Encourage vegan options for all!
A global shift towards a vegan diet is vital to save the world from hunger, fuel poverty and the ***** impacts of climate change, says the report from United Nations Environment Programme's (UNEP) international panel of sustainable resource management.
Low footprint food choices are not the same as vegan food choices in all cases, the analysis is more complex than this. Generally a low footprint diet is local, seasonal food, and limits consumption of red meat, dairy, and some grains. Low footprint food choices are included in the draft Greenest City Action Plan and will be discussed through community engagement activities.
As was mentioned before: if the municipal government has the power to encourage people to eat healthier, or local food, etc, then they have the power to encourage fewer animal products. And if the UN, among several other groups of experts are saying that animal agriculture is one of the top causes of environmental damage today, and Vancouver really is trying to be the greenest city by 2010...then yeah, it makes sense for the City to make some sort of an effort in this department.
This sounds completely unrealistic for municipal government to take on. Although it may have some merit in the grand global scheme of things, city hall would be wasting taxpayer money, staff time and energy on trying to somehow influence the diets of an entire city population. I'd rather see city government tackle some more realistic goals like expanding food waste collection and metering home water use.
Basically I agree with Jana on this one, though the vegan advocates are correct when they claim (i) that in general a vegan diet is more sustainable and (ii) we over consume animal protiens. Making vegan choices easier will help make us more sustainable, and I say this as a dedicated omnivore.
Janna L. Sylvest commented
To be consistent with the Green City Targets (i.e. environmental sustainability) the focus must be on how we produce and distribute food. Regardless of whether what ends up on your plate is plant-based or animal-based, how it got there from land use, farm practices, waste management, to transport and storage chain, is where the environmental impact is measured. Every step of the way, we must change how we get our food. Focusing on what people eat creates a smoke screen, something that inevitably becomes co-opted by the food industry, and leads to absurd results like organically labeled, excessively packaged vegan foods from China being the Costco grocery market shoppers food of choice! The rest of this debate - animal versus plant politics - is off topic and I'm puzzled as to why the moderators have shied away from saying as much.
Vancouver ought to be encouraging vegan food choices and trying to make it easier for people to make these choices in the same way they've been helping to encourage the local food movement.
While it is important to eat local when possible, according to the David Suzuki Foundation website, "the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has estimated that livestock are responsible for a larger share (18%) of greenhouse gases than the world's transportation sector (14%)". This being the case, it seems appropriate to encourage veg. options over meat/dairy ones - no matter where the meat comes from.
Some other facts from here: http://www.davidsuzuki.org/what-you-can-do/eat-for-a-healthy-planet/eat-for-a-healthy-planet/
-It is estimated that livestock production accounts for 70 per cent of all agricultural land and 26 per cent of the land surface of the planet.
-The growing of livestock and other animals for food is also an extremely inefficient process. For example, it takes approximately five to seven kilograms of grain to produce one kilogram of beef. Each of those kilograms of grain takes considerable energy to produce, process, and transport.
In our cities, we could plant fruit trees along rivers and in parks instead of maple trees and other exotic plants that irritate allergies. These would not require much more maintainance than than the gardens that already exists. Homeless people would have free food and it is a healthy alternative to the ice cream truck for visitors.
In the 1900s, the British planted fruit trees along the river to help sailors who suffered with scurvy. The also planted lime trees in their colonies for sailor's benefit. These fruit trees were also a source of free food for poor people.
In Peace, PK
I don't like cross posting and I usually never do it but some here may like the idea "A Call to Town Hall, Plant Veggies not Flowers"...
This thread is getting to crazy for me, the ideas are not focused.
Some specific things that CoV could do within its current powers: Support Meatless Monday program, cater all city events with primarily vegan options, sponsor a study of the dietary / food production options to get a majority of nutritive and caloric content from the local region (efficiency will likely require less meat), encourage Metro Vancouver to cater events with primarily vegan options. Bring a resolution to UBCM calling on the province to do the same.
Farms other than those selling specialty items to high end restaurants are barely sustainable on a financial basis. Farming is hard manual labour and most farms are short on labour because it does not pay well. During harvest season immigrants and import workers seem to be the only ones working in the fields.
Some of you Vegans should look into or go work on a farm to see what it takes to actually grow and harvest things grown on a farm locally. In California, USA, there is lots of cheap Mexican labourers to get veggies onto the store shelves many miles away.
