Showing posts with label video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label video. Show all posts

Carnism and Climate Justice

Carnism and Climate Justice
by Moses Seenarine, 01/16/18

Inclusive wealth is the sum of a community's capital assets, including natural assets like fish or trees, but also human health and education, as well as built assets like roads, buildings and factories. A changing climate can reallocate natural capital, change the value of all forms of capital, and lead to mass redistribution of wealth.

"Inclusive wealth" is shifting out of the temperate zones and toward the poles as global temperatures rise. Climate change is thus taking inclusive wealth from the poor and giving to the rich. This reallocation of resources from the global South to the global North should be an essential part of climate justice.

Climate justice advocates view planetary heating as an ethical issue and scrutinize how its causes and effects relate to concepts of justice, particularly environmental justice and social justice. Climate justice is a struggle over land, forest, water, culture, food sovereignty, collective and social rights. It is a struggle that considers “justice” at the basis of any solution. This can mean examining issues such as equality, human rights, collective rights and historical responsibility in relation to environmental degradation and climate warming. Recognizing the fact that those least responsible for climate chaos will experience its greatest impacts is central to climate justice.

Advocates point out that there are racial and class differences in responses to social and environmental disasters, like with Hurricane Katrina in 2006. Katrina culminated in the displacement of 400,000 individuals along the US Gulf Coast and disproportionately affected low-income and minority victims. The groups most vulnerable to the Katrina disaster were the poor, black, brown, elderly, sick, and homeless. Similarly, when Superstorm Sandy hit New York in 2012, 33% of individuals in the storm surge area lived in government-assisted housing, and half of the 40,000 public housing residents of the city were displaced.

Katrina, Sandy, and other disasters show that climate inequalities are horizontal as well as vertical. For example, (i) women face greater endangerment than men; (ii) rural communities are exposed to a larger extent than urban ones; and (iii) groups marginalized because of class, race, ethnicity, migration and other factors are likely to be disproportionately affected.

The global livestock sector is part of the reallocation of the global South's resources to the global North. The food animal industry is a slower and less noticeable environmental disaster than a hurricane, but it is more widespread and involves far greater forms of human and nonhuman animal oppression. Loss of land rights, indigenous dispossession, trafficking and sexual oppression are part and parcel of the livestock sector, so food animal production and consumption are essential climate justice issues. 

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Where the Left Turns Right: Carnism and Colonialism

Where the Left Turns Right: Carnism and Colonialism
by Moses Seenarine, 01/16/18

Livestock is related to colonialism, racism, and classism. Geologist Tony Weis in his book, The Ecological Hoofprint - The Global Burden of Industrial Livestock, explains how the growth and industrialization of livestock production were instrumental to European colonialism and imperialism, and to worsening human inequality in the present. For centuries, over the course of European colonial domination and expansion worldwide, livestock production enlarged through intention and accident.

Livestock was a profound part of European conquest of thousands of indigenous groups, and their subsequent extraction and under-development policies on local lands. From mining and logging to plantations and trade, livestock was instrumental in land dispossession, indigenous genocide, extraction of minerals, and ecological disaster. In Brazil and elsewhere, the growth of cattle facilitated the colonial economy's expansion into the forests and indigenous communities, and continues to do so in the present-day. 

Unequal consumption of animal-based foods was a critical aspect of colonialism, class differentiation and white supremacy. Eating animal carcass was a prized demonstration of class status in England, first among the nobility and later for emergent capitalist elites. And, progressively, consumption of animal flesh became a strong working class aspiration as well. Across Europe and the globe, progressively, flesh intake's marker of class and privilege is linked to social oppression. By way of illustration, one researcher shows how by exploiting Irish and Scottish workers and land, carcass intake in England was able to dwarf that of the rest of Europe well into the 19th century. 

Sociologist David Nibert centers his analysis on nomadic pastoralism and the development of commercial ranching, and he shows how this practice was largely controlled by elite groups with the rise of capitalism. Nibert links domestication to some of the most critical issues facing the world today, like the depletion of fresh water, topsoil, and oil reserves, global warming, and world hunger. Similar to Weis, Nibert argues that animal-based exploitation was central to the expansion of capitalism and economic elites. 

