'The Game Changers' Documentary

Van Der Merve

Double-Digit Post Count
The inefficiency of animal agriculture means most crop land goes to feed livestock. Eliminate livestock, especially on the industrial level currently practiced, and you free up a tremendous amount of land that would no longer need to be cultivated. It could be put to other uses.

The ethical criticism of farming's collateral damage of animals is just silly. It in no way compares to the industrial scale production of billions of animals solely for the purposes of slaughter when a better alternative is available.
What is silly is arguing about farming without setting foot on one. I have been to a few, and in all of them cows and bulls are grazing on the land not suitable for cultivating crops.

This study supports my impression:

Livestock: On our plates or eating at our table? A new analysis of the feed/food debate - ScienceDirect
 

vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
Not to sound too nit picky or standoffish, but if I can't have a steak because of climate change maybe do away with nascar and all the other "sports" like it. How much fuel and tires and oil are wasted in a single race? Multiply that by how many races are held each year from around the world. And that's just stock car races.
I doubt that motorsports are on the same scale as animal agriculture for impact, but I'm pretty sure many of our 1st World pursuits will become elitist to the point of obsolescence.
 

vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
What is silly is arguing about farming without setting foot on one. I have been to a few, and in all of them cows and bulls are grazing on the land not suitable for cultivating crops.

This study supports my impression:

Livestock: On our plates or eating at our table? A new analysis of the feed/food debate - ScienceDirect
That does not reflect the farming and ranching operations I've seen in the American West, particularly California, but it does resemble what I've seen in Switzerland.
 

Steve A

Double-Digit Post Count
What is silly is arguing about farming without setting foot on one. I have been to a few, and in all of them cows and bulls are grazing on the land not suitable for cultivating crops.

This study supports my impression:

Livestock: On our plates or eating at our table? A new analysis of the feed/food debate - ScienceDirect
Not many people really have the opportunity to visit a farm, and of those that do, their sample will not be representative.

In my youth I worked on multiple farms. This was in an area with good soil but not flat. The flat areas were used for corn or soybean production, sometimes allowed to lie fallow. When "fallow" they would be planted with alfalfa or something that would replenish the soil, and some grazing would occur on the alfalfa ("free" fertilizer). The sides of hills were mainly used for grazing. Same soil, and it could have been used to grow vegetables. But the economics at the time did not work for the terraced fields and approaches seen in Asia. Now in an adjacent state, the land was flatter. It doesn't take much to see how that would shift the balance of production. A few years later I visited a friends ranch in the southwest, and the soil was not good for growing grains or vegetables. Obviously their production shifted the other way. So if/when somebody goes to visit a farm, what they will see is the practical economics of that particular farm during that season.

I think there is value in people thinking about and discussing how things are done, even if they don't have or can't practically get first hand knowledge. That way at least should be some range of perspectives. It would be far worse if those same people only discussed a topic in echo chambers with others holding the same certainty of views.
 

ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
The climate change issue, at its heart is this - acceptance of it or denial of it. And indifference spanning both.
And that is framed by 'don't trust the experts'.
That, despite hard nosed skeptical, objective scientists reviewing data and reaching consensus there is skepticism by non-experts of their claims.

Similar to diet and nutrition, especially related to carbohydrate consumption. There is overwhelming evidence that a diet consisting of 40-50% of calorie from carbohydrate, across many populations, is the most healthy in terms of all cause mortality risk. A classic Gaussian curve of general distribution. Slap bang in the middle for most people. Blue zone data - the King of longevity diets and lifestyle for health conscious bio hackers and longevity code crackers - reveal more or less the same thing, with added sunshine and community. And on balance, the one thing that all accountable dieticians, medics, nutritionists and scientists can agree on in the food quagmire of competitive nutrition food wars is to add more fruit and vegetables because most people lack them! Yet, yet, still, many, many people do not accept this. And at its heart is this - acceptance of it or denial. And indifference spanning both.

So climate and health share a similar theme - denialism. For a hotch-potch of entwined variables, from many inputs, the result is 'don't trust the experts' - the skeptical view of skeptics who do not trust the trained, objective skills of skeptical science.
It is then a polarised view of evidence v belief. Fact v alternative fact.
Part of the problem of course is science does get things wrong. Some of the greatest science a result of error leading to new discovery and knowledge and/or a re-thinking of current models and adjustment of understanding. That's part of the scientific process.
Science and scientists are for the most part humble and acknowledge their *uck ups, however trivial or insignificant they maybe. So when a consensus is obtained, when the vast majority of scientists agree - and there will are debates and fights along the way - then surely, surely there comes a point where non experts should take notice? And that's where we are with climate change and nutrition, belief it or not.

That's been a problem since Galileo. Darwin? Still is.
Flat earthers? And, anti vaccine? It's always a problem, always will be. Only now there are 'tools' and ways to disseminate views countering and questioning everything and anything. Quickly avoiding politics...

It seems then both the climate change emergency and the diet and health issue - which some may argue is also an emergency - arrive at more or less the same position: less carbon, more fruit and veg. And depending on your current diet that may mean less meat.

