Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Finally, here we go.

This will probably end up in the "about," but for now...

Ok so let us see how well I can stay dedicated to the rapidly multiplying list of vegan blogs. This should help keep track of the recipes I try, success and failure, and keep me from doing too much of the same thing. Hopefully, if my cooking doesn't improve, my food photography will.

I have always been passionate about food, but also have something of an ethical, moral, and environmental conscience. As time went on, I started to see meat and animal produce increasingly coming into conflict with such values (not to mention health). I don't personally believe in total abolition of consumption of animal product, but not as it is currently harvested, nor anywhere even close to the current rate of consumption in the Western world.

Overall, my biggest concern is the resource-intensiveness of producing animal product (meat, dairy, eggs, wool, etc.). Currently there are about 1 billion pigs, 1.3 billion cows, 1.8 billion sheep and goats and 15.4 billion chickens on this planet. We dedicate more land to feeding them than we do the rest of humanity (not counting the land animals occupy as 'dedicated to food'). This wasn't too bad until ethanol replaced the now-banned MTBE as a required fuel additive, and seen as the "fuel of the future."

Until this point, most countries maintained grain surpluses, now not only are these surpluses evaporating, grain prices are going up as ethanol plants compete for the grain slated to go to surplus and developing economies. Unfortunately, livestock growers and ethanol developers have more resources than citizens of developing economies, meaning that they can pay more for the grain that is increasingly in demand. This means that staple foods are becoming less affordable in places like rural China, Southeast Asia, Africa.

I don't want to ramble or anything, so I'm going to cut it short. If you have any regard for the environment, any concerns about global warming, anything at all... Realize that short of owning your own plane and using it regularly, consumption of meat/animal product is probably the biggest burden you are placing onto the environment.

Quick numbers:
To raise one pound of beef requires over 12,000 gallons of water just for the grain to feed it, half a gallon of gas, and 16 pounds of grain. Doing the math, that is over 14,000,000 gallons of water, 600 gallons of gas, and 19,200 pounds of grain to raise one slaughter-ready steer. This does not include many other costs, such as transportation of grains, to/from slaughterhouses, grocery stores, methane, waste matter, etc.

To grow one pound of wheat requires 25 gallons of water, 2.5 acres of land produces enough wheat to sustain 15 people. Twenty-two people could be sustained on cabbage grown on 2.5 acres of land. Only one person could be sustained via beef on 2.5 acres of land (according to Oklahoma State, you can't even raise a cow on less than 10-14 acres without fertilizer).

40 (another source claims 54) calories of fossil fuel are needed to produce one calorie of protein feedlot beef.
2 calories of fossil fuel are needed to produce one protein calorie of tofu.

The United States Geological Survey says that 40 percent of fresh water used in the U.S. in 2000 went to irrigate feed crops for livestock. Only 13 percent was used all for domestic purposes including showers, flushing toilets, washing cars and watering lawns.

Also meat/animal product eaters are hurting everyone, which is totally unfair to anyone who eats vegetables. You think e.coli 0157:H7 is naturally occurring in spinach and almonds?

For more information, go to The Global Benefits of Eating Less Meat.

In the meantime, on to the food!

2 comments:

Asian Kid A said...

is it safe to say that you are vegan?

juineve said...

Hey there (ni hao, whatev :p). Yes it is safe to say that I am a vegan. Certainly every recipe that I post here will be vegan.