Nibert explicates four critical connections: (i) the military use of domesticated animals in agrarian society; (ii) livestock's role in the Spanish invasion of the Philippines; (iii) domesticates and indigenous displacement; and (iv) the reign of “cattle kings” in the US, Australia, New Zealand, and Latin America. 

Rural displacement is commonplace in the industry. In the 1950s, only 25% of the population in Latin America lived in urban areas. This number grew to 40% by the 1980s. And, over this period, the number of landless campesinos more than tripled. By 2007, around 77% of the population were living in urban areas. 

Nibert further links domesticated animals with depletion of finite resources and conflicts at regional and international levels in the present. And, he probes how exploding animal-based food intake is leading to a pandemic of chronic diseases and creates the potential for a global influenza pandemic that may disproportionately affect the poor and disadvantaged.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Eating Responsibly: Meat Causes Food Insecurity

Eating Responsibly: Meat Causes Food Insecurity
by Moses Seenarine, 1/12/18

The modern practice of animal-based agribusiness has implications for food security, inequality, and human health. Humans produce enough calories in the world to feed everyone, even with an accretionary global population. Still and all, according to the UN, around one in eight people in the world is severely malnourished or lack access to food, due to poverty and high food prices. 

While 91% of farmers in the US have crop insurance to cover losses in the event of extreme weather, only 15% of farmers in India are covered. In China, only around 10% of farmers have crop insurance, and just 1% or less in Malawi and most low-income countries. Food security and food sustainability are on a collision course. Reversing direction to avoid this major counterpoint will require extreme downward shifts by large segments of the world's population in their intake of animal carcass, chicken eggs, cow's milk and seafood. 

Given current and future crop projections under a warmer climate, it is wasteful to use highly productive croplands to produce animal feed since this is conducive to exhausting the world's food supply. According to one study, “80 percent of the world’s starving children live in countries where food surpluses are fed to animal that are then killed and eaten by more well-off individuals in developed countries.” 

Similarly, an advocate for dietary change pointed out, “Intensive meat production isn’t just torture for animals. It destroys the environment, and devours great chunks of our raw materials which we import from the global South as animal feed.” This plant-based advocate continued, “Argentina and Brazil are dramatically increasing their soy cultivation, and it's being fed almost exclusively to the animals we slaughter, forcing up land prices. Small farmers are losing their land and livelihoods. That schnitzel on our plates jeopardizes the food security of many people in the global South.” 

Food waste is another mountainous issue since 30% to 50% of food is wasted worldwide. Waste negatively affects global food availability, especially in the US, China, and India. Reducing food waste in these three countries alone could yield food for upwards of 400 million people.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Eating 'Rich': Class and Diet

Eating 'Rich': Class and Diet
by Moses Seenarine 1/10/18

Food security is a problem of distribution, not just production. Around 17% of densely populated India is undernourished, even though per capita flesh consumption is relatively low. In contrast, fewer than 5% of people in the US, where 22% of the world’s cattle is raised, are at risk of going hungry. 

Overall, the clear trend globally is for rising animal consumption among the urban middle class. Eating animal-based meals is a status symbol. Even with India's religious prohibitions and cultural politics against the eating of cow flesh, 'non-veg' has become a status symbol in the thriving cities. On top of this, across the world, people typically eat animals as part of a feast, holiday or celebration. School cafeterias serve animal carcass every day with few plant-based offerings, raising expectations for a daily dose of flesh. 

Even though plants are cheaper, a high-pressure, fast food lifestyle is causing adults to lose their taste for vegetables, and they are forgetting how to cook them. The economic gap between developed and developing countries is reflected in their animal consumption. While people in developed countries fulfill upwards of half, 56%, of their protein needs from animal sources, people in developing countries obtain only 18% in this way. 

Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the BRICS, are five big developing countries. Economic growth in the BRICS is reflected in their animal consumption, and together, they account for 40% of the world’s population. Between 2003 and 2012, BRICS animal consumption rose by 6.3% a year and is expected to rise by another 2.5% a year between 2013 and 2022. 

The upsurge in carnism is due to the expansion in poultry consumption worldwide. Cow carcass is the one category that on a worldwide level showed no gain in consumption levels from 1970-2000. This trend reflects the fact that while cattle consumption rose in developing countries such as China and Brazil, it fell modestly in North America, Oceania, and Europe. 

