Everything Wrong With Environmentalism In 11 Minutes Or Less!!

Most people care about the environment…at least enough to say they do on a study. And most people have faith that the top environmental agencies in the world are fighting the good fight to remedy the wrongs of humankind, certain that they’re focusing on the core issues with the greatest impact. Well, today we’re going to look at the top issues championed by the environmental agencies and the vast majority of environmentalists and see why they’re wrong. So…very…wrong. Hi it’s Emily from Bite Size Vegan and welcome to another vegan nugget, the first of the “everything wrong with” series. Way back in the day I did a video comparing the effectiveness of all the common “go green” tips to eating a vegan diet. That video’s up there if you want to check it out later. Unfortunately it was before I was very rigorous with citing my sources and I haven’t had time to cobble them back together for that post. So today is a bit of a revamp with new numbers, many even more incredible. I’m going to move more quickly in this video than usual but citations for every fact I state and additional information are available on the blog post for this video which linked up there and in the video description.

I will also track any errors that I or anyone else finds in this video there as well. I will also be far more sarcastic in this video but do not mean to say that other environmental issues have no importance. You have been warned. Let’s get the tally of wrongness up [which you’ll see is more of an art than a science] and start the clock after…. Issue One: Climate Change Environmental agencies focus on fossil fuels as the big bad baddy of greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming, suggesting alternative energy, carpooling, hybrid cars, and biking, but animal agriculture accounts for more CO2 per year than all transportation methods combined. A conservative 2006 study by the United Nations Food and Agricultural organization placed animal agriculture at 7,516 metric tons per year or 18% of annual global GHG emissions with a far more thorough 2009 World Watch study taking into account overlooked livestock respiration, land use, methane and other oversights of the FAO, with the ultimate outcome of at least 32,654 million tons of CO2 per year coming from animal agriculture.

That’s 51% of all global emissions compared to the 13% of all combined transportation. And what do the environmental agencies point to: reducing fossil fuel usage. If we completely stopped all use of gas, oil, fuel, electricity, et cetera, and never used them ever again, we would still exceed our carbon equivalent greenhouse gas emissions of 565 Gigatons by the year 2030 just with the impact of livestock alone. So not using fossil fuels at all, which would be the wet dream of every environmental agency, we’re still gassing out the planet with the one contributor, the main contributor, which they refuse to even address. In a similar vein, the focus is always almost exclusively on CO2 but methane is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2 and has 86 times the global warming power. If we do reduce the CO2 in the atmosphere as all the organizations are calling for, it will take around 100 years to see an actual decline, whereas reducing methane shows results almost immediately with significant results within decades. So the proposed solutions are even farther from the mark than the actual constructive change.

Additionally, livestock is responsible for 65% of all emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 296 x more destructive than carbon dioxide and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years. Put in comparative terms, your average car produces 3-12 kg/day of CO2. but to clear rainforest to produce beef for one hamburger produces 75 kg of CO2. Eating one pound of hamburger does the same damage as driving your car for more than three weeks. But is animal agriculture ever mentioned by any of the top environmental organizations or environmentalists in relation to global warming? No. They focus on alternative energy when converting to wind and solar power will take 20+ years and roughly 43 trillion dollars, and going vegan takes seconds and can be even cheaper than being non-vegan. Issue Two: Water Conservation Environmental protection agencies recommend to use less water, take shorter showers, use a low flow shower head. Now here is where you’ll find the greatest variation from my original calculations based on a 5 gallon per minute shower head.

This time around I found that the typical shower head after 1980 emits 2.5 gallons/minute with the low flow emitting no more than 2gpm. If you take daily 15 minute showers with a low-flow shower head you’ll be saving 2,737.5 gallons per year. If, instead, you forgo one pound of beef one time, you’ll save 2,500 gallons of water for ONE POUND OF BEEF. That is a conservative number as figures range all the way to over 8,000 gallons of water for one pound of beef. 477 gallons of water are required to produce 1lb. of eggs; almost 900 gallons of water are needed for 1lb. of cheese. and 1,000 gallons or liters of water are required to produce 1 gallon or liter of milk. Environmental agencies focus almost exclusively on curbing home water usage, but only 5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes, while 55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture, and 20-33% of all fresh water consumption in the world today. That’s up to a third of the planets water for animal agriculture.

