I know no one really wants to be lectured by me about their eating habits, but sometimes I just have to drop the silly stuff for a week and hit on a more serious topic. Climate change weighs on me heavily, nearly all the time, and I’m always looking for ways to address the issue in my comic without being boring or preachy. Not sure if I achieved my goal with this week’s Dustinland comic, but I had to at least try.
I think meat is really something no one connects with global warming, even though it’s a huge issue. Even being climate change, there’s also all the pollution created by things like giant pig poop ponds, there’s the rainforest deforestation that occurs in order to make more grazing land for cattle — it goes on and on. And what really concerns me is that current diet fads are actually pushing people to eat more meat and less grains. Now, whether it’s better for you or not is not my concern. My concern is that we as a species cannot continue to eat so much meat — the planet simply can’t support it.
I know a big reaction to this will be “but I like meat, it’s so yummy, and I don’t care about the world enough to stop.” Or there will be people who really feel that way but don’t want to admit it to themselves so they’ll dig up some Fox News style “proof” that there’s no global warming or that even if there is, meat is actually good for the climate, and up is down, etc… But hopefully there are a few reasonable concerned people who might not have realized just how bad meat is for the environment, and if even one person thinks again next time they’re about to order a burger, that’s a good thing.
Oh and one last point: At the end of the strip, I discuss how no one has to STOP eating meat completely. I bring this up not just to make it all feel more doable and less daunting, but also to prevent the usual black or white only comments that accompany the usual “we can’t do anything about climate change” arguments. You know, “oh, so why don’t you live in a teepee.” That sort of thing. The idea that we can either be cavemen or do nothing. It’s a ridiculous ploy I see over and over again, while in reality, we don’t have to completely alter our lifestyles and drop out of society. If each one of us would take even a few small steps, it would make a big difference. Maybe not the whole difference, but it would help a lot.
Posted in environment, philosophy, politics
Tagged cattle, chicken, climate, climate change, cows, environment, global warming, grain, meat, pork, red meat, vegan, vegans, vegetarian, vegetarianism
I have to tell you, as I said in this week’s Dustinland comic, after last week’s midterms, I was ready to blast voters for being dumb enough to vote Republicans back into power, but then I realized there’s no point in that. Sure, I could make fun of brainwashed Fox News watchers who ignorantly vote in corporate puppets that will do more to benefit the Koch brothers than the people voting for them, but why bother? I’d preach to the choir, get a bunch of angry liberals to forward something around to their friends, and maybe rile up a few people who disagree with me, who will them flame me in comments. Basically it would achieve zero thoughtful dialogue and contribute further to the current state of cynicism on the left, and rage on the right.
So I tried to stay positive. It’s hard. It really easy. Like I said, I’m more or less a one-issue (climate change) voter at this point, and since the people who were just voted into office don’t even acknowledge that the issue even exists, it’s easy to get depressed. And worst of all, we can’t even hold solace in the fact that one day we’ll be right and we’ll be able to rub it in. But what’s the fun in rubbing it in when you can’t eat, it’s 100 degrees out every day, the world is fucked, life sucks and the future of the human race is at risk. HAHA I WAS RIGHT! Yeah great.
But anyway, yeah, think positive! I for one am pretty positive the only solution will come from science in the form of a miracle technology. If that doesn’t happen, well, we’re probably screwed. But that doesn’t give anyone the right to cash in their chips. We still need to try. Fight. Make a difference. Do what’s right. I only wish I could do more—and I don’t mean moving off the grid and eating what I hunt. That’s the fallacy conservative climate deniers go to every time. “You’re so worried about global warming, well how come you use hot water to wash your hands! You should clean them in a river!” Always black or white. That’s the way to win the argument. Mock and exaggerate. Stoke fear and anger. By the end, facts and reason are out of the picture and we’re left with what Stephen Colbert once referred to as truthiness.
Not sure what more I can say about The People’s Climate March than what I said in this week’s Dustinland comic. I guess it’s easy to be jaded, cynical and disillusioned with protesting and politics. But something like this doesn’t happen very often. A massive effort organized by amazing people with the goal of changing the dialogue around the biggest danger mankind will ever face. Like I said in my comic, if that doesn’t get you out in the streets, I don’t know what will.
A Facebook group called “I fucking love science” recently posted the Dustinland comic about selective reasoning, and it has been making the rounds online, with more than 10,000 likes and 5,000 shares as of this post. Which is great because I think this is a really important issue. The constant attack on science—it has been going on for centuries. Just watch Carl Sagan’s famous Cosmos series. That aired in 1980 and more than 30 years later it seems like science is still being assaulted by people who just don’t want to believe things that don’t fit into their own personal dream of how the world should be.
Terrorists tried to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993. That wasn’t enough of a hint for us to step up our security. People knew for decades that New Orleans would be underwater if the right storm came by. We did nothing. Now scientists are telling us that we’re putting the entire world at risk by altering the atmosphere. And it looks like once again we’re going to be too late to do anything about it. And this time, we’re talking about devastation and loss of life on a scale never before seen by mankind. Sadly, for all of us, enough corporate dollars can turn facts into “theories” and make people doubt the findings of unbiased scientific studies.
People get tired of hearing about it. They think it’s something they won’t have to deal with, even if it is real. But we’re already dealing with it. And it’s only going to get worse. Do people have to suffer firsthand before they act to change something? I think for most people, the answer is yes. And I truly believe we as a species may be doomed because of it.
Read this. Then read the comments.
This week’s Dustinland isn’t very funny (as usual), nor is it intended to be. It’s simply an argument I feel compelled to illustrate in the face of such frustrating debate around a very important issue.
When I look at a majority of the back and forth on the issue of global warming, I see a big mess of people getting caught up on the results of studies, with skeptics trying to define what qualifies as “scientific proof,” and it just seems to go round and round. While I believe there to clearly be more evidence on the side of global warming being a very real and man-made threat, I still feel that merely piling up scientific facts is not enough to convince skeptics. That is why I present this approach (which is ironically based on Pascal’s Wager in a sense). When it comes down to it, all decisions are based on risk/reward considerations, yet for some reason, I rarely see the global warming debate phrased in this manner. And personally, it seems like a pretty solid argument when you put it this way:
If global warming is real and we do something to stop it, we save our future.
If global warming is not real and we do something to stop it, we still create a better world to live in.