What do we do to best help the animals and the planet? - Paw Talk - Pet Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 10:55 AM Thread Starter
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What do we do to best help the animals and the planet?

I saw the documentary "HOME" the other day and it's gotten me really thinking about what we are doing to our planet (I was already conscious about it, but it really hit me even more).
You can watch it on YouTube, it's an awareness movie and is FREE. It lasts about an hour and a half.
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what's the way to go on about life to help the most without driving ourselves insane?
Does becoming vegetarian really help the planet as well as animal cruelty?
IS it still ok to eat fish considering how it affects the water eco-systems and takes away the food of lots of marine animals? (killer whales for example are deprived of the main breed of salmon they eat in a lot of places because we fish it!)
But then, if we all become vegetarian and eat more soy, do we just take over all the soy crops that are being used for cattle and don't change anything?
IF we purchase organic, local products, what does that do to help the earth?
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I'm really curious to hear your guys' perspective on all this, I don't think it's possible to be "perfect" and have no carbon footprint etc. But how can we change to help animals? In an ideal world, how would it be?
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 11:45 AM
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With being vegetarian or vegan, it's not that you are necessarily saving animals directly (It's not like farmers go "Oh, since so-and-so became vegetarian, I'm gonna save this cow. Run freeeee!") but you help lessen the demand for meat, so less animals are born into that industry, if that makes sense. The more people that stop eating meat, the bigger of an impact it will have on the industry. I can't remember some of the exact numbers, but each human supposedly eats 1/4 of a cow, 1/2 of a pig, a dozen or so chickens, and 40+ shrimp, fish, ect every year.


Just because you're vegetarian doesn't mean you have to eat tons of soy either. I usually only eat fake meat once or twice a week, and I have some soy milk in my smoothies. There's also almond and rice milk, hummus, and even soy-free fake meats. I usually just add extra veggies to whatever I am eating instead of fake meat, and it's still really good!
Right now, we have to grow TONS of grain to feed the "food animals" too.
I don't eat fish, because 1. It tastes nasty IMO. 2 I've had pet fish, and they are intelligent and sweet little creatures, and 3. Commercial fishing is destroying the oceans.


I became vegetarian mainly because I love animals though, so I don't have too much to say on the environmental part LOL. It's definitely not a decision I regret though.



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"For the animal shall not be measured by man. In a world older than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear.They are not brethen, they are not underlings; they are other nations caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth."
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 12:56 PM
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The amount of land used to produce food to feed livestock that is then butchered for human consumption is huge. If, instead of using that land to feed meat animals, we used it to feed humans, we'd be able to produce much more food for human consumption in the form of plants than we can by using the plants to feed animals and then the animals to feed people.

In a food chain, as you go up the chain from plants to herbivores to carnivores and so on, the higher up on the chain you go the less amount of energy you're getting from the type of food you eat. You loose energy as you move up the chain. When a cow eats plants, it doesn't use 100% of the energy from the plant. Some of that potential energy is used up by the cow or passed as waste. So then when a human eats the cow, we are getting even less energy from the cow than what the cow got from the plants. To make up for that loss of energy, we'd have to eat more cow to get the same amount of energy we could get from instead just eating plants.

I don't know if I explain it well online - but basically in a nut shell, humans could get more energy (feed more people) by eating just plants than they can by eating meat. You wouldn't need as much plants as you would meat to feed the same numbers of people, so you could potentially use less land to grow crops if you didn't need all that space to grow crops to feed meat animals.

Not all fish is taken from the oceans, some if it is factory raised (although it's probably a much smaller percent than what's taken from the ocean). But with fish you can run into the same problem as you do with other animals - the land you use to grow food to feed the factory raised fish would probably be better off if it was just used to grow plants for human consumption.

I'm vegetarian and I don't eat much soy. I use soy milk but really that's about it. If we all become vegetarian I'd say it'd probably be better to take over the lands that are currently being used to grow food for cattle and grow other foods for humans - it doesn't have to be just soy.

Local, organic products are better for the environment because they are local and organic. Sounds dumb to explain it that way but...organic foods basically means that there are no pesticides and chemicals getting into the environment. And local means that it didn't take a ton of fuel to ship your products to you, so it means that the amount of pollution used to produce and transport the food you eat is reduced.

I love animals, don't get me wrong, but I personally decided to be a vegetarian more because of the environmental aspect of things. I think it's so sad how we are treating our planet, and it's not only our own species that is going to suffer but also every other species on earth.

