Illustration: Matt Kenyon. Source: The Guardian.
I know this article may be controversial and upset the many that are choosing to become vegan.
But the truth of the matter is far from being straight forward. The implication of intensive farming, whatever it may be is a hazard for the planet and the entire animal kingdom, including humans.
Symbiosis can be defined as living together in a more or less intimate association or the close union of two dissimilar organisms, an association where both party benefit from the other, in perfect harmony.
By both benefiting, this type of association also ensure long-lasting resolutions, and this was something human beings had learn to do, living in harmony with the planet.
The industrial revolution changed everything. It was no longer about the planet and our environment, it was about money and power. The countries that were able to produce (and pollute) more saw their GDP grow exponentially. Coal, metals, marble, stones, and various other substances were extracted from the earth crust and trees were cut at an alarming rate, rivers were diverted and many barrages created to produce electricity. Entire forests had disappeared in a matter of a century and many large lakes and sea shrunk and are today on the verge of completely disappearing as if they never existed.
Many movements have tried to change minds and challenge the status quo but all we see today is big companies and conglomerates make more and more money, become more and more powerful, while a huge portion of the world population is getting poorer and sicker, having little access to safe food or water, others cannot afford to eat properly, even in our western part of the world today.
Intensive and conventional farming has destroyed the planet. There is no way around it.
Appalling practices have disgusted a huge chunk of the population, which have chosen to boycott big brands and to never use their products and/or become vegan.
One side of the movement points their fingers to intensive cattle farming, deforestation, and advocates a vegan lifestyle. The other side claims that methane production emanating from cattle is nothing compared to the transport industry, or electric production, which are sectors known to produce and disperse many toxic chemicals in the environment, thousand of times more dangerous that CO2 (e.g. Sulphur hexafluoride) and that can persist in the environment for many thousands of years. The level of chemicals in the atmosphere has now reached a critical limit. Scientists are now warning about the high concentration of many of these chemicals in the atmosphere, the air that we breathe.
Will oxygen levels decreasing - We Humans, NEED oxygen to live - the question is not about what are the associated problems but when we may become extinct as a specie.
So who to trust?
My first point is: yes to veganism?
But is GMO soy, corn and other crops the answer?
Is intensive grain production the answer?
I believe not.
Because intensive farming, as explained, is as bad as cattle faming, as it leads to deforestation, the use of synthetic fertilisers (made from petrochemicals), pesticides, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and more, which is destroying the earth crust at an alarming rate and is also responsible for the complete eradication of the soil microbiota,
Not only bacteria play a huge role in our health by residing in our gut but they play a pivotal role in the health of the entire planet with their essential presence in the soil.
Organic farming is also responsible for the pollution of groundwater and killing nature. Copper is a pesticide used in organic farming and is shown to be more toxic than petrochemical alternatives.
Now you may understand why I always favour Biodynamic farming, for these dedicated farmers work with nature and never against it. Even animals are not given antibiotics or toxic, inflammatory feeds.
Between 5 and 10% of the population is now vegan in the UK. A similar trend is observed in most of the western part of the world.
But, change is coming.
Thanks to Brexit and Boris Johnson, the UK will not head towards the intensive production and use of GMO crops in the UK, which means that many of the problems that the US have been facing for decades (GMO food labelling is not compulsory, and 97-99% of crops are now GMOs) will now become a British problem.
Not only Vegan people may damage their health (if they are strict vegan and do not monitor their nutrient intake) by following poor guidelines but they may now ingest a considerable amount of toxic chemicals, including the highly criticised pesticide RoundUp,
Supplementing with synthetic pills is likely to offer little to nil comfort.
Considering that many companies sell poorly-absorbable supplemental forms of specific nutrients, isolated which is missing out on the energetic effect of whole food products, too low in dosage to offer any therapeutic advantages and most often are made using the cheapest of methods, which may compromise the end product. Furthermore, many companies do not test their product for nutrient status and only provide information from production, which means that an active ingredient can degrade over time and the level at which it is found close to the product expiry date may be negligible..
A vegan-friendly supplement and even an organic supplement does not mean the supplement is actually 'good' for you. Manufacturers have learn to use and abuse labelling in an effort to misdirect consumers and grow their sales.
Many terms, in fact, have no legal meaning. For example, 'Natural', 'All Natural', 'Organic', are the most abused terms found on label. It actually means nothing at all.
'Organic' without the Soil Association logo appearing on the product only means that the company is abusing the term organic and often sells a product with only 1 or 2 organic ingredient. The rest of the formula may contain questionable or even toxic chemicals, which really is far cry from a 'true' organic product. To be organic a product must contain at least 75-95% organic ingredients. If they do meet this standard the product will not be allowed to have the official organic logo.
This applicable to food products, cosmetics, personal care products and supplements.
To come back to the theme of this article, is Veganism the answer to global warming, then you now know it is not. Plants and animals have created a symbiotic environment where both party benefit from the other. By taking animals from the equation -- and I am talking about wild and pasture-raised animals -- the one-sided world of plant is no longer benefiting and is not only damaged and unable to thrive, but it may also disappear as result of imbalance, nutrient-poor soil, and deranged microbiota. Warms are also necessary to oxygenate the soil and provide a more aerated soil. Without warms the soil becomes compact and plant roots cannot go deeper or plant may even die as a result.
A 2015 report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization reported that, globally, 25 to 40 billion tonnes of topsoil are lost annually. A direct result from ploughing and intensive cropping. Topsoil depletion is so severe that it is believe we have less than 60 years of agriculture left before the soil becomes sterile.
Land must rest 1 year every 3 years. This technique was used for centuries. Nowadays, the use of synthetic fertilisers have allowed for a continuous production, but at what cost?
Methane production has also considerably reduced thanks to the addition of wild plants, such as angelica, common fumitory, shepherd’s purse and bird’s-foot trefoil, plant that contain fumaric acid.
When it comes to the Vegan side of the story the missing link is often ploughing. Since the industrial revolution, according to a 2017 report in the science journal Nature, up to 70% of the carbon in our cultivated soils has been lost to the atmosphere.
"Unless you’re sourcing your vegan products specifically from organic, “no-dig” systems, you are actively participating in the destruction of soil biota, promoting a system that deprives other species, including small mammals, birds and reptiles, of the conditions for life, and significantly contributing to climate change," explains Isabella Tree in the Guardian newspaper, adding: "There’s no question we should all be eating far less meat, and calls for an end to high-carbon, polluting, unethical, intensive forms of grain-fed meat production are commendable. But if your concerns as a vegan are the environment, animal welfare and your own health, then it’s no longer possible to pretend that these are all met simply by giving up meat and dairy."
What are your thoughts?
Do you believe veganism is the answer to global warming?
Do you believe that animal welfare is more important than global warming?
How are you actively participating in reducing CO2 emissions?
If veganism is respecting animals is it not better to respect the planet and live in harmony with nature?
Were not animals roaming the lands before they were domesticated and now hostage of the human race?
Are animals allowed to co-exist with us, when leading vegan movements even criticise pet owners?
What are the solutions?
Registered Naturopath, Nutritional Therapist, Iridologist, Lecturer, NLP practitioner and Personal Performance Coach.