Monday, May 21, 2012
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
Of course it will take more than just one day but we have to start somewhere!
Monday, September 20, 2010
The Knight With a Drooping Lance
"Never place people on pedestals", says Tony Wardle, "for the taller you build them, the greater the height your hero’s have to defecate on you"
A latter-day Don Quixote, tilting at the windmills of imaginary environmental and political horrors, astride his trusty steed Rocinante (aka the Guardian). That’s how the Right perceive George Monbiot. Truth is, he’s been a voice of sanity on political and environmental issues for years and has an enviable track record of book writing, journalism and action.
But - and it’s a big but – he never mentioned the devastating impact on the planet of livestock production for meat and dairy.
I once asked his ex-girlfriend (now there’s a conversation stopper) why? Her answer was instant: “George loves his meat too much – you’ll never get him to give that up!” Always one for a challenge, I started feeding information to him and then, in 2002, it seemed I’d struck gold as George’s column said: “Veganism is the only ethical response to what is arguably the world’s most urgent social justice issue.”
That article has been circulated around the animal movement ever since like some holy grail. Then, on September 6, 2010, George quietly urinated on this burning admiration: “I was wrong about veganism. Let them eat meat – but farm it properly.” By properly he means stop feeding animals grain and give them food we don’t eat.
He starts with pigs - the perfect waste-disposal systems, turning dross into meat. There is enough food waste and crop residues to produce 800,000 tons of pork annually, he says, clearly working on the claim that we waste something like one-third of the food we buy.
Think of the state of the stuff you throw away as being inedible. Now imagine it sitting in a bin for perhaps a week or more before being collected and mixed with other people’s putrefying, maggot-ridden meat and fish scraps. Imagine the logistics and fuel use of collecting these separate little parcels of putrefaction, boiling them up and redistributing them to individual farms as heavy, liquid feed - swill.
The reason swill isn’t used any more is an over-reaction to BSE and foot and mouth scares, he says. Truth is, there was very little swill in use even before this for the simple reason that pigs don’t thrive on this unbalanced, unnatural filth.
He claims that a pig’s natural diet includes a fair bit of meat, which is again untrue. Pigs are predominantly vegetarian rooters with a few invertebrates, worms and amphibians thrown in - a tiny proportion of the total.
The claim is made to justify the insane recommendation that pigs should be fed meat and bone meal “so long as it is properly rendered.” How do you render meat and bone, George, to ensure that prions are destroyed? You can’t because they can withstand virtual incineration. These organisms, at the very frontiers of science, have infected not just cattle with BSE but 28 other species, including humans.
Their discoverer, Nobel Prize winner Professor Stanley Prusiner, is currently researching whether they may be behind the current explosion of Alzheimer’s disease in meat-eating countries across the world.
George then turns to cattle and for them recommends: “straw, stovers and grass from fallows and rangelands.” Stovers (dry corn leaves) and straw are nutritionally almost valueless and unpalatable, which is why horses don’t eat the straw bedding in their stables. Even on mixed animal/arable farms you can see growing mountains of straw bales for which farmers have no use and animals won’t eat.
Grass fallow land? Now there’s a blast from the past – it’s a distant agricultural memory. You won’t find enough fallow land to feed a hutch of hungry rabbits. And rangelands? All over the world - from the US to the Far East, South America to Africa and Australia – rangelands are seriously degraded from overgrazing, causing species extinction and soil erosion. Some 72 per cent of all arid and semi-arid rangelands are on the way to becoming desert – and they make up one-third of the planet’s land surface.
He then uses these grossly inaccurate claims to rewrite the well-researched science on conversion rates – how many kgs of vegetable protein it takes to produce one kg of meat protein. It magically transforms from the 17:1 in the case of beef, established by Loma Linda and Amsterdam universities, into 2:1.
It follows that all George’s other assumptions built on this false premise are equally nonsensical.
Next comes water, with the claim that we have stupidly included all the rain that falls on any given pasture in arriving at the proposition that it takes 100,000 litres of water to produce 1kg of beef. You might have, George, but I haven’t.
My figures vary but are taken from peer-reviewed research and are based on all the water used in meat production; grazing, fodder growing, slaughter and preparation. They also include the 60 per cent of all the world’s agricultural land that is irrigated (it’s only California that uses irrigation, according to George).
