"The world has lost 60 percent of its population of Bornean orangutans since 1950, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature. In July, the Bornean orangutan was listed as critically endangered."
"About 15 percent of the world’s historical forest cover remains intact, according to the World Resources Institute. The rest [85%] has been cleared or degraded or is in fragments."
"Climate concerns have been brought into sharp relief by the impending presidency of Donald J. Trump, who has called climate change a hoax. Mr. Trump has said he will pull the United States out of the Paris accord, a commitment by 95 countries to take concrete measures to reduce planet-warming carbon emissions."
>"Daily emissions from Indonesia’s forest fires last year at times exceeded emissions produced by all economic activity in the United States. A recent Harvard and Columbia study estimated that the fires caused at least 100,000 premature deaths across Southeast Asia. The World Bank estimates that the fires cost Indonesia’s economy $16 billion."
Much like technology that can be used for good and bad, I prefer to live in a world where services are available to all without discrimination – knowing that some people will do things I disagree with using those services – than a world where some random person's morals are used to restrict those services to certain groups.
I find it pretty weird to see people gleeful that a far right party cannot get campaign funding, but those same people baulk at any criticism of democracy. The bank probably doesn't care about the party politics, but it does care about it's reputation. Trying to call the banks out for who they lend money to is probably effective but – IMO – chilling.
Problems arise when negative externalities  are not accounted for. Sure, companies (and their banks) can make a fortune by burning rainforests for palm oil, but that leaves the costs (loss of habitat, CO2 release) to be borne by the rest of the world. Ideally, regulation puts those costs back to the companies causing them. If that doesn't happen, I have no problem with exposing and targeting the banks financing them.
Actually the point of the article is that banks lend money to corporations, some of which go and do awful things. Not that they simply lend money to "people".
Well, that's fine for an ethos when applied to individuals... but its applicability to corporations is an entirely different matter, altogether.
If a corporation is caught doing something that either domestic or international legal structures -- not simply "some person's random morals" -- have determined to cause great harm to humanity (including, just as an example, blatant, open-air gang-rape of natural resources, as appears to be happening in certain parts of Indonesia) -- then no, they aren't entitled to "equal access" to resources and services. They're going to be prohibited from doing those things, using all legal means available -- including, one find day, let us hope, severe restrictions on access to financial resources; and if necessary, criminal prosecution of the corporation's registered officers.
Successfully implemented, the proper term for such measures it not "discrimination". It's called rule of law.
Whether or not legal structures currently exist to prohibit the kind of abuses described in the article is a separate, technical matter. But address your comment directly: the idea that we should not attempt to control (via legislation or moral opprobrium) the lending behavior of banks with regard to corporations because that would be a form of "discrimination", or somehow an infliction of "someone's random morals" on their individual choices -- is fundamentally flawed.
The logical conclusion to this kind of targeting of banks that have a huge number of uncontroversial clients, and a handful of controversial (but legal) clients is that they will start turning away the business to protect their reputation, and someone else will set up a bank that specializes in shady clients, has an obscure and often changing name, anonymous offices, and generally doesn't care about its reputation.
Would that be better? Obviously not, but it's effectively what activists are ask for.
Nice it's not practical for everyone to travel to a region to protest environmental degradation that indirectly affects many more people, perhaps you could could turn your abilities to coming up with a more effective scheme of action.
With money comes responsibility. The US should provide a good guiding example.
But ultimately it is the responsibility of governments to control these corporations that'll compete at every level.
Capitalism allows people to self motivate to get everything done. It does not really need any helping. Human aspirations is enough.
Governments must protect the future resources our planet has. And do so in an even way which makes the playing field fair for companies.
It's an almost impossible task & I can start to understand why we don't detect any intelligent life anywhere in the universe. Life anywhere is probably similar to ours: took millions of years to develop, collected lots of stored energy underground, and all the organisms are naturally competitive making it impossible for modern life on the planet to co-exist.
Slavery was more stable: lasted millenia. We're in turbulent times, particularly since we're probably ending neoliberal capitalism: an unstable form of capitalism whose one advantage is to damage the imagination enough to stop seeing alternatives except a single bad one.