Chicken consumption in China and India is determined by lifestyle to a larger extent than by population growth. Similarly, in Russia, the world’s biggest cow carcass importer, demand depends on prosperity from oil and gas export revenues, since the population peaked in 1991 at around 150 million. While animal carcass is cheap in Brazil, it is expensive in South Africa. Several economic crises in South Africa have ensured that the rising demand for animal flesh is almost entirely limited to cheaper chicken carcass. 

Between 2005 and 2050, food demand may soar 60 to 100% higher than the FAO's estimate of 50% from 2005/2007 levels. There are many uncertainties, but food projections are more sensitive to socio-economic assumptions than to climate warming or bioenergy scenarios. With higher population and lower economic growth, food consumption per capita drops on average by 10% for crops and 20% for livestock. This shows that a consumption tax on food animals can greatly lower livestock intake and associated climate-altering gases.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Colonizer Diet: Feed and Displacement

Colonizer Diet: Feed and Displacement 
by Moses Seenarine 1/10/18

Land used to grow a billion tons of livestock feed is cultivated as monoculture over vast areas. Monoculture is the agricultural practice of producing or growing a single crop or plant species over a wide area for consecutive years. In many regions feed crops are grown in mass monocultures and exported worldwide. 

The animal feed business is booming and spreading out rapidly. By way of illustration, in Argentina, soy crops ballooned from 4 million hectares (15k sq mi) in 1988, to 9 million (35k sq mi) in 2000, to 19 million hectares (73k sq mi) in 2012. This is close to a five-fold boost in a little over two decades. Correspondingly, soy production in Argentina went from 10 million tons in 1988, to 20 million in 2000, to 52 million tons in 2012. 

In 2012, soy represented 22% of Argentinian exports, compared to cow carcass and chicken at 3%. Around 25% of the world's soybean exports are from Argentina. Soy production alone is projected to boom by 5 million hectares (19k sq mi) by 2020, to 27 million hectares (104k sq mi) – the area of New Zealand. By 2020, cattle production is likewise predicted to enlarge by 25%. 

Even so, cattle-ranching is already responsible for about half of Brazil’s GHG pollution, involving large amounts of methane, due to the vast numbers of cattle. Feed crop monoculture has caused the displacement of millions of families, and thousands of communities across the global South. 

Multitudes of small-scale farmers have been priced off their land or forced to sell to bigger producers, losing homes and livelihood. Indigenous communities, whose traditional land rights are rarely recognized or respected, are particularly affected. They are powerless to stop the collusion of state, local elites and TFCs usurping their lands and ways of life with the spread of ranching and feed crops. 

There are around 1.5 million small farmers in Paraguay, yet 70% of the land is owned by just 2% of landowners. This extreme form of inequality is fueled by livestock production. Deplorably, the majority of the rural Paraguayan population, largely indigenous, no longer own land and live in extreme poverty. Only 15% of this population has access to safe drinking water and 42% to medical care. Similarly, small farms represent 78% of all farms in Peru but occupy a mere 6% of the country’s agricultural lands. 

Throughout the globe, livestock is a major cause of rising inequality and landlessness. The growing demand for land in South America, Asia and elsewhere is leading to conflicts across many feed-growing regions, with widespread reports of violent attacks on rural communities. Families and whole communities have been forcibly evicted from their homes. Some have had their houses burned, often in the middle of the night. In collusion with livestock and feed producers, the Paraguayan police and security forces have been accused of operating death squads. 

Across the world, the spread of feed plantations has reduced the number of small farms, the tradition source of food for rural communities. Production of corn, rice, oats, and beans has diminished substantially. The upshot has been an escalation in food insecurity. For example, from 1996 and 2003, the amount of people in Argentina lacking a 'basic nutrition basket' rose from 3.7 to 8.7 million. 

Soy farms can cover up to 50,000 hectares (193 sq miles). Large-scale soy production is highly mechanized and profitable. The planting and harvesting are carried out by machines, which means that few people are employed. A mechanized farm has an average of one employee per 200 hectares (500 acres or 0.7 sq mi). Rural unemployment has soared as large farms need little labor. Consequently, rural laborers migrate to cities to look for work, exacerbating urban poverty and unemployment. Basic survival needs fuel a migration crisis and compel displaced Latin American farmers to search of work in the US, Canada and elsewhere. 

