The production and consumption of dairy products is remarkably destructive to the earth, to our health, and to animals. One main problem is that dairy products‚Äîlike meat‚Äîuse and waste large amounts of plant matter. For example, researchers estimate that 2.5 acres of land can meet the food energy needs of 20 people eating potatoes, cabbage, or corn, but of only 2 people eating dairy products or chicken. Thus, 10 times as much plant material must be grown to eat dairy products, and this means much more pollution of streams from fertilizer and pesticide runoff than if people ate vegetables and grains directly. It also means that land is cleared of forests for growing grain to feed to dairy cattle, and for grazing. Forests provide wildlife habitat, build soil, and naturally purify streams. By reducing and eliminating dairy consumption, we could reforest large areas of land, purifying our air and water, and increasing habitat for birds, fish and other animals.
Cheese is especially destructive because it requires from 30 to 60 litres of milk to make just 1 kilo of cheese. The other high-fat products such as butter, cream, and ice cream also require enormous amounts of land, water, and fossil fuels, because so much grain is required for their production. This grain, and the land and resources used to grow it, could go instead to feeding hungry and starving people. Thus, eating milk products contributes to the shortage of food our world is experiencing, and the conflicts that this causes.
Dairy products also contribute significantly to global warming because the millions of cows imprisoned for milk production convert grass and grain into methane gas, which retains atmospheric heat even more efficiently than carbon dioxide. Milk products also require especially large amounts of petroleum as well, to run farm machinery needed for growing grains and grass to feed the cows, for housing and heating the animals, processing the milk, and keeping it refrigerated. These factors contribute to global warming and resource depletion.
Besides the obvious and unavoidable waste of land, petroleum, and grain, and the ecological devastation this causes, dairy operations produce products never intended by nature to be consumed by humans. Cows‚Äô milk is intended for infant herd animals that weigh 150 kilograms in just 14 weeks! It is highly toxic to humans for many reasons, especially the fact that we have no rennin hormone like calves do to break down the casein protein in milk. Milk products have thus been linked with allergies, eczema, asthma, ear infections, sinus infections, diarrhoea, anaemia, kidney disease, gastrointestinal disease, multiple sclerosis, bronchitis, arthritis, leukaemia, and dental decay, as well as diabetes, arteriosclerosis, obesity, and other diseases of excess fat and protein.
Huge quantities of toxic pharmaceuticals are swallowed and injected to fight these diseases, and these toxins, once excreted, end up polluting the water. This is a serious source of water pollution surrounding urban centres.
Finally, there is the suffering of the cows, who are pushed to give more milk than they would naturally, and are forcibly inseminated (raped) against their will, with their beloved new-born babies being stolen from them so that we can steal their milk. All this misery pollutes the milk and our mental atmosphere, and gentle cows, who normally live 25 years, are worn out and sent to slaughter after only 4 to 5 years, to be replaced by their unfortunate daughters.
I think this is a most informative comparison of the foods of different cultures, and the comparative prices. Draw your own conclusions. This may be the best world tour had, just sitting at your computer!
Germany: The Melander Family of Bargteheide
Food Expenditure for One week: 375.39 Euros or $500.07
United States: The Revis Family of North Carolina
Food Expenditure for One Week: $341.98
Mexico: The Casales Family of Cuernavaca
Food Expenditure for One Week: 1,862.78 Mexican Pesos or $189.09
Poland: The Sobczynscy Family of Konstancin-Jeziorna
Food Expenditure for One Week: 582.48 Zlotys or $151.27
Egypt: The Ahmed Family of Cairo
Food Expenditure for One Week: 387.85 Egyptian Pounds or $68.53
Ecuador: The Ayme Family of Tingo
Food Expenditure for One Week: $31.55
Bhutan: The Namgy Family of Shingkhey Village
Food Expenditure for One Week: 224.93 ngultrum or $5.03
Chad: The Aboubakar Family of Breidjing Camp
Food Expenditure for One Week: 685 CFA Francs or $1.23
Photographer Peter Menzel
So interesting how U.S. has only 5% of world population and yet creates 25% of the world’s pollution, uses 25% of the world’s energy, eats 25% of the world’s meat, and now this – has 25% of the world prison population!
