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You Can't Save the Climate By Going Vegan. Corporate Polluters Must be Held Accountable.

Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/06/03/you-cant-save-climate-going-vegan-corporate-polluters-must-be-held-accountable

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It’s sadly unclear what Mann and Brockopp think we should do. The Green New Deal is fine, they say, but “we need a national plan of action that will include everyone.” Wait, what? The Green New Deal is an effort to produce just such a plan. It doesn’t “include everyone” only because not everyone supports it – but wouldn’t any plan of the “visionary” scope M&B call for have the same problem? Or if M&B know how to make a plan packed with “visionary policies” that would magically elicit support from “everybody,” I wish they would tell us.

Promoting wider acceptance of the already excellent Green New Deal would be a better use of Mann’s celebrity than berating an alleged mass movement of personal-change obsessives who think we don’t need system change.

I like the train of thought from Michael Mann & Jonathan Brockopp - it needed to be said.

Especially that part about those adopting new ‘less is more’ lifestyles disparaging those who don’t.

I am one of those ‘less is more’ people, but I adopted this because it feels better - I prefer it, not because it will save the world.

Most people are truly oblivious to the Anthropocene’s challenges I think.

The Anthropocene working group is getting closer to picking a golden spike, but I think the science community lacks political skill.

I would favor a four part set of dates for The Anthropocene, the first two movable targets, shifting as more information comes in, the last two fixed in time. Together these four might just tell a story the oblivious majority could relate to:

  1. The date when homo sapiens first appeared in Africa (200,000 to 340,000 years ago - a date which will undergo refinement).

  2. Out of Africa date - also undergoing constant refinement. But what is clear is that everywhere we went, mass megafaunal extinctions occurred, and it is only getting worse.

  3. Mark Maslin’s fixed “Orbis Spike (ca 1610)” - i.e., the Columbian Exchange, when CO2 was drawn down as the mass depopulation of the Americas saw indigenous farmland revert to forest.

  4. “The bomb spike” (ca early 1960’s), from nuclear testing in the atmosphere.

I think the story told by using all four of these time markers together would be helpful in understanding the multitudinous effects of our arrival on the scene in an ever evolving environment, at all scales, from here on Earth to our ‘Green Valley’ galaxy The Milky Way and ultimately, our ever unfolding Universe.

We need to think big - and we can.

The fossil fuel industry receives a lot of criticism these days, and rightfully so. But in the final analysis, we are the ones who support the energy industry and it is our standard of living that will need to change. So contemplate what you can do for the cause

Personal Actions

End our love affair with the automobile

Ride more trains and buses

Car pool

Walk and bike more

Turn off the air conditioner in the summer and dial the thermostat down in winter

Become vegetarians or vegans

Refill plastic water bottles with tap water

Discontinue using aluminum cans with and without carbonation

Maximize use of reusable bags and products

Recycle junk mail

Forego fast junk food

Go to “slow food”;

Recycle maximally, especially aluminum cans

Drive and accelerate more slowly

Climb more stairs

Plant more trees

Forego use of spray cans

Ride more trains and buses

Repair, mend and alter as much as possible

Buy solar panels

Compost as much as possible

Last person out of the room turn off the lights

Eat and farm organic

Ride more trains and buses

Fly fewer planes

Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings

Use manual tools instead of power tools

Share more

Use rakes rather than leaf blowers

Decrease use of bottled water and refill plastic bottles with tap water

Maximize reusable bags and products

Push rather than power small mowers

Replace lawns with vegetable gardens

Stop fertilizing and mowing lawns

Compost as much as possible

Minimize use of disposables (Pampers);

Maximize high efficiency LED and solar powered lighting;

Limit endless gadgets

Use motion lighting, where appropriate

Decrease consumption

Limit family size

Local Government Actions

Reorganize cities, building taller residences with a smaller footprint (the end of suburbia)

Institute a carbon tax

Promote car pooling subsidize and expand mass transit

Expand bike paths

Have shareable (zip) cars

Ban electric outdoor signs;

Eat and farm organic

Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings

Eliminate approximately 50% of all street lighting and office lighting in unoccupied buildings

eliminate “fast junk food”; go to “slow food


Federal Government Actions

Eliminate subsidies to fossil fuel corporations

Ban gasohol

Rein in the militaries for defense only and outlaw war

Further shrink nuclear arsenals and increase treaties

Discontinue night baseball

Promote making electronics, house wares, furniture, etc to be as durable and long-lived as possible

Promote recycling

Set standards for making appliances to be as energy efficient as possible

Discontinue single use aluminum cans

Ban electric outdoor signs

Subsidize solar and wind power;

Change from petroleum based fertilizers to regenerative agriculture

Reverse deforestation, plant more trees

Restrict spray cans

Promote conference calls and web cams, fewer meetings

Promote zero population growth with free condoms and family planning world-wide

End yearly auto model changes;

Proscribe junk mail

Scrap the mission to Mars

Adjust tax laws to limit family size


If we tax some of the estimated $7 trillion (per last week’s Financial Times) parked offshore, maybe (just maybe) we will be able to hire enough corporate regulators

…and more… like …NO professional sports at all…and… along with that …seriously mlimit flying…

Ending American’s attacks on other peoples would cut the American average carbon footprint in half. So, that belongs at the top of the list.
Just below it belongs reducing U.S. and world population. Each individual has a baseline carbon footprint. Current world population is beyond carrying capacity.

You have said this before and yes personal responsibility and action is very important. However when your choices are limited you know that monopolies have taken over.
Only 90 or so corporations spew out 75% of carbon emissions.
Can people buy Hemp products or have easy access to Solar off the Grid energy !! Can they afford electic cars .Are electric cars being massed produced .

So when the game is rigged it’s not all the people’s problem .It’s a problem of collective conciousness. This is rising now ,but the polluters are not listening.
Saying that one of the fastest ways to reduce your co2 emissions is to become vegetarian.

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You can recycle.

If you feel bad about being part of the climate change problem, you can always recycle. It shows other people that you care a bit about climate change.

What I find is that recycling is, why do I want to say, a gateway drug. Some people put their whole butts into the climate emergency work and they’re a thousand times as effective. They study! The only difference is, recycling is something easy that you can do today.

If you do go vegan, be quite specific about vitamins. You’re best off if a friend is guiding you through all of this.

This is insane. This article includes only one study about carbon taxes, ignoring the many studies which have found that humans have to switch to plant-based diets if we want to avoid making the climate crisis worse. This is one of the worst cases of cherry picking data I’ve ever seen. It’s especially preposterous given that the only study cited has nothing to do with plant-based diets at all. In fact, the cited article is primarily about a systemic action! The study’s findings show that small systemic actions, like carbon taxes, makes people less likely to care about large systemic action like a Green New Deal, but this has nothing to do with individual lifestyle changes.

Furthermore, the authors have ignored that it’s both possible and necessary to take part in individual and systemic action at the same time. Focusing on one and ignoring the other is suicidal and unnecessary. And given the number of studies showing the importance of individual action, it’s also science denial. The writers are demonstrating an almost delusional level of black-and-white thinking.

Finally, they seem a bit confused about how capitalism works. There is now a scientific consensus that animal agriculture is a primary driver of the climate crisis, and they don’t seem to disagree with these findings. But consumers of animal based products are the ones supporting the industry’s existence. No more consumers, no more industry. Simple as that. Given that plant-based diets save almost $1000 a year per person, it’s an easy step to take even for those of us living at or below the poverty line.

The goal of this article seems only to be to disempower vulnerable people, especially if they can’t afford overpriced electric cars or to buy influence with political parties.