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Is Neo-Imperialism on Your Plate? Meat, Feed and Neocolonialism

Is Neo-Imperialism on Your Plate? Meat, Feed and Neocolonialism
by Moses Seenarine, 1/10/18

Most of the 1.3 billion tons of grain consumed by livestock annually are fed to farm animals - primarily pigs and chickens - in Europe, North America, China and Latin America. Current grain prices make this profitable, but this could reverse if grain prices climb in the future. 

Due to expanding livestock production, world cereal feed demand will be significantly higher in the coming 30 years. The surge upwards in cereal feed demand greatly exceeds other factors in importance that are generally expected to affect the future world food situation, like GMOs and climate vicissitudes, in the coming three decades. 

Grain grown in the developing world and exported to the developed world is a form of neocolonialism. This is the geopolitical practice of using capitalism, business globalization, and cultural imperialism to influence a country, in lieu of either direct military control or indirect political control. Neocolonialism frequently involves imperialist or hegemonic colonialism, and the disproportionate economic influence of modern capitalist businesses in the economy of a developing country. 

Many multinational corporations (MNCs) continue to exploit the natural resources of former European colonies through collusion with local elites. Such economic control is inherently neocolonial. It is similar to the imperial and hegemonic varieties of colonialism practiced by the US and the empires of UK, France, and other European countries, from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Most of the world's feed crops are grown in the underdeveloped world and almost all of it is grown to be exported. This is very similar to sugar, coffee, tobacco, and other export crops grown during enslavement and colonial periods. 

After China, Europe is the biggest importer of soy. Europe is one of the largest importers of Brazilian soy, the leading importer of ethanol, and in the top four importers of cow carcass from Brazil. European imports of soy, cow carcass and ethanol are main drivers of deforestation and climate-altering gases, with destructive social impacts in Brazil and globally. Soy production in Latin America has more than doubled in 15 years. 

This rapid expansion in feed production has been facilitated by multilateral banks, like the International Financial Corporation (IFC), which is the private sector lending arm of the World Bank (WB), and the Inter-American Development Bank (IADB). Multilateral banks are keen to encourage agriculture for export and are very successful at doing so. Case in point, around 80% of Paraguay’s soy is exported to feed livestock. 

Corporations involved in the soy trade are key drivers of expansion and intensive production. US companies Bunge and Cargill dominate the soy industry in Brazil and Argentina. They buy beans from farmers, own crushing mills, and export soymeal and oil to the UK and the rest of Europe. Cargill, the world’s largest commodity trader, owns crushing mills for soy and rape seed in the UK. Archer Daniel Midland (ADM), Dreyfus, and Brazilian company André Maggi, are major stakeholders in Brazilian soy production as well. Trading companies, like Cargill and Bunge, have a crucial role in controlling the whole soy production process, because farmers depend on them to provide credit and supplies of fertilizer and pesticides. On top of that, these TFCs manage the logistics, arranging storage, transportation and processing of the grain.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine, [ ]

Peak Yield? Climate and Crop Productivity

Peak Yield? Climate and Crop Productivity
by Moses Seenarine, 12/19/17

Since the 1960s, feed crops' yield growth have jumped remarkably, but this rise is part of an ongoing process over the past 10,000 years. In pre-historic times, it took 3,000 acres (12 sq km) of land to feed one human forager, but now it takes 1/3 of an acre (1,300 sq m) to feed one person. So the amount of food grown per acre (43,500 sq ft) has multiplied by a factor of 10,000 in 10,000 years. 

Global grain yields now average about 3.5 tons per hectare (2.5 acre). In the US, yields are double at seven tons per hectare. That difference in yield primarily reflects more access to capital and energy by US farmers and TFCs who can afford vast quantities of fertilizer, mechanized farm equipment, irrigation systems, pesticides, and other tools that dramatically boost agricultural yields, at least in the short-term. 

An analysis of the effects of 2,800 weather disasters in 177 countries on 16 cereals from 1964 to 2007 show that climate change may have already begun to take a toll on agriculture. Drought and extreme heat in the last 50 years have reduced cereal production by up to 10%. And, the impact of these weather disasters was greatest in the developed nations of North America, Europe, Asia and Australia. Production levels in the global North dropped by 20% because of droughts, double the global average. 

