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Food & agriculture - Feb 7

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Vegetarian Is the New Prius

Kathy Freston, HuffingtonPost via AlterNet
Livestock destroy the environment, so fill your bowl with veggies instead of veal.
President Herbert Hoover promised "a chicken in every pot and a car in every garage." With warnings about global warming reaching feverish levels, many are having second thoughts about all those cars. It seems they should instead be worrying about the chickens.

Last month, the United Nations published a report on livestock and the environment with a stunning conclusion: "The livestock sector emerges as one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, at every scale from local to global." It turns out that raising animals for food is a primary cause of land degradation, air pollution, water shortage, water pollution, loss of biodiversity, and not least of all, global warming.

That's right, global warming. You've probably heard the story: Emissions of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are changing our climate, and scientists warn of more extreme weather, coastal flooding, spreading disease, and mass extinctions. It seems that when you step outside and wonder what happened to winter, you might want to think about what you had for dinner last night. The U.N. report says almost a fifth of global warming emissions come from livestock (i.e., those chickens Hoover was talking about, plus pigs, cattle, and others) -- that's more emissions than from all of the world's transportation combined.
(7 Feb 2007)
Contributor Rick Dworsky writes:

Few realize the impact their choice of foods has on the environment; Or moral/social impacts like war and peace; Or their own health - and we must not forget that mind and body are one. Most of us are squeamish and intentionally ignore the full spectrum of the process. Hoodwinked by livestock industry propaganda, driven by what is properly called "bloodlust", when it comes to our dinner plates most of us would "rather fight than switch", which was a tobacco advertising slogan in the 1960's. Blindly engaged in our habits, we enable our own demise. Painful as it is, cognitive dissonance is the first step to the cure. The Earth is wounded and bleeding. Will we continue to fight this war upon our Earth or will we switch and choose peace and sustainability?

Dale Alan Pfeiffer on Eating Fossil Fuels
Kellia Ramares, Global Public Media
Kellia Ramares of Radio Internet Story Exchange talks to author Dale Alan Pfeiffer about his book Eating Fossil Fuels (New Society, Oct. 2006)

Dale Allen Pfeiffer is a science journalist, a geologist, a novelist, and a noted authority on energy and related geopolitical issues. His 2003 article, Eating Fossil Fuels, has been read by hundreds of thousands throughout the world, and has been proclaimed as one of the most important journalistic pieces of the decade. His follow-up articles, Learning from Experience; North Korea and Cuba, have also been widely read. Recently, information provided by Mr. Pfeiffer has been used in presentation before the US Congress, and the French and Australian Parliaments. His epic novel, Giants in Their Steps, has been praised as a compelling portrayal of human compassion and bravery, and a poignant plea for the protection of our remaining
(20 Nov 2006, but just posted)
Also just posted by Dale Alan Pfeiffer: The Dirty Truty About Biofuels.

Deconstructing Dinner: Farming in the City I
Jon Steinman, Global Public Media
As current farming practices are proving to be unsustainable in the long-term, urban agriculture is looked upon by many as being a critical shift that needs to take place if we are to ensure a sufficient level of food security in the near and distant future.

...Co-op Radio (CJLY) in Nelson, British Columbia, Canada.

Jac Smit - President and CEO, The Urban Agriculture Network (TUAN)(Washington D.C., USA)

Wally Satzewich - Farmer, Wally's Urban Market Garden / SPIN Farming (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada)

Beth Sobieszczyk - Program and Social Enterprise Coordinator, Fruit Tree Project, LifeCycles Project Society (Victoria, British Columbia, Canada)
(31 August 2006, but just posted)

Cloned food items won't come with warnings

Libby Quaid, Associated Press via
WASHINGTON — When the government approves food from cloned animals, expected in the next year, the Food and Drug Administration doesn't plan special labels. Government scientists have found no difference between clones and conventional cows, pigs or goats.

However, shoppers won't be completely in the dark. To help them sort through meat and dairy products, one signal is the round, green USDA organic seal, says Caren Wilcox, who heads the Organic Trade Association.

While many people choose organic to avoid pesticides or antibiotics, Wilcox says the U.S. Department of Agriculture label also means clone-free. "Organic animal products will not come from cloned animals," she said. Cloning is taboo to Organic Valley, the country's biggest organic farming cooperative.

"This is absolutely prohibited in our world. It goes against everything we believe," said George Siemon, CEO of the 700-member cooperative. "Organic is based on having plenty with what nature's given us."

"Clone-free" labels are also likely on some nonorganic food, such as ice cream made by Ben & Jerry's Homemade Inc. Still, it's unclear how much cloning will matter to consumers. ..
(5 Feb 2007)

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