Ecopoopia: carfreeness/physical activity and veganism
- This started as an email to carfree person and web author, Michael
Bluejay ( http://michaelbluejay.com/veg/ ) . . .
. . . to request he consider noting that some people who have tried in
good faith to keep a vegan diet have not been able to--and that the
trying may harm them.
Since the flow of information is a bit like church--what we keep
hearing stays with us, helpful or not--here's an updated
"veganism, vegetarianism may work for some, not others"
targeted to carfree people and food activists.
We have Buddhists, yogis, other spiritual seekers (see 'sattvic':
http://www.google.com/search?q=sattvic), environmentalists, often
supporting a vegan, vegetarian diet.
We have permaculturists, family farmers, ecovillage residents
(earthaven), feral foragers, supporting incorporating animals, some
influenced by Weston Price / Sally Fallon.
All wish to avoid eating animal products of the industrial food system.
My own recent seesawing led to this--my attempting veganism again
because of interest in meditation, then again deciding to eat more
) which for me has been meaning buying fish, dairy, eggs from people
and animals I've never seen.
Different from mine though, Don's seesawing (
"Don's Diet Experience: Why I (Finally) Gave Up On Vegetarian Diets" )
has rigor to demonstrate that veganism, vegetarianism, aren't helpful
(Meditation, too, is assumed by many to be helpful to everyone, when
it is not always
The European eco-biketour to the Ecotopia gathering
(http://thebiketour.net/), shows also the progressive striving not to
eat animals. Barry writes:
My main point about food is similar to my point about cycling. On
biketour we're supposed to have a vegetarian diet whether for
practical, moral or health reasons. What then if an outsider looking
into biketour could see us limping from one feeding place to another?
Once again this year I was blessed with the trailer and I'd arrive
somewhere where the trailer was needed to cook lunch. All around me
would lie seemingly exhausted biketourers. I would help cook
sometimes at which point people would reluctantly rouse themselves so
feeding could commence. There was little joy in the food, little sound
over the noise of frantic eating. What was that saying about
alternative diets and lifestyles in general when it leaves you so
apparently weakened? I know our bodies under stress go into a type of
survival mode but really we were not giving the vegetarian diet a
cause to celebrate. Very unfair. Whatever the reasons, I'm just
speaking about my impressions and what i feel was being portrayed. Did
I hear at the end of biketour or was it at Ecopoopia that somone said
that we should only eat meat in our tents? Seems a bit intolerant and
though it's a completely different issue it reminds me of the
intolerence to gay people who, it is believed, should keep their ways
indoors. Eating meat, hah!
And from Southern California we have:
"Your Diet Impacts Environment More than Your Car":
13% = The percentage of greenhouse gases created by all trucks, SUVs,
cars, airplanes, trains and other transportation. 18% = The amount of
greenhouse gases created by livestock production. Source: United
Nations. If you are an average U.S. meat eater, reducing your meat
consumption to 2 ounces per day is roughly equivalent to doubling your
vehicle's fuel efficiency, in terms of greenhouse gas reduction.
(The title and desires behind it may be the non-sequitur, not the
statistics: "environment" does not equal "greenhouse gases".)
Also related to this, "In terms of height (and well-being), Americans
now fall short" by Scott LaFee:
Asian populations, for example, boast some of the fastest-growing
height rates. People once presumed to be inherently small turn out
simply to be undernourished. When scientists surveyed short-statured
tribes in New Guinea, for example, they found the natives' diet lacked
iodine and other nutrients. Provided with supplements, the New
Guineans soon grew to more normal heights.
Let's do our best to help activists, carfree people, foodies, yogis,
be energetic/rajasic (vs. sattvic, tamasic) when they want to be.
Progressive gatherings serving food could make an effort to source
non-industrial animal products in recognition that at least some
people benefit from eating animals, and that encouraging a population
that lacks strong heathy eating traditions to be vegan may be causing
a lot of not openly-shared harm.
I think I may be able to feel the way I want to by doing a more
careful nutritional analysis of what I eat, and perhaps get some of my
nutrition from grubs or snails (cf.
http://yourcityfarmer.blogspot.com/search?q=snails ). Animal-rights
activists could help by saying: some people won't do well not eating
animals, yet wish to avoid industrial food production; here are
resources on household animal-based food production systems.
I've shared criticism of veganism, meditation, and here--before I'm
pulled offstage--is some criticism of biointensive gardening from
"Gardening Without Irrigation" (
) by Steve Solomon, chapter 5:
I began gardening in the early 1970s, just as the raised-bed method
was being popularized. The latest books and magazine articles all
agreed that raising vegetables in widely separated single rows was a
foolish imitation of commercial farming, that commercial vegetables
were arranged that way for ease of mechanical cultivation. Closely
planted raised beds requiring hand cultivation were alleged to be far
more productive and far more efficient users of irrigation because
water wasn't evaporating from bare soil.
I think this is more likely to be the truth: Old-fashioned gardens
used low plant densities to survive inevitable spells of rainlessness.
Looked at this way, widely separated vegetables in widely separated
rows may be considered the more efficient users of water because they
consume soil moisture that nature freely puts there. Only after, and
if, these reserves are significantly depleted does the gardener have
to irrigate. The end result is surprisingly more abundant than a
modern gardener educated on intensive, raised-bed propaganda would
And he writes on drawbacks of mulch (harbors insects), and on benefits
of a "dust mulch" to keep deeper soil from drying out (Ch 2 & 3).