Crops and methods of farming are uniform across immense areas, so if a drought occurs in a way that is damaging to those crops, they all suffer. In agriculture, crop yield or agricultural output, refers to both the measure of the yield of a crop per unit area of land cultivation, and the seed generation of the plant itself. For instance, if three grains are harvested for each grain seeded, the resulting yield is 1:3. The figure, 1:3 is considered by agronomists as the minimum required to sustain human life. 

Ominously, grain yields are already stagnant and have stopped rising in many parts of the world. On a global scale, stagnating yield is affecting four major grain types that produce two-thirds of the world's calories - maize, rice, wheat and soybeans. Yields of these four crops are growing by only 0.9 to 1.6% a year. Yields in 25% to 33% of the crop producing areas are stagnating, like those in Australia, Argentina, Guatemala, Morocco, Kenya, and the US states of Arkansas and Texas. In parts of the UK, in areas that produced the highest outputs 20 years ago, yields have actually dropped. 

Just nine or 10 plants species principally feed the world. An international research team ascertained that 16 of the 21 foods they inspected reached peak production between 1988 and 2008. Menacingly, this synchronization of peak years in upwards of three-quarters of edible plants suggests the whole food system is becoming overwhelmed. Maize reached its peak rate in 1985, followed by rice three years later, in 1988. Vegetables reached their peak rate in 2000, while wheat reached its peak rate in 2004, followed by sugarcane in 2007. Soybean reached its peak rate in 2009. As an outcome of peak food, larger production means greater amounts of land under cultivation.

Since GM crops were planted, the US staple crop system has performed worse than non-GM crops in Europe - in yields, pesticide use, genetic diversity and resilience. For the US system, there is a dangerous downward yield trend in recent years. Stagnating yields may be due to the soil damage caused by the use of heavy machinery and a long-term decline in organic matter content in soils. The upshot is additional fertilizers have to be used to boost yields. 

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.

Hothouse Earth: Plants and Climate Change

Hothouse Earth: Plants and Climate Change
by Moses Seenarine, 12/19/17

Raising carbon dioxide levels are not necessarily good for agriculture. The benefits of CO2 for plants may be less than previously thought and potentially counteracted by the damaging effects of the proliferation of surface ozone. Agriculture has always faced the challenge of weather variability, and altered agricultural conditions under a transforming climate could exceed farmers’ ability to adapt. 

Farming could easily become adversely affected by (i) extreme heat and escalating water demands; (ii) inflated frequency of severe weather events, such as drought and flood; (iii) sea level rise and flooding of coastal lands; and (iv) modification in crop nutrient content. Variability is also likely to occur in (v) the number and type of pathogens and pests affecting plants and livestock; (vi) altered use of pesticides; (vii) damage to fisheries and aquaculture; and (viii) mycotoxin contamination. 

There are numerous fine-scale processes that can moderate vegetation responses to nitrogen deposits. While smaller amount of nitrogen may act as fertilizer, stimulating growth in plants, large accumulated amounts can (ix) decrease soil health and cause a loss in the number of plant species. These vital food security issues need to be dealt with and modeled into future plans for livestock expansion. 

The reality is animal-based diets will become even less efficient and further wasteful as planetary heating intensifies. The FAO's 2006 and 2013 assessments do not fully factor in the effects of climate warming on plants and crops. In particular, as the land warms, drought may reduce tree productivity and survival across many forest ecosystems. If the vapor-pressure deficit continues to climb, forest drought-stress by the 2050s will exceed that of the most severe droughts in the past 1,000 years. 

The world's food authority uses different baseline scenarios for improved land management for livestock over a 20-year period. But they model weather data from 1987 – 2006. This climate assumption is challenged by recent weather-related (a) lower crop yields, (b) feed crop failures, and (c) livestock die-offs. Upwards of 60% of crop yield variability can be attributed to climate irregularity. And unnervingly, this variation occurs in regions that are principal producers of major crops, like the Midwestern US, the North China Plains, western Europe and Japan. 

