ate when I was an omnivore.  I just don't put the meat on the plate.  How can it be so much more damaging to consume less of something?

Yes, I do still buy salad greens and tomatoes during the winter - but I don't think that is a strictly "vegan" thing. Even the most dedicated steak eater likes a little salad on the side.  During the summer I eat from my own garden and from the farmers market.  I occasionally buy spinach though, and avacadoes.  Pineapple once in a while, oranges once in a while.  Most people I know buy a certain amount of fresh (imported) produce, even in winter.   Not just vegans.  Yet whenever this topic comes up, someone invariably points out that a vegetarian diet is simply not sustainable, because you need vegetables for that, even when they are out of season!  True, you do require vegetables to be a vegetarian.  But you also require vegetables - the same imported large scale mass produced pesticide drenched crops - even if you are an omnivore.

Plants are necessary for human survival.  Meat isn't.

 

 

 

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

RosaL wrote:

Life, the universe, everything wrote:

It might help if you didn't treat those of us who have also thought alot about these issues and come to different conclusions as neither stupid nor ignorant.   I was quite respectful in my comments (rare indeed eh Catchfire?)   

What I object to is the holier than thou type of comments that vegan is superior for the environment, animal health (you see mono-culture vegetable, fruit and ceral grain agriculture kills a great many animals, butterflies and insects along with habitat too) or any number of issues.   The truth is it all stinks, but it all comes down to what we chose to accept as acceptable.  The only real solution is to all move into hunter-gatherer societies and live off the land- it all went down hill with agriculture - but I am not really prepared to give up my indoor toilet in the middle of a Canadian winter.  Selfish I know, but there it is.

I was addressing LeT's post, not yours. 

What is most disturbing to me is cruelty and needless suffering. Factory farming, I suppose, is what bothers me most. Any moral position - and I know you have some of your own - looks 'holier than thou' to those who don't share it Undecided

 

 

I'm with you on factory and other industrial type farming.   I'm also completely with the assertion that meat and animal product production as it generally sits now in both methods and the levels of individual and societal consumption is not sustainable ecologically in the long term.  I also completely respect people who practice complete veganism or certain type of vegetarianism because of an ethical viewpoint about not killing or using animals for sustanance or other life products.   I don't personally share that particular ethic as an absolute and have little interest in debating that aspect of the 'why of it'  beyond just the general acknowlegement that all agriculture has an effect on animals in some form.

I do have interest in ecological arguments for it though because I don't see it as cut and dry or an either or choice which is why my comments are along those lines.   Ecologically, in terms of long term viability it's a lot more complicated then a one or the other choice.   There are a multitude of methods in producing food, multiple difference between regions and specific ecosystems (one method may be great ecologically in one area and devastasting for another) and of course climatic differences in what grows well where.   For instance with the general current system of food production and North American diet, both animal and veggie the numbers are interesting.  About 45,000 sqft per person with an average ominivore diet and about 10,000 sqft (including some types of organic) per person with a vegetarian/vegan diet.   In terms of basic choice between meat or no meat in terms of land use the better of the two is obvious.   However looking at different methods it's estimated that with things like bio-dynamic and other forms of more intentsive production the numbers run between 3000-5000sqft per person.  This includes stacked systems like permaculture which may include some animals in the system.

Timebandit Timebandit's picture

RosaL wrote:

I don't have time for this. I tried to cover most of these subtleties in brief by talking about "schools" and "vegetarianism and veganism". 

I know Judaism is neither vegetarian nor vegan. I only meant to point to a strain in Judaism that sees that as "the divine intention" or ideal.

It's not arbitrary: it is based on a rejection of violence, specifically, violence towards animals and it's of a piece with other elements of these religions. 

I don't think I am obliged to point to an overall culture, just to provide evidence that vegetarianism and veganism have ancient roots and those roots are not European. That, as I recall, was the issue.

No, I think veganism is pretty arbitrary.  There's no talk about finding better ways to be omnivores, there's the binary choice to eat meat (or dairy or eggs, in the case of non-vegan vegetarians) or not.  And the basis of this choice is placed on a set of, again arbitrary, moral assumptions - religious in the case of your examples (when is religion not arbitrary?), or philosophical in the case of our western environmentalista vegans.

There's also the element of exoticism when westerners take on veganism based on a loose and often colonial understanding of some non-European religious practices - which again, speaks to style.  We westerners are good at taking cool stuff from other cultures and adapting it to our own ends.

RosaL

The idea that I am a hipster is pretty funny Smile

RosaL

Timebandit wrote:

 

No, I think veganism is pretty arbitrary.  There's no talk about finding better ways to be omnivores, there's the binary choice to eat meat (or dairy or eggs, in the case of non-vegan vegetarians) or not.  And the basis of this choice is placed on a set of, again arbitrary, moral assumptions - religious in the case of your examples (when is religion not arbitrary?), or philosophical in the case of our western environmentalista vegans.

There's also the element of exoticism when westerners take on veganism based on a loose and often colonial understanding of some non-European religious practices - which again, speaks to style.  We westerners are good at taking cool stuff from other cultures and adapting it to our own ends.

I don't think "arbitrary" is really an argument. What it means is that someone invokes a consideration that you don't accept, a consideration that has force within their world view and not yours. I don't think that necessarily precludes debate. I'm just saying that "that's arbitrary" is not an argument. 