If you didn’t consume beef, eggs, milk, or cheese, not even counting other meats or other dairy items, based on American consumption habits from 2000 and the conservative figures of water per pound, you’d save 222,345 gallons of water that year. But the environmental agencies prefer saving 1,825-2,737.5 gallons a year by using a low flow shower-head. Oh and the little trendy Greek Yogurts out there? 90 gallons of water for a 6 oz. serving. And one stick of butter takes 109 gallons. If we added all forms of dairy and meat for the average American in 2000, which is less dairy and more meat than the data I had for my first video, and use a very conservative average of 1,500 gallons per pound for the remaining meat as each type varies and even more conservative 600 gallons for the remaining dairy, a vegan year would save approximately 724,925 gallons. Not only does that blow every water conservation recommendation out of the water, but with the new calculations, forget what I’ve said before about not showering.

You would have to not shower AT ALL for over 66 years if you took daily 15 minute showers or close to 100 years if you took daily 10 minute showers, both with a water saving shower head. And the advice of the supposed environmental champions: shower less, turn off the water while soaping your hands, run your sprinklers at night. Because that’s how we’re going to change the world. Issue Three: Fracking, no I did not curse… Fracking is the new golden child of environmentalists and their leading organizations. Fracking is destroying the planet! It’s polluting the waters. In the United States alone, fracking uses from 70-140 billion gallons of water. Keep in mind for the big numbers that a thousand seconds is 17 minutes, a million seconds is 12 days, a billion seconds is 31.7 years, and a trillion seconds is 31,709.

8 years. In the United States alone, animal agriculture uses from 34-76 trillion gallons annually. Taking into account the exponential difference between a billion and a trillion, animal agriculture in the United States consumes anywhere from 486 to over a 1,000 times more water than fracking, the largest threat to water according to environmentalists. Issue Four: Ocean Dead Zones and Over-Fishing Some of the worst human-created devastation is in our oceans. 3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited. 90 million tons of fish are pulled from our oceans each year. For every 1 pound of fish caught, up to 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill. We could see fishless oceans by 2048. And what’s the suggestion of the major ocean protection organizations? Sustainable fishing. There’s no way to make 100 million tons of fish by 2050 sustainable, especially given the 5 pounds of by catch for every one pound of fish. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of ocean dead zones with livestock operations on land having created more than 500 nitrogen-flooded dead zones around the world in our oceans.

Issue Five: Waste Management Environmental agencies focus on industrial waste and the sanitation of human waste while a farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people and it is entirely untreated. In fact, every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US alone. This doesn’t include animals raised outside of USDA jurisdiction or in backyards, or the billions of fish raised in aquaculture settings in the US and it all has no proper management system leading to ground water and ocean pollution. Perhaps they don’t want to address the fecal issue because they themselves are full of…moving on. Issue Six: Species Extinction 10,000 years ago 99% of the biomass (i.e. zoo-mass) was wild animals, today, humans and the animals that we raise as food make up 98% of the zoo-mass, with wild animals comprising only 2%. Up to 137 plant, animal, and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction, the leading cause of which, as we shall see, is animal agriculture. We are currently facing the largest mass extinction in 65 million years. The Alliance for Global Conservation estimates 36 percent of all species on our planet are in danger of extinction.

