VEGANISM: The Next Stage in Human (R)evolution?

“There is no fundamental difference between man and animals in their ability to feel pleasure and pain, happiness, and misery.” – Charles Darwin.

This feels like a fitting way to open up today’s blog, Charles Darwin, scientist behind the knowledge of evolution. The other day I was thinking about the meaning of evolution… to evolve, to develop and survive. The process that connects us to all other living species that adapt to their environment, to use a Darwinian example, the ground finches on the Galapagos Islands that developed smaller beaks to eat smaller nuts so they could avoid invasion from other birds eating their food.

I started to think about how humans have evolved and thought of nothing. But after discussing with a friend I realised, I’m being harsh, humans have evolved hugely when it comes to creating ease to our lives. Look around you now. We did that. We’ve built new machinery, advanced technology, and lifestyle comforts. But then I understood why I didn’t count that as “proper evolution” because it seems we have created our own “environment” rather than adapting to the one around us, in fact, we’re destroying our environment and in turn, jeopardising our future survival.

It’s all well and good recycling a plastic bag and riding your bike when you remember. But in fact, the biggest contributor to climate change and planet destruction is sadly the production of meat and dairy. Yes, I’m afraid to say, a meat-eating diet is not the way to go if you want to help the planet.

I don’t need to throw a bunch of statistics at you when it’s quite simple to understand. Think about the amount of water, fossil fuels (for tractors) and resources we use just to feed grains. Now imagine a cow, let’s call her Daisy. Daisy is fed these grains that have been produced as well as gallons and gallons of water (2400 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef to be specific). Ever heard of methane before? I visualise it as the ‘farty’ gas that animals (particularly cows) produce as well as the acres of cesspools of faeces from farm animals. So, the more farming, the more methane, and just to give you a measure, methane is more than 25 times more destructive than carbon dioxide for trapping heat into the atmosphere (source: Peta). So after all the methane contribution that Daisy has produced, blissfully unaware, she is now deemed “ready” to be killed (that’s another story). Daisy’s corpse is transported across land and sea in trucks that pump fossil fuels into the sky, all the way to be packaged (in plastic and cling film), refrigerated (using electric), stocked and then finally cooked (probably using gas), soaked in sauce and consumed in approximately 5 minutes. Wow, that’s a lot of resources wasted because you like the taste.

Now, this is just the beef (or milk) that’s been picked up the shelf, not to mention the amount of product that’s put to waste, which accounts for a third of meat produced, we’re looking at approximately 1.3 billion tonnes a year.

I’ve never been good at sticking with diets, going to the gym every week or keeping New Year’s resolutions, but veganism is different, and that’s why I avoid calling it a ‘diet’ or a ‘fad,’ it’s a lifestyle. There’s a choice, and I choose to be more conscious, whether it be about the planet, the animals, or my health… I have to put my money where my mouth is.

The arguments towards going vegan are endless (your health, the health of the environment and the fact we’re not slaughtering innocent animals) which seems convincing and compelling enough when the only counter-arguments are, ’Where do you get your protein from?’ well, where do you think the animals you’re eating get their protein from? That’s right folks, plants. Vegans on average have less nutrition deficiencies than non-vegans. Or another argument is , ‘There’s not enough land to grow enough vegetables for the world,’ well, there seems to be enough to grow vegetables for human consumption, all farm land animals and the grains to feed them. So, there must be enough space.

Be more conscious and empower yourself as a consumer to not contribute to the invisible structures that have a direct impact on the planet. Maybe we’re not ‘designed to meat’ but rather, ‘designed to make the world better.’

Let’s change the story. Go vegan.

Eliza

Tell us what you think and how you get on – reply on-line or via our Blog email address: tellus@whatcanyoudo.earth
(from “Tellus” Latin for “Earth”!)

9. Innovation and Infrastructure

Earth year 4,492,056,017
Mother Earth/ Gaia‘s  Blog

Mankind, My children

In my first blog post (Week 1, Blog 1) I asked that you commit to following my twice weekly blog posts  for a few weeks to give me a chance to explain the most important issues affecting our joint survival. Subsequent Blogs have started to give you some facts about the big and important Global issues that need to be addressed and what sorts of actions you personally could take. In today’s Blog post I want to talk about INNOVATION AND INFRASTRUCTURE.

The Problem

Photo Courtesy: monitor.co.ug

Basic infrastructure (roads, electrical networks, sanitation, water supply, etc.) remains very scarce in many developing countries. Around 2.6 billion people cannot access electricity full time, 2.5 billion people do not have access basic sanitation, 800 million do not have access to clean water and over 1.1 billion do not have access to a reliable telephone service. Inadequate infrastructure limits access to healthcare, education, markets, jobs, information and training. This perpetuates poverty, limits job opportunities and is a barrier to doing business. Infrastructure helps countries to industrialise their processes and create better paid jobs. Every one job created in manufacturing creates 22 jobs in other sectors.