Direct climate impacts to maize, soybean, wheat, and rice under a RCP 8.2 scenario could involve average losses of 400–2,600 calories, or 8 to 43% of the present-day total. Freshwater limitations in some heavily irrigated regions could necessitate reversion of 20–60 Mha (77k – 231k mi) of cropland from irrigated to rain-fed management, and a further loss of 600–2,900 Pcal. 

These projections are a major cause for concern. Many subtropical arid and semi-arid regions will probably experience less precipitation. In wet tropical regions, extreme precipitation events will be further intense and frequent. Monsoon onset dates will start earlier while withdrawal rates are going to be delayed, resulting in a lengthening of the season. Tropical cyclones are expected to become extra intense, with stronger winds and heavier rainfall. In addition, variability of climate, such as El Niño events, has large impacts on crop production. 

Africa will be the part of the world that is most vulnerable to climate variability and alteration. East Africa will experience further short rains, while west Africa will get heavier monsoons. Much higher temperatures could reduce the length of the growing period in some parts of Africa by up to 20%. 

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.

Who Should We Feed - Animals or People?

Who Should We Feed - Animals or People?
by Moses Seenarine, 12/19/17

Worldwide, two billion people live primarily on an animal-based diet, while double that sum, or 4 billion people, live primarily on a plant-based diet. In fact, the  United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) estimated that calories lost from feeding cereals to animals could feed an extra 3.5 billion people. 

Another report calculated that 4 billion people could be fed with the crops devoted to livestock. The single biggest intervention to free up calories would be to stop using grains for cow carcass production in the US. By far, the US, China, and Western Europe account for the bulk of the 'diet gap,' and corn is the main crop being diverted to animal feed. 

By moderating diets from food animals, choosing less resource-demanding animal products, and maintaining non-feed systems, around 1.3 and 3.6 billion more people could fed. And ending consumer waste of animal calories could feed an additional 235 million people. The WHO estimated that the number of people fed in a year per hectare (2.5 acres) ranged from 22 individuals for potatoes and 19 for rice, to one and two persons, respectively for cow and sheep carcass. The agency added that the low energy conversion ratio from feed to carcass is a concern since the cereal grain being produced is diverted to livestock. 

A Bangladeshi family living off rice, beans, vegetables and fruit may live on an acre of land or less. In sharp contrast, the average American, who consumes around 270 pounds of animal carcass a year, needs 20 times that. The current global average animal consumption is 100g (3.5 oz) per person per day, with about a ten-fold variation between high-consuming and low-consuming populations. 

For most people in developing countries who obtain their protein from plants, eating animal flesh is a luxury. A kilogram (2.2 lb) of animal carcass can cost from $2 to $5 in the local markets, which is several days’ wages. A typical African eats only 20 kg (44 lb) of animal flesh a year, well below the world average. These findings suggest that over-consumption and dietary habits are of the essence for understanding resource use and GHG pollution, as opposed to expanding population being the primary driver as is popularly argued. 

That is, population's importance is related to lifestyle expenditures, and specifically to the over-consumption class. A 2011 report concludes, “The mass consumption of animals is a primary reason why humans are hungry, fat, or sick and is a leading cause of the depletion and pollution of waterways, the degradation and deforestation of the land, the extinction of species, and the warming of the planet."

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.

Growth for Who? Defining Progress by Under-Counting the Hungry Masses

Growth for Who? Defining Progress by Under-Counting the Hungry Masses
by Moses Seenarine, 12/15/17

Malnutrition affects one in every three people worldwide. It affects all age groups and populations, and plays a major role in half of the 10 million annual child deaths in the developing world. In the children who survive, malnutrition continues to be a cause and a consequence of disease and disability. 

The most visible form of hunger is famine, a true food crisis in which multitudes of people in an area starve and die. There are over 850 million people who are chronically hungry. This is the largest number and proportion of malnourished people ever recorded in human history. Plus, being underweight is a major problem globally. A quarter of women in India and Bangladesh are underweight. And a fifth of men in India, Bangladesh, Timor, Afghanistan, Eritrea and Ethiopia are underweight. Being underweight put a person at risk for multiple health problems including anemia, infertility and osteoporosis. 

In the entire developing world, or Global South, hunger and poverty are intense and may worsen as economic growth across the world stalls. From 2005 and 2008 food prices almost doubled. To make matters worse, from 2007, there has been a sizable slowdown in food aid, bringing hunger reduction "essentially to a halt for the developing countries as a whole." 

