Tag Archives: environment

TTK Election Edition Part Two

11 Aug

I should probably have stated at the beginning of my previous post how these ‘TTK Election Editions’ are going to work.  I’m not in the business of telling people who to vote for, in fact I’m still trying to make up my own mind about who to vote for.  I also understand that animal rights and environment policies should not be the sole factor in making a choice about who is going to run this country for the next three years.  I should say that I do condone and encourage people to make informed choices and to vote below the line (the link in my previous post can help you with this).  While I believe strongly in animal rights and in the welfare of the environment, I also believe strongly in:

  • increasing education standards (and, maybe, in free tertiary education for some or all of the community – I am a little undecided on the logistics of this occurring…), and increasing support for education and for students (though, that doesn’t necessarily mean monetary support, in some cases it obviously will though)
  • maintaining and increasing infrastructure (particularly as I believe the problem most people have with an ‘increased population’ is due to insufficient infrastructure, rather than too many people heading here on boats)
  • human rights – including the rights of refugees.  The way I figure it the vast majority of people would not ever consider leaving family members and the majority of things they own, paying someone their life savings to get on a boat which would never meet any kind of safety check to possibly die in order to start a new life.  It just doesn’t happen that way.  I have nothing against punishing the people who are actually doing something wrong, but I don’t believe that wanting a better life for your family is wrong.  I know it’s a highly contentious issue.  And, on this subject – I would like to stop hearing about how the boats have increased since the ALP has come into power.  Like civil war in Sri Lanka had nothing to do with an increase in asylum claims (and, therefore with people who are desperate enough to risk their lives…)
  • health-care and, particularly, more focus on preventative medicine (or, probably more accurately preventative health)

But – the point of these posts is not those things.  The point is to look at the attitude expressed by the three ‘major’ parties on animal rights (which was the last edition) and tackling climate change (which is this edition).  These issues are not being readily discussed – in fact, I’m quite surprised in how little attention is being given to climate change and the environment in this election, considering it has been such a buzz-topic in the last few years – and the point of these editions was for me to find out what the policies were, firstly to help inform my own vote and, secondly, to pass on to anyone who wanted to read the information I collated.

Climate Change

The Australian Greens

Basically, The Greens want 1990 emission levels dropped 40% by 2020 and have a zero target for 2050.  They want Australia to take the lead in ‘solving’ climate change, and have a reward-the-good, punish-the-polluters stance.  Their whole climate change policy and overview can be accessed here.

The Australian Labor Party

I couldn’t find the term ‘Climate Change’ anywhere on Labor’s website.  In fact, where both The Greens and The Liberals have a nice and handy link that says ‘Policies’ Labor has nothing so obvious.  I took the next best bet with ‘Agenda’ which does have a tab called ‘Connecting Renewables‘ which says this:

‘The Connecting Renewables initiative will transform our energy grids by bringing more renewable energy into Australian households and businesses sooner.

This initiative will develop secure, sustainable and affordable energy for the future, supporting the enhanced Renewable Energy Target and helping deliver the Government’s commitment to 20 per cent of Australia’s electricity supply coming from renewable sources by 2020.

Federal Labor will also invest $100 million over four years in a new Renewable Energy Venture Capital Fund.

These new initiatives build on Federal Labor’s record investments in solar power and other renewables to help transition Australia to a low pollution economy.’

I tried searching for ‘climate change’ and all I got was a bunch of articles about how Tony Abbot is against the environment.

The Liberal Party of Australia

They say this: ‘A Coalition Government will take direct action to reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by five percent by 2020. This can be achieved without Kevin Rudd’s great big tax on everything that will increase the costs of living for Australian families, penalise Australian businesses and destroy jobs.’

Beyond that, I can’t really get anything from the Liberal website; it’s divided into two columns which are labeled ‘Latest News’ and ‘Labor’s Failures’ and actually has not very much to do with their opinion or standpoint at all.  In fact, there is nothing underneath the banner of ‘Climate Change’ (the above is from ‘Emission Trading Scheme’).  You can check it all out here.

Meaty Revulsion

17 Jun

S and I had lunch at Southland earlier this week, and it reinforced how much I despise shopping center food courts.  It’s not having to question the ingredients of every dish – on the contrary, I am more than used to the ‘does this contain dairy?’ ‘is this made with vegetable stock?’ ‘can I have this made without cheese, please?’  It’s having to watch other people devour over cooked chicken without thinking about the animal behind their greasy fingers, or burgers that are so far removed from ‘natural’ food that you actually can’t equate what is in your hands with a cow being beaten with a steal pipe.  And, even if the cow that ends up in that particular burger wasn’t belted, what the burger represents is ‘the cow’ being beaten.  But, the very worst thing about it is adults feeding their children these things.  Young children who just don’t know better because they still believe what their mother tells them.  It’s just revolting.