Do you feel guilty and helpless about the suffering of the poor in developing countries and the inequality that denies opportunities to hundreds of millions in much of the world? Do you think more should be done to change this? Now is your chance to do something to change the world!

The facts

  1. Small and medium manufacturing and industrial processing companies make up 90% of businesses worldwide and provide over 50% of employment
  2. Renewable energy now with 2.3 million jobs could provide 20 million jobs by 2030
  3. In developing countries only 30% of agricultural production is processed so there is huge scope for agro business in developing world
  4. 6 billion people do not have reliable electricity full time

wcydo (wich-ee-do – What Can You Do?)

 Buy fair trade fruit and products to help poor suppliers to grow and develop

  1. Encourage/promote more use of renewable energy
  2. Write to your politicians to increase aid and trade with developing world
  3. Donate to charities such as www.constructionforchange.org
  4. Share the facts about Innovation and Infrastructure with family and friends.

Encourage others to join us and to visit us on Facebook to sign up for our newsletter and information about our proposed wcydo App. See you next week on blog post 10.

10. Reduced Inequalities

Earth year 4,492,056,017
Mother Earth / Gaia‘s Blog

Mankind, My children

In my first blog post I asked that you commit to following my blog for the next few weeks to give me a chance to explain the most important issues affecting our joint survival. Subsequent Blogs have started to give you some facts about the biggest and most important Global issues that need to be addressed and what sorts of actions you personally should take. In today’s Blog post I want to talk about the need to REDUCED INEQUALITIES.

The Problem

Photo Courtesy: Expresso.pt

Income inequality has increased in recent years. More than 75% of population now lives in societies where income distribution is now more unequal than it was 25 years ago in 1990.  Inequality harms growth, poverty reduction and relations between persons and is a threat to long term social and economic development. Children in the poorest 20% of populations are 3 times more likely to die before their 5th birthday than the children of richest 20%. Persons with disabilities are up to 5 times more likely than the average person to incur catastrophic health costs. Income inequality can only be tackled if inequality of opportunity is addressed.

Do you feel guilty about the suffering of the poor in developing countries and the inequality and unfairness that denies opportunities to hundreds of millions in much of the world? Are you frustrated at the lack of progress in helping the poor? Now is your chance to do something to change the world!

The facts

  1. 75% of persons now live in societies where income distribution is more unequal
  2. Children of the poorest 20% are 3 times more likely to die before age of 5 than those of richest
  3. Disabled persons are 5 times more likely to incur catastrophic health costs

wcydo (wich-ee-do – What Can You Do?)

 Buy fair trade fruit and products to help poor suppliers achieve more income

  1. Support use of official aid to promote fairness and equality in developing world
  2. Support charities such as www.epi.org
  3. Write to your politicians to increase aid and trade with developing world
  4. Share the facts about inequalities with family and friends.

Encourage others to join us and to visit our Facebook Page to sign up for our newsletter and information about our proposed wcydo App.  See you next week on blog post 11.

11. Sustainable cities and communities

Earth year 4,492,056,017
Mother Earth/ Gaia‘s Blog

Mankind, My children

In my first blog post I asked that you commit to following my blog for a few weeks to give me a chance to explain the most important issues affecting our joint survival. Subsequent Blog posts have started to give you some facts about the big and important Global issues that need to be addressed and what sorts of actions you personally could take. In today’s Blog post I want to talk about SUSTAINABLE CITIES AND COMMUNITIES.

The Problem

Photo Courtesy: Oxfam

Half of humanity – over 3.5 billion people now live in cities and by 2030 this will rise to be 60% of global population. Over 95% of such urban expansion will occur in the developing world where over 828 million people already live in slums and rubbish tips around cities. Such rapid urbanisation will exert even more pressure on freshwater supplies, sewage, environment and public health unless effective action is taken on a number of aspects to create safer, more sustainable ways of living in such communities.

Do you feel guilty about the suffering of the poor in developing countries and the terrible conditions in which many of them have to live and bring up their families? Do you get frustrated that little seems to be done to help such people? Do you get angry at the unfairness of the world where so many struggle to survive and feed their families? Now is your chance to do something to change the world!

The facts

1. 828 million poor people have to live in urban slums with very limited services
2. 95% of the expected future urban growth will occur in cities of the developing world
3. 90% of the 1.24 million global road deaths happen in low and middle income countries and poor provision for pedestrians and cyclists in urban areas in developing countries results in up to 75% of road deaths being to such road user groups

wcydo (wich-ee-do What Can You Do?)

