It’s All About Food host, Caryn Hartglass, talks about Climate Change and what simple things we can do. Visit REAL’s First Kickstarter project and help The Lone Vegan, Caryn Hartglass prepare her Climate Change presentation which will be given to 200 cattle producers.
Caryn: Hello everybody. We’re back. I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’re listening to It’s All About Food. Whether you realize it or not, the last thing we were talking about, green is the new red is definitely related to food. We were talking about animal rights and how activists are trying to protect animals in different industries are affected in a negative way. As long as we feel like we have the power and the right to abuse animals and exploit animals any way we want, it’s going to affect our food. I think animals are exploited in the greatest numbers for our food.
That spills over into animals that are used in experiments for drugs, understanding how the brain works and all kinds of physical studies on how our bodily systems work. There are all kinds of experiments out there. Some of them are really outrageous but they get approved, they get funding and people get the right to torture animals.
We need to do more about that. I believe that when we realize we don’t need animals for food, when we realize we don’t need to consume animals for food, when we can all the nutrition we need (possibly even better nutrition) from whole minimally processed plant food then it starts to release (somehow) what we have inside of us. The lies that we’ve been fed, the belief systems that we’ve been given that enable us to abuse animals, abuse ourselves and other people. When we are eating plant food I think some of that gets let go. I want to believe that. That opens our minds to wanting to be more compassionate and protect the earth, protect other animals, protect ourselves and our families and the people around us. I really believe in the power of plants in so many ways.
Here’s something interesting. I’m going to be having a Kickstarter that’s going to be launching (hopefully) in a day or two and I hope you visit my website http://responsibleeatingandliving.com/ in the next few days and check it out. I have been invited to speak on a panel about climate change. Now this isn’t just any panel. This will be a livestock company during the weekend of a bull sale. I will literally be the lone vegan surrounded by about 200 cattle producers. It’s going to be a very interesting event.
I’m doing a lot of research and work to prepare myself to speak to this group. Most of the time I preach to the choir or I preach to people who want to be part of the choir, meaning that I talk to a lot of people who are vegan or vegetarian or are very plant friendly. This is going to be a very different experience and I want it to go well.
Now what’s really interesting, in additional to speaking about climate change and agriculture’s contribution to climate change (that’s really the official subject that we’re going to speak on), I’ve also been asked to sing the national anthem at this event. I’m hoping that by doing this (because I’ve been told that this group is very patriotic and the national anthem is a very important song to them) through music we can all have a connection and an understanding at a very profound level. I’m really looking forward to this. So again check out http://responsibleeatingandliving.com/. I’m not exactly sure when our project is going to launch but we need you, we need your help and support to make this a very worthwhile project. Then after that, I’m going to take my talk on climate change around because few people are talking about climate change to begin with. Certainly you here on progressive radio network about what we do to destroy the environment, how our climate is warming up and we’re going to be seeing more and more of the impact of that on us. We’re seeing it now with all kinds of crazy weather changes. Climate change needs to be out there more, talking about it more because if we really acknowledge not only are humans causing this dramatic change in our environment but also we can realize that we all as individuals can do something to slow it down.
Now what needs to happen and it’s going to happen (if we have the time for it to happen) is we will slowly but surely move away from unsustainable energy, fossil fuels that are in a limited supply but they are also very polluting in so many ways. We need to move towards cleaner energy sources. There’s a lot of technology out there, a lot of fun stuff and encouraging stuff. People have all kinds of creative ideas but in order to change that technology to a point where we’re not putting out carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, we’re not adding all these greenhouse gases to the atmosphere – it takes a lot of money and a lot of time. Just think, if the ideal care was created today, how many people would be able to afford to buy it? So that we would stop putting carbon dioxide into the air.. It’s going to take long time and a lot of money.
Once carbon dioxide is in the air, it stays there and wreaks havoc. It acts as a greenhouse gas for about 100 years. It’s there for a long time. What we need to do is a number of things, two big things in particular (this is what I believe anyway). We need to have a massive campaign where everybody is planting trees. We need to repopulate all of the forests everywhere. Well, not since the beginning because we’ve cleared so much forest in order to grow food for people, have homes and businesses and all kinds of things. But we can repopulate a lot of rainforest area, a lot of area that’s now being used for that’s now being used for what? That’s now being used to grow food to feed animals to feed people and for cattle grazing. The interesting thing is that it all works out mathematically. We don’t need as much land to grow plant foods to feed people as we do to grow plants to feed animals to feed people. It’s very inefficient.
That’s where you come in. Eating more plant foods, eating less animal foods or eliminating them entirely. This frees up all this land for us to plant more trees. The trees suck the carbon dioxide out of the air, they’re a carbon sink. We are all eating healthier and our health costs go down. It’s just a beautiful scenario. It’s very simple. Maybe it’s a pie in sky (a vegan pie in the sky of course) but I think simplest is the best. This is a simple solution but it takes all of us as individuals to participate. This doesn’t take governments changing laws; it doesn’t take major policy changes. It does take a major global movement.
