I spend a lot of time learning about the environmental consequences of modern agriculture caused by our food choices.
That means I spend a lot of time listening to the Paleo/Primal crowd tell me how natural their lifestyle is because it’s just like that of their ancestors.
I commend them for wanting to adopt a cleaner, more sustainable diet, but so long as that diet includes meat, dairy, eggs, and fish, it’s not in any way sustainable or clean—unless you truly live in the wilderness and hunt with a bow and arrow, but the health consequences remain the same (and even that is only tenuously sustainable due to loss of habitat for wildlife anyway).
But my cage was rattled a bit recently when I was given pause to consider a dire consequence of modern agriculture that I had never even thought of.
Actual, real, indigenous, native tribes live—attempt to live—within the Amazon river basin, one of the prime spots on the globe for deforestation.
That means demand for meat by the first world—clear cutting of rain forests and turning them into grasslands for cattle—is responsible for the loss of over 90 distinct indigenous tribes in the Amazon. There used to be six million native people in there, now there’s only 250,000, all due to habitat loss. And this number will continue to dwindle as our demand for meat increases. And don’t think it won’t continue to increase. Since 1930, Americans have doubled their intake of meat from about 100 pounds per year to 200 pounds of animal flesh per year. Check out Meatonomics for more information.
Perhaps instead of attempting to emulate the alleged diet of our ancestors, why not adopt a diet that can at least help preserve current native peoples’ ways of life today, now, in our modern existence? Otherwise paleo/primal is just as bad as chopping down a forest to build a street and then naming it “Forest Street.”
This isn’t me “getting emotional about the poor animals,” as so many of the Paleo/Primal followers suggest. If anything it’s me getting riled about the real live people that live in this sensitive area of the planet. This is the cold hard evidence regarding one aspect of the state of our global environment. If you want everyone, including vegans, to live and act by facts and facts alone, go fact yourself with Dr. Richard Oppenlander’s “Comfortably Unaware,” which is where all of this information can be found.
Veganism is a great option if you’re looking to reduce the impact your diet choices have on the rest of the world. Surely, “veganism” by name is relatively “new,” but in practice, people have been eating their main sources of calories form fruits and starches for millennia. Also, when our ancestors began eating mammoth meat in order to survive, such a practice had never been done before, either. It was brand new back then, too. Now it’s old, worn out, obsolete. We have simply created a world wherein the act of raising and slaughtering animals on a massive global scale will someday be completely, absolutely impossible if human life is to be sustained as well.
Humans must once again adapt to this new world, and that means veganism will be the norm eventually. Anything less is absolutely unsustainable and unethical from a global environmental and human health standpoint.
Which side of history are you going to choose to be on?
PS—I wonder what those primitive humans ate before they evolved the intelligence to fashion tools and wield weapons? Plants maybe?