Sunday, 7 September 2008
UN v the pig "farmer"
Listening to: We'll Live And Die In These Towns (The Enemy)
Uh-oh: he's ranting again
The ice caps are melting, Morpeth in County Durham is under water, millions are on the brink of starvation, thousands of species face extinction. . . dear God, that crappy film with Kevin Costner might be right.
Now it appears it's all my fault. At least that's according to a scruffy man with a beard and a dodgy comb-over by the name of Rajendra Pachauri.
By all accounts he's the chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - one of the United Nations' gravy trains - and therefore can claim to be the UN's top climate scientist.
Obviously it's a post of some importance and influence and he's about to start a second six-year term - can't for the life of me remember voting for him.
Raj has taken a look at the global warming problem and, rather than tackle major industrial powers or pick a fight with India and China, he reckons the reason polar bears are up shit creek is down to the farmers.
"Meat production represents 18 per cent of global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, including 37 per cent of global methane emissions, which has 23 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide and 65 per cent of nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide."
So says Raj and that 18 per cent figure is pretty shocking. What I doubt are his answer to the problem (eat less meat) and his motivation.
What has red lights, sirens and alarm bells ringing chez pig "farmer" is the fact that Raj is a strict vegetarian. Of course he wants us all to eat less meat. He doesn't want us to eat any at all.
Raj would, of course, rather see the world turned into a desert by the overuse of agri-chemicals which would be necessary in the face of the march of vegetarianism, the collapse of a balanced form of agriculture that stood the test of thousands of years and have farmers put out of business (some almost before they've got started) in their thousands.
Yes, the dramatic clearance of rainforests for meat production in South America and Asia is wrong, but rather than talk to governments about their agricultural policies and what they can do to bring about a more sensible, sustainable way of farming the land, Raj has decided it's time to push his own misguided beliefs. Using your (no doubt very well paid) post to do that is unacceptable.
I'm all for reducing the amount of crap meat that is produced and eaten. I'd heartily endorse any global boycott of McDonald's, KFC, Burger King or the Flamin' Tasty kebab shop in Walsall.
But to give the impression that eating any kind of meat is harmful to the environment is ludicrous. British farms are reducing methane emissions year-on-year, local produce is becoming more fashionable, organic produce is edging its way gradually towards the mainstream, more and more people are becoming aware of food miles.
Instead of cutting back on meat consumption, maybe it's a good idea to be more selective. Buy your meat from a good local butcher, preferably one who can tell you which farm the beast came from - a good butcher will be only too happy to talk to you about his produce. . . go to a farm shop or a farmer's market. . . order direct from the farmer (my e-mail is on the sidebar). . . avoid intensively-reared meat. . . sack Rajendra Pachauri.
Monday morning note: Please don't misunderstand me, the threat of global warming must be taken seriously and that 18 per cent figure is a real shocker. But to come up with such a trite "solution" just because (a) animals fart a lot and (b) the boss man is a strict vegetarian strikes me as, at the very least, ridiculous.
I'll carry on recycling, using public transport whenever I can and so on, but I expect people with real power to come up with some real solutions.