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How to be an ethical/sustainable consumer on a tight budget.

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21. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 9y

Quoting magykal1

You're assuming Mikey that we're all selfish a la Milton Friedman. I like to believe that its not the case, andthat individuals will still sometimes act to further the greater good when given a choice, but maybe I'm a naive soft lefty.

I'm not talking about selfish or unselfish, good or bad, I'm simply referring to the market forces, which are very much a part of nature.

22. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 9y

Quoting Mel.

Quoting mikeyBoab

And point 2 - eating less meat - this probably won't happen. And if it did, it would increase demand (and thus price) for vegetables which would mean that consumers have to spend more of their income just to eat.

It would not increase demand, for vegetables.
The problem with people eating a lot of meat, is the amount of vegetation an animal must eat, to produce a certain amount of meat.
These vegetables an animal eats can feed more people, than the meat the animal produces.

I don't understand - why would it not increase demand for vegetables? What are people going to eat if not meat?

Are you saying that if people eat less meat there will be more vegetables because the animals that we eat won't have eaten the vegetables?

23. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 9y

Quoting mikeyBoab

Quoting magykal1

You're assuming Mikey that we're all selfish a la Milton Friedman. I like to believe that its not the case, andthat individuals will still sometimes act to further the greater good when given a choice, but maybe I'm a naive soft lefty.

I'm not talking about selfish or unselfish, good or bad, I'm simply referring to the market forces, which are very much a part of nature.

Sorry, I'm digressing, but - I'm not talking about selfish in the 'what I want' sense - more in the selfish gene sense, I'm not denying that those survival of the fittest market forces are 'part of nature'. However I would like to think that maybe we could work collectively to acheive something if the net result is better for all of us than just letting market forces run their course.

24. Posted by magykal1 (Travel Guru 2026 posts) 9y

Quoting mikeyBoab

Quoting Mel.

Quoting mikeyBoab

And point 2 - eating less meat - this probably won't happen. And if it did, it would increase demand (and thus price) for vegetables which would mean that consumers have to spend more of their income just to eat.

It would not increase demand, for vegetables.
The problem with people eating a lot of meat, is the amount of vegetation an animal must eat, to produce a certain amount of meat.
These vegetables an animal eats can feed more people, than the meat the animal produces.

I don't understand - why would it not increase demand for vegetables? What are people going to eat if not meat?

Are you saying that if people eat less meat there will be more vegetables because the animals that we eat won't have eaten the vegetables?

... and I think Mel is saying that it actually takes more vegetables to feed the animals that we eat than it would to simply provide the same amount of food from vegetables.

25. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 9y

Quoting magykal1

... and I think Mel is saying that it actually takes more vegetables to feed the animals that we eat than it would to simply provide the same amount of food from vegetables.

Exactly, for example:

Quoting United Nations

The amount of grain needed to end extreme hunger in the world - 40 million tonnes. Amount of grain fed to animals in the "west" - 540 million tonnes.

I would go so far as to say that the hyper-consumption of meat has a direct influence on humanity's hunger and starvation.

26. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 9y

Quoting magykal1

Quoting mikeyBoab

Quoting magykal1

You're assuming Mikey that we're all selfish a la Milton Friedman. I like to believe that its not the case, andthat individuals will still sometimes act to further the greater good when given a choice, but maybe I'm a naive soft lefty.

I'm not talking about selfish or unselfish, good or bad, I'm simply referring to the market forces, which are very much a part of nature.

Sorry, I'm digressing, but - I'm not talking about selfish in the 'what I want' sense - more in the selfish gene sense, I'm not denying that those survival of the fittest market forces are 'part of nature'. However I would like to think that maybe we could work collectively to acheive something if the net result is better for all of us than just letting market forces run their course.

I think Karl Marx said the same thing . . .

27. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 9y

Quoting Brendan

Quoting magykal1

... and I think Mel is saying that it actually takes more vegetables to feed the animals that we eat than it would to simply provide the same amount of food from vegetables.

Exactly, for example:

Quoting United Nations

The amount of grain needed to end extreme hunger in the world - 40 million tonnes. Amount of grain fed to animals in the "west" - 540 million tonnes.

I would go so far as to say that the hyper-consumption of meat has a direct influence on humanity's hunger and starvation.

Point taken. HOWEVER, the figures need to be put into context. How many people are we talking about in the "west"? How many are we people suffer from extreme hunger? I don't think we're talking about the west pinching all the grain . . .

And don't cows and sheep eat grass anyway?

28. Posted by Brendan (Respected Member 1824 posts) 9y

mikeyBoab, they do eat "grass" but there are many forms of grasses.

One cow will eat (about) 100 pounds of 'feed' perday. Feed is generally a combination of hay, grain, and silage (fermented corn or grass). They also drink 80-100 litres of water per day as well.

The problem lies in not what they are eating, it's not as if we could eat fermented corn or grass, it's all about land use. The cows take vast amounts of land, as does the food they eat.

Food for thought?

About what you said "putting it into context"... extreme hunger, etc. I think the context is already there.

Restated:
"The amount of grain used to feed our luxurious apatites is MORE than enough to end extreme hunger worldwide."

[ Edit: Edited on May 2, 2007, at 1:51 PM by Brendan ]

29. Posted by mikeyBoab (Travel Guru 5077 posts) 9y

For my friends in the UK - did anyone catch the Channel 4 news last night? There was a very interesting report on "Fair Trade" projects in India. Basically, the workers were saying that they saw no difference working on a Fairtrade or other farm.

On one fairtrade farm, the workers said that any benefit was to be paid into a bond to which they would not have access until 2038. The farmer in question was no spring chicken.

30. Posted by Mel. (Travel Guru 4567 posts) 9y

Quoting mikeyBoab

Quoting Mel.

Quoting mikeyBoab

And point 2 - eating less meat - this probably won't happen. And if it did, it would increase demand (and thus price) for vegetables which would mean that consumers have to spend more of their income just to eat.

It would not increase demand, for vegetables.
The problem with people eating a lot of meat, is the amount of vegetation an animal must eat, to produce a certain amount of meat.
These vegetables an animal eats can feed more people, than the meat the animal produces.

I don't understand - why would it not increase demand for vegetables? What are people going to eat if not meat?

Are you saying that if people eat less meat there will be more vegetables because the animals that we eat won't have eaten the vegetables?

If land is not used to grow fodder, for large animals bred for meat, then this land can be used to grow more vegetables for human consumption. Animals eat more calories, than their meat provides.
Also, mass meat production is the cause of many trees being cut down, to make land to support meat animals.
And it is not just guesswork, on my part. I have a book about it. ;)

[ Edit: Edited on May 3, 2007, at 1:28 AM by Mel. ]