Sustainability Ctd.

Thanks to Bradley for this article, maybe-rebuttle to my previous post. I dig its perspective, that we can’t get obsessed with shorter showers when “more than 90 percent of the water used by humans is used by agriculture and industry.” It makes some good points. The important take-away: you can’t content yourself with small personal changes when the vast majority of our unsustainability comes from industry and policy. Okay, great.

But let’s be clear: a lot of that industry is agriculture, and a lot of agriculture is meat. And the way you reduce that is…EAT LESS MEAT! And how do you get people to eat less meat? Be an example! Press businesses to offer more meat-free, low-meat, organic-etc. foods! This is the kind of thing that happens on a community level but results in Big Corn realizing they need to start diversifying.

On the other hand, while it is essential to set an example, encourage your friends and local businesses to support sustainable diets, etc, vegetarians currently encompass what, maybe 10% of the US population at most? (Stats freaks anyone?) And let’s face facts that we rich and educated people may talk to our friends, but we aren’t going to reach the millions who eat at McDonald’s each year. How do we reach them? Well, there are a lot of ways. One is getting out into the community, getting involved in food banks that are giving out more fresh food in deference to processed. Another is changing policy, ending subsidies on corn and soybeans, enacting laws that limit the import of soy grown on freshly-cleared rainforests, etc. That’s where you, the citizen of a government that serves your wishes, comes in. Lobby! Vote! Write your representatives! Et cetera. Obviously this will be met with great opposition by lobbyists. How do we fight that? I’m not sure, I’m trying to figure that out…

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~ by hobzcalvin on November 5, 2009.

2 Responses to “Sustainability Ctd.”

  1. A while back I asked a friend of mine in water management (Peace Corps, academic research, bleeding-heart type) what we could do as individuals about water conservation. He said the real issue (yet again) is energy, since most of our water goes to power plants, either for steam or as a heat sink. This source estimates 48%: http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2009/07/23/water-for-power-plants-a-major-concern-all-of-its-own/ …which combined with the 40% estimate for agriculture leaves very little in our showering hands. I guess we can still shower, but only in cold water in the dark? (It’s all the more disturbing that so many carbon-“green” energy options are still pretty shitty when it comes to water!)

  2. “but we aren’t going to reach the millions who eat at McDonald’s each year.”

    perhaps, but perhaps a cap-and-trade program that effectively prices carbon into the economy would deter folks from shopping there because it wouldn’t be as cheap to do so.

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