Each day, my revulsion at meat, dairy and egg eaters gets worse and worse.  I turn away in disgust from people eating ham sandwiches.  It is actually starting to make me sick.

On a fairly unrelated note: I have recently finished reading Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals.  As many, many veg*ns have already read – or at least heard of – this book, I don’t want to say too much about it.  When I went up to purchase the book S and I were asked if we were already vegetarians, I replied that I was vegan and that S was vegetarian.  The bookstore lady told us that the book changes people.  I’ve no doubt that it has, would, will change people.  I suppose it did reinforce the beliefs that I already hold, but I find it odd that a number of (prior to reading the book) veg*ns have told me that reading this book has changed them.  Still, I think everyone should read it.  I would love my mum to read it.  People are just so resistant to anything they feel will force them to reevaluate their lifestyles.

But, reevaluation doesn’t stop.  After I read the article Can Meat Eaters Also Be Environmentalists? I was reminded that in terms of my responsibility to animals, just not eating them is not enough, and in terms of my responsibility to the environment, not eating animals or using animal products is not enough.  We should always strive to do more – encourage people to educate themselves and to cut animal produce out of their diets and lifestyles (whether that means ‘meatless mondays’, vegetarianism, veganism, or any other manifestation of decrease).  Not only that but we should remember that by eating over processed, non-local and over-chemical’d produce we may as well erase the good work we do by not eating animal products.

Be kind to the earth, be kind to animals, and don’t eat greasy chicken near me in a food court (actually, please just don’t eat chicken at all!)

Environmental Veganism

10 Jun

Although I haven’t been doing much amazing cooking in the last few days, I have been doing a vast amount of thinking; prompted mainly by the recent proclamation of vegetarianism by a very good friend of mine.  A part of the reason that I think he had not adopted the term earlier (‘vegetarian’) is because of the stigma attached to the label.  It’s the ‘crazy animal activist’ that he wasn’t ready to lumped with as it just didn’t describe him and his reasons for adopting a meat-free diet.  He is a new(er) breed of vegetarian or vegan: the Environmental Veg*n.

Among other things: ‘The global livestock industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than all the planes, trains and automobiles in the world combined. Most of these emissions are in the form of methane from livestock—a gas that is 21 times more harmful than CO2. In fact, senior NASA Climate Change modellers now think that controlling methane could be a critical first step in attacking climate change.  According to experts, 1Kg of beef is the equivalent in green house gas emissions as driving roughly 170Km in a large family vehicle.’  You can find more over here at ‘Why Veg?‘.

I feel saddened that my friend felt alienated by the stigma of veg*nism, because as fellow vegans (or vegetarians working towards veganism) we should be supporting each other and we should want to save animals and the planet: the two are not at all mutually exclusive, and I care about both equally.  I think we should all care about the planet and want to do everything we can, and by alienating possible veg*ns, I don’t think we’re doing the planet or animals any favours.

The photo above was taken late last year in the Grampians in Victoria – S and I were preparing for our trek through the Nepalese Himalaya.  I chose this photo, rather than one of the amazing, beautiful, though-provoking shots of snow-capped mountains from Nepal because it is this type of environment that we possibly stand to loose – not just the amazing stuff.


3 Jun

I am vegan for one very simple reason:  I don’t believe that animals are here for humans to use.*

Underneath this comes the ‘regular’ concerns: animal cruelty and abuse, abuse and mistreatment of the environment, my own health.  But, if all these things came ‘right’ I wouldn’t consider consuming animal products again.  If animals were treated well, slaughtered painlessly, the environmental impacts of agribusiness were reversed and the health benefits from eating a plant-only diet were proved false, it still wouldn’t change the fact that I don’t think that animals are here for my use.  In the same way that I don’t believe that any other human is here solely to serve me (oh, what a terrible dictator I would make!)

I don’t need to quote facts and figures to convince myself that veganism is right:  especially when there are many brilliant publications, like Vegan Outreach’s ‘Why Vegan?’ booklet, or Animals Australia’s ‘Why Veg?’ site.

Oh, and by the way: I love pigs!

*What I really mean to say is that I don’t believe that non-human sentient beings are here for humans to use.