Unsavory Soil Management:
Why High-Density Grazing is an Unmitigated Climate and Social Disaster
by Moses Seenarine 11/20/17
Many supporters of animal farming question the significance of land degradation and GHG pollution from livestock grazing. They often cite Allan Savory's claim that livestock's damaging effects on soil and the climate can be controlled through “holistic management and planned grazing.” Savory's process purportedly allows domesticated herds to act as “a proxy for former herds and predators”, in trampling dry grass and leaving “dung, urine and litter or mulch.” This supposedly enables the soil to “absorb and hold rain, to store carbon, and to break down methane.”
Contrary to the scientific literature, Savory's popular theory to reverse desertification and return the atmosphere to preindustrial levels requires a massive enlargement in livestock production. Be that as it may, agricultural and environmental science suggests Savory's claim is simply not reasonable. For instance, the massive, ongoing additions of carbon into the atmosphere from human activity far exceed the carbon storage capacity of global grasslands.
Savory’s ultra-high stock density (UHSD) methods have garnered little support from agricultural science, and there are many researchers critical of his unscientific methods. One accuses him of piecing together false assumptions to produce ineffective but popular recommendations on climate mitigation.
Another scholar point to Savory’s numerous inconsistencies and varying methods. A review of experiments from 13 North American sites and additional data from Africa reveal there is little evidence for any of the environmental benefits which Savory claimed for his methods. Other researchers point out that intensive (cell) grazing is only viable where water points are close and labor is cheap. Temporary or permanent fencing is labor intensive, and moving herds daily requires more labor that most livestock operations cannot afford.
Nonetheless, the livestock industry and popular trade magazines are touting the miracle of ultra-high stock density (UHSD) grazing for small-scale farmers. Farming at amounts exceeding 1 million pounds (463,600 kg) of live animal per acre is far beyond the capacity of the family farm. At this high level of stock density, cattle have to be moved multiple times per hour, per grazing period. There is no known "magical" stock density value that expedites the desired outcomes, but the greater the stock density the bigger the herd impact. Farmers need to have capable pen and corral space, sufficient drinking water and recharge capabilities, effective fencing with quality energizer to carry electricity to extremities of the property, plenty of temporary electric fence supplies, and suitable equipment to quickly deploy them.
Due to herd impact, recovery periods are usually longer thus lengthening grazing cycles, especially in areas impacted during wet periods. Intrinsically, UHSD requires massive amounts of land and labor, and cannot be accomplished sustainability or by family farms. Emma Archer's review of 14 years of satellite imaging data in South Africa ascertained that Savory's intensive grazing practices caused lower levels of vegetation than traditional approaches, when rainfall is added.
Rather than the desertification outcome of UHSD, there is massive potential for reforestation in Africa if livestock is removed and the related savanna burning is stopped. Even though Savory's methods have been repeatedly debunked for many decades, it is popularly promoted by the food animal industry, environmentalists and many others, to justify environmentally destructive carnivory. In reality, UHSD causes severe land degradation which may have been a major factor in wars in Darfur and Syria. Far from being a solution, enlarging livestock production is an unmitigated climate and social disaster.
Yes, but No! Doesn't Global Warming Help Plants?
by Moses Seenarine, 11/17/17
Global Warming deniers claim that natural negative feedback absorbs excess CO2. While this is true, this weathering process takes hundreds of thousands of years. In the ancient past, excess CO2 came mostly from volcanoes that released very little compared to what humans do now. The excess GHG was removed from the atmosphere through the weathering of mountains, which takes in CO2.
Modern humans are releasing CO2 into the atmosphere 14,000 times faster than nature has over the past 600,000 years, far too quickly for natural negative feedbacks to respond. The system is now entirely out of equilibrium and it will take a long time to become balanced again. Oddly, despite evidence to the contrary, deniers argue that negative feedbacks dominate the climate. But the spiral in natural disasters and spread of extreme weather events suggests just the opposite, that amplifying positive feedbacks are dominating.
'Skeptics' maintain that warming is not necessarily bad and a small amount of warming is a good thing. On the contrary, one-degree warming is already causing a lot of problems, as the IPCC AR5 report on climate impacts documents. To boot, business-as-usual GHG outflows could bring forth a 3°C to 5°C (5.4 - 9°F) rise fairly quickly.
Another common contrarian argument is that CO2 is not bad since it is necessary for life on Earth, and accounts for only 4 parts in 10,000 of the atmosphere. Carbon dioxide is not a dangerous gas, but it is a pollutant since too much causes climate shifts. The whole lifecycle of the gas has to be taken into account, not just the limited function it serves for plants. And it causes ocean acidification, which is another huge problem.
