I watched an interesting documentary recently called "Vegucated"...Has anyone else seen it? 

It raised many ethical questions I am currently studying in school anyway. For example, we know the hazards that modern agricultural practices are instilling in the contamination of ground water (ie drinking water), and we know the methane produced by animal waste is affecting in part the rise in global temperature, which ultimately is causing a shift in energy distribution world wide. While small incremental changes in temperature may not seem like a lot...it is. And while agricultural concerns may not seem as horrible towards our environmental sustainability, it is. It turns out that eating a pound of beef costs the planet more than driving your hummer to work. So should we all just become vegans and continue to drive our gas guzzlers? No of course not. That is a stupid proposition. But all of the decisions we make collectively DO matter, and will start to become more of the mainstream debate more and more as we are forced to address the very real impacts of climate change. 

I am personally considering becoming a vegan after becoming educated on the issue. The treatment of animals IS completely uncalled for, inhumane, and should be illegal. The health benefits are many from living a vegan lifestyle. At this point I think the environmental concerns around sustainable agriculture and water supply has my attention enough to be willing to go to drastic measures to change personally. I am making arrangements to go car-less as soon as my son is just a little older - probably this fall if possible. How am I going to try to tell people about the changes that need to be made if I am not willing to make these same changes myself?

So I look at the very real statistic that says that if the entire Earth lived the way we do in the United States, we would need 5 Earths to sustain us. What makes the United States so fucking special and entitled that we think we can continue to consume endlessly while people across the globe are running out of water and starving to death? Who the fuck do we think we are people?

So yes. I am wanting to become a vegan. I am wondering about the debate in regards to nutrition. I am raising a son and want him to be healthy. Is it true that you can make up for vitamins from other sources? I'm very very very confused by the research and looking for others who have already become aware and informed on the issue.

Anyway, I just want to discuss the vegan lifestyle and become even more informed. I hope to learn from you all and it will inform my decision to either proceed....or not.

Thanks

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We are not going to kill the planet considering that we have had co2 levels as high as 6000ppm in the past. During the time of the dinosaurs the co2 concentrations reached 3000ppm and still it took a comet to wipe them out. Now don't get me wrong as I am against how much we pollute the planet but then neither is global warming going to be the end of the world.It likely will not even end the human race unless we decide to have an all out war in conjunction with it.

We are definitely killing the life on this planet already if you consider global extinction rates and remember the planet didn't have to support all of us fine folks until the very recent past.

Looking at the data and reports, unless something major happens or the science is wrong, I do think it's gonna get very ugly before it gets better again.

You're still talking 10s of millions of years ago when CO2 levels were that high, right?

Tell us, when was the last time CO2 levels spiked this quickly? We're in an unusually MASSIVELY QUICK uptick.

This, from a UCSD-Scripps article:

[...] An increase of 10 parts per million might have needed 1,000 years or more to come to pass during ancient climate change events. Now the planet is poised to reach the 1,000 ppm level in only 100 years if emissions trajectories remain at their present level.

Is that CO2 spike implied by climate modeling?

Climate change science relies almost entirely on predictions made by computerized climate modeling. How reliable is a model when it makes predictions that can't really be tested short-term? A conclusive and meaningful proof of the model's ability to make accurate calculations and predictions might take hundreds or even thousands of years. 

Al Gore's An Inconvenient Truth made predictions in 2006 which should have become truth by now, but in fact largely have not. Those predictions were made based on climate modeling. Yes, the ocean level is rising, but not with the alarming speed Gore predicted. He also predicted that by now the Arctic ice sheet would be gone. In fact, the polar ice sheet has been getting thicker lately.

A recent issue of Nature had a very interesting article on what seems to be a wholly paradoxical feature of models used in climate science; as the models are becoming increasingly realistic, they are also becoming less accurate and predictive because of growing uncertainties. I can only imagine this to be an excruciatingly painful fact for climate modelers who seem to be facing the equivalent of the Heisenberg uncertainty principle for their field. It's an especially worrisome time to deal with such issues since the modelers need to include their predictions in the next IPCC report on climate change which is due to be published this year. (source)

In other words, the more accurate data as opposed to assumptions or sparse/imperfect data you put into a model, the less reliable its predictions become.

This paradox is a huge problem.

Is that CO2 spike implied by climate modeling?

No.

And I'm not using Al Gore as a data source. I'm not as confident as you are--especially with the "uncertainties" you uphold--that an unprecedented, massive spike in CO2 won't have expected and/or unexpected consequences to be concerned about.

Rocky,

I am very curious about how a young man such as yourself, 'sees' the future, specifically what the planetary environment, people, animals, and plants will be like in 50 to 200 years from now?

Hi Belle, One of the youtube channels I follow is "Growing Your Greens" by John Kholer. He's a strict vegan for health reasons and he aims to eat 2 pounds of leafy greens a day (among other things). Leafy greens are great for vegans because they have lots of good vitamins and minerals in them. If you're interested in that sort of thing, I think he also has a cooking channel.

Now on to some other points of interest: Industrial farming of animals (particularly in the US) appears to be absolutely horrendous. I take this to mean the industry needs more/better regulation rather than that I need to stop eating meat. What I mean by this is that the eating of meat is not the issue, it's how the meat is produced.

Recent state level legislative bills have cropped up to protect the industrial meat facilities' operations from prying eyes. This trend to restrict public access and information is disturbing. While man's intelligence affords the opportunity to have dominion over our fellow animals we have a duty and obligation to respect the life and living conditions of said animals. 

I'm an omnivore, and the end of life is cruel for prey species whether their predator is human or wild, but some of the abuses I'm sure we've all seen in video or are at least aware of through news reports, require scrutiny if they are to be stopped.

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