Lenin (for all his faults) said that fascism is capitalism in decay, and far-right governments are gaining power all over the world, so...
And slavery required less violence, per capita, to maintain? I don't think so. Innumerable slave revolts. Wars of conquest to capture slaves. Slave raiding. The daily violence needed to enforce slavery. Sexual violence perpetrated on slaves.
Capitalism is a rock of stability, from a civil society perspective, in contrast. When was the last time a developed capitalist nation had a civil war, or even a major violent revolt?
Reminder: Before those developed capitalist nations became what they are now, they also had their share of civil wars and major violent revolts.
Ask again in a year or two.
In the article, the NYT is making an argument to say that this business behavior is morally reprehensible. Not that it should be illegal or not allowed. It's up to the individuals reading the articles to take any action, if they feel it's necessary. For instance, not using that company for their services.
80% of the deforestation in the Amazon has been for cattle and their food.
It makes sense, people eat a lot of animals, animals need a lot of food. Blaming banks is an easier group to blame then ourselves and our own choices, though.
My suspicion is that many powerful people feel (rightly or wrongly) that the subject of enforcing diet is simply too untenable for them to take up without all hell breaking loose. (What do you mean I can't eat my meat!?) ...And that's not to mention all the "standard issues" clouding their judgment and priorities.
We literally give billions to animal ag industries in subsidies, we could just stop that. Take it a step further and use that money to actually fund alternatives so they're substantially cheaper for the public. The fact that almond/coconut milk is more expensive than cow milk speaks volumes about how the system is set up.
Another step, which the FDA almost did this year, is advise people to eat less animals because it's awful for the environment. In general just making the message more visible would help.
The last one is kind of telling people what to do, but the FDA already does that anyway so it's not too much of a change.
0.36 kg/L almond milk, and 1.67 kg/L cow milk.
(Note: This is somebody's class report, not a peer-reviewed publication.)
There is some uncertainty in these numbers, of course. If you care more about water usage, then 1L of almond milk uses on the order of 1600 gallons of water, compared to under 100 gallons of water per liter of cow milk. Again, there is some uncertainty. And I think CO2-equivalent emissions is far more important.
However, almonds pale in comparison to cows or other livestock in terms of water usage (esp when used as meat) - while consuming large quantities of almonds may not be sustainable, it's a lot better than eating meat... just may be as water-unsustainable as drinking local milk (if you live in CA).
I'm in agreeance with your suggestions, but note that Indonesia has large protests over small increases in meat costs. There's a political reality to dramatically raising food prices in a democracy.
If you drive for more than 5 minutes, you will cause a higher climate effect than any diet choice. Eat just the nicest climate friendly food, and drive for more than 5 minutes in one direction and you end up doing more harm than an meat eating cyclist.
Which also mean that working from home would be the biggest cultural change to fix the environment, and much more effective than any cultural change in diet.
Take Sweden. The loss of farming is causing a significant decrease in open fields, endangering several species who need that kind of habitat. Beef produce in Sweden is also about twice as expensive than the cheapest imported beef, so it becomes a price issue. This where certification can do a good job in guiding consumers to choose producers that in a local context has a net positive on the environment.
Using https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.cfm?id=307&t=11 we get us co2 per gallon, and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_economy_in_automobiles#Fu... gives average miles per gallon, which with units (gnu tool) translated it to about 8.6 miles for 3kg co2. 8.6 miles is, depending on driving speed, a reasonable estimated of 10m driving. So if a person commute time to work is 5m, and 5m back, the co2 should be similar to a person who eat meat-rich diet but who work from home.
I can only speculate, but I suspect there are a few reason how one could interpret data that I have seen elsewhere. One is that while CO2 from cows are higher than from cars, those numbers don't take into consideration that people can choose to stop driving but not stop eating. If you replace cows with vegetarian option, that is still 2.9kg CO2 being released per day per person. A stop to driving is 0kg CO2.
The second aspect is that there is likely more people who don't drive cars than people who don't eat meat. If we are talking about what individual people can do, stop driving is still the best way to reduce ones environmental impact, and I suspect that the average amount of car owners on HN is a bit higher than the global average. Once that box is ticked off, discussion of meat vs non-meat options is a bit more relevant.