1. Buy fair trade products to help poor workers have a living wage to feed their families
2. Fund raise or donate to charities that assist people in the developing world, such as www.eesi.org, www.habitat.org
3. Write to your politicians to increase aid and trade with developing world
4. Share the facts about global urbanisation with family and friends.
5. Write to newspapers encouraging others to join campaigns or donate to charities

Encourage others to join us and to visit our Facebook feed at https://www.facebook.com/WCYDO.Earth/ to sign up for our free newsletter and information about our proposed wcydo App. See you next week on blog post 12.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production

Earth year 4,492,056,017
Mother Earth/ Gaia‘s Blog

Mankind, My children

In my first blog post I asked that you commit to following my blog few weeks to give me a chance to explain the most important issues affecting our joint survival. In today’s Blog post I want to talk about RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION.

The Problem

Photo Courtesy: Food Navigator

Worldwide, about 3 billion tonnes of food is wasted each year while almost 1 billion people are undernourished and another 1 billion go hungry. Only 0.5% (less than 1/200th ) of fresh total water in the world is available for all of human consumption and over 1 billion people do not have access to fresh water. Despite this mankind is polluting water sources faster than nature can recycle and purify water in rivers and lakes so the problem is getting worse year by year.

Do you feel guilty about the excessive consumption we do and the food and resources we waste when millions of the poor are undernourished and hungry. Are you angry at an unfair world where inequality and unfairness denies opportunities to hundreds of millions in much of the world? Now is your chance to do something to change the world!

The facts

1. 1 billion people are undernourished and 1 billion go hungry worldwide
2. 1.8 billion people have to drink water that is polluted with human toilet waste
3. Wastage of water contributes to global water stress
4. Pollution affects land productivity and poisons species in the seas
5. Discarded plastic bags contribute to excessive pollution and kill sea life

wcydo (wich-ee-do What Can You Do?)

1. Buy fair trade products to help poor workers have a living wage
2. Buy ugly / misshapen fruits and vegetables so good food is not thrown away
3. Buy smaller quantities to avoid wasting food and support recycling charities
4. Use reusable water bottles to avoid billions of plastic bottles polluting the oceans
5. Share the facts about global wastage and consumption with family and friends.
6. Use re usable bags when shopping instead of plastic bags

Encourage others to join us and to visit us on Facebook to sign up for our newsletter and information about our proposed wcydo App. See you next week on blog post 13.

15. Life on Land

Earth year 4,492,056,017

Mother Earth/ Gaia‘s Blog

Mankind, My children

In my first blog  I asked that you commit to following my blogs for a few weeks  to give me a chance to explain the most important issues affecting our joint survival. In today’s Blog I want to talk about LIFE ON LAND.

 The Problem

1.6 billion people including 70 million indigenous peoples depend on forests for their livelihood and forests are home to 80% of all land animals, plants and insects.

SDG 15 Life on Land 2.6 billion persons depend directly on agriculture but over half of agricultural land is affected by soil degradation and 74% of the poor are directly affected by land degradation globally.

Out of the 8300 animal breeds, 8% are already lost and a further 22% are at risk of extinction. Less than 1% of the 80,000 tree species have been studied for potential use so their premature loss through illegal logging and land clearance may be losing mankind important medicines and drugs that could be of benefit to mankind in treating the major illnesses and diseases.

Do you feel concerned about uncontrolled deforestation and loss of habitat that is resulting in loss of numerous animal and plants species. Are you aware of the devastating effects around the world – especially on the millions in developing countries who depend upon such resources to survive? Now is your chance to do something to help us change the world!

The facts

  1. 3 billion people get 20% of their animal protein from fish but only 10 fish species provide 30% of marine capture
  2. Over 80 % of human diet is plants and 3 crops – maize, rice and wheat provide 60% of the energy take
  3. 1% rise in global warming results in a 5% reduction in grain yields affecting food security of the planet and has devastating effects on many sea creatures
  4. 80% of people living in rural areas of developing countries rely on traditional plant based medicines so loss of forests / vegetation can be devastating

 wcydo (wich-ee-do    What Can You Do?)  

  1. Use more sustainable transport- walk, cycle or public transport, instead of cars
  2. Use less energy – switch off electrical devices at wall plug when not in use
  3. Campaign against deforestation and buy wood only from sustainable sources
  4. Write to local and National politicians to support action on climate change
  5. Tell family, friends and others to join us and to do the same

  Tell others and encourage them to join our Group on Facebook to get our newsletter and the latest information on our activities.    See you next week on blog 16