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Veggies saving the planet

Hi all haven't been here for a while, I have finally decided what to do with my life after fluffing about the world for the past 10 years, I'm going to go back to school and study environmental education. I'm very excited. So once I finally realised what I wanted to do even though the signs have been there for so long I decided to join some environmental forums, on Aussie and one International and have become slightly obsessed.
Anyway, I recently posted a poll titled Would you give up meat to save the planet? on the Aussie forum and just a thread on another about the same idea. So you can imagine the debate that has resulted from those.  The people on the international one were alot more open mined and alot were already aware of the concept and didn't eat much or any meat. Of course a few said they just couldn't give it up but I think they all pretty much acknowledged that the ideas I and others presented made sense. The Aussie guys have been a different group all together. I guess I didn't realise or think about how many farmers would be on there. 2 guys in particular just will not have it, but will not give any good examples to back up their poor argument. One guy says "I can not see how being veg can save the planet" I've talked about methane, pollution, water, land clearing, pollution of water, air and land, pestersides, and commercial fishing.  It's just so frustrating. They are just totally ignoring it all. Fair enough if it was some other forum or a conversation that comes up in passing but this is an environmental forum for god sake!!
Ok if you have any ideas or soothing words I wold love to hear them.
Save the cow, save the planet!

I have a very good friend who shops at health food stores, always insists on paper grocery bags, spends time planning errands to use as little gasoline as possible, organic, natural everything. . .she's a rancher by trade. . .

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It's great to hear that other people are concerned about the welfare of our beautiful blue marble in the galaxy. Sometimes I get dirty looks from the people packing my groceries in my used paper sacks I bring with me. I don't know why it would be a hassle to them......anyway, something I do that some people think is gross, but when I don't have company and it's just me and the kids, well, it just makes more sense: I don't flush the commode everytime I use it. Of course if it is more substansial than urine, I flush. I actually heard something funny but it rings true in my house: If it's brown, flush it down; if it's yellow, let it mellow. Sorry to gross anyone out, but it really conserves water. I also sometimes re-use bath water to water plants.

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if it's yellow, let it mellow. Sorry to gross anyone out, but it really conserves water.

That's funny, cause my cousin lived in the country when I was younger and they got there water from a well. There was a sign tht said that above the toilet! ;D It makes sense, though.

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I was given as a gift a sturdy cotton canvas shopping bag in bright green several years ago and the checkers always find it interesting. Here paper sacks have always been unknown and it's interesting to note that 25 yrs ago when I first came to Spain, ALL women had their own crocheted string shopping bags that held an incredible amount, not to mention the wheeled shopping caddy that all married ladies own. Then suddenly it was all flimsy plastic bags (which when I must take them, I re use as biotrash bags, they're good if there's anything wet or sloppy in the trash). Now in discount markets like Plus and LIDL, they charge you for the plastic bags so it's the norm to re-use bags. But since most women are now working outside the home, no one crochets the marvelous "bottomless" string bags anymore! Spain used to be a lot more ecologically minded than it is now, without even knowing it.

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It always amazes me the way people justify things. At the college I work at our largest department is the school of health sciences. When ever we have a catered meal it is either pizza or fried chicken with a veg option of stuffed shells. I am the only vegan so I don't even bother any more. I just bring my own lunch and stay quiet.  >:( Wow I'm glad we are promoting health. ::)

BTW
I love my canvas bags a couple of which I have gotten from groups when I donated money. When I got the bags they went in the back of the closet and were forgoten about. Meanwhile I was frustrated that one of my local groceries stopped letting me reuse the paper ones. I stopped shopping there and remembered my canvas bags. It just makes so much more sense. They hold more, don't break when you are half way to the door and are easier to carry. You  just throw it over your shoulder and your hands are left free to fumble for keys.

If you don't have any canvas of you own check out this site. You have to buy 10 bags at a time but they are only 2$ a piece. you and a friend could split an order or give them out as gifts. This is cheaper than some of the fancy 'gift' bags that they sell.

http://www.onebagatatime.com/orderdirect.html

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That is one of the reasons i went back to being veg..
I dont drive, and I recycle and such but I needed to do more.
LESS ENGERY CONSUMPTION IS A+...

I am slowly learning more and more each day and I am grateful for that

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I'm completely crazy about the bag issue. I work at a natural food store, and you guys wouldn't believe the number of people who do things like, buy a greeting card and request that I double bag it because they're walking. I'm personally way into bringing my own canvas bags for groceries and my own containers for bulk. The plastic bags, even when recycled, are just so incredibly wasteful and so very unnecessary.

