Posts tagged ‘environment’

16 September, 2010

Who is Christine O’Donnell? and her position on Animal use in science

Is this the new Sarah Palin?

O’Donnell is a Palin-endorsed candidate, who does not believe in human-made climate change, and may change the face of USAmerican politics. Will she ascend to power, and leave people asking “What happened to science?” in her wake?

If climate change doesn’t exist, but we act as if it is, we spend some money.
If climate change does exist, but we don’t act on it, we kill the planet and all life on it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

However, sometimes, science isn’t the answer –

However, on the Bill O’Reilly show: Is Cloning Monkeys Morally Wrong? (FOX), O’Donnell made an attempt to clarify her position on cross-species experimentation…

O’DONNELL:… the very core of the debate about human cloning is dignity versus commodity…
By their own admission…


O’DONNELL: … these groups admitted that the report that said, “Hey, yay, we cloned a monkey. Now we’re using this to start cloning humans.” We have to keep…

O’REILLY: Let them admit anything they want. But they won’t do that here in the United States unless all craziness is going on.

O’DONNELL: They are — they are doing that here in the United States. American scientific companies are cross-breeding humans and animals and coming up with mice with fully functioning human brains. So they’re already into this experiment.

8 May, 2010

Is Vegan Enough? Food that oppresses people

Since 8 May is both World Fair Trade Day and International Boycott Proctor & Gamble Day, I thought I would take a quick look at an issue that combines both those topics.

Thinking about the people who produce the food we consume, can change the way we look at it. It is not just a one more consumer product, it can be someone’s life.

Taking a look at one product, Coffee, which is vegan, but is it good for people, Third World (* ) communities or the environment. And if it is bad for the environment, it isn’t good for animals.

How does Fair Trade coffee relate to P&G, one of the largest producers of consumer products, cleaning products, personal care products, and pseudo-chip-in-a-can products….?

Four companies – Nestlé, Procter & Gamble, Kraft and Sara Lee purchase over 40% of the world’s coffee beans, which gives them a large control of the industry. Dictating terms and conditions. These companies are also involved in animal experimentation and cruelty to animals via their dairy and meat products. These four big multinationals get to set the prices paid for the raw coffee beans to over 20 million sellers, forcing the prices down, and paying as little as possible.

And when farmers and communities are not getting a living wage from their crops, this leads to an increasing vicious cycle of local poverty, deforestation to grow more crops, habitat and biodiversity destruction and national debt.

Third World poverty – forced by the World Bank to grow crops for exports to pay back exorbitant debts, often racked up by despots but paid back by peasants. Coffee, tea, sugar, cocoa, when many poor countries are producing these “staples” the price for these commodities drops. These countries are making less and less, but growing these crops is often a condition of their loans. For whose benefit is this? These are not crops the local people can live on. Yes they might be vegan, but the human suffering is huge. The environmental devastation via massive land clearing and monoculture crops is also huge.

The leading coffee producers and exporters in order

Brazil, Vietnam, Colombia ,Indonesia, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Honduras, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Papua New Guinea, Ecuador, Thailand, Tanzania, Dominican Republic, Kenya, Venezuela, Cameroon, Philippines, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Burundi, Madagascar, Haiti, Rwanda, Guinea, Cuba, Togo, Bolivia, Zambia, Angola, Panama, Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Ghana, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Malawi

With some exceptions, such as Brazil and India, these countries are among the poorest in the world. The local populations often live in intense poverty.

Absent from the list are first world countries.

Zimbabwe is the number one poorest country in the world, yet it is one of the worlds largest exporters of coffee. Also in the top 10 poorest countries of the world and the top coffee producers/exports are Democratic Republic of the Congo (2nd), Burundi (3rd), Central African Republic (7th).

Kinder Gentler Nation

51 percent of Guatemalans live in poverty. 15 percent live in extreme poverty, meaning they don’t have enough money to put food on their tables on a daily basis.

The World Bank, does not represent the world, is it dominated by the UK and USA, represents the interests of the richest countries in the world. Third world nations become the farm and quarry of the First world.

This informative article from the conservative think-tank the Cato Institute, point out how the world bank is crushing their world countries – The World Bank Vs. the World Poorby James Bovard

The World Bank is helping Third World governments cripple their economies, maul their environments, and oppress their people. … The bank’s handouts to governments for agricultural projects often work out badly. One of the bank’s West African projects to promote coffee and cacao production failed partly because of “soil unsuitability.” The bank encouraged farmers to grow crops that were unsuited for their soil. With friends like the World Bank, African farmers don’t need enemies.

The pursuit of profits in coffee cultivation is causing catastrophes for local farmers and communities, deforestation, and land degradation. None of which are good for animals.

Then comes the addition of milk and sugar….

* or the more common term today being “developing” countries, but I question whether countries like Zimbabwe are developing or if they are going backwards. the other term favoured is ‘Global South’, meaning the poorest countries of the world – ha! take that Australia and New Zealand

Agri-colonisation is an issue covered here: Sugar Shortage – Marion Nestle and G20 countries practice ‘agri-colonialism’ in developing countries from a different perspective.

Some great articles that touch on these issues:

Futile Democracy: The guinea-pig Nation

According to Waldon Bello, a senior analyst at “Focus on the Global South”, a program of Chulalongkorn University’s Social Research Institute:

“At the time of decolonization in the 1960s, Africa was not just self-sufficient in food but was actually a net food exporter, its exports averaging 1.3 million tons a year between 1966-70. Today, the continent imports 25% of its food, with almost every country being a net food importer. Hunger and famine have become recurrent phenomena, with the last three years alone seeing food emergencies break out in the Horn of Africa, the Sahel, Southern Africa, and Central Africa.