Downvoters tell me why you disagree?
Around my place, cows are still in the meadows, then for a few winter months they are in the stable but they are fed mostly with grass cut in the same meadows earlier, plus a bit of straw, leftover of other cultures. The pressure on the local environment is basically nil, and it has no effect on remote locations either.
But if you drive just a few dozen miles away, all catering is industrial (even at small scale): cows live their whole life under a shed, over a concrete slab, behind galvanised steel bars, and are fed silage and soja sprayed from a tractor. They do not ever go in the meadows.
It was not like that 25 years ago, it changed quickly. It is unneeded (production was already excessive with the (not so) old way) and it is unsustainable: it costs lots of investments, it costs lots of food buying, it destroys landscapes which are either turned into farm land or abandoned to the forest, this farm land uses more water and pollutes more, the farmer does not any more produce a wide range of crops and animals, it is specialised in a single (or 2 at most) production and has to stick to it and is thus highly sensitive and fragile with respect to market price variations. In fact he's not a farmer any more, he's just a small industrialist, a meat manufacturer. A very small one who doesn't even have any power to control anything. He's perpetually on the verge of bankruptcy and sometimes commits suicide. So really none, nothing, nowhere benefits of this system (except a few go-between that didn't exist before or existed but increased their margins).
That seems like basic physics(?) How could it possibly be below 1 for anything that doesn't photosynthesize?
I find it dishonest to compare animal product eating to very unhealthy things such as smoking and alcohol, with standard SJW angles of 'toxic masculinity' thrown in and what not. The myth of 'low fat = healthy, fat=bad', pushed for decades starting with Ancel Keys, is slowly disintegrating, and suddenly there's another convenient bogeyman to keep animal products stuck with negative image - climate change.
My life has become so much better since I've turned from vegan to a keto diet based on animal products. I don't eat more meat than a regular person, but most of my calories are animal and milk fats - butter, heavy cream etc. This made all my health issues, some of them pretty severe and incurable autoimmune issues, pretty much disappear.
That's why I would hate to see animal products banned/highly taxed as result of vegan zealots' lobbying, hidden behind the guise of 'helping the planet'.
I'd say, let's stop subsidizing the meat industry. Let the prices rise to whatever their market cost without government intervention would be. Let people decide when they're not paying a hidden cost to make meat cheap at the market.
Why not, eh?
However I think that the subsidies game is even deeper, and that it's responsible for many more negative things than just making for cheap meat - most processed food today is just high fructose corn syrup in disguise.
So yeah, I would like to see prices of low-quality food stop being artificially low, because I believe that would affect the prices of higher quality food (quality meat and quality vegetables) in a positive way.
By methane production (a comon bogeyman for animal rights activists to push for banning meat use), all of agriculture together makes for only 1/4 of total methane production, the rest is transportation, manufacture and such. Of that 1/4, cows are responsible for cca 1/3-1/2 of it.
As an interesting side note, rice production also generates large amounts of methane (because of anaerobic conditions in rice paddies): cows generated 189 tons of it from 1996 to 2001, while rice production has generated 112 tons in the same period. So rice productions generates 2/3 as much methane as cows:
I agree with you about the Malthusian argument, it's similar to how gloomy people were about our ability to feed ourselves before we invented artificial fertilizer - I believe that the best improvement for future of our planet will be some clean energy revolution - most likely working fusion. Once we'll have that, most of problematic emissions will be taken care of.
Also, considering the rapid progress in genetic science, I wouldn't be surprised if we will be able to create biological machines such as a standalone chicken's digestive and reproductive tract - you would have it in your kitchen, and feed it scraps; from them it would produce eggs. And you could optimize your nutrition by adding specific nutrients to scraps, such as omega3 fat acids.
I think the best argument for veganism is simply what right do we have to take another creatures life purely for our matter of taste. I wasn't directly talking abkut veganism though in the parent.
I also think you can decide you want to be a rich person who eats a 10x share of meat while the poorest get a 0.1x share. I'm not being facetious, I don't think you're really harming anyone by choosing that.
But I do think you need to admit that you are taking that choice away from future generations. You believe you are more important than future generations, so you want to use a 10x share of resources.
