August 07, 2007

Stop Eating, You're Destroying the Planet

Put down that Chicken McNugget / carrot / wild mushroom. No matter what you're eating, no matter how healthy or environmentally-friendly it's supposed to be, by eating it, you're destroying the planet. Nothing's safe, or sacred. "Food miles fly to top of consumer worry list," screams one headline (of course, that's in England, where with the whole foot-and-mouth thing they have to be more mindful of their food than Americans do.) Well, hold everything, food miles mean nothing, says some crank in the New York Times. That's because, to use the article's example, it's so much more efficient in terms of fossil fuel (apparently the evil at the root of everything, entwined with cupidity) to raise your mutton in New Zealand than in Britain:

... Lamb raised on New Zealand’s clover-choked pastures and shipped 11,000 miles by boat to Britain produced 1,520 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions per ton while British lamb produced 6,280 pounds of carbon dioxide per ton, in part because poorer British pastures force farmers to use feed.

So there's one wrench in the plan that people in Seattle among doubtless many other mindful locales are following. You didn't know your local farmer's market was so sinister, did you? Unless they drove into town in vegetable-oil-powered cars, they're strangling Mother Earth in search of profits, just like Rex Tillerson. Now don't get smug just because you sold your oil stocks and bought an EarthShip with the windfall. If you ever walk anywhere, you're doing more harm than driving. You see why reading this stuff all the time makes you crazy, especially when you're as credulous and half-educated as I am. Next they'll tell us SUVs are better than small cars and invent some cockeyed explanation to prick everyone's liberal guilt and make Republicans lean back and laugh (again and again) and light another cigar with all the oil money they secretly made from the Iraq invasion. These kinds of articles make people think you can't win and encourage apathy and indifference. They do this with biofuels too. Ethanol's in the sights. Forget the corn subsidies that are forcing corn syrup down our children's overstuffed gullets -- actually, the obesity epidemic's a myth too. Journalism has has turned legalistic -- all you have to do to prove your cause (global warming denial or whatever it happens to be) is to introduce a measure of doubt about the other side. Of course we should leave it all to the scientists and experts, but who are they? It doesn't seem hard to trot out some crank with a PhD who'll say just about anything.

In actual Buddhist news, we're off to Thailand for some more, sigh, (alleged) Buddhist vigilantism and, in Bangkok, how Thailand plans to humiliate misbehaving cops. I don't know, it looks kind of cool to me. If those show up on eBay, let me know.

- Philip Ryan, Webmaster

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