By Larry Hales
Published Mar 9, 2008 8:18 PM
On Feb. 28 the Pew Center on the States released a report detailing that 1 in 99.1 adults in the U.S. is locked up. That comes to 2,319,258 prisoners for a population of 230,000,000.
The growth of the prison population has skyrocketed, nearly tripling from 1987 to 2007. The total U.S. prison population is higher than the 26 European nations with the highest prison populations, yet these nations combined have two-and-a-half times the total population of the U.S.
All told there are 750 prisoners per 100,000 people in the U.S.‚Äîthe highest incarceration rate in the world. This prison population accounts for 25 percent of the world‚Äôs prison population.
Although crime has dropped 25 percent from 1987 to 2007 (New York Times, Feb. 28), incarceration continues to climb. The lowest level of violent crime was reached in 2005, according to the Bureau of Justice.
The climb in incarceration rates is mostly due to the explosion in arrests attributed to drug offenses. In those same 20 years, arrests for drug offenses have increased by 50 percent. In addition, according to the Bureau of Justice, more than 17 percent of people locked up in local jails and state and federal prisons committed a crime to obtain drugs.
To filter the total number of prisoners through race, ethnicity and class, and to look at the incarceration rates based on the same factors, illuminates the effects of national oppression and the criminalization of poor and dispossessed workers.
Official data on the poverty of individuals who commit crimes are difficult to come by, yet it is easy to infer since the Bureau of Justice reports that depressed urban areas account for the highest percentage of crimes and arrests.
One in nine Black males between the ages of 20 and 34 is behind bars, compared to one in 30 for the general population; one in 100 Black women in their 30s is incarcerated, versus 1 in 265 for all women.
The rate of imprisonment for all men above age 18 is one in 54; for Latinos it is one in 36; and for Blacks it is one in 15.
Since the late 1970s urban centers have been faced with deindustrialization, white flight, underfunded schools, the dismantling of welfare and a general decline in social services. While the needs of people have not been met, the police forces have been bolstered.
Inner city areas are faced with a neoliberal form of ethnic cleansing that has generally become known as gentrification. From San Diego to Los Angeles and San Francisco, to Harlem and New Orleans, inner city areas are being gobbled up by developers. Katrina was the excuse in New Orleans, ‚Äúblight‚Äù in Detroit and other cities.
To pull it off, city administrators beef up police forces in poor, oppressed neighborhoods and institute ‚Äúzero tolerance‚Äù or ‚Äúbroken window‚Äù ordinances, such as that in New York under former Mayor Rudy Giuliani.
The theory of ‚Äúbroken windows‚Äù was authored by James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling. Wilson, a right-wing policy advisor under Reagan and the first Bush, also believes in dismantling Social Security, Medicaid, Medicare and further privatizing public schools.
The ‚Äúbroken windows‚Äù theory is classic: blame the victim for the ravages of the capitalist system. It postulates that ignoring a broken window invites more windows to be broken; in other words, cracking down on petty offenses ‚Äúdecreases crime‚Äù and ‚Äúcleans up the neighborhood.‚Äù
In general, most cops placed in oppressed communities are not people from the community, and many times are white.
The inhabitants of the community do not dictate the conditions of the community; the conditions are forced on the inhabitants. Poverty, joblessness, homelessness, the lack of health care, underfunded public education, the lack of after-school activities, poor housing choices, slum lords and the history of racist oppression in the U.S. are to blame.
It is capitalism and the culture that comes with it that are the culprits when it comes to ‚Äúbroken windows;‚Äù in fact the imperialist U.S. ruling class is constantly, actively engaged in breaking windows all over the world.
The growth of prison labor continues, along with growth in the prison industrial complex as a whole, which is more and more privatized. This crime is perpetrated against workers and oppressed nationalities at alarming rates, and in an era of capitalist decline it will only grow worse.