Saturday – kayaking to stop the dam, or going veg to help stop climate change

The Courier-Mail’s Environment Blog gave a mention to the event I’m speaking at this Saturday. As I wrote last week, it’s from 11am at Reddacliff Place at the top of Queen St Mall – one of a number of similar events being held around the country to promote the environmental benefits of vegetarian and vegan diets.

Even the final report by Ross Garnaut has explicitly acknowledged the significant contribution livestock makes to accelerating climate change, although he has taken the safe option of suggesting people could just replace sheep and cow meat with kangaroo meat. Given that even this notion is still met with much incredulousness, it perhaps isn’t surprising he decided against making the more straightforward suggestion that people try simply reducing the amount of meat they consume.

If you’re in Brisbane, you could skip the vegetarian event and get along to the West End boat ramp on Riverside Drive near the end of Jane St to show your support for Steve Posselt as he heads off on another kayaking journey in support of stopping the destructive Traveston Dam. Last time he paddled from Brisbane up to the site of the dam, through to the Fraser Coast and back down. This time he’s paddling all the way to Sydney to take the message directly to Environment Minister Peter Garrett.

UPDATE: Here’s another link to a piece on livestock and greenhouse from The Guardian

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17 Comments

  1. What about a two-pronged approach from Prof Garnaut.

    1. Eat less meat
    AND
    2. If you have to eat meat, try the low-emmission variety like ‘roo.

  2. Given we need a global response to climate change perhaps we should look at exporting kangaroo breeding stock to the USA, South America, Europe etc. in addition to roo meat. Australians alone puttin’ the roo in the stew ain’t gonna make much difference.

  3. The problem with kangaroos is mainly that they are not easy to manage. Costs in fencing and so on would be high. Why would a farmer cross-over to kangaroo unless encouraged by subsidy, etc, and that’s a whole other issue. The meat itself is available if you look for it, even outside remote places like where I live, and is perfectly acceptable if you cook it carefully – it is the meat of an animal that does a lot of work, unlike grain-fed or intensively raised animals. I don’t think the meat is harvested as humanely as beef, etc, and I’m not convinced that even they are handled humanely, but consider getting a truck loaded with roos. The real issue is how much meat we actually need to eat.

  4. Don’t you guys get it?

    These people don’t want you eating ANY meat.

    You will just keep getting accused of wanting to eat our national emblem, and wanting to destroy the environment with marsupials hippetty-hopping all over the planet.

    As I have mentioned elsewhere, Australians have already reduced their consumption of meat over the last 2 or 3 decades.

    The diet recommended by the Peter Beattie Labor government in Queensland was deficient in both protein and calcium, and top heavy with fattening, brain numbing carbohydrates.

    Now we have a worldwide shortage of grains, with wheat prices going through the roof, and cars guzzling down grain-based biofuels.

    .

  5. 30% less heartdisease, cancer and diabetes. 10 years longer life. 20% less GHG and half the Amazon back. Queensland forested. Yes, I wish you didn’t eat any meat.

  6. Lorikeet – what is it about reducing our consumption of meat from animals with hooves (that _are_ destructive to our environment here in Australia)that you disapprove of? Ever since high school, back in those far-off days of the 1960s, I’ve been aware that it is quite possible to achieve adequate protein and other vital nutrients through the consumption of a vegetarian diet alone. We had some Seventh Day Adventist kids in our class who were valuable tutors when it came to meal planning in Hme Ec. – they knew more than our sheep-farmer’s- wife-teacher. I’m not sure that I want to cut red meat out altogether, though that’s just habit and ignorance talking, I think. I don’t eat processed meat now at all — too dangerous. Many millions all over the world live healthy lives on vegetable food alone, and many more flourish with much less meat in their day than we have now become accustomed to. There are also many alarming figures on cancer, cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes and their relation to the current level of meat consumption in The West.

    You mention high prices and shortages of grains, but you don’t make the connection with the amount of grain that is wastefully fed to meat-animals. There is going to have to be some control on what use grain is put to in the future, with the changes in climate that we out here see every day, every year. The Eyre Peninsula of South Australia is about to have wide-spread crop failure again, despite some harvest where spotty rain occurred. It can’t be wasted on grain-fed beef and fuel for cars when people elsewhere are starving. The sooner we realise that, and vote with our grocery budgets, the sooner the market will hear it. Our parliamentarians need to know this as well.

  7. Alistair and Dolphin:

    I have already provided a solution to the issue of animals eating grains on another thread. They can eat natural fodder, pelletised grass, and vegetable and fruit waste from factories, which could also be pelletised.

    I don’t want grain fed to livestock or cars, while poorer nations miss out.

    In some poorer areas of the world, grain crops are being replaced with potatoes, which have a higher yield.

    The diseases Dolphin mentions are mostly hereditary in nature, and have nothing to do with moderate consumption of meat.

    It’s interesting to see that Alistair wants to silence those who disagree with him and stop other people from eating whatever they choose.

    According to a recent publication of the National Seniors, life expectancy of baby boomers is about 88 years for women and 83 years for men, regardless of any particular diet.