As many as 2.8 billion people on the planet struggle to survive on less than $2 a day, and upwards of one billion people lack reasonable access to safe drinking water. There is an enormous and persistent food gap between the global South and the developed north. To illustrate, the average person in the industrial world took in 10% more calories daily in 1961 than the average person in the developing world consumes today. The large numbers of poor and malnourished people in the world are unacceptably high, but these numbers may be much higher due to under-counting. 

Misleadingly, the UN set the threshold for hunger as the minimum calories needed for a "sedentary lifestyle." In reality, the number of hungry people could be as high as 1.5 billion, or in excess of 25% of the world's adult population if the threshold was set as the minimum needed for "normal activity." And numbers of the hungry would jump to 2.6 billion, or nearly 45% of the global adult population, for "intense activity." 

Currently, 4.3 billion people live on less than $5 a day. Although this figure is higher than the World Bank poverty criteria at $1.25 a day, one report showed that a realistic poverty measure would be around $10 a day. By this standard, over three-quarter of humans live in poverty. One-fifth of the Earth's 7 billion people have no land and possessions at all. These "poorest of the poor" are non-literates lacking safe drinking water and living on less than a dollar a day. 

Many spend about 80% of their earnings on food, but still they are hungry and malnourished. The average US house cat eats twice as much protein every day as one of the world's poorest of the poor, and the cost to care for each cat is greater than a poor person's annual income. Half of the world's population have enough food to provide energy, but suffer from individual nutrient deficiencies. Billions of people lack iron, iodine, vitamin A, and other vital nutrients. In addition, racial, ethnic, and religious hatred along with monetary greed cause food deprivation for whole groups of people. 

The IPCC's AR5 report suggest that climate transformation will affect poor countries the most, and inflate food insecurity. While Oxfam predicts world hunger will worsen as planetary heating inevitably affects crop production and disrupt incomes. The number of people in the peril of hunger might climb by 10% to 20% by 2050, but daily per capita calorie availability is falling across the world.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.

Whose Carbon Footprint is Larger? Diet Versus Over-Population

Whose Carbon Footprint is Larger? Diet Versus Over Population
by Moses Seenarine 12/15/17

Many parts of the world expect substantial modifications in population size, age structure, and urbanization this century. These variations can affect energy use and GHG outflows. In particular, aging, urbanization and variations in household size can substantially influence GHG footprints in some regions. 

Aging will occur in most regions, due to declines in both fertility and mortality. Aging is expected to be particularly rapid in regions like China that have recently experienced sharp falls in fertility. On the positive side, slowing population growth could provide 16–29% of the GHG reductions suggested to be necessary by 2050 to avoid dangerous climate transformation. 

There is an inverse relationship between the two main drivers behind increased land requirements for food – as socioeconomic development improves, population growth declines. At the same time, diets become richer. Typically, consumption of animal protein, vegetable oil, fruit and vegetable swells, while starchy staples become less essential. With higher purchasing power comes higher consumption and a greater demand for processed food, animal carcass, cow milk products, chicken eggs, and fish, all of which add pressure to the food supply system. This over-consumption severely affects global sustainability, equity, food security, and GHG emissions. 

During a span of 46 years, from 1961 to 2007, a review of FAO data showed that in most regions, diets became richer while the land needed to feed one person diminished. In many regions, dietary change may override population growth as a major driver behind land requirements for food in the near future. Potential land savings through yield improvements are offset by a combination of population growth and dietary change. These dynamics were the largest in developing regions and emerging economies. 

Notably, additions to the total per capita food supply were not observed everywhere around the world. In most developed regions, the share of animal products is extraordinary high. From 1961 to 2007, food animals constituted one-third of the available calories in the global North, compared to 10% or less in many of the poorer regions in the global South. These over-consumption dynamics are slowly changing but remains highly skewed. 

The FAO projects that world population will expand 34 to 41% by 2050 to reach 8.9 - 9.1 billion. Food demand will soar upwards by 70%, and daily per person calorie intake will rise to 3,130 calories. Food is a major part of climate warming, but it is essential for survival, security and equity. Although the consumption per capita of cereals is likely to stabilize, population growth will escalate the demand for both food animals (almost doubling) and cereals for feed (50%) by 2050. 