I agree that no one is perfect, especially in this day and age. But I think there are things we can all do to reduce our negative impact on the planet, and they aren't all even necessarily things that will reduce our standard of living. We can still live great lives, but at the same time not do as much damage to our environment.


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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-12-2011, 02:27 PM
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The best thing for the planet is to stop having so many kids
more people = more food= more land = more houses = more land =more trash

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-13-2011, 05:15 AM
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I am not writing alot on this issue because I have a bad headace and It's getting late. lol.

Growing organic veggies,fruits or just having and organic ornamental garden can help the earth by alot.
First is the obvious- despite composting creates natural methane gases from time to time, organic growing still improves the condition of the earth by lessening the amount of chemcials and pesticides that go into the eco system. alot of pesticides and chemicals proven to harm wildlife and even domesticated life are dumped on our produce every year. This poision not only kills the bad bugs but it kills off our beneficial insects as weell and disruptes their food chain. Then after contaminating the air it seeps into our soils, produce and water. Some chemicals in pesticides are even toxic. Esp if we do not wash it well. Once the poisons are in our ground it effects the new life that will be sprouting from that same soil. And if we do wash the chemcials off of our produce we are only washing them straight back into the water sources. Also some fertilizers aren't the best and imo the more natural/organic the better it tastes.
For people who like to graden via produce or ornamental- organic is still the way to go if all is possible. Altough grocery stores are really expensive when it comes to organic it's not the case when home gardening. Alot of people can make their own compost which replaces the need for fertilizer and reduces the amount of trash going to the landfills. But if you don't want to compost you can always buy it. Some brands are cheap and even come in eco friendly packaging. Alot of the pest control for do it yourself gardens are items you can purchase in the grocery store at a great price. If it's pronouncable and edible then it can't be that bad for the enviroment. Most harmful ingredients or toxic are hard to pronounce. haha.ok back to the subject
composting can take care of alot of unnecessary garbage- kitchen scraps, ash, lawn trimmings and leaves, even hair for calcium. Some animal matter and whanot. If all of that is composted for gardens instead of ending up in the trash it would cut most household waste in half. Most people here that bag their lawn clippings put at least 4 or more bags in the dump each time they mow. that's alot of bags an extra "garbage" that would eventually just go back into the earth is left to naturally decompose.
Now I don;t have the money to eat organic everything but there are certain foods that are easier to get naturally pesticide free than others. I try to get the more/easier "contaminated" foods organic when growing season is over.

Also natural housecleaning can also help stop alot of chemcial and product waste and harm. Instead of using bleack or ammonia you can substitute it for other natural disinfectants. Or at least cut the use of the harmful chemicals down when possible. We may have to use bleach from time to time for example. but instead of using it to whiten clothes how about try using baking soda or another natural product. Alot of natural cleaners come in refillable bottles or paper/cardboard packaging. Or is simple organic matter that will be grat for the compost--hahaha
Ok I am a bit tired now. But I will prob. post on here later tmorrow..or should I say today. looks like I actually typed quite a bit


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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-14-2011, 02:02 AM
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Almost every decision you make can have an effect.

Without a doubt, the population expansion of the human race, and it's associated effects, are staggering.

If you don't want to go veg, you can have as big an effect by moderation and choosing what meats you eat. Organics, free range and grass fed meats are just a couple of alternatives that help the planet. Eating fast foods is not helpful.

Much like what Michelle said, exchanging arable land for meat production is not really efficient. However, meat consumption is not always a bad choice for the environment. Animals that can live on non-arable land (goats and kangaroos are two examples) can be a better use of land that can't produce food crops. This is essential for survival in some third world situations. For those of us who don't live in those environments, it can just be a smart choice for meat.

My advice would be to stop procreating, recycle, eat organic and reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible.

Bob



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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-21-2011, 10:05 PM Thread Starter
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I had written a huge reply and then my computer hiccup-ed on me and lost it all so I'll rewrite it when I have the courage!
Thanks for all the replies, love to talk about this.
What would be a good option for compost since I live in an apartment? I do have a balcony. Does compost necessarily need worms to work? What's a good recipient for it?
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 03-23-2011, 08:10 PM
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I have seen compost bins for apartment balcony's and such. I have seen them in tractor supply, garden mags, online and walmart/lowes. I have never used worms but apparently they help speed up the process and are highly recommended. Once we move again we will use worms. Worms help airate (spelling) the compost and help it break down quicker. I have also read thast you do not need to turn the compost as much as the worms are constantly moving and shifting it.


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