Wat-er Mess (or, Why Society is Once Again Seriously Screwed)The amount of water required to make a single cup of coffee, 140 litres is required.

WORLD FAIR TRADE DAY on 8th May 2010
we will be at Union Square’s Greenmarket! Come & meet us there! Volunteers needed! (Event Website)

Feedback welcome.

8 September, 2009

Everything is wrong: Why does my heart feel so bad?

The following is taken from his Everything is Wrong album sleeve.

Everything is Wrong
By “everything is wrong” I mean EVERYTHING. I look around me – I’m typing on a plastic and metal and glass computer perched on a desk made from cut down trees and toxic paint. I sit in a building made of wood and bricks that were taken from the earth on a street made of poisonous asphalt that was laid over an ecosystem that had thrived for hundreds of thousands of years. I’m clothed in cotton that was saturated with pesticides while it grew and treated and dyed with toxic chemicals while it was being processed. All of my possessions were made hundreds or thousands of miles away and shipped in styrofoam and plastic wrap via gas burning engines and destructive road and air ways to me. My food, although organically grown and completely vegan, is shipped from where it was grown to my local store and is often packaged in paper, plastic, metal, and toxic inks. I know tons of people that eat meat, smoke cigarettes, drive cars, use drugs, etc., even though they know that these things will ultimately hurt the quality (and length) of their lives. I live in an apartment building where no one is on a first name basis. I know more about idiot actors in hollywood that I’ve never met than I do about the woman who lives next door to me (and is probably more interesting). While walking to work I inhale toxic exhaust from cars sitting in traffic. To make sure that eating 3 cans of oven cleaner will make you sick, or to make sure that pouring nail polish remover into your eyes will hurt you, we torture mice, rabbits, dogs, cats, etc. We use toxic chlorine bleach to keep our underpants white. We cut down the rainforests to drill for oil so that we can drive to the video store. Do you see what I mean? Everything really is wrong. Even the back to nature people still drive cars and use products made from materials ripped out of the earth. People struggle all of their lives doing work that they hate just to be a functioning member of a system that is wasteful, destructive and unhealthy.

What I advocate is this a sensible, pragmatic, and non-destructive approach towards existence, we need to re-evaluate our practices. Just as it doesn’t make sense to hire an elevator operator to run an automatic elevator it doesn’t make sense for billions of people to drive to work alone in their cars. It doesn’t make sense to consume animal products. It doesn’t make sense to use pesticides on agricultural products. It doesn’t make sense to derive power from nuclear, coal, and petroleum when we have solar, hydro, and wind power. It doesn’t make sense to maintain destructive systems just because people earn their livings from them. It doesn’t make sense to pour billions of tons of toxic chemicals onto our lawns so that they’ll look pretty and green. I could go on but you’re probably either bored or overwhelmed by now. I advocate change; massive, massive change.

Basically we should stop doing these things that are destructive to the environment, other creatures, and ourselves and figure out new ways of existing.

Why does my heart feel so bad – Moby

Publishing this essay from Moby is in no way intended to over ride Moby’s copyright. I believe that it is an important essay, that is becoming harder to find online, and people should read it while it is still available.

2 March, 2009

Digital Vegan

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw (play-writer and vegetarian)

It’s also about creating the world…

Every day is another chance to create a world we would like to live in. We can either complain about it, or accept the challenge, find something positive and change ourselves and how we see the world.

There is a war being waged against all living things on this planet. Plants, environment, animals, people. And no one seems to be doing anything. There is too much apathy in the water supply. We are rushing headlong into a disaster of unprecedented proportions, not since the dinosaurs were extinct and nothing changes.

However, I don’t believe that life is hopeless. Every day I meet passionate, brilliant, inspiring vegans and animal advocates. People who inspire me to get up every day and reach out to connect with the world, and hopefully be the inspiration to open someone else’s eyes to the reality of animal abuse.

For vegans, blogging is an amazing chance to interact with vegans and animal advocates from around the around, that would never get a chance to meet in our ordinary lives. There are so few vegans in the world that connecting with others who believe in similar things to you, who have shared experiences and understand, is like coming home.

That wry smile when you see someone comment “someone found out I was vegan, and the first question they asked was: where do you get your protein?” and you think been there, done that, bought the t-shirt, something only other vegans would relate to.

I love the digital age, I love social networking, and am always willing to share what I know (or learned the hard way). Social media has made it too easy to hit “share” that sometimes we forget to share our own knowledge, insight, opinions and experiences. Every voice is important, even those who stay silent.

If someone else has an opinion which challenges mine, bring it on. If we only ever associate with people who think exactly like we do, then we will never learn. It is by learning that we grow.

And if someone has an experience they would like to share, I am more than willing to listen to others tell their stories. Who knows, I might learn something that I’ve never known before.

Not that I have anything against sharing, we need to get the message out, I just think each of us can bring a different perspective. So if I write something that inspires, feel free to share, and if I find something that inspires me, I will with much pleasure acknowledge it and give the author credit.

Is it better to write for yourself and lose your audience, or to write for an audience and lose yourself?

Unlike some blogs which seem to have two moves copy And paste (does adding “simulpost” really kid anyone that you scraped or lifted the whole thing from someone else?). We will endeavour to write, create graphics, and video ourselves, where possible… Maybe not, but we will try to have some original content.

To know more about Red Glitter or VALA – Just mere simple warriors in the war against animal abuse and cruelty.

Feedback welcome.