All posts by willime3

Stop Going to Chick-Fil-A

Animal rights is an issue that is near and dear to me, as I have been a vegetarian for over 2 years now. I chose to become a vegetarian, not because I don’t support humans eating meat, but because I don’t support the way we eat meat. In On the limits of food autonomy, one point that’s brought up is that we have made ourselves “continually dependent on ecology and others.” This was said in a negative way in the reading, but I don’t see it in a negative way at all. It’s fundamental for species of different ecosystems to rely on each other—for shelter, food, or nurture. In this way, I don’t think it’s fundamentally wrong for humans to consume meat, in the same way it’s not wrong for lions to prey on antelope. Predators are an important part of a healthy ecosystem.

However, the way that humans have transformed the meat industry is inhumane and ecologically detrimental. First of all, one of the biggest causes of deforestation in the Amazon is the meat industry. Close to 70 percent of deforestation occurs as a direct result of the increasing demand for beef. In addition, it’s a leading cause of ocean dead zones and water pollution. Every year, livestock produce 130 times as much waste as humans, and most of this waste is unfortunately deposited into the oceans. And in my opinion the worst impact of the meat industry is its contribution to global warming. Carbon emissions made by livestock production produces 65 percent of human-related emissions, which is an outstanding number. Not to mention how inhumane the cattle farms and slaughterhouses are, and how poorly they treat the animals from birth. Chick-Fil-A is currently under attack by many for using farms and slaughterhouses that severely abuse chickens.

Therefore, my issue with the food industry is fully based on my ethical and environmental issues with the way the meat industry is set up. In this way I want to educate the world that buying animal products from sustainable, local farms is the way to go. Eating those products is not the problem—but eating them from big companies or restaurants, like Chick-Fil-A or Tyson, is.

Separate From Or A Part Of?

When considering the exquisite intricacy of every piece of nature, it can be difficult to imagine that you may be a part of that too. That the delicate hand that traced the veins on a leaf made the creases on your palm. The question of whether or not humans are a part of nature has been greatly debated in the past. Writing on the Center for Humans & Nature website, a man called Vucetch proposes that “we are one and the same. In fact,” he says, “humans and nature are so intimately connected that acting as if we are separate and abusing nature is tantamount to abusing ourselves.” Yet today, so few people will admit that the natural world is as interconnected as it is. This is demonstrated in our abuse of animals, in deforestation, in the combustion of fossil fuels that pollute our skies. But it is so necessary to understand, as the first thesis of the Twenty-Two Theses of Nature states, that “human beings and their productions are not separate from Nature; they are just as much, or as little, ‘natural’ as everything else.” This understanding is fundamental to protecting the world that we live in as it is in an ecological crisis.

The Twenty-Two Theses of Nature encompass the idea that nature is all-encompassing and therefore one and the same with the human race. It is a foolish and selfish idea to say that nature is centered upon human beings or anything human. I enjoyed the ideas presented in some of the later theses concerning the difference between information and perception. It’s interesting to think that information exists primarily in our brains and in the way we communicate things to each other. An individual piece of nature has in itself so much information but it itself is not information. Therefore, it is important to note that what we understand about nature and the planet lies almost entirely in our minds—a bear hunting only understands and cares about catching its next meal, whereas we have the opportunity to see the future of the world and therefore help it. If we realize and accept that we ourselves are a part of nature, maybe we can turn our selfish mindsets toward aiding it instead of being against it.

All Things in Moderation

History has often been characterized by radical ideas—that, and disagreements over which radical ideas are better, or should be put into place. For every position that a government has had on a certain topic, there’s a person or group with an opposing view. With so many brains on this earth that have so many different opinions, it’s not unrealistic to believe that there is always someone who will disagree with you. For example, it feels like it has been rooted into our world that the idea of growth is a way of measuring success, or improvement. Most people won’t argue that when something or someone has grown, it’s typically a positive thing. However, this article disagrees with that mindset, and argues that growth is actually “uneconomic, unjust, and ecologically unsustainable.” Instead, it is ideal to strive for the idea of “degrowth,” in which societies will use fewer natural resources and will organize and live differently than they do today. The author believes that degrowth will provide change in every aspect of our lives that will in turn provide a net positive impact on the world.

In my opinion, the idea isn’t completely awful—I do think there’s some good points brought up in the article. Capitalism does lie on the idea that material production is necessary for the survival of the system. Obviously, not every resource is renewable and if we continue upon this capitalist idea in every aspect of our lives, our world will start to crumble. However, I don’t necessarily agree that degrowth is the solution to that problem. Some ideas in the article remind me of some of the ideals of communism, an economic and political system that failed in many of its applications. Humans at their foundation are rooted in competition and personal growth. I mean, think of how much wouldn’t get done if everyone was equal and no one strived for better. Although, ecologically, degrowth may be necessary in order to cut down on use of fossil fuels and develop more renewable energies. In this way, I consider everything in moderation to be the best mindset. This applies to our use of resources as humans—our creation of waste, our technological developments. Too much growth too fast could end up being harmful. But degrowth in moderation as well. There are some good points brought up in the article that could do well in application, but changing every aspect of our lives for this idea may be unattainable. If everyone puts a little effort forwards, that would make a great difference on its own.

Selfish, or Simply Short-Sighted?

It’s reasonable to assess that recent worsening symptoms of global warming have introduced greater awareness of climate change around the world. From the wildfires that spanned from New Mexico to Washington, or the hurricanes that pummeled coastal cities all over the world, more people are starting to recognize the real problem arising. However, the question arises of whether simple awareness is enough to raise change. As Lynn White Jr. points out in “The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis,” the solution to this calamity may not lie in scientific or technological improvements—in fact, those specific measures may produce backlashes more serious than those they are designed to remedy. After all, a significant number of scientific studies have been done that point to the fact that most global warming in recent decades is due to the great concentration of greenhouse gases that have been released mainly as a result of human activity. That problem is made worse by society’s intensive use of fossil fuels, which lies at the heart of the worldwide energy system. While scientific and technological advancements have made the world what it is today, the ecologic effects of those advancements must be considered in reference to the future of this era.

In Pope Francis’s encyclical, he points out that the speed with which change has occurred in the human era is incredibly greater than the naturally slow pace of biological evolution. It is reasonable to assume that a reason for this is due to the accelerated industrial advancements that have been made in recent centuries. When did man become the dominant and invasive species that it is? What made humans believe that they were so much more important than all other living beings on this Earth? I think that this mindset comes partially out of the egotism of the human race, and the idea that nature is simply for us to use for our most selfish whim. It’s either that, or that humans are just short-sighted in nature, meaning that they see and care about only what may happen in their lifetime or their children’s, and don’t consider the lasting effects that their choices make on this planet. Lynn White brought up the connections that religion have to nature, which was interesting because Christianity has in the past conceived nature primarily as a symbolic system through which God speaks to man. However, when we take a step back and consider that the idea that nature has no reason for existence save to serve man is an incredibly selfish way of perceiving the world, it will perhaps influence humans to work with nature rather than against it. It is bigger than all of us and will eventually destroy all of us if we don’t help it. To do this we don’t necessarily need to work hand in hand with the birds or the wolves in order to make a change, but we need to drop the selfish and short-sighted mindset some of us have of the Earth and exchange it for an appreciation of nature and what it consists of.