UN official urges vegetarian diet to combat climate change

It’s frustrating how often I read “What you can do about global warming”-style articles that don’t mention vegetarianism. So I’m happy that Rajendra Pachauri, chairman of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is now highlighting meat production’s role in climate change in his speeches.

UN data says that meat production accounts for about 18% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions, topping even transportation, which accounts for 13% of worldwide emissions. The UN included all aspects of meat production, when arriving at the 18% figure: clearing land, creation and transportation of fertilizers, burning fuels in farm vehicles, and the emissions coming directly from cows and sheep.

Going Ape

Another take on the Paleolithic diet.

Ms Garton looked for inspiration to the plant-based diet of our closest relatives, the apes, and devised a three-day rotating menu of fruit, vegetables, nuts and honey. The prescribed menu was:
  • safe to eat raw;
  • met adult human daily nutritional requirements; and
  • provided 2,300 calories – between the 2,000 recommended for women and 2,500 for men,
Volunteers could also drink water. In the second week, standard portions of cooked oily fish were introduced – a nod to a more hunter-gatherer lifestyle.

Paper Says Edible Meat Can be Grown in a Lab on Industrial Scale

Some older news that I found in my link backlog.

And, the authors agree, it might take work to convince consumers to eat cultured muscle meat, a product not yet associated with being produced artificially.

“On the other hand, cultured meat could appeal to people concerned about food safety, the environment, and animal welfare, and people who want to tailor food to their individual tastes,” says Matheny. The paper even suggests that meat makers may one day sit next to bread makers on the kitchen counter.

The Conservative Argument Against Factory Farms

The American Conservative has a terrific article by former Bush speechwriter Matthew Scully. Scully argues that conservatives should be opposed to factory farming and animal cruelty in general. While there is much in this article that I don’t agree with, it provides an excellent framework for arguing about animal rights with conservatives on their terms. Here are some choice quotes:

If one is using the word “obligation” seriously, moreover, then there is no practical difference between an obligation on our end not to mistreat animals and an entitlement on their end not to be mistreated by us. Either way, we are required to do and not do the same things. And either way, somewhere down the logical line, the entitlement would have to arise from a recognition of the inherent dignity of a living creature. The moral standing of our fellow creatures may be humble, but it is absolute and not something within our power to confer or withhold. All creatures sing their Creator’s praises, as this truth is variously expressed in the Bible, and are dear to Him for their own sakes.
and
Having conceded the crucial point that some animals rate our moral concern and legal protection, informed conscience turns naturally to other animals—creatures entirely comparable in their awareness, feeling, and capacity for suffering. A dog is not the moral equal of a human being, but a dog is definitely the moral equal of a pig, and it’s only human caprice and economic convenience that say otherwise. We have the problem that these essentially similar creatures are treated in dramatically different ways, unjustified even by the very different purposes we have assigned to them. Our pets are accorded certain protections from cruelty, while the nameless creatures in our factory farms are hardly treated like animals at all. The challenge is one of consistency, of treating moral equals equally, and living according to fair and rational standards of conduct.
Scully also comes up with my favorite one-line response to my least favorite comment about vegetarianism:
When people say that they like their pork chops, veal, or foie gras just too much ever to give them up, reason hears in that the voice of gluttony, willfulness, or at best moral complaisance. What makes a human being human is precisely the ability to understand that the suffering of an animal is more important than the taste of a treat.
[via Treehugger]

Juices saves

The Village Voice has a funny essay about the author’s tour through different levels of vegetarianism.

My own private Idaho potato went like this: When I was a teenager a renowned South African acupuncturist moved in next door to my parents. He and his wife (who pronounces lime like lamb, thus leading to the infamous pie recipe debacle) are still the hippest couple my parents know and single-handedly responsible for introducing them to Whole Foods and the Fugees. One day I told the acupuncturist I wanted to be a vegetarian. I wish I could remember why I wanted to stop eating meat, but this was high school and I also wish I could remember my motivation for drinking Zima and wearing flannel in public.

Rude Food

The Vegetarian Society produced a highly suggestive video called Rude Food. From an article in the Scotsman:

The film is set in a steamy kitchen and begins with a ripe melon being groped by a man’s hand. It then shows a women’s fingers fondling a banana, and goes on to feature a number of provocative poses with vegetables, before climaxing with white rice droplets shooting into the air. It closes with a phallic wilting asparagus, juice dripping from its head.