Again, I don't think that's immoral, but I think you have a moral duty to be honest about your values and that you don't place value on future generations' use of those resources.
'You are taking choice away from future generations' is a very meaningless statement that can be applied to everyone, and comes off simply as a concern troll. Most of us Westerners can improve the future in many more significant ways than not eating meat. You are taking choice away from future generations simply by existing and spending resources; by living a cushy western urbanite life and participating in online forums instead of living an isolated rural subsistence life without modern life comforts.
Another poster here wrote that just 5 minutes of driving daily is worse for environment/climate than any possible diet style one might be following. So a vegan that drives 5 min daily affects the environment and climate worse than a meat eater who cycles to work.
As for me, no, I do not have a moral duty to be honest about my values, and your concern troll did not work. I feel I have a moral value to take care of myself and my health primarily, and that's why I switched from ideology I followed (veganism based on ethical issues - resource use and animal abuse/suffering) when the ideology proved to be supported by lies about how veganism is healthy and meat-eating is unhealthy. Instead of an ideology, I went with what proved itself to be correct. And I am glad I did.
You are right that by existing we are consuming precious resources. In fact, life (i believe) feeds off of some other death, somewhere, in the grand scheme of things. That said, i don't think we'll convince many people to stop existing for environmentalist causes. We'll have to find a compromise. One of those, i believe, is living a life with a small footprint (cycle don't drive, avoid air travel, go veggie where possible, eat local produce as much as possible). However, and i can't go into as much detail here as i'd like, it's not always practical to convince people to become vegos, only cycle, etc. I suggest interested people read the 98% Environmentalist , an essay i thought quite insightful.
However, regarding your second point, i think it is a misconception that an urbanite lifestyle is more wasteful of resources than a rural one. In fact, if we as a species are to become less environmentally impactful, i believe (perhaps mistakenly) that we should live in cities as much as possible: this allows us to use public transport (as opposed to wasteful single occupancy ICE cars), work from home or cycle to work, live more densely (= easier to centralise recycling, insulation and heating of buildings is more efficient in apartment buildings, etc.). As opposed to the rural existence where one is probably forced to drive to a nearby city for supplies one cannot grow (building materials perhaps).
Of course, i may be completely wrong. I encourage everyone to live as mindfully of the environment as possible, in their own way, without claiming to have a one-size-fits-all answer. I hope we don't, however, stick our heads into the sand and hammer the final nail into the climate's coffin during our lifetimes – i worry it may already be a lost battle .
1. still looking for the link :( help me HN?
I also feel deeply about helping to preserve our planet - I don't drive, I don't buy useless stuff that has traveled thousands of km on a container ship burning terribly dirty bunker oil, I don't support wasteful services. Like I said before, the only thing where I won't compromise is eating animal fats, because of health reasons. I also felt very, very cheated after realizing I've been lied to about how veganism is healthier than 'meat eating', when it was making me ill instead.
I'd like to clarify that I wrote 'rural subsistence lifestyle', not 'rural lifestyle', so I don't mean what is considered a typical rural lifestyle these days - commute to work for an hour or more, have a large farm operated with gas-powered machinery and such. That is equally wasteful as urban life.
What I meant was a simple rural life - having a small home that is optimally designed to need a minimum amount of heating and cooling, raising your own food on a couple acres without help of machinery (vegetables, chicken/ducks and a small flock of sheep or goats, possibly also fish with recently popular aquaponics). And with the rest of necessary income coming from working online, remotely. Not easy to pull off, but I know a couple people that managed to do it, and I hope that I'll manage to do it soon too.
PCs have come a long way, and a modern ultrabook spends so little power that it can easily be recharged from a solar panel/battery combo, and won't need to be replaced for quite a few years because the CPU development mostly stagnated these days. So an internet router + an ultrabook is the extent of 'modern luxuries' in the 'rural life' I talked about.
A lot of people believe 1-2 glasses of alcohol a day save your life while there is more and more proof it is actually very bad (which is what you call it outright); I see the same kind of thing happening for meat. That was what I was commenting on.
As for the alcohol, it puts a significant workload on liver, without any benefits I know of; however, funny thing is that metabolization pathway in liver for sugar is very similar to that of alcohol, so I consider sugar to be as unhealthy as alcohol is.