And what are the major species protection organizations recommending? Wildlife rehabilitation and conservation, fighting poaching, and breeding programs. Way to throw a bandaid on an open artery. I’m sure it will hold. Issue Seven: Habitat Destruction, Land Usage & Deforestation A third of the planet is desertified, with livestock as the leading cause. Nearly half of the contiguous United States is devoted to animal agriculture. 1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food and only 375 pounds of meat. The land required to feed 1 vegan for 1 year is 1/6th of an acre. It is 3x as much for a vegetarian and 18x as much for a meat-eater. You can grow 15x more protein on any given area of land with plants, rather than animals. 136 million rainforest acres have been cleared for animal agriculture with 1-2 acres of rainforest being cleared every second.

In fact animal agriculture is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction. A single quarter pounder burger takes 55 square feet of rainforest to produce. But what do the major rainforest protection agencies focus on primarily? Palm oil and pulp production. Now for the Too Long Didn’t Watch version: Animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions leading to global warming, uses a third of the earth’s fresh water, up to 45% of the Earth’s land, is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction with 1-2 acres being cleared every second, and is a leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, and habitat destruction. Environmental agencies not only do not focus on animal agriculture, the absolute most devastating and pervasive single cause of multi-dimensional environmental destruction, but they actually refuse to even acknowledge it. And individual environmentalists, by and large, perhaps as a consequence or by their own social indoctrination, aren’t even aware of this issue despite devoting themselves to championing the environment.

For the wrap up: The ACTUAL problem is animal agriculture and the ACTUAL solution is a vegan diet. A person who follows a vegan diet PRODUCES the equivalent of 50% less carbon dioxide, uses 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-lover for their food, and every day saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 square ft. of forested land, 20 lbs of CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life. Given all of these facts, it’s abundantly clear that veganism is THE ONLY answer to the environmental crisis and the environmental organizations collective failure to recognize this fact leaves them with a wrongness tally total of: qualifying them for an ultimate score of More Full of Fecal Matter Than the 7 Million Tons Produced Every Second By Farm Animals in the United States! It’s time to get real.

You cannot be an environmentalist and a non-vegan. It’s now beyond “personal choice” and allowing everyone their dietary preference. The earth cannot sustain the way that we eat. It is a fact and it’s fast approaching critical mass. At this point there is no reason to keep eating animals other than the purely selfish reason of not wanting to change our habits. If we want our children to have a world to live on, we have to stop being so childish ourselves regarding our diets and cut out the crap. I hope you enjoyed this fact-riddled nugget. Please share it around to wake people up to the importance of this issue and feel free to tag any of the major environmental agencies when you share. The time it took to produce this video clocks in at about [68 hours] If you'd like to help support Bite Size Vegan so I can keep putting in the long hours to bring you this educational resource, please check out the support links in the video description below where you can give a one-time donation or receive perks and rewards for your support by joining the Nugget Army- the link for that is also in the iCard sidebar. If you enjoyed this video, please give it a thumbs up and if you’re new here, be sure to hit that big red subscribe button down there for more awesome vegan content every Monday, Wednesday, and some Fridays, and to not miss out on the rest of the “Everything Wrong With" series.

And hey, check out some of the related videos while you’re here for more information. And remember, citations for everything I talked about are in the blog post for this video which is linked up below and in the sidebar. Now go live vegan, save the world, and I’ll see you soon. Man, I feel like I was at an auction. You know…55!…45!…blahlala!….2 dollars! I should just keep doing this. Subtitles by the Amara.org community.

An Economic Case for Acting on Climate

When you're sitting in Boston with the average temperature is 48 degrees Fahrenheit, three or four degrees of warming in terms of average temperatures, that actually sounds nice. But if I told you that that corresponds to maybe 10, 20, 30 more days a year where it gets too hot to work outside, then it's suddenly a different story. As a student of economics, I see climate change as the ultimate market failure, it's the ultimate global public goods problem, so that's interesting from the intellectual standpoint but probably more importantly from a public welfare standpoint, I see climate change as probably one of the defining challenges of my generation. We're only beginning to understand the extent to which changes in climate, particularly as they manifest in increased extreme events, may affect economic welfare, economic productivity. Looking at U.S. automobile manufacturing plants, a week with six or more days above 90 degrees Fahrenheit results in roughly eight percent reduction in output and, more importantly, that output is not made up in later weeks, right, it's not like they just work overtime on a cooler week to make up for that. There's just so much uncertainty involved and we're trying to make policy on fifty to a hundred year timescale, something that we really haven't done before as a civilization.

