Wednesday 5th August I joined the Ek Sê Live team on their daily show for the Cape Town Television community station and spoke about Greenpeace Africa. It was filmed live. I appeared relatively comfortable, considering that it was my first time. Always room for improvement, of course. I look forward to my next opportunity.
Veggie burgers may soon rule the land.
Can a vegan diet save the world? According to a new report from the UN, the answer is “yes.”The Guardian writes that “a global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty, and the worst impacts of climate change.” The report notes that the Western preference for meat- and dairy-heavy diets is “unsustainable,” especially as the population is expected to grow to 9.1 billion by 2050.
The report adds that “animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals.” Plus, livestock raised for meat consumes a large portion of the world’s crops and a lot of freshwater. Currently, agriculture, “particularly meat and dairy products,” account for 70 percent of the world’s freshwater consumption. It also accounts for 39 percent of the globe’s total land use and 19 percent of its greenhouse gas emissions.
Importantly, as the population grows, the impact from agriculture will substantially grow as well, thanks to the the increasing consumption of animal products. The report notes that “unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives.” The only option is to cut down on the number of animal products consumed.
The UN isn’t the only one advocating a more plant-focused diet. A couple from the United Kingdomare working hard to make “Veganuary” a global movement. The duo are trying to convince people to eat less animal products by going vegan for the month of January. According to a press release, 50 percent of last year’s participants said that they “intended to remain vegan for good.” Perhaps the UN just found a new partner in their global mission?
- UN Urges Global Move to Meat Free Diet [Guardian]
- Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production [UN]
- Activists Launch ‘Veganuary’ to Pressure You Into Veganism [E]
- All Vegan Coverage [E]
Three Greenpeace Cape Town volunteers and I were lucky enough to get to join the Greenpop Hogsback Reforest Fest and I helped write about it. Click here for the story…
Following this is a record of our correspondence so far. I will update accordingly:
From: Dylan Barsby [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: 20 May 2014 01:35 PM
To: Consumer Services
Subject: Enquiry about your product
I was in Pick n Pay in Gardens Centre, Cape Town yesterday and I looked at the label information on your “Bio Classic fabric conditioner” bags. I noticed it mentions “environmentally friendly” on the packaging, but offers absolutely no further information on how it might qualify for that status.
The South African Advertising Standards Authority states, among others, that “advertisements containing general statements such as “environmentally friendly”, “ozone friendly” or “green” or graphics or symbols designed to convey a similar environmental message, will not be permitted unless qualified by a description of the benefit conferred, for example: “ozone friendly -free from CFCs” “
Please explain to me how this product is “environmentally friendly” if, indeed, it is?
Dylan John Barsby
+27 (0)73 220 5305
Desmond Govender replied on 24th May:
Good Day Mr. Barsby;
We are in receipt of your e-mail and thank you for taking the time to contact us.
Please receive confirmation that our formulation includes an ingredient which is biodregadable hence useage thereof does not impact negatively on waste water treatment plants.
We can assure you that we value consumer related feedback and have circulated your response to our Technical and Marketing Divisions as well.
My response Sunday 25th May…
2) The fact that ONE ingredient in your formula is biodegradable does not make your ENTIRE product “environmentally friendly”. This is blatant green-washing which is a destructive, irresponsible and despicable practice.
I refer you once again to ASA’s guidelines: http://goo.gl/wuQbS1
I urge you to pay specific attention to points: 2.1; 2.3 & 2.4.
This article is also relevant http://goo.gl/j73Mdn
Tiger Brands’ actions come down to nothing more than Profit over People and Planet.
One of my favourite articles on how advertisers trick us into thinking that a supplier is making efforts towards environmental responsibility. Once you read this, you’ll realise just how many lies surround us. This will help you figure out who and what to check and avoid.
I intend to share any future correspondence with suppliers regarding misleading product labelling. My first will be about some questions I asked Tiger Brands about their so-called “environmentally friendly” Bio Classic fabric conditioner.
This definitely stirs something within me. My blood may not be of African origin, but Africa undoubtedly exists in my spirit…
Environmental consciousness is a pivotal transition in the way that we human beings think and behave. Whilst the fashionable trend of ‘GOING GREEN’ is a positive step in the right direction, the subsequent step forward, is to become an environmentally conscious individual.
It has become increasingly apparent that the more we allow the Earth’s environment to become spoiled and disrupted, the greater the negative knock-on effect on us.
Because we did not pay sufficient attention to this simple fact in the past, we are now facing a number of serious threats to human health and well-being including:
Climate Change and Global Warming,
Pollution of our Air, Water and Soil
Loss of Marine Life and Earth’s Biodiversity
Natural resources being used up faster than the Earth can recover or reproduce.
While we do need to take remedial action to deal with these threats, it is important that we also look at the underlying causes. We need to recognize that all of these threats are symptoms and effects of the mind-set and value systems that caused them. If we wish to fix these symptoms and effects, then we have to begin by ‘changing our minds’.
We need to consider that there are sub-conscious values and drivers that contribute to the destruction of our Environment.
Ignorance – simply not knowing any better
Short-term thinking – not taking the long term consequences into consideration.
Isolated or Insular thinking – not recognising that everything is interconnected and that therefore certain actions which may be beneficial for one aspect or part may actually be harmful when looked at in context of the whole.
Selfish thinking – not caring about the consequences and effect on others.
Greed – taking much more than you need.
Dogma – insisting on doing things in a particular way (irrespective of the consequence) because that’s the way they have always been done in the past or because that’s the way a certain Authority says that they should be done.
Combative attitudes – whilst competition can be healthy as it encourages growth and improvement, excessive and unnecessary competition (involving damage to or destruction of, a competitor or their resources) is not healthy for people or the environment.
Consumer culture – It is a recognised fact that human beings are currently consuming quantities of Earth’s resources faster than the Earth can recover or replenish these resources. This is driven by a cultural value system that implies that the more you have, consume and own, the higher your position in society. Each individual is therefore directly motivated by this culture to acquire an ever increasing quantity of material assets.
“If you keep doing what you have always done – don’t be surprised if you keep getting the same results”.
So if these values and mind-sets are the underlying drivers of our environmental and social troubles, then the next logical step is to identify the opposite ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS and values that can guide our actions toward a healthier planet and society.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONSCIOUSNESS SHIFT
Ignorance; needs to be replaced by — Environmental knowledge and awareness
Short term thinking; – needs to be replaced by — Long term thinking & planning
Isolated thinking; needs to be replaced by — Systems thinking and holistic perspectives
Selfishness; needs to be replaced by — Care and consideration for the whole of Earth’s community ( human and non-human )
Greed; needs to be replaced by — Generosity and simplification of lifestyle
Dogma; needs to be replaced by — Logical, rational reasoning and understanding
Combative attitudes; need to be replaced by — Collaboration and co-operation
Quantity of consumption; needs to be replaced by — Quality of consumption whereby products are valued for their ;
Quality of performance
Durability of lifespan
Minimal environmental impact in both manufacture and usage
There is no way that a sufficiently comprehensive set of EC rules could be developed that could adequately prescribe the appropriate responses to every conceivable situation that could arise in the future. This is why thinking about our current social and environmental challenges from a ‘value system’ perspective is so much more practical and useful. It empowers us to work out our own solutions to our challenges in our own way – simply applying an acceptable value system in a conscious way.