Thanks, I'm off my soapbox now!

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I never thought about bringing my own containers for bulk items. How do you deal with the scale issue? When I'm paying 10$ a pound for some things I don't want to get charged for my glass jars.

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Thanks, tanevab!!!
I just emailed them an order for 10 bags.  I'm hoping to buy much more from them as gifts for an event I'm helping to organize for work as well...  What a great product.

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I never thought about bringing my own containers for bulk items. How do you deal with the scale issue? When I'm paying 10$ a pound for some things I don't want to get charged for my glass jars.

tanevab, it's really easy, and I'm sure the cashiers are completely used to having people do this. All you have to do is get the tare weight of your container, write it down (or on the container itself with a marker), and tell the cashier when you go through the line.  If there isn't a scale by the bulk area, take your containers to the cashier and just ask him/her to give you the tares. If they are anything like me, they'll give you huge smiles for your trouble!

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asenath,
that's such an easy solution. I wish I would of thought of this sunday when I did my big stock up. Oh well next month. 

Thanks again ideas like these just make so much sense and are easy to use.

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This conversation seems to have drifted slightly, but I just want to point something out. While I am personally vegan, I do not think that vegan is the only answer as far as the environment goes. A moderate meat intake from organic sources (limiting the beef!) would likely be quite sustainable. Some farm animals are great for eating scrap (veggies) and producing pretty high quality fertiilizer. The issue here is scale... It is the industrial model of animal farming that is really destructive, combined with the quantity of meat consumed. I have many family friends who live in the country and have a couple chickens/pigs/goats who provide so much for them, and are not too high maintenance.

Another issue... as far as I know, not all climates can handle growing sufficiently high quantities of beans (including soy) and other veggie protein sources, so the answer is to import. I try to eat local, but it is more difficult being a vegan and getting local protein sources.

I think being vegan is a choice, and often a very educated choice, but I'm not convinced it is THE choice. Granted, this argument is moot when one considers where most people get meat from, and how much they eat - but I digress.

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kudos to everyone for trying to make a difference!  Every step by everyone, no matter how big or small helps.  If everyone just thought about their legacy to the planet and acted sporadically, mountains (of rubbish) will be moved.  It is critical that all who are trying (by re-filling bottles, BYO bags, etc...) educate with humility and not with self- righteousness in order for all of us to reach our goal.  We are, after all, on the same team :)
Check out this link regarding sustainability and what you can do:
http://www.sustainabletable.org/issues/buylocal/

note: this is not a list of 50 things you can do... it is a comprehensive study on the advantages to localizing your diet and the impact that this step alone can make.

another link to consider:
http://www.democracymeansyou.com/saveamerica/

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VegDave, the issue for me is not just the environmental one, although that is certainly a biggie and the factory farm issue goes without saying (scale and methods); but for me personally (I'm not one to proselytize), it doesn't matter whether or not animals are fed organically or the practice is sustainable, the bottom line is that in order to be meat for someone, an animal has to die. That makes me unhappy.

With regard to using canvas bags, I have some bags that we have been using for 20 or more years. I just keep washing them and they just hang in there. I do use the plastic produce bags, but I reuse them and reuse them and reuse them. They last indefinitely. When I bring the produce home and take it out of the bag, I stuff the empty into my bag of canvas bags for my next trip. It it's dirty or sticky, I wash it. Whole Foods gives you a nickel off each canvas bag you use, not that that matters much.

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Thaks for all the great replies.
I know what you mean about plastic bags. Australia is really good about them and they will be phased out of all supermarkets there this year. Other stores I think will still be handing them out but hopefully to a lesser extent as people are pretty aware of the damage they do. Here in Japan is an entirely different thing. They seem to have no idea about the plastic bag issue and I see people every day with loads of bags and it makes me so crazy. The people at the stores I go to regularly are used to me know but they just think I'm strange I'm sure.
As for the meat industry, like vegetarianism in general I do not tell people to be come veg or that they are bad etc I respect peoples choices and I'm turn hope they respect mine. The thing is though, I just wanted to raise the issue and see what people thought about it. I chose the titles to trigger interest. I figured that as I was on an environmental forum I could raise the issues that connect eating meat with global warming. I was just surprised how some people chose to not see. I'm not saying "you must become a veg!",  all I want is for people who are interested in environmental issues to acknowledge the points I raised. If they then become a more conscious consumer then all the better.