And so being able to clarify even small catches, right, of the shroud of uncertainty that surrounds this issue is a hugely valuable task that places like Harvard are uniquely well positioned to tackle..

Why I Left Greenpeace

In 1971 I helped found an environmental group in the basement of a Unitarian church in Vancouver, Canada. Fifteen years later, it had grown into an international powerhouse. We were making headlines every month. I was famous. And then I walked out the door. The mission, once noble, had become corrupted — political agendas and fear mongering trumped science and truth. Here’s how it happened. When I was studying for my PhD in ecology at the University of British Columbia, I joined a small activist group called the Don’t Make a Wave Committee. It was the height of the Cold War; the Vietnam War was raging. I became radicalized by these realities and by the emerging consciousness of the environment. The mission of the Don’t Make a Wave Committee was to launch an ocean-going campaign against US hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska, a symbol of our opposition to nuclear war. As one of our early meetings was breaking up, someone said, “Peace,” A reply came, “Why don’t we make it a green peace,” and a new movement was born. Green was for the environment and peace was for the people.

We named our boat “The Greenpeace” and I joined the 12-person crew for a voyage of protest. We didn’t stop that H-bomb test but it was the last hydrogen bomb the United States ever detonated. We had won a major victory. In 1975, Greenpeace took a sharp turn away from our anti-nuclear efforts and set out to Save the Whales, sailing the high seas to confront Russian and Japanese whalers. The footage we shot — young protesters positioned between harpoons and fleeing whales — was shown on TV around the world. Public donations poured in. By the early 1980s we were campaigning against toxic waste, air pollution, trophy hunting, and the live capture of orca whales. But I began to feel uncomfortable with the course my fellow directors were taking. I found myself the only one of six international directors with a formal science background. We were now tackling subjects that involved complex issues of toxicology, chemistry, and human health.

You don’t need a PhD in marine biology to know it’s a good thing to save whales from extinction. But when you’re analyzing which chemicals to ban, you need to know some science. And the first lesson of ecology is that we are all interconnected. Humans are part of nature, not separate from it. Many other species, disease agents and their carriers, for example, are our enemies and we have the moral obligation to protect human beings from these enemies. Biodiversity is not always our friend. I had noticed something else. As we grew into an international organization with over $100 million a year coming in, a big change in attitude had occurred. The “peace” in Greenpeace had faded away. Only the “green” part seemed to matter now. Humans, to use Greenpeace language, had become “the enemies of the Earth.” Putting an end to industrial growth and banning many useful technologies and chemicals became common themes of the movement. Science and logic no longer held sway.

Sensationalism, misinformation, and fear were what we used to promote our campaigns. The final straw came when my fellow directors decided that we had to work to ban the element chlorine worldwide. They named chlorine “The Devil’s Element,” as if it were evil. But this was absurd. Adding chlorine to drinking water was one of the biggest advances in the history of public health. And anyone with a basic knowledge of chemistry knew that many of our most effective pharmaceuticals had a chlorine component. Not only that, but if this anti-chlorine campaign succeeded it wouldn’t be our wealthy donors who would suffer. Wealthy individuals and countries always find a way around these follies. The ones who suffer are those in developing countries, people we’re presumably trying to help.