Crops that are grown for feed are those that have advanced to a stage where mechanized harvesting is used requiring only drivers of large Air conditioned tractors and trucks.
GUYS! check out the meatless Mondays idea!
For most people in the world being a Vegan is not possible because crops do not grow year round. Veggies only have a short growing season and most do not store fresh very long. Crop disease, insect infestation, Honey bees dieing off, drought all affect crops. One bad season and you starve.
That is why humans like some animals have adapted to eating a variety of foods, whether grain, vegan, or meat.
The most meat people eat in a serving is the size of your palm about 4 oz is really just a small piece.
Take some info from actual Vegans not those promoting an agenda.
S. S. commented
Regarding agricultural practices on the part of farms producing foods that happen to be vegan (corn, soy, grains), might I also remind that the majority of these crops (between 55-75%) produced in North America are used to feed livestock. Just think of how much space is used up, and how much water - to feed the livestock AS WELL as the crops that feed them - is used up in order for people to eat meat/dairy! Just one of many reasons why veganism is definitely something worth considering.
Even just cutting back - the fact is that Canadians are consuming more meat/dairy than we need. And meat/dairy are taking up all these resources. Under the circumstances, it seems outrageous for it to be considered normal to eat multiple servings of meat & dairy on a daily basis.
Bad agricultural practices on the part of farms producing vegan foods (such as corn and soy) are no excuse for continuing to support farms that produce non-vegan foods such as meat or dairy. Yes, vegan diets aren't perfect - there's always going to be one way or another that we are having a detrimental effect on the planet, there will always be more that we can do. But, as the United Nations has said, of all categories of agriculture, animal agriculture is having the worst effects on the planet. So if you want to eat local meat instead of going vegan, that's your choice - but don't tell yourself that it's the best choice for the planet.
The UN's report explaining the science behind this can be found through here: http://www.greenmuze.com/nurture/meat/2731-un-urges-vegan-diet-.html
And I agree with Steven Forth and S.S. too - say no to extensive monoculture! A diversity of things growing on a piece of land is often a sign of health - let's keep the land healthy!
Thanks S.S. I would summarize my position as follows. (i) A vegan diet is much more sustainable than a conventional animal protien-centric North American diet. (ii) A vegan diet is neither necessary nor sufficent for a sustainable economy. (iii) The modes of production are at least as important as what is produced, and industrial agriculture of all kinds plus long supply lines are not sustainable. But certainly, people in NA eat far too much animal protien than is good for them or the environment or (I believe) than for local economies. And I would encourage more Vegan options, but this is not a silver bullet.
S. S. commented
While there are certainly problems that have been/are being caused due to soy and nut production practices, there are even MORE problems that arise from producing dairy, meat, and eggs. And of course there's the fact that in order for animal agriculture to survive, so must the current, damaging, corn & soy production that feeds the animals. But I do agree with Steven Forth that if we're going to transition to more vegan diets, we've got to make sure we're doing it right! Let's make sure we don't wind up encouraging whole other irresponsible agricultural practices.
I happen to agree that dairy industry subsidies distort markets and I would like them to goaway. That said, I hope you are not suggesting tofu or almonds as sustainable foods. Soy produciton is one of the most destructive of the agricultural industries. Of course California almonds may be even worse, given the impact it has on bees. We need to move away from any system that requires extensive monoculturing!
vegan diet supplies all you need. keeping the blood alkaline is the important factor.
Had a friend that went to a clinic for B12 shots. He asked the person giving him the shot:
"so is this just a vegan thing?"
"No it's not, it's quite common in the population."
Drive More, you're either just trying to get a rise out of people....or you haven't done much reading!
For any of you doubting the nutritional sensibility of veganism, I suggest you check out the Physician's Committee for Responsible Medicine website - http://www.pcrm.org/ - for some real information from real doctors. Also a book called "Becoming Vegan" by Brenda Davis & Vesanto Melina answers pretty much any question you might have about nutrition and vegan diets (available at the VPL), and Melina's website is here: http://www.nutrispeak.com/becomingveganvfg.htm
Vegan food can make you sick. A vegan diet can not supply all the necessary nutrition in your diet - such as B6, Folic Acid, Vitamin B12, Iron, perhaps a few minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc etc.
Also as more people start eating more vegan , vegetables become mass produce and become contaminated with bacteria such as e.coli and Salmonella.
I think this is a great idea.