So you could argue that the less red meat thing from a health viewpoint is not agreed, the evidence put forward that red meat is carcinogenic etc with poor health outcomes was misinterpreted, gained from dodgy questionnaires, the data sets misrepresented and as meat eaters that is not conclusive enough to switch to full on veganism. Absolutely. And put that together with the outright propaganda of the game changing nonsense then, in conclusion, it's all bollocks.
And I get that, to a point.
But, adopting both the health and climate change view that by virtue of adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet at the expense of something else is evidence backed that is both good for your health and the planet.

Is that view radical?
 

North Coast Miller

More than 2500 posts
That does not reflect the farming and ranching operations I've seen in the American West, particularly California, but it does resemble what I've seen in Switzerland.
I grew up on a retired farm, my basketball court was the foundation of a razed chicken coop. All around were working ag farms and a couple of beef farms - some of my older brothers worked there and would bring home meat, and most of the older siblings would also start Summer vacation picking strawberries. By the time I was old enough to use that for a part time job, most of the farms had turned to seasonal migrant labor.

Anyway, virtually all of the graze land was used or could be used as crop land. These were relatively small operations, good for small towns and not exporting meat to the "big city". They still had large poop lagoons even though a lot the manure was recycled back to their fields.

I have to believe if people used animal products as a small adjunct to their diet the planet could sustain a lot of it, when it is used as a significant part of one's macros you'll run into trouble.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Logarithmic scale is used to demonstrate the rate of change. Relevant for this discussion.
Perhaps because I wasn't required to take a course in statistics in the course of my otherwise musical education, I would appreciate an explanation. I understand a linear scale; I don't understand altering that.

-S-
 

ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Very interesting, thanks for that...

'we demonstrate that under a range of land use conditions, diets with low to modest amounts of meat outperform a vegan diet, and vegetarian diets including dairy products performed best overall'
 

Sean M

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Interestingly, the entire world population (as of 800 million ago, currently 7.7 billion) could live in an area the size of Texas at the density of New York City. Here it is at other densities:
 

vegpedlr

More than 500 posts
Currently reading two books on farming and health written in the early 1900s, one about the Hunza, who live on the Pakistani-Afghan border, and one about general farming practices of China, Korea, and Japan. The one on Asian farming makes many comparisons and contrasts between Asian farming and population density vs America. The author is continually impressed with the efficiency of land use that allowed the same land to continuously support such a large population for thousands of years. They were also impressed by how much strength and endurance the locals had eating nearly vegetarian diets. The animals, after all, were for work.

An interesting time in history. The Industrial Revolution had taken its toll in many places, while America's natural resources seemed unlimited.
 
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ali

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
There's some really interesting views and slants on farming and agriculture.
With tech and number crunching down to a fine art, we have the capability to optimise to the nth degree. Is there an argument that agriculture has become so optimised for profit that issues of health and sustainability are minimised?
Food suppliers face direct competition and are micro managed by supermarket chains with buying power to manipulate and control their supply chain. Independent food suppliers are priced out the market and can only survive in niche markets, largely in affluent areas where affordability for sustainable, ethical and healthier produce allows them to compete.
Results in a two tier food system - cheap, crap food v expensive healthier options. It's more nuanced in the real world, many other variables but it's sense that there needs to be a shift away from a model optimised for profit to one with more a focus on sustainable practice, and with that comes better quality and healthier produce. More expensive, it would seem but if less was eaten, then it evens out.
We can do that to an extent on a personal level but there needs to be a radical shift politically. Lobbying influence, corporate power and the whole top down system needs a reshuffle. We have the tech but lack political will.
It takes us back to the 'denialism' aspect of it all again.
And it gets political from here, that elephant in the room. But back to sustainability and food.....
 

LukeV

More than 300 posts
The climate change issue, at its heart is this - acceptance of it or denial of it. And indifference spanning both.
And that is framed by 'don't trust the experts'.
That, despite hard nosed skeptical, objective scientists reviewing data and reaching consensus there is skepticism by non-experts of their claims.

Similar to diet and nutrition, especially related to carbohydrate consumption. There is overwhelming evidence that a diet consisting of 40-50% of calorie from carbohydrate, across many populations, is the most healthy in terms of all cause mortality risk. A classic Gaussian curve of general distribution. Slap bang in the middle for most people. Blue zone data - the King of longevity diets and lifestyle for health conscious bio hackers and longevity code crackers - reveal more or less the same thing, with added sunshine and community. And on balance, the one thing that all accountable dieticians, medics, nutritionists and scientists can agree on in the food quagmire of competitive nutrition food wars is to add more fruit and vegetables because most people lack them! Yet, yet, still, many, many people do not accept this. And at its heart is this - acceptance of it or denial. And indifference spanning both.