For example, Greenpeace has opposed the adoption of Golden Rice, a genetically modified variety of rice that contains beta carotene. Golden Rice has the potential to prevent the death of two million of the world’s poorest children every year. But that doesn’t matter to the Greenpeace crowd. GMO’s are bad. So Golden Rice must be bad. Apparently millions of children dying isn’t. This kind of rigid, backward thinking is usually attributed to the “unenlightened” and “the anti-scientific.” But I’ve discovered, from the inside out, that it can infect any organization, even those with names as noble sounding… as Greenpeace. I’m Patrick Moore for Prager University..

Business Can Play a Profitable Role in Combating Climate Change, with Andrew Winston

I believe that the challenges we’re facing globally as a business community and as a species are getting so large and so complex that the way we do business has to fundamentally change. And The Big Pivot is about a deep change in the priorities of business, kind of a flip from worrying about short term earnings first and then getting to some of these kind of shared challenges we have only when, you know, there’s pressure from outsiders or there’s maybe quick wins or kind of easy wins that companies can pursue. And flipping that so that we’re operating businesses in a way that tackles our biggest challenges and works back from there and says how do we do that using the tools of capitalism and markets and competition to do it most profitably. Often what people call sustainability which is not, I think, always the perfect word but the things that fall under that that are environmental or social challenges – there’s this assumption in business quite often that trying to tackle these issues will be expensive, that there’s this tradeoff, this fundamental tradeoff between trying to manage these big challenges in a profitable way and just managing your bottom line in a normal way and that it’s going to be expensive.

This myth was based in some reality for a long time. There were things that did cost more money and green products or green services – they weren’t very good for a long time so there’s a sense that green was somehow not good for business. It wasn’t out of nowhere but that’s really a dated view. We now have a situation where the challenges are so vast and the world is changing so fundamentally that the only path we have forward is to manage these issues. That’s the point of The Big Pivot so that we will find a profitable path to do it and we have so many options now. There’s a whole category of things that companies do that save money very quickly. All things that fall under kind of the banner of eco-efficiency or energy efficiency or using less. I mean in part green is about doing more with less. That’s just good business and so that part of the agenda has become much more normal in companies and they’re finding ways to cut costs dramatically. That’s the easy stuff. But we’re now finding even the things that seemed very expensive for a while like say going to renewable energy – that’s one of the examples people always use of if we’re going to go green, we’re going to put solar on our roof and it’s going to cost so much.

The cost of that has been dropping dramatically, 70-80 percent reduction in cost of, you know, using solar power in the last five years. So the economics have shifted. This is now very good for business. Almost all of the agenda of The Big Pivot is good for business in the long term, in the medium term and very often in the short term. So there isn’t this tradeoff. This is the path to growth. This is the path to innovation, to building your brand, to cutting costs and to cutting risk. All the value drivers that you can create in business, this pivot will help you enable. Climate change is arguably, and I believe really, the greatest challenge we face for humanity and I’m not alone in this. There’s now voices coming to the table that are from unusual places.

You know former U.S. Treasury Secretaries have put out a report called Risky Business that talks about how expensive this has become just for the economy and for all of our cities and how expensive it will be, how dangerous it is. They call it an existential threat. I mean these are aggressive statements. And so you’re seeing people starting to create a bigger social movement because we need that too. For a change this big it isn’t just business or government but citizens need to be involved. Recently in New York City there was a very large climate march. I took part with my family and me and 400,000 of my closest friends. And it got very little attention in the press. There’s a very strange thing that’s happened where, I don’t know, climate change is boring, it’s not sexy, it doesn’t seem exciting and so it doesn’t get the coverage it needs. And it’s kind of shocking because this was one of the largest public demonstrations around anything environmental, I think, ever. And it was one of the larger marches in New York history.

And yet it kind of missed the boat for the press and I think that’s the fault of the press more than of people. I think people and I find businesses are much more aware of these issues and are moving on them than anybody covering it will give them credit for. And it’s a shame. I think there’s an opportunity to highlight how far we’ve come and the opportunities we have to change our lives for the better and make business a part of the solution and make it, you know, more prosperous and more profitable. And I think we’re missing out on telling that story..