I do not have much of a particular opinion on meat itself tho - it's animal and dairy fats that I consider important. However, I feel that most of arguments about meat being unhealthy should be targeting unhealthy meat raising practices instead - loading the animals full of antibiotics, having them on an unvaried grain-only diet and such.
Define "life". Because last I heard, plants count as "alive" too?
One of the possible alternatives I'm aware of is ground up insects. Those are the same kind of "alive" as other animals, and yet AFAICT the "don't kill anything" people seem to things it's at least less bad. Even tho it takes a lot more of them to get the same amount of nutrition.
Are you aware of things called "obligate carnivores"? How do they fit in to your moral framework?
Have you played with evolutionary algorithms? Systems that have appropriate sensors / feedback loops to avoid harm to themselves (could even be as simple as a speed governor on an engine)? It can really be... odd to try to think of "life" (or even whatever term we're currently using to assign moral weight to anything capable of feeling pain) in general as being all that unique and special, when I can build something that meets most parts of most definitions in an afternoon.
Humans are omnivores, and I have the teeth to prove it. Stop demanding that I forsake my heritage, especially over some half-baked philosophy that isn't even compatible with my experiences.
It's easier to empathize with mammals, but you're right, at this point, humans cannot survive without destroying (some) life.
Edit: I'm fine with the ecologic/economic argument for minimizing meat consumption, though.
Humans in space (beside the few scientific missions and maybe a Mars trip) make about as much sense as motorized fishbowls on highways. Humans won't leave the solar system, and we may destroy the ecosystem that feeds us before we can start a serious space expansion program.
Beside the CO2 problems (warming and ocean acidification), we've also destroyed a third of arable land in the last 40 years. The presence of biodiversity is needed for resilient ecosystems too.
I just do not get the obsession with having to have meat every day multiple times or the 'entitlement' (that might be the wrong word I used?) for people feeling they can demand it like that. But that was more of a discussion topic attempt than getting people angry or something like it.
Cool. And given the general tone-deafness of plain text I should probably note that I wasn't trying to go off on you either. I was more going for putting out a variety of thoughts on what seemed to be the topic to see if any interesting discussions might come out of it.
I just do not get the obsession with having to have meat every day multiple times or the 'entitlement' (that might be the wrong word I used?) for people feeling they can demand it like that.
That's probably it, yes. Not sure what the right word would be, tho...
The argument is something like "don't call me entitled I'm entitled to eat as much meat as I want"
... which makes no sense to me.
In Indonesia forests are being burned to make space for palm oil plantations not cattle ranches. Your comment and propaganda of an alternative agenda is rather off-base I think.
Banks operate with other peoples money. Many of those people would not be happy to learn that their money was invested in things the banks said they would not support.
Maybe banks could be held liable.
We have the opportunity for a two-for-one here by replacing more harmful products with plant based alternatives. Things like the impossible burger people already rave about.
It could be more of a marketing challenge, just making faux meats seem sexy and attractive to people. Luckily it's a growing industry so we'll see more investments in them, along with faux meats.
* if you live near a somewhat alternative food store like Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc. Kind of a big if.
I honestly figured it was so well known of a fact it didn't need support. Below is one, though.
As much as I'd like everyone to severely decrease their meat consumption and eventually stop using all animal products I won't scare them with shaky facts.
Would USA population benefit from eating less food, definitely. Are epidemiological studies strong enough evidence for diet related health benefits? No.
HN is full of orthorexic hivemind demonizing ingredients like sugar, cholesterol, fat, meat or whatever.
There are plenty of valid, rational reasons to stop eating meat. If one is in good health then health is not a valid reason.
We shouldn't generally speak in absolutes, I agree. But what I was contending was simple, staying away from lab and normal animal flesh would be good in general for the US population.
That's not to say you can't eat red meat and be healthy if you do it in moderation. There's countless ways to achieve a healthy diet with h vegan and non vegan options.
People are absolutely right to doubt the legitmacy of nutrition research in 2016, and the replication crisis and obesity crisis, and failure of experts just adds fuel to the fire.
This is not to say that banks are innocent but the article puts a skewed view that is misleading.