So climate and health share a similar theme - denialism. For a hotch-potch of entwined variables, from many inputs, the result is 'don't trust the experts' - the skeptical view of skeptics who do not trust the trained, objective skills of skeptical science.
It is then a polarised view of evidence v belief. Fact v alternative fact.
Part of the problem of course is science does get things wrong. Some of the greatest science a result of error leading to new discovery and knowledge and/or a re-thinking of current models and adjustment of understanding. That's part of the scientific process.
Science and scientists are for the most part humble and acknowledge their *uck ups, however trivial or insignificant they maybe. So when a consensus is obtained, when the vast majority of scientists agree - and there will are debates and fights along the way - then surely, surely there comes a point where non experts should take notice? And that's where we are with climate change and nutrition, belief it or not.

That's been a problem since Galileo. Darwin? Still is.
Flat earthers? And, anti vaccine? It's always a problem, always will be. Only now there are 'tools' and ways to disseminate views countering and questioning everything and anything. Quickly avoiding politics...

It seems then both the climate change emergency and the diet and health issue - which some may argue is also an emergency - arrive at more or less the same position: less carbon, more fruit and veg. And depending on your current diet that may mean less meat.

So you could argue that the less red meat thing from a health viewpoint is not agreed, the evidence put forward that red meat is carcinogenic etc with poor health outcomes was misinterpreted, gained from dodgy questionnaires, the data sets misrepresented and as meat eaters that is not conclusive enough to switch to full on veganism. Absolutely. And put that together with the outright propaganda of the game changing nonsense then, in conclusion, it's all bollocks.
And I get that, to a point.
But, adopting both the health and climate change view that by virtue of adding more fruit and vegetables to your diet at the expense of something else is evidence backed that is both good for your health and the planet.

Is that view radical?
At least part of the problem is that public debate invariably becomes dumbed-down such that complex issues become reduced to emotive sound-bites lacking detail and nuance.

When I post on twitter about 'climate change' it usually just comes down to simplistic positions promptly labelled 'believer' or 'denier' but my post and the wider debate should reflect the complexity of the underpinning issue/s.

For example what we singularly label 'climate change' for the purposes of hurling online abuse is really a cascade set of questions each with their own scientific basis and (believe or not) varying degrees of confidence in the so-called 'consensus' of the scientific community:

1. Does the climate change?
2. Do humans influence climate change?
3. Is human influenced climate change a good or bad thing?
4. Is human influenced climate change such a bad thing that we should spend trillions of dollars trying to avert it?
5. If we're going to spend trillions of dollars trying to avert human influenced climate change is the current way working and/or the best way to go about it?

You can be labelled a 'denier' and viciously attacked online (not on SF where everyone is very polite) simply for having some doubts in relation to questions 4 or 5. The only people safe from attack are those that express no doubts. It really is like a religion lol.

To inject some nuance into the current argument. As the economist Bjorn Lomborg noted, if we believe going vegetarian will save the planet then we need to take note of the fact that vegetables cost less than meat. So a key consideration is what do vegetarians spend their savings on? Because if they spend their savings on things that are more emissions intensive than livestock then there is no net benefit. These are not simplistic either/or issues.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@Van Der Merve, thank you. For you and @Sean M, I read the article. I remain unconvinced and I'll try to explain why. If I mangle how this works, please feel free (you and anyone else) to correct me.

I sit in my car and put my foot on the gas pedal. The car moves faster and faster. One could graph the car's speed, or one could graph the car's rate of acceleration. The log-based graphical representation, as I understand, shows the rate of change while the linear graph shows the changes themselves. The linear representation, in both cases, seems fine, does not seem exaggerated, and makes perfect sense to me. In the case of population growth, I believe the "hockey stick" graph is a more accurate representation of my understand of what's happened.

-S-
 

Sean M

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
@Van Der Merve, thank you. For you and @Sean M, I read the article. I remain unconvinced and I'll try to explain why. If I mangle how this works, please feel free (you and anyone else) to correct me.

I sit in my car and put my foot on the gas pedal. The car moves faster and faster. One could graph the car's speed, or one could graph the car's rate of acceleration. The log-based graphical representation, as I understand, shows the rate of change while the linear graph shows the changes themselves. The linear representation, in both cases, seems fine, does not seem exaggerated, and makes perfect sense to me. In the case of population growth, I believe the "hockey stick" graph is a more accurate representation of my understand of what's happened.

-S-
Actually, the second graph I posted (rate of change) shows what’s happened, which is that population growth peaked in the early 60s and has been plummeting since then. World population will level off by mid-century and then actually decline unless the fertility replacement rate goes up (~2.2, enough to replace the two parents and account for deaths before reproduction).

To extend the car analogy, we have been coasting for 50+ years after taking our foot off the accelerator.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@Sean M, this is where you lose me:

"population growth peaked in the early 60's and has been plummeting since then. World population will level off by mid-century ..."

How can "growth" be "plummeting" if the population is still increasing? I do understand what you're saying, that the rate of increase has slowed, but that's how I'd express it - population is still increasing, just by less each year than it used to, but I am unable to reconcile "plummeting" with the fact that the numbers are going up, not down. Given the choice between being poked in one eye or both eyes, I'd choose to be poked in only one, but there's no way I could attach any positive words to the experience.

I am tempted to quote something popularized by Mark Twain: there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. But I won't. :)

JMO, YMMV.

-S-
 
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