    Last week, an expert on the ABC said the baby boomers would be the last generation to outlive their forebears. (Unfortunately I didn’t see the whole program, because I was going out.)

    I think this will mainly be because, in the future, everyone will have to work and/or raise children for the whole of their adult lives. Stress, poor sleep patterns and excessive hard work are both greater killers than any kind of moderate diet.

    If you people want to clean up the environment and make more grain foods available to the poor, the answer is simple. Sell your cars.

    You can improve your health by walking!

  8. I just read the link from The Guardian and was pleased to see that someone besides me is an advocate of feeding livestock fruit and vegetable wastes.

    Vegetable growers in particular could do a sideline in pellets or cowettes (brickettes) by processing carrot tops, outer leaves of cabbages, lettuces, cauliflowers, corn husks etc fresh from the field.

    They could make good use of old bread which is unsaleable and not suitable for distribution to the poor by adding it to the mix.

    But I think the idea of reducing milk consumption to 1 litre per person per week gives no thought at all to osteoporosis or the increased calcium needs of children, teenagers and pregnant women.

    Someone suggests we buy our groceries on-line. Don’t they know this could cost us up to 20% more? My sister does it because she’s too lazy to tack a visit to the shops onto some other trip. She has a long track record of being hopeless with money.

    What they say a person living in the UK eats in a week is extremely hair-raising.

    As for the suggestion that we cook as our mothers did, the only benefit would be in the saving of fuel and electricity. Our mothers served a lot more eggs, bacon and various meats than most people would be eating now.

  9. You’re right Lorikeet, that beef fed on grass is better for the planet than grain fed. I’m not sure where you can find grass-fed beef now though. I’m guessing if you asked at the supermarket, they’d have no idea.

  10. Lorikeet – my point was that we do not, in the west, consume meat ‘moderately’. How do you explain the increase in heart disease, diabetes and cancer if these are hereditary diseases and have no relationship with diet?

  11. Dolphins:

    The answer is simple. Medical science has ensured that nearly everyone (not only the fittest) survives – outdoing Mother Nature, so more defective genes are passed on.

    Secondly, the people are too fat and lazy. Toxins are stored in pockets of fat and surrounding trapped body fluids. The body makes its own fat from the foods it consumes. It doesn’t have to be any kind of meat product. It could be vegetable oils and carbs (bread, rice, pasta, potatoes).

    If you eat too much sugar, you are much more likely to get diabetes, because the islet cells in your pancreas will get worn out. Diet can play a part, but I still think the primary determinant of disease processes is genetic.

    As for Aussies eating too much meat, it might depend on which Aussies you are talking about.

    In The Guardian link, UK people ate a lot of sausages, bacon, ham and hamburgers. Those foods would contain a lot of extra fat, carbs and preservatives, which might give the liver, kidneys and gall bladder quite a workout – and take appetite away for fruits and vegetables.

    Muzz:

    I buy meat almost exclusively at the Supa IGA. It tends to be lean (not a lot of fat marbling) and fairly inexpensive, which I think are 2 indicators of grassfeeding.

    I don’t mind tackling a steak with the more dangerous side of a meat mallet and rubbing in something such as cajun seasoning. A lot of lean meats aren’t tough anyway. I also make my own hamburgers.

    I think the main reason cattle are grain fed in feedlots is that the carbs in the grain produce the fat marbling and an accelerated rate of growth. It’s all about greed, not anyone’s health. Carbs make animals fat as well.

    A man running a feedlot said he could produce 50 billion meals in one “grass day”, which included a diet of grass/hay and some kind of grain (type not mentioned). So I guess it could be a mass production endeavour also – probably going to the Japanese and Chinese markets.

  12. Lorkeet: “…Last week, an expert on the ABC said the baby boomers would be the last generation to outlive their forebears…”

    Yes, I’ve read several papers stating that and the reason given is poor diet and lack of exercise.

    “According to a recent publication of the National Seniors, life expectancy of baby boomers is about 88 years for women and 83 years for men…”

    Pointless if the quality of life doesn’t increase as well. Many I people I know in their 80s have serious health problems, physically and psychologically.

  13. Lorikeet:

    With the fall of Japanese banks today we’re in real trouble.
    china is slowing and canceling orders. Inter bank leding has finished.

    Wouldn’t if be great if we had a nationisled bank ? Think of the billions we would have made and think of how we could have save our regionals.

    I have been warning about this for 18 Months. I have written hundreds of letters and received little or no responses. The two headed beast is deaf.

    Now that we know another 10 Trillion has to be written off,. how would you feel if you were an american tax payer.

    Tony

    Tony

  14. Tony:

    Yes, I know what you mean. I feel like running against Peter Dutton myself.

    Our people also need to learn not to have unrealistic expectations and stop racking up unnecessary debt.

    Sans Blog:

    Yes, that makes sense. But I think the government and other employers will also work the people to death.

    They won’t get any superannuation or government pension if they are already dead from hard work, will they?

    BTW I have the blood pressure of a 20 year old and low cholesterol. I eat meat, eggs and dairy products.

  15. I think quality of life has increased. Sure, there are old people who have bad mental and physical health problems, but there are also many who don’t.

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