Meat eating and the flexitarianism

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This topic contains 133 replies, has 10 voices, and was last updated by  alanjjohnstone 18 hours, 19 minutes ago.

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  • #152294

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    The Party has always had a healthy debate about vegetarianism, with views ranging from that it is a capitalist conspiracy to get workers to eat grass to that flesh-eating is anti-specism.

    We have compromised by stating it is a personal choice ( as religion is treated by others) and that we can expect meat-eating to be reduced but not eliminated.

    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/10/huge-reduction-in-meat-eating-essential-to-avoid-climate-breakdown

    Huge reductions in meat-eating are essential to avoid dangerous climate change, according to the most comprehensive analysis yet of the food system’s impact on the environment. In western countries, beef consumption needs to fall by 90% and be replaced by five times more beans and pulses. Food production already causes great damage to the environment, via greenhouse gases from livestock, deforestation and water shortages from farming, and vast ocean dead zones from agricultural pollution. But without action, its impact will get far worse as the world population rises by 2.3 billion people by 2050 and global income triples, enabling more people to eat meat-rich western diets. This trajectory would smash critical environmental limits beyond which humanity will struggle to live.

    The researchers found a global shift to a “flexitarian” diet was needed to keep climate change even under 2C, let alone 1.5C. This flexitarian diet means the average world citizen needs to eat 75% less beef, 90% less pork and half the number of eggs, while tripling consumption of beans and pulses and quadrupling nuts and seeds. UK and US citizens need to cut beef by 90% and milk by 60% while increasing beans and pulses between four and six times.

    Shouldn’t our diets now be a social issue and not an individual lifestyle choice?

    Prof Peter Smith at the University of Aberdeen, who was also not part of the research team, said: “We know food choices are very personal, and that behaviour change can be difficult to encourage, but the evidence is now unequivocal – we need to change our diets if we are to have a sustainable future.”

    #152323

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant
    #152416

    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    It is claimed that pork has far less environmental impact than beef or lamb, so pork pies, pork sausages and bacon may be the way forward, not to mention black pudding, white pudding and pork scratchings. Also pigs can be fed on a great deal of waste food production, although this has been banned in the EU following the foot and mouth outbreak, it was common practice for schools and canteens to have a swill bill, the problem was that some pig farmers had been feeding untreated swill to their pigs, to save money, not a problem in a Socialist Society. Another plus for the pig is that they will quite happily eat com manure and other forms of slurry again very environmentally friendly.

    #152417

    ALB
    Participant

    Yes, beef is the problem but I don’t like it. So I can feel as holy as a vegetarian.

    #152437

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Bill Gates at one time suggested chicken is the panacea for poverty

    But would socialists keep pigs penned up in industrial factory farms?

    We still have an issue with pig-shit

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_impact_of_pig_farming

    But i note that the side-benefit of pig rearing is fertiliser — something the organic folk might appreciate and a source of energy as bio-gas — and as been mentioned – waste disposal for ourselves, although i imagine that much of the food waste will be curtailed in a socialist society.

    So we can suggest that there will definitely be a change in diets with socialism – to paraphrase Lenin – less but better

    #152472

    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    “so we can suggest that there will definitely be a change of diets with socialism – to paraphrase Lenin – Less but better”.

    You can suggest it, but it’s not part of the party case as far as I remember. My vision of socialism is of self determined free access, within the democratic wishes of society, not some kind of quasi Calvinist, joyless, alcohol free, vegetarian regime.

    #152487

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Self-determination, as you appear to be using it, is a bit of mistaken interpretation, imho

    Socially-determined is perhaps the better word because it will be society and communities which will decide what will be available. This is not an issue of deciding the quantity that an individual might wish to avail themselves of when we say self-determination, but of what will actually be on the menu, so to speak, and that is a collective, not an individual decision. But you are fully aware of that when you added the caveat “within the democratic wishes of society.”

    The discussion is centred on the current scientific consensus that to effectively counter global warming – and we will still have to even when socialism is established – our farming methods will require adjusting and that will affect our current eating habits. Just as our approaches to energy will have to re-align. ( I have always enjoyed sitting in front a roaring coal-fire but alas that pleasure has disappeared but I stopped grumbling about a long time ago.)

    Will this require some sort of allocation or “rationing” system for the consumption of various choices of meats and types of fishes that are too demanding on resources and eco-systems? Perhaps so. Rather than insist that “business as usual” can continue, i prefer to leave the question open for future socialist generation to answer and not exclude the possibility of the many life-style changes which may be incumbent upon us.

    #152512

    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    nice to see you’ve stopped grumbling about something at last Private Fraser 🙂

    My self determination might well involve me keeping several juicy Saddlebacks and perhaps a medium white or two.

    As you state in your post, your preferred option is……. but you shouldn’t assume that all Socialists prefer your option and even less so that a majority of socialists would chose those options.

