Less is More

The Climate Change Diet and Eating for Survival

I am a father, educator and activist. I would like to discuss how we can eat for surviving climate change by considering less as more. Climate change in happening right now and may get far worse in the near future. This year, 2017, is on track to be the hottest year on record.  If it is, it will steal the record from 2016, even though this is not an El Nino year. Before 2016, the hottest year was 2015; before 2015, the hottest year was 2014, and so on. Do you notice the pattern here? 

The Earth has already surpassed one degree Celsius rise in temperature from 1700 levels, and we're on track to go well beyond the 2C limit aimed for in the 2015 Paris Climate Accord. The atmosphere now has more than 400 parts per million carbon dioxide, and the rate of increase is not slowing down. We may have already passed the point of safe return and it does not look good for my lifetime, and less so for my child. But giving up is not an option for either of us.

The good news is that it is not game over, yet. And since humans are the cause of climate change, we can also do something about it. For example, reducing our personal consumption is an effective way to minimize our greenhouse gas footprint. Each one of us have a new opportunity each day to make better choices in order to minimize our contribution to climate change. With education and awareness raising, it is possible to achieve significant reductions in emissions from diet, travel, and lifestyle. This is especially true for individuals in North America and Europe, who are by far the biggest consumers of energy, animal products, and cars in the world. 

There is a tremendous upside to changing our over-consumption habits, and this alone should challenge each of us to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can each and every day. Less is more is so many ways, and we need to make conservation cool again. The less natural resources we consume in the present, is the more people will have access to in the future. The lower on the food chain that we consume with each meal, by eating plants instead of animals, the more biodiversity there will be to enjoy. Lower personal energy use, travel and meat intake equals less global heat, and reduced climate vulnerability.  

Beyond the personal level, at the community and regional levels, one positive development is the ongoing transition to renewable energy. National policies are slowly shifting away from the use of fossil fuel in energy production and transportation. The 2015 Paris Climate Accord's target of two percent annual reduction in carbon dioxide emissions is a good start, and despite withdrawal by the American administration, most major cities and states are trying to do their part to lower US emissions. There is vast scope for improvement, and we are gradually turning the corner on the carbon economy and headed toward renewable energy.

The bad news is that even if individuals and countries cut down fossil fuel consumption to zero by 2050 or 2100, this will not stop global warming. Going 100 percent renewable will help to reduce greenhouse gas significantly, no doubt, but there is another ingredient in our consumption footprint that needs to be lowered as well. 

That component is our diet, specifically greenhouse gases from animal production, which is around 15 percent of total emissions, according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). The footprint from our carnivorous habit is greater than transportation, including emissions from all cars, buses, boats and planes combined. Moreover, the FAO's 15 percent livestock figure exclude emissions from the seafood and pets industries, and deforestation. According to NASA, clearing land to raise livestock and feed crops is one of the leading causes of deforestation. So we are literally destroying the Earth’s lungs and precious ecosystems to raise farmed animals. 

Like fossil fuel consumption, there has been a steady rise in meat intake, with attendant release of greenhouse gases. If fully accounted for, greenhouse gas from carnism may equal to that of energy production. But unlike efforts to limit the expansion of the carbon economy, the animal agriculture industry is promoted at all levels, while their emissions are being ignored by the scientific community and the popular media alike. 

The farm animal industry produces more greenhouse gas than all of transportation, so it is not inconsequential. In addition to carbon dioxide, animal production emits half of the world’s emissions of methane, according to the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). Methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide and the second major contributor to global warming.

Remarkably, emissions from farmed animals are excluded from the Paris Climate Accord, and global consumption is set to double by 2050. While it is critical for us to lower fossil fuel use in energy and transportation, unless these are accompanied by significant reductions in dietary emissions, humans will continue to drive catastrophic global warming.  

Similar to the environmental and cultural devastation initiated by the production of oil tar sands in Canada, there are severe ecological consequences associated with animal production, including deforestation, habitat loss, species extinction, soil and water pollution, landlessness, poverty, disease, sickness and death. The impacts on soil, forests, and oceans reduces Earth's capacity for absorbing carbon dioxide and leads to even more rapid warming.

Soy is an important base ingredient of the world’s meat production, and approximately three quarters of the world’s soy goes to animal feed. Soy production has left an enormous scar on the Earth’s surface, more than 400,000 square miles (one million square kilometers), equivalent to the total combined area of France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. Jaguars, giant anteaters, sloths and thousands of other creatures have been affected in Brazil and elsewhere. 

Bolivia lost 430,000 hectares of forest per year over the previous decade. Although Bolivia is one of the least economically developed countries in South America, its greenhouse gas emissions levels per capita equal or exceed those of many European countries. More than 80 percent of those emissions come from deforestation. Alarmingly, crop yields are set to decline with rising temperatures, so more land and water will have to be used in the future to grow the same amount of animal feed.

Despite its importance, diet and personal consumption is so taboo that climate scientists and environmental activists rarely make reference to this topic. Take for example, Bill McKibben and 350.org, the leading climate advocacy group in the world. The organization has conducted dozens of climate campaigns, including a 100 percent renewable energy crusade, but they do not have a single program to address agricultural emissions. This is not surprising considering that environmental activists and green organizers are avid consumers of animal flesh so there is a huge conflict of interest present.

Al Gore's two movies on climate change, “An Inconvenient Truth,” and “An Inconvenient Sequel,” have both omitted greenhouse gas emissions from carnism. Within mainstream climate activism, reducing demand for animal products is not presented as part of the solution. This view is short-sighted since the increasing dependence on animal products in diets worldwide is a major self-inflicted handicap in our capacity to successfully negotiate climate change. Maybe, instead of using vast amounts of water and land to grow crops to feed to animals, to then feed to people, if we just eat the crops instead we could save ourselves from hunger and global warming.