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http://www.alternet.org/story/12162 http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=20772&Cr=global&Cr1=environment#

I teach composition to college freshmen, and one of the units we do is on the environment and poverty.  A couple of the articles we read talk about the burning of the rainforest to produce cheap beef for U.S. markets  and also the inefficency of cycling grain through animals to feed people meat when starving people could eat the grain (believe it or not, I didn't even choose the articles!  They're just in our reader.  Really cool :)).  Anyway, I'm really surprised every quarter by how totally receptive my students are to the issue.  It's almost as non-threatening, to them, as the health aspect of veg*nism. 

I LOVE hearing this plastic bag discussion.  My partner is obsessed with this and goes completely insane when he sees people double bag a pack of gum, or put EACH item in a SEPERATE plastic bag (and you'd be shocked by how often we see this--or maybe this group wouldn't! :)).  He's taken to turning down plastic bags by saying something like "20,000 years in a landfill is not worth a 1 minute walk to my car.  Thanks though."  We always bring our own bags and containers when grocery shopping, and it's amazing the different reactions you get depending on where you're shopping.  At the health food store they actually thank you for being a responsible human and at Trader Joe's they give people who bring their own bags a ticket for a weekly raffle (prize is a gift certificate to the store).  At the major chain grocery store (which we try to avoid, but sometimes you just need something your lhs doesn't carry...), on the other hand, they often all but get mad at you or treat you like you're some sort of sicko.  Although we noticed a few days ago that the major chain grocery store by our house just started selling reusable bags for $.99, which is sort of heartening...

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People think I'm wierd here when I buy a small item (like say an eraser, or a tube of toothpaste) and refuse the plastic bag! I carry a shoulder bag that's on the large side, and I just pop it in there. Why fill my hands with a bag? Our local department store INSISTS you take the bag and tells you if you get stopped on the way out the bag plus register slip will convince them you didn't shoplift whatever! (Three cheers for justification!) So I tend to gather up the smaller plastic bags I can't use to keep stuff in and take them round to my local greengrocer. He doesn't mind giving out plastic bags with other people's logos on them, it saves him money too.

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Our Publix stores have bins where you can put used HDPE plastic bags for recycling. Of course, it does cross my mind that they just take all the bags to the dump.

My daughter has had the same experience as ungreen at a "regular" grocery store. They are almost hostile to her when she refuses a bag and even after repeated visits using the same checkout person still has to say she doesn't want a bag. Like yabbitgirl, she puts small items in her purse, too. And, yeah, the people at checkout think she's weird. It's nice to know she's not the only one.  :D

I bought a bunch of green onions the other day and put them in a produce bag because they were wet (saved the bag to use again) and when I got to checkout, they were going to put the bag of onions, the only thing I had bought, into another plastic bag for me to carry out. Naturally, I refused it and they were okay with it, like "whatever." It's interesting to me that here in the deep south I have never had a problem with rudeness or even incredulity when I use my own bags (yet--there's always a first time), but so many other people in what I consider more progressive places have had that experience.

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I worked at a little fruit and veggie store for a short stint and it really drove me nuts how many people wanted their groceries doublebagged when they were just putting the bags in the cart and trundling them out to their cars!  Or wanted a bag for a single, small item... or wanted me to bag something that already had a carrying handle!  Grrrrr!

I always asked if people wanted their items bagged instead of sticking them straight into bags and while some people reacted to this with hostility, others kind of shook themselves and realized that they didn't really need a bag for the two apples they'd just purchased!  ::)

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I guess I didn't realise or think about how many farmers would be on there. 2 guys in particular just will not have it, but will not give any good examples to back up their poor argument. One guy says "I can not see how being veg can save the planet" I've talked about methane, pollution, water, land clearing, pollution of water, air and land, pestersides, and commercial fishing.  It's just so frustrating. They are just totally ignoring it all. Fair enough if it was some other forum or a conversation that comes up in passing but this is an environmental forum for god sake!!
Ok if you have any ideas or soothing words I wold love to hear them.
Save the cow, save the planet!

I've been thinking about this reaction to basic environmental issues on the part of these particular farmer folk...maybe their idea of "environmentalism" is caring for their particular working environment so they can keep doing what they're doing...to a person doing it their way, it would make sense. And of course if they see your thread as striking at their very livelyhood (more veg*ns means lower demand for meat) you could maybe understand their hostility or at least the desire to ignore you in the hope you'll "go away."
I dunno...I could be totally wrong. But thanks for keeping the brainbox active. I've been tutoring Paradise Lost and Beowulf for the past 2 weeks, this makes a refreshing "realworld" change. :D

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