Take a little aeroplane ride across the Western States, George, and you’ll see that every field you traverse is perfectly circular. Why? Because they are boom irrigated by pumping up water from the Ogallala aquifer and further South by extracting it from Lake Mead and other huge reservoirs – all of which are drying up. The bulk of these fields grow water-greedy fodder and is why 36 US States face severe water shortages within five years, a problem repeated all over the world.
Next under attack is the UN Food & Agriculture Organisation for its “daft” claim that livestock produce 18 per cent of greenhouse gases. A 400 page report with 666 references - daft it isn’t! In fact it is supported by Cranfield University which has done its own research (How Low Can We Go?) and comes to almost exactly the same figure. They’re both wrong, according to George, for stupidly blaming deforestation on cattle ranching when logging is the true cause.
Timber taken by loggers isn’t destroyed but sawn up and used in products which can last for decades. The CO2 emissions come from torching the vegetation that remains - shrubs and low-level plants, ferns and saplings, palms, mid-level and non target trees, vines and epiphytes. Loggers have no need to do this; it’s done to make the land ready for cattle ranching. The soil eventually turns to near desert through the usual mechanisms of over grazing and agro chemicals.
So in fact, the true figure is higher than 18 per cent because the vital carbon sinks provided by new forest growth and healthy soil are both destroyed, reducing the planet’s ability to absorb future CO2.
And so it goes on, scientifically bereft claims which George’s grabs from a single book and stuffs himself with them greedily in a monstrous act of self justification so he can continue to eat meat. The book is Meat: A Benign Extravagance, by ex-beef farmer Simon Fairlie.
The most depressing aspect of Monbiot’s article is that he turns on its head the advice he has been proffering for years – demand, resist, act, take control, call to account. With a stroke of his pen, consumers are turned into supine, powerless bystanders waiting for global changes which are entirely out of their hands and require such extraordinary international co-operation that they could never happen. And even if they did, would not work.
Meantime, environmental catastrophes gather like huge, black clouds on the horizon, threatening the lives of billions. No matter how arcane George’s claims, the answer is extremely simple and puts you in control – distance yourself immediately from these disasters and refuse to consume animal products and proselytise your decision. And that includes you, George!
The last word has to go that Bedfordshire-based shrine of capitalist learning, Cranfield. On global warming it says that the Government has no hope of reaching its essential targets for CO2 reduction unless we adopt a vegetarian diet!
So George, dust off your armour, get back on your white charger, straighten out your lance, avoid the windmills and ride into battle against the real baddies before we all become victims of your friendly fire.
Monday, May 31, 2010
Whilst England goes mad with World Cup fever a new film reflects a world cup hero from history. Not just a football hero but a truly great man, the likes of which is rarely seen these days, especially in the egotistical self gratification world of soccer.
"Written by Geoff Francis, with the help of Stan’s daughter Jean Gough, just a decade after his death, BLACK MAN WITH A WHITE FACE celebrates the influence Stan had in Africa. In the year that South Africa hosted the World Cup Finals, this book highlights his work for over a quarter of a century in Soweto which is recognised here by one of the worlds foremost statesmen, Archbishop Desmond Tutu... “on behalf of our people I want to pay a very, very warm tribute to him and to say that he would not have known just how incredibly significant what he did to our self-esteem,... it made a contribution to people not becoming anti-white because they were able to say there are white people who care about the plight of black people.”
From Jean’s unique viewpoint we gain insights into Stan the man. From his family to the Queen and Prince Philip, he was loved and admired not only for his extraordinary skill, but also for his natural humility and openheartedness.
“On the plane to South Africa from Brazil I was very moved when the captain of ‘Sir Stan’s Men’, Gilbert Moilola, sat beside me, took my hand and said, Stanley, you are a Black man with a white face”.
“The man who taught us the way football should be played” Pele"
Monday, May 24, 2010
BUY TICKETS NOW
Buy tickets now to save yourself ££££'s on the gate ticket price.
GREEN, FOOD & MUSIC FESTIVAL
Music, Food, Shopping, Kids stuff, Cookery Demos, talks, beer, art exhibition, performance, environment, fair trade, healthy living, eco cinema and great green ideas
Great Bank Holiday Weekend What's on Event
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Because Charities are forbidden to get involved in Politics under charity commission laws the very well privately funded Countryside Alliance with their Sooty and Sweep style relationship with the conservatives have been wiping the floor with animal rights.
Dr Brian May from mega Rock Band Queen set out to change all that by privately funding a non charitable campaign group called SAVE ME
Shameron wants to reintroduce fox and otter hunting and make Britain more medievel again.