Another problem related to over-consumption is the hidden population of obesity. The average body mass is climbing at a sharp pace. For the first time in human history obese people outnumber underweight people. Almost 11% of men and 15% percent of women worldwide are obese, while under 9% of men and 10% of women are underweight. In 2005, global adult human biomass was 287 million tonnes, of which 15 million tonnes came from being overweight. This extra mass is equivalent to that of 242 million people of average body mass or 5% of global human biomass. Biomass from obesity was 3.5 million tonnes, the equivalent of another 56 million people of average body mass. 

In 2012, the US came in third following the Pacific island nations Micronesia and Tonga for having the highest average weight in the world. By comparison, Americans are 33 pounds heavier than the French and 70 pounds bigger than the average Bangladeshi. In addition to extra energy and food demands, severe and morbid obesity are associated with highly elevated risks of adverse health outcomes.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.

Cows and Sand

Cows and Sand: Effects of Livestock Overgrazing  
by Moses Seenarine 12/15/17

Worldwide, livestock overgrazing practices are substantially reducing many grasslands' performance as carbon sinks. Overgrazing occurs on 33% of all range-land, and often, marginal range-lands are used intensively when historically productive adjacent range has become overgrazed and unproductive. The cycle of overgrazing, soil degradation, topsoil erosion and loss of vegetation is rapidly expanding on all continents. 

The chief ecological impacts of overgrazing are (i) the loss of biodiversity, (ii) irreversible loss of topsoil, (iii) strengthening of turbidity in surface waters, and (iv) greater flooding frequency and intensity. Overgrazing of pastureland leads to a decrease in long-term grazing productivity. In Botswana, for example, farmers' common practice of overstocking cattle to cope with drought losses made ecosystems further vulnerable and risked long-term damage to herds by depleting scarce biomass. 

Globally, 70% of all grazing land in dry areas is considered degraded, mostly because of overgrazing, compaction and erosion attributable to livestock activity. Worldwide, overgrazing can be considered the major cause of desertification in arid dry-lands, tropical grasslands, and savannas. On top of that, in arid and semi-arid dry-lands around the globe, overgrazing is the major cause of desertification. 

Placement of high densities of livestock on a grassland removes biomass at a rapid rate, which produces a series of accompanying effects. For instance, (i) the residual plants decline in mass density, and (ii) surface water infiltration is reduced. Then (iii) there is a dwindling away of fungal biomass that relies on grasses. Ground surface temperatures rise, which exaggerates the amount of (iv) evaporation and (v) transpiration, and this leads to (vi) a build up in aridity. In addition, overgrazing has a characteristic effect of (vii) reducing root depths. With impeded water uptake from the soil, a positive feedback loop of growth retardation is established. 

At least 25% of the world's biodiversity lives underground where the earthworm is a giant alongside tiny organisms such as bacteria and fungi. These organisms act as the primary agents driving nutrient cycling, and they help plants by improving nutrient intake, which in turn supports above-ground biodiversity. 

Removing livestock, and better soil and land management that supports healthy soil organisms can boost the soil's ability to absorb carbon and mitigate desertification. This could result in greater quantities of carbon being sequestered, thus helping to offset agriculture's own emissions of GHGs. A four-year survey of the northern China plains concluded that by reducing grazing pressure to half can deliver improved ecosystem services like lower GHGs and improved grassland composition. Early summer rest maintained the best grassland composition. 

In the US, removing livestock from public lands would reduce CH4 discharges, with attendant benefits for climate mitigation. This climate action would also mirror federal nutrition policy, particularly the recommendation to eat less cow flesh. Much of the degraded environmental conditions on public lands and waters caused by grazing farm animals would end. This would enable improvement or even recovery of vulnerable areas. And, undertaking this policy shift makes fiscal sense by saving taxpayer dollars.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.

Unsavory Soil Management

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.

Excerpt from "Meat Climate Change: The 2nd Leading Cause of Global Warming," by Dr. Moses Seenarine.

Yes but No! Doesn't Global Warming Help Plants?

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

Countering Climate 'Skeptics' - Why Ignoring Climate Reality is Delusional
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.

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New Release - Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess

Now Available! Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess: Men's Domestication of Women and Animals and Female Resistance by m seen...