Deniers assert that climate theory is contradictory and cannot be supported by both floods and droughts, or too much snow and too little snow. But these events are part of the natural process of climate adjustment. Moreover, these variations can be explained by climate science.
Higher temperatures augment evaporation, exacerbating droughts and adding larger amounts of moisture to the air for stronger storms. And, the warming is happening to a greater extent at higher latitudes. This phenomenon reduces the temperature difference between higher and lower latitudes, which slows down storms and dumps extra precipitation in localized areas. Correspondingly, it causes greater snow and flooding in these areas, and less snow and drought outside of them.
Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.
Countering Climate 'Skeptics' - Why Ignoring Climate Reality is Delusional
by Moses Seenarine, 11/16/17
by Moses Seenarine, 11/16/17
In the face of insurmountable evidence, climate 'skeptics' such as Roy Spencer maintain that the climate system is insensitive to humanity’s GHG releases. Global warming deniers assert that the earth is not heating up. One frequent claim is that the Earth has not warmed recently, which it clearly has. Deniers refer to surface temperatures, which is only 2% of where the warming is going, and they have still warmed 0.2°C (0.36°F) over the last 15 years.
Another common tactic is to question whether alteration of the climate is natural, or as Spencer argues, “If we don't know how much of recent warming is natural, then how can we know how much is manmade?” There is little doubt remaining and climate science is almost unanimous on this point. The IPCC AR4 report clearly states, "Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely [90% confidence] due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.”
The report continues, "It is extremely likely [95% confidence] more than half of the observed increase in global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010 was caused by the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations and other forcings together." Observational evidence shows that anthropogenic CO2 discharges are causing the climate to warm. Specifically, there is less heat escaping to space and larger amounts returning to Earth. Nights are warming faster than days, and winter is warming faster than summer. There is less oxygen in the air, and there are greater quantities of fossil fuel carbon in the air, trees, and coral.
The Earth had about 0.6°C (1.08°F) average global surface warming over the past 60 years. During that time, the IPCC's best estimate is that GHGs have caused about 0.9°C (1.62°F) warming, which was partially offset by about 0.3°C (0.54°F) cooling from human aerosol pollution.
Other natural external factors have had no net influence on global temperatures, in particular, solar activity has been flat since 1950. And since warm and cool ocean cycles cancel each other, internal variability has no long-term influence on average global temperatures. Equally, the urban heat island effect does not have a profound influence on the surface temperature record. Climate deniers falsely state that climate models are unreliable, and have failed in hindcast to explain the lack of a notable temperature rise over the last 30 plus years. The evidence is that global surface temperatures have climbed above 0.5°C (0.9°F) over the past 30 years, and this ascent is momentous. And, climate models have accurately reproduced this slope.
It is the skeptics themselves who have done poorly, having universally predicted less warming than has been observed. McLean's prediction that 2011 would return to 1956-level temperatures sticks out in particular. And Akasofu predicted only a 0.5°C (0.9°F) rise between 2000 and 2100. Skeptics frequently question whether models can accurately predict future climate. Be that as it may, climatologists use observational and real world methods in their projections.
One common reference climatologists use is warming from the enhanced greenhouse effect of a doubling of CO2, around 560 ppm, or the 'climate sensitivity' effect. Climate sensitivity incorporates feedbacks which can either amplify or dampen warming due to a doubling of CO2. This is salient because if sensitivity is low, as some climate skeptics argue, then the planet will warm slowly and humans will have extra time to adapt. On the other hand, if climate sensitivity is high, the Earth will warm more quickly and humans will have less time to respond and adjust.
Observational evidence suggests that it is high. Paleoclimate data from ice cores and other sources across a range of geologic eras are very consistent, finding between 2°C and 4.5°C (3.6 – 8.1°F) global surface warming in response to doubled CO2. Climate models likewise reproduce these findings. However, climate projections have vastly underestimated the role that clouds play, and future warming could be far worse. A doubling of CO2 could result in a global temperature increase of up to 5.3°C (9.5°F) – far warmer than the 4.5°C older models predict.
Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.
Why Feminists and the Left need to engage with center-right politics
Many women, and the feminist movement in general, were devastated in Hillary Clinton’s election loss in November, 2016. Feminists are evaluating the election setback and trying to figure out what it will take to break the highest glass ceiling in American politics. The World Economic Forum says the gender gap has widened for the first time in their records in 2017. Their report states that women ‘won’t have equality’ for 100 years and equal pay will take 217 years. Currently, women comprise only 28 percent of parliamentarians and 21 percent of ministers, globally. Less than half of the world’s countries have had a female head of state, including the USA.
