: McSpotlight U.K. made quite a long diatribe on the issues brought forward by Ozymandius, however when it came to logical refutations most were invalid.
: On the issue of human consumption: Simply being more efficient with the resources does not equate with non-interference non-destructive human activity.
Never said it did. We all damage the planet to some extent by existing. However, there are lesser and greater drains.
: The claim that the meat industry consumes more raw materials (33%) is unfounded since raw materials are still being used to consume vegetables.
Interesting statement. What do you think livestock are fed on?
Either you produce vegetable matter and eat it (an inefficient one-stage process) or you produce vegetable matter and feed it to livestock and then eat the livestock (a process consisting of two inefficient stages.) Livestock is also much more susceptible to conditions and stress-related disease than plants are; to produce meat of edible quality requires a constant diet of antibiotics and mood elevators because of the conditions the animals are kept in.
In addition to this, you need to handle meat much more carefully than vegetables and pulses; you need to keep meat refrigerated, transport it quickly before it rots and make sure that it is thoroughly sterilized; all of which add to the resources necessary to bring meat to the supermarket shelf.
Calories of fossil fuel expended to get 1 calory of protein from beef: 78
Calories of fossil fuel expended to get 1 calory of protein from soybeans: 2
That's why supporting a carnivorous diet uses 33% of the US's raw materials. If the US ate a vegetarian diet, the figure would be 2%; total production and distribution costs in terms of raw materials are a fifteenth for a vegetarian diet than they are for a carnivorous one.
: In the first plance many vegetables depend on the fertilization provided by the meat industry (eg: manure). However if we were to eliminate the meat industry all together we would forced into a situation in which we would have to devote more raw materials to the production of vegetariant products.
Uh-huh, but since we'd have a lot more raw materials to spare, there would be enough to cover the lack of fertilizers and some raw materials left over for other causes.
: In any case, this still does not counter the fact that any human consumption interfers with Earth's natural growth.
Hello? Degrees of usage?
There's a difference between having a slice of the cake and wolfing the entire cake down...
: Then McSpotlight's response to this point was to claim that the level of responsibility is not equally spread. You can't deny your responsibility and claim less culpability when other activities you in which you participate create similar or higher levels of environmental degradation than those you criticize.
If they did, we wouldn't. They aren't, so we are.
: Ozymandius had quite an important point when he stated that any users of the Internet, including readers of this site, and contributers, have probably caused significantly more harm to the environment by using computers than they have by consuming meat.
Except that he wasn't burdened with the facts of the matter; the two largest consumers of natural resources are the livestock industry and the motor industry; this is clear in natural resource accounting.
(Try reading up the output of the UN Environment Programme's Production and Consumption Unit...)
: Here's a more direct approach: Any person who uses a computer... must consume electricity.
Uh-huh. Anyone who lives in a temperate or northern climate has to as well - to survive.
: Electricity generation requires the burning of fossil fuels which increases greenhouse gases which deplete the ozone layer OR the damming of river systems like the Colorado - Hoover Dam which deprives beaches on the West Coast of 80% of the sediment required to maintain the integrity of intertidal ecosystems. The U.S. Corps of Engineers spends millions of taxpayers dollars each year to repair the damage caused by this lack of sedimentation. By using electricity you are also destroying other living organisms. We haven't even talked about dangers and detriments of nuclear energy biproducts! No amount of energy conservation can make up for this environmental loss.
That does not mean you shouldn't try to minimize the loss; the thing to aim for is 'sustainable consumption' - a rate of resource consumption that can be continued indefinitely.
We do not pretend that everyone should go off and live in caves; nor have we ever; if we really thought all technology was inherently bad, we wouldn't be here.
However, we do agree with cutting consumption where it can be achieved.
: As such, it is easy to see that the only way to not damage the environment is to "return to the land" as Ozymandius exposulated.
We have *never* suggested that the environment should not be damaged at all - we all need to eat and so forth. What we are against is the wasteful use of resources, as characterised by the meat and motor industries.
: A better way to look at this is to see that other forms of human activity, as simple as browsing the Internet, can actually cause greater planetary harm than the meat industry.
Cite some figures to back that up, please. The UN disagrees with that statement.
: The 90 million visitors you have generated by this site are ALL responsible for a large degree of environmental degradation.
Undoubtedly true; but that doesn't mean that everyone is incapable of reducing their environmental impact.
: All are users of computers and thus electricity. Most are members of Internet Providers - some of which are large ruthless corporations which create greater harm to the environment than McDonalds.
I have a fair few friends who work at ISPs who would be amazed at that comment. For what it's worth, McSpotlight only uses small green fluffy ISPs with good social and environmental policies (e.g. Greennet and others).
As for causing greater harm to the environment than McDonald's, this is plainly untrue. McDonald's is the largest single buyer of meat in the world.
: Before you can criticize one form of pollution you must be held accountable for your contribution to a greater form of pollution.
It's not greater; try backing up your statements with some figures occasionally...
: In hope of greater debate and understanding,
Try going here - I doubt you'll believe much of the figures on the page, but have a look at least...