Brian May and his millions of fans is set to stop him.
Wednesday, March 31, 2010
It seems the Green party hold the keys to power in a hung parliament in the general election so Gordon Brown et al are stalking green party voters.
Who knows where this latest bun fight will end up
Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Greenpeace targetted Nestle's offices in Croydon and across the world today to highlight the problem of Palm Fat and rainforest deforestation that makes orangutangs homeless and facing extinction
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Michael Moore urges Obama to use it or lose it!
The vast majority of nation wept with joy on the night of the election (those who weren't weeping went out and bought a record number of guns and ammo). Unlike the last president, you didn't "win" by 537 votes in Florida (although Gore won the popular vote by a half-million), you beat McCain nationally by 9,522,083 votes! The House Democrats got a walloping 79-vote margin. The Senate Dems would caucus with a supermajority of 60 votes unheard of in over 30 years. The wars would now end. America would have universal health care. Wall Street and the banks would, at the very least, be reined in. Hardworking citizens would not be thrown out of their homes. It was supposed to be the dawning of a new age.
He urges Obama to play by the rules - No more Mr Nice Guy
You're such a good guy, Mr. President. You came to Washington with your hand extended to the Republicans and they just chopped it off. You wanted to be respectful and they decided that they were going to say "no" to everything you suggested. Yet, you kept on saying you still believed in bipartisanship.
Well, if you really want bipartisanship, just go ahead and let the Republicans win in November. Then you'll get all the bipartisanship you want.
Monday, February 15, 2010
Thursday, December 17, 2009
This Christmas - The Perfect first step for people that don't know where to start on embarking on a vegan diet and lifestyle for the good of the planet and their health - a full colour encyclopedia vegan cookbook
RRP is £16.99 but available online for as little as £11.00
Tuesday, December 08, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Thursday, November 05, 2009
Lush are firmly committed to a policy which not only precludes testing its products and ingredients on animals, or engaging with third-party suppliers to do so on their behalf, but we will also not buy any ingredient from any supplier that tests any of its materials on any animals for any purpose. This policy is unique in its field and is pioneering a new way to stop animal tests for cosmetics. Lush runs its own Supplier Specific Boycott Policy. There are clear benefits to this policy, which is different and distinct from the Fixed Cut-off Date policy employed by the Humane Cosmetics Standard.
But it doesn't stop there. Lush also actively support campaigns on important ethical issues that other international companies shy away from.
See the Lush Charity Pot
Plamil have been rated as producing the most ethical chocolate, in Ethical Consumer magazine’s 2009 brand comparison. The study compared over 25 major brands on a range of issues from environmental, worker rights, supply chain, animal rights to sustainability.
Plamil’s Director Adrian Ling stated, “We’re delighted that Plamil have been rated highest. This company has always had more goals than just profit, and its great to be recognised for the social aspects we contribute towards. It may be a little odd to say, but its not that hard to ensure that every aspect of our business is as ethical as possible.
“We consider not only on the ‘headline’ ethical points such as ingredient sourcing, environmental issues or other typical company policies, but like all businesses it’s about choices. At Plamil we like to make what we consider the right choice, which is quite often very easy. Fortunately our customers are increasingly appreciating this with ever increasing sales!"
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
The Show - Croydon Eco Veggie Fayre - The UK's Best Veggie Fayre - the biggest vegan veggie eco friendly family day out in the UK
Ethical, sustainable, cruelty free, healthy family fun
World Vegan Day - Vegan News
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Bernard Matthews famous for his catch phrase 'bootiful' and infamous for his Turkey Twizzlers (demonized by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver) is in the dock again.
This time for his catchers putting the boot into bootiful - literally booting Turkeys around playing football and then using a big stick to use turkeys in a game of Baseball.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Monday, July 11, 2005
Just when you think you've got it all straight and you are patting yourself on the back for treading lightly on the planet and avoiding causing unnecessary suffering some argumentative twat comes along with a scenario you've not yet thought of.
The strength of your blow to the status quo is that you are doing something. So many cynics on their mission to quell smugness where ever it flourishes use their carefully honed philosophy and hypotheses to justify doing nothing.
Doing something is always better that doing nothing even if that something you are doing is saying nothing.
I've noted that an increasing amount of cosmetics say they are cruelty free. How can they be cruelty free if they are not vegan ?
I concede that buying these cosmetics is better than doing nothing and buying products tested on animals but there is lots of room for better still.
Go out and do the best you can - be as vegan as you can be!