In light of allegations made by Senator Elizabeth Warren and former head of the Democratic National Committee(DNC), Donna Brazile, that Clinton hijacked the DNC and stole the nomination away from Bernie Sanders, some women are starting to question their support for the female presidential candidate. During the elections, feminists aligned themselves with the center-right Democrats and likewise viewed the popularity of Bernie Sanders’ center-left movement as a threat. Clinton supporters ignored the huge disappointment of the Sanders movement after his primary loss, and aspirations for center-left policies like universal healthcare, addressing climate change, and reducing an ever increasing military that consumes over 50% of the budget.
There was at least one other woman running for president, Jill Stein of the Green Party who came in fourth with one percent of the vote, after the Libertarian Party’s three percent. If it turns out that the center-left abondoned both Clinton and Stein, the left may have a women’s leadership problem into addition to sexual assault.
For decades, the Green Party has been working towards breaking the two-party monopoly system in the USA but this left-based effort remains insignificant. Maybe part of the problem is sexism and racism on the left since the party usually picks a female presidential candidate and a radical cultural activist for vice president. Another problem may be in the way the left generally perceive the two mainstream parties.
Greens, Marxists, communists and anarchists commonly refer to the Democrat and Republican parties as a duopoly and little effort is made in separating the two on the left. Over the past few decades, Democrats have lost over 1,000 elected offices as Republicans gained control of all branches of government. Correspondingly, the Tea Party, Libertarians, the ‘Alt-Right’ and other movements have exploited differences between center-right Republicans to push them further right.
Greens and activists on the left have to engage with the Democratic party, and utilize divisions between center-right Democrats and far-right Republicans to shore up their positions and move them further left. Failing to do so could mean remaining politically insignificant, or worse, playing into the far-right’s agenda.
For example, Russian-sponsored advertising on social media may have manipulated disgruntled center-left Sanders and Stein supporters into not voting or choosing the far-right candidate. Conflating Democrats with Republicans is a dangerous mistake for progressives to make, one that inevitably leads to the normalization of far-right ideology and agenda. HRC’S hijacking of DNC is not the same as the current administration’s hijacking of emergency climate action. The difference between neoliberal Democrats and libertarian Republicans may equal to a decade or more in loss lifespan from environmental deregulation alone.
The current Republican party is on the verge of fascism, and its policies are deeply sexist and racist. The left must work with the women’s movement, immigration activists, indigenous and other groups to build an effective opposition with the center-left. Fascism is very dangerous, and it is important to understand how it differs from business as usual neoliberalism. Fascism is usually placed on the far-right within the traditional left–right spectrum. It is a form of authoritarian nationalism and militarization characterized by dictatorial power, forcible suppression of opposition, and tight collusion with industry and commerce.
While some will argue that variations of these policies have always existed in America, we crossed the boundary with Republican’s unrelenting attack on women’s reproductive rights, scapegoating of Muslims, blacks, immigrants, and minorities, destruction of the EPA, and abandonment of the Paris Climate Accord. Conflicts between progressives over which group suffers from the most victimization and who can claim the highest morality are self-defeating and will not stop the march of the far-right.
Fascists believe that liberal democracy is obsolete and they regard the complete mobilization of society under a totalitarian one-party state as necessary to prepare a nation for armed conflict and to respond effectively to economic difficulties. Such a state is led by a strong leader — such as a dictator and a martial government composed of the members of the governing fascist party — to forge national unity and maintain a stable and orderly society.
Fascist and far-right movements often claim to strive for a self-sufficient economy in platform or propaganda. In practice, they crush existing grassroots movements towards self-sufficiency while allying with business elites. While the left jostle to form a circular firing squad, the corporate elites are busy reversing gains in women’s reproductive, affirmative action, and equality protection for queers and minorities, and other rights. Even as the world runs out of time to solve the climate crisis, Republicans are doubling-down on fossil fuels and pushing us pass a tipping point of no return. It is a climate imperative for feminists and the left to work with each other and the center-right and other groups to preserve the civil rights gains made in the last century, and to give future generations a chance to live in freedom on a habitable planet.
Now Available! Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess: Men's Domestication of Women and Animals and Female Resistance by m seen...
Pandemics Ahead : Number 5 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters. Excerpt from Meat Clim...
Pandemics Ahead : Number 1 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters. Excerpt from Meat Climat...
Carnism and Climate Justice by Moses Seenarine, 01/16/18 Inclusive wealth is the sum of a community's capital assets, includ...
Pandemics Ahead is a series of articles looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters. The articles are excerpts fr...
Early humans lived in ecogynocentric cultures and worshiped Earth Goddesses (Excerpt from Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess: Men's...
Pandemics Ahead : Number 4 in a series looking at the link between animal protein and global health disasters. Excerpt from Meat Climat...