    #152516

    ALB
    Participant

    Actually, “flexitarian” is quite a good description of human behaviour generally not just eating habits. It sums up “human nature” rather well. That’s what the behaviour of homo sapiens is: adaptable, flexible. Maybe we should adopt the word.

    #152523

    Dave Chesham
    Participant

    “( I have always enjoyed sitting in front a roaring coal-fire but alas that pleasure has disappeared but I stopped grumbling about a long time ago.)”

    I still do, but in front of a roaring wood-fire instead, which in the sticks where I live there’s always a plentiful free supply of fuel, provided largely, so to speak, by the forces of nature.

    #152527

    Bijou Drains
    Participant

    There are approximately 35 million rabbits living wild in the UK, another huge food source that is overlooked. There’s a butcher up in the Tyne valley that sells Grey Squirrels, which is a pretty tasty treat as well.

    Add to that all of the wasted food because people don’t want to eat ugly veg or people don’t know how to cook unusual cuts of meat. Mutton for example is fantastic food but older ewes are given away to kennels or sold off to pet food manufacturers because very few people even consider it.

    In addition there are acres and acres of uncultivated land in the UK alone, allotments are a very efficient and environmentally friendly way of producing food, convert half the bloody golf courses and country clubs in to allotments and there’d be more than enough to go around.

    So I would conclude that there is no need to go over to vegetarianism, as long as we can ban golf!

    #152624

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    Let’ broaden this exchange to give a bit of perspective.

    ” We do not preach a gospel of want and scarcity, but of abundance…We do not call for limitation of births, for penurious thrift, and self-denial.” Sylvia Pankhurst. We endorse her view and decline to associate the party with any abstinence or puritanical spartanism. (global corporations may disappear but micro-breweries will remain)

    If my reading is correct the latest update from the IPCC, an august but relatively conservative body, we can mitigate (not reverse, mind you) the effects of climate change by keeping global warming below 1.5% but to do so requires governments to implement regulatory legislation , elimination of waste and industries including the food industry to cut greenhouse gas emissions. It needs political will from capitalist governments.

    There may be optimists who believe that such measure will succeed and that when socialism is eventually established, we will inherit a healthier planet. The Party, however, has produced an effective case why we should not expect such a positive result.

    Pessimists like myself view the future as one where if socialism arrives it will because the world is such a shithole that people finally seek a social revolution in a final act of desperation.

    As Luxemburg said “socialism or barbarism” but as another added “and that is if we are lucky”.

    We have to remember that although our ultimate aim is a steady state society of zero growth, we acknowledge that in its early years socialism will require to devote much of our resources to improving the conditions of the majority of people in the world, for example, building decent housing and infrastructure. That means a rise of production so to tackle and reduce the effects of climate change there has to be a trade-off of sorts.

    We can either continue devoting the same level of energy and resources to the developed world as the optimists expect to happen and still increase the energy and resources to the developing and undeveloped regions and thus produce worsening climate change effects that may well be exceeding tipping points.

    Or we have a strategy of re-aligning our allocation of energy and resources so that the rapid upgrading of the poor and vulnerable is quickly resolved and then we can reach our economic system of “simple reproduction”.

    Can we expect a future socialist society not to initiate changes in consumption, commencing with what we eat? Maybe the optimists believe that the disappearance of the armament industry will suffice? Perhaps the ending of all the auxiliary businesses to the buying and selling will be enough. I don’t know for sure. Nobody does until it is studied and researched but we should be honest and not exclude the possibility that we will have to adapt our everyday lives and adopt a change of diet.

    #152625

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant
    #152626

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    When i was young, rabbit was the poor-man’s chicken until the introduction of myxomatosis and chicken was, for my family, the one-time a year Xmas dinner as we kids squabbled for the wish-bone.

    How diets have indeed changed.

    #152702

    alanjjohnstone
    Participant

    I think we all understand what is meant by climate change denialism but perhaps some of us suffer from another sort of denialism – a refusal to acknowledge just how serious an issue global warming is.

    I stand to be corrected on the facts and welcome correction

    The scientific opinion suggests that society has little over a decade to take effective action before the shit really hits the fan. Already we can see the first signs of extreme weather events but we are told that if action is not taken to reduce carbon emissions we will reach the stage where we will no longer be able to contain and cope with the effects.

    As i said in my other post an optimist could say we might lessen the effects within the limited time-scale scientists give us – a very narrow window of opportunity – before we reach the stage where it will become runaway climate change, beyond remedy.

    A very very very optimistic person might even say we will have socialism in that time, but i have still to meet a socialist who thinks it will be achieved in his or her life-time much less in the next couple of decades.

    I am pinning my hopes on that i am mistaken and expecting that people very quickly learn what is needed to avert the collapse of civilisation and how it can be accomplished politically.

    Can capitalism fix the climate? No. Can socialism fix the problem? Yes. But will we have the time available to bring about socialism before it is too late and the crisis has grown irreversible?

    Am i looking at it all pessimistically or accepting the experts’ findings that we have to depend on capitalism changing its economic laws and as socialists, we say it cannot.

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