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

Travel Forums Off Topic How to be an ethical/sustainable consumer on a tight budget.

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31. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 9y

Quoting Mel.

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. ;)

A McDonalds menu is not a real book Mel

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

Quoting mikeyBoab

...I'm simply referring to the market forces, which are very much a part of nature.

Our economic market is not a part of nature... it is very much removed from nature.

33. Posted by me.da (Full Member 96 posts) 9y

ooh good topic.

As far as Fair Trade goes, mikey's right in that the higher price doesn't always benefit the farmers. But neither is it right to say that the market-determined price is fair or equitable.

The market price is set by the buyers because products like coffee are non-essential and grown in several different regions - so if a producer in Brazil holds out for a better price - say, one that would give them more than US$2/day to live on- the buyer says "not a chance mate, i'll get it cheaper in costa rica". producing countries undercut each other in the need to be competitive and so drive prices down.

That's how our economic system sets the market price. So there are problems with Fair Trade, certainly. But the principle of maintaining a decent price for produce is a sound and ethical idea.

And as for land use, part of the problem is our focus on single crop intensive cultivation - while it produces lots it also- as we can see from this discussion - costs a lot, resource wise. And its not sustainable in the long run. It would be better to focus our energy on more integrated, local production that is both efficient and sustainable.

Which brings me back to Clarabell - local produce, if you can get it without the "ooh aren't we so hip and organic" markup, is the best option - it mitigates the economic and environmental damage of production that you're worried about.

34. Posted by me.da (Full Member 96 posts) 9y

I can't believe i just called coffee a non-essential item.

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

Quoting mida

I can't believe i just called coffee a non-essential item.

Yes mida, leave this forum and never return.

36. Posted by piepers (Full Member 2 posts) 9y

Agree with other posts that growing your own veges is a great start - and with global warming kicking in the UK is now a better growing climate than ever. Network with other growers in your local area to exchange items in glut. Do some research on varieties that thrive in your area - local knowledge is v helpful there.
Lentils and brown, unrefined rice together constitute a perfect nutritional balance giving protein and vital amino acids, and together with a mix of fresh veges would keep you in good health at very low cost. Just gets very boring - so keep a range of fresh spices and herbs involved to add variety.
Go for Free Trade coffee and brew it at home ; buy it in a cafe and you will quickly reduce your cash holdings. Tea is probably the cheapest drink, again the trusty teapot is far better environmentally than the convenient teabag.

37. Posted by james (Travel Guru 4136 posts) 9y

Quoting piepers

Agree with other posts that growing your own veges is a great start - and with global warming kicking in the UK is now a better growing climate than ever. Network with other growers in your local area to exchange items in glut. Do some research on varieties that thrive in your area - local knowledge is v helpful there.
Lentils and brown, unrefined rice together constitute a perfect nutritional balance giving protein and vital amino acids, and together with a mix of fresh veges would keep you in good health at very low cost. Just gets very boring - so keep a range of fresh spices and herbs involved to add variety.
Go for Free Trade coffee and brew it at home ; buy it in a cafe and you will quickly reduce your cash holdings. Tea is probably the cheapest drink, again the trusty teapot is far better environmentally than the convenient teabag.

Assuming you have some spare ground, I wonder what is better:

1. growing your own vegetables, as suggested above;

2. planting trees and shrubs on the land, and buying your vegetables from your usual place.

38. Posted by me.da (Full Member 96 posts) 8y

I just thought i would resurrect this very old thread to recommend some reading for anyone who was interested in this topic - 'The Ethics of What We Eat' by Peter Singer and Jim Mason, if you haven't already come across it, is a very comprehensive and reasonably balanced discussion of a lot of the points raised here and a few others, going into some of the pros and cons of different eating options which demand a bit more analysis than we can do here. Extensive reference list too, very helpful.

39. Posted by kombizz (Full Member 1416 posts) 8y

just to buy the Fair Trade stuff and put your money in cooperative bank which help the third world countries.

40. Posted by cplford (Budding Member 98 posts) 8y

Peter Singer never took part in a "reasonably balanced" discussion in his life.

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