You may be familiar with Wangari Maathai she won a Nobel Prize for her work in Kenya planting trees. It’s interesting because with Will Potter earlier about ecotourism and people doing things to support what they believe in protecting animals or protecting the environment. Well Wangari Maathai decades ago proposed planting trees in her country in order to improve the land around her and improve a lot of the environment for growing food and for a lot of different things. She was actually in prison for a while for her activism. Ultimately they ended up planting thousands, I think it was over 30,000 trees. And she ultimately she was awarded a Nobel Prize.
Well, we all need to be doing this. And what does it take? Talking to all of our communities and (if you can) reaching out internationally. A lot of times when people in the United States talk about what can be done in the developing world because part of the problem with climate change, with global warming is that the developing nations are starting to pick up our habits. They’re using more cars, they have factories that are putting out more carbon dioxide, they’re getting a taste for eating more meat and this is adding to the already ridiculous amount of green house gases that we’re putting out into the environment. When the United States points a finger to other countries telling them you need to do this and that, it’s kind of a hard thing to say when we’re hypocrites ourselves. So we all need to be participating. And that means you. That means me.
Interesting thing, when we talk about animal agriculture, specifically about cattle…I’m always promoting a vegetarian/vegan diet, not eating meat for so many different reasons and people will respond and say, “I eat grass fed beef”, “I like humanely raised beef and they think they’re doing a good thing. Well the science has come out and says that intensive agriculture is better for the environment than grazing cattle and getting grass fed beef. So from an environmental perspective (and I’m not talking about a humane perspective) feeding animals grains and confining them in a small area is more efficient and less polluting with respect to climate change. I am not talking about other forms of environmental degradation because I don’t think it’s as good on water and air pollution but in terms of putting out green house gases, intensive agriculture is better than grazing cattle. [sigh]
Here’s the problem: we have our government and other organizations looking at this one little fact that intensive agriculture is better on green house gases than grazing cattle. And they are not looking at anything else. We need to look at the whole picture. We are such a reductionist culture where we like to look at one thing. It’s a lot easier to test; it’s a lot easier to get funding for one issue. But we’re an integrated society. Our own personally bodies (when we’re looking a health), our bodies are integrated, every organ talks to the other, and everything is connected. With intensive agriculture, maybe green house gases are less but it’s far less human for the animals being raised and the kind of animal that is raised in intensive agriculture is designed to be more productive; that’s not good for the animal.
Then there are all these other issues where we’re eating all these animal foods. And what’s it doing to our health? We need to look at all of these issues and then decide whether one direction is better than another. But to me, the winner (hands down) is encouraging people to eat a majority of plant foods in their diet. It wins in all levels. Wins! It is less polluting, it creates far less green house gases and practically doesn’t create any when we’re talking about organic agriculture.
Now conventional industrial agriculture for plant food has a certain amount of green house gas production and that’s for manufacturing the fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. Well let’s do away with all that and do really clean growing of our food. It’s far more sustainable, it’s much healthier for us and much kinder to the animals, the planet and to us.
You’ll be hearing a lot more about climate change because I’m going to be studying it a lot in the next few weeks in order to do this talk in March. Just a couple minutes left and I always like to end on a cheery note. About three years ago I came up with a bunch of recipes that were vegan and gluten free – Girl Scout cookies, girl scout copy cat cookies. It’s Girl Scout cookie season and I remember I was a Girl Scout when I was a little girl and I loved those cookies. Well, I can’t eat them anymore because they’re not vegan and there’s horrible ingredients in most of them. For people that can’t eat wheat, they’re all full of gluten. I think they do have a gluten free option this year (because people have been screaming) but I think when it comes to treats, I think we should make them ourselves. To put in the trouble of making them because we really shouldn’t be eating a lot of treats and if we put the time into make them, it just makes them so much more special.
I invite you to go to http://responsibleeatingandliving.com/, I’ve got my peanut butter cookie sandwich up there. Delicious! Made with peanut better (that just has peanuts in it), and if you have any peanut allergies, you can use almond butter or tahini, maybe sesame seeds. It’s a great recipe and it’s really fun. I’m going to be revising some of the other Girl Scout recipe cookies that I’ve posted, testing them and improving them in the next couple week so you might check them out too. And have a lot of fun with them.
I think I’ve hit all the things that I wanted to mention. Just remember, are you now or have you ever been a vegetarian. Something to think about: our freedoms. Don’t lose them. Don’t be like the frog in the warm water not seeing that the water’s heating up. Then it’s too late. Too late with the environment, too late with climate change and too late with our freedoms. I say we do some good work and make this world a better place and eat Girl Scout copycat cookies.
I’m Caryn Hartglass. You’ve been listening to It’s All About Food. Join me next week I’m going to be talking to Dan Ladermann and Cherie Soria of the Living Light Culinary Institute. We are going to be talking about lots of wonderful raw food recipes and how good plants are for you. Have a delicious week!
Transcribed by Krista Anderson 8/10/2014