I'm sure people have all kinds of stupid and objectionable reasons for being vegetarians (as they do for everything else, including things you yourself believe in passionately). If you are suggesting that those are my reasons, no, they're not.

And now I need to get to work.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

polly bee wrote:

 

Plants are necessary for human survival.  Meat isn't.

 

 

 

 

Actually I'll have to disagree.   It may be perfectly fine for a good many people in terms of health but it's not across the board. I'm an example of that, so is part of my family.   I was veggie for a good many years and worked quite hard an making sure I was doing it well nutritionally.   I ended up experiencing health problems.  Took about a hugely frustrating year to work out why and what the foundation was.  Ends up for me it's B12 and related nutrients.  My levels, even though I made sure I was supposedly getting B12 from non-animal sources went down to practically non-existent in testing.   Supplements didn't work, plant based foods didn't work.  I worked with a nutritionist, naturopath and read more vegatarian based B12 info then I can remember.  The only thing that worked was getting shots in the arm once or twice a month.   At least until I finally broke down and added a bit of meat back into my diet.  When I did that my levels went up and stabilized at an acceptable levels, without shots and my health issues disappeared.   Both my sisters have experienced similar issues.

Now I suppose I might be some sort of rare case with some wierd genetic quirk but for whatever reason if I don't have a bit of animal product in my diet I have to get shots to keep healthy.  It was a hard thing to swallow (pun intended) and made me rethink a whole lot of things.   This is why I'm against any sort of declaration that there is a way of eating that would fit every single person everywhere.   There are biological differences between people.

 

polly bee

ElizaQ I think we have talked about this before, I remember your story.  I do think yours is probably a rare case, from what I understand B12 deficiencies are rare, even among vegans.  I am glad you worked it out though, and are feeling good.

I guess what I meant to say is that 99.9% of people can live without meat.  Plants are required for everybody.

 

6079_Smith_W

This is a one-week demonstration to make a point, and perhaps make some people think about some of our ingrained habits.

In that, I think it is a very good thing.

I wouldn't assume that it is about telling me I should stop using animal products  altogether. If someone were to make that suggestion to me I would tell them what I think of that idea.

But on the question of how appropriate veganism is, I am not sure it is always a question of people. There are plenty of places on earth where the land cannot produce enough vegetables to sustain people, but it is just fine for raising animals.

 

Snert Snert's picture

I always find it interesting that veganism by choice gets such support from people who, in any other context, would see that it's not "nature's way".

Apparently, by choosing not to eat meat, we finally know better than Mother Nature.  Boo ya!  What would nature know about eating?

polly bee

What makes you think that Mother Nature (?) intended humans to be meat eaters, Snert?

Catchfire Catchfire's picture

LTJ wrote:
Just askin': Wouldn't a vegan challenge make more sense when fresh local produce is in season?

The challenge coincides with Earth Week, hence the early spring dates. Still: purple sprouting broccoli, new potatoes and asparagus. Not too shabby!

And I appreciate the respectful tone that has been struck. Let's try to keep it that way!

Boom Boom Boom Boom's picture

Son of a gun. I found kosher dill pickles in one of our two stores! Smile

(our supply ship starts up with fresh supplies  in mid-April)

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

polly bee wrote:

ElizaQ I think we have talked about this before, I remember your story.  I do think yours is probably a rare case, from what I understand B12 deficiencies are rare, even among vegans.  I am glad you worked it out though, and are feeling good.

I guess what I meant to say is that 99.9% of people can live without meat.  Plants are required for everybody.

 

Yes I think I talked about it before. :)   I think we can at least agree that plants should be the largest part of a diet.  I'd say mine is about 85% plant based and I am very conscious of where the animal part come from and it's produced from an ecological stand point.  For instance I'm moving from eating chicken eggs to more duck eggs.  Nurtrient wise they have more clout (5X more B12) and from an ecological standpoint my ducks are foraging on parts of my land which is just not suitable for growing other veggies.  Right now they're in the swampy part having a grand old time just being ducks.

6079_Smith_W

Snert:

I have quite a few friends who are vegan. And a great deal more who are vegetarian. don't see that it is a big deal. 

But while I agree with the belief that too much animal consumption is bad for the health of people and the planet, I would argue there is nothing wrong with a balanced omnivorous diet.

But I certainly don't consider veganism a cult or anything. It's no one else's business what someone chooses to eat.

polly bee

Catchfire wrote:

LTJ wrote:
Just askin': Wouldn't a vegan challenge make more sense when fresh local produce is in season?

The challenge coincides with Earth Week, hence the early spring dates. Still: purple sprouting broccoli, new potatoes and asparagus. Not too shabby!

And I appreciate the respectful tone that has been struck. Let's try to keep it that way!

 

Sigh.  I can't even see over the snowbanks to the part of my yard where I think I left my gardens last year.

 

6079_Smith_W

On the other hand, it is a good excuse to empty out the cold room and the bins  and make room for next season.

ElizaQ ElizaQ's picture

polly bee wrote:

 

 

Sigh.  I can't even see over the snowbanks to the part of my yard where I think I left my gardens last year.

 

 

My garden reappeared a few days ago.  I got all excited and went out to play a bit.    Then it all froze again....

 

 

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