The scientific community is slowly coming around. James Hansen, former head of NASA and one of the world's most famous climate scientist is lead author of a 2017 article titled, "Young People’s Burden: Requirement of Negative CO2 Emissions." The paper admits that ruminant production is a concern and added, "we would be remiss if we did not point out the potential contribution of demand-side mitigation that can be achieved by individual actions as well as by government policies."

America’s addiction to cheap meat, fed on corn and soy in vast indoor factories, comes at a high cost in human health problems and environmental destruction. None of these costs are paid for by the companies that produce the meat and feed, such as Tyson, Cargill and ADM. If the costs of pollution, habitat destruction, losses to fisheries and tourism, climate change and impacts on human health were fully accounted for, meat would be a luxury food.

The era of climate migration is here and rather than building walls, nations have to cooperate for climate mitigation and disaster recovery. The climate crisis is a global one that demands a global response. We can devolve into nationalist xenophobia or combine our efforts in a more effective international response. This crisis requires individual change and collective action, and maintaining an acute awareness in every choice we make that less is more.

New Book: Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess


Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess: Men's Domestication of Women and Animals, and Female Resistance is now available from Amazon (http://amzn.to/2xyTkmh) and other booksellers. This book has a compelling and unusual story to tell.

For millions of years, early humans lived in gynocentric or female-centered cultures which revolved around the worship of Earth Goddesses. Female-led clans were ecological and managed the land sustainably throughout the Stone Age. What is more, numerous aspects of so-called human 'civilization' were developed by prehistoric females, thousands of years before men/cyborgs domesticated animals - from fire, fireplaces, cooking, food preservation, and storage, to dance, art, medicine, philosophy, language, stories, ritual, trade, settlement, pottery, textile, calendar, metal, and more.

The text includes engrossing details on specific Goddesses, such as the Goddess of animals, the Moon Goddess, the Triple Goddess, Sybils, and Oracles. The significance of hundreds of Woman/Goddess carvings found in Europe and Asia is considered, along with evidence of prehistoric women's cave art. There are vital discussions on gynocentric power, and female-centered family and culture. The importance of the Mother's gift economy is also explored, especially its influence on socialism and the capitalist backlash against feminism that resulted.

The 358 pages in divided into 28 chapters. The writing is eclectic, interweaving research on female prehistory, archaeology, anthropology, genetics, evolutionary biology, art, culture, myth, theology, and theory. Intersecting with insightful analysis on Stone Age females are fascinating discussions on diet and the historical relationship between human and non-human animals.

This unique book on the history of women and animals is loosely organized and includes a compelling narrative in each chapter, called ASIA's Journey about a group of climate refugees in the near future. Some of the key issues explored are the status of women during the Stone Age, the emergence of animal husbandry and male-centered civilization 10,000 years ago, the social construction of patriarchy during the Bronze Age, and the effects of male dominance into the present.

Seenarine shows that millennia after the intensive cultivation of crops, around 8,000 years ago, men harnessed animal power to gain the superior strength and speed of cyborgs. Horses were exploited by pastoral sperm-producers to conquer gynecological clans across Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. But unlike agriculture, the use of domesticates is unsustainable, and this practice has led to countless wars over land and water resources.

After taming animals, men subjugated females into property and used literacy and religion to reduce them to the status of animals. Correspondingly, the once mighty Earth Goddesses became the jealous consorts of kings and male sky gods. The cyborg domesticating mindset continues into the present where nonhuman animals and human females are stripped of agency and considered as objects freely available for phallic use. Seenarine argues that men's defeat of the Earth Goddess is the root of the present ecological and social crisis, and empowering women and animals are necessary for avoiding ecocide.

The study explores several important questions: What was the Paleo Diet? Were the Paleo diet and food security more influenced by female gatherers or by male hunters? Are men natural born killers driven to rape? How did Stone Age women deal with male aggression? How are female-centered cultures organized and maintained? Can female governance help to restore the balance with nature and heal our relationships with animals? Can an understanding of gynecology help to solve the massive problems of climate change and species extinction?

Importantly, the book examines resistance to patriarchal thinking and cyborg consciousness formulated by ecofeminists and others, and argues for a return to gynocentrism. There is little domestic violence in existing female-centered groups, and men live happier when women are in charge. What is more, the author suggests that adopting a Mother's gift economy can help end global poverty, inequity, and discrimination. In addition, learning about ancient gynecological perceptions and spirituality can help both women and men to live simpler and happier lives.

Xpyr Press

New Release - Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess

Now Available!

 Cyborgs Versus the Earth Goddess

"In a rousing, incisive tome that spans centuries, Moses Seenarine deftly unpacks the suppressed histories of female-centered cultures that pre-dated traditional patriarchal hierarchies based on the colonial subjugation of women, children and animals.  Using Stone Age Goddess culture and iconography as a guidepost, Seenarine argues that patriarchal dominance was an anomaly in prehistory.  He explores the ways in which female-centered communities established peaceful, communistic societies anchored by female gathering rather than male hunting.  In so doing, he seeks to challenge the prevailing Darwinian narrative that cultures based on male dominance—predicated on meat consumption, territorialism, misogynistic power and asymmetrical control—were ultimately the most successful and “inevitable” systems of human social development. Acknowledging his privileged position as a male scholar and researcher, Seenarine provides a valuable overview for those interested in the crucial connection between the radical politics of ecofeminism and the contemporary battle over climate change, food justice and sustainability." - Sikivu Hutchinson, Author, Moral Combat: Black Atheists, Gender Politics, and the Values Wars

New Release

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...