Economics say all city dwellers must be vegan.

Yaya Balinci yaya at telus.net
Thu Mar 15 07:43:10 EST 2001



Michael Hollihn,
Sustainable Forest-Farm-Garden Design
Ecosystem Mapping For Sustainable Production of foods and building
materials,
yaya at telus.net
604.253.2536
http://www3.telus.net/circleworks/sustmed2.htm
Vancouver, BC, Canada
NW Coastal Turtle Island

> Egad! Is the loss of energy not sped up here, when those complex
> carbohydrates could have contributed to soil structure?

One can only create so much soil structure. If you farm correctly, you will
create enough biomass to maintain maximum soil structure in a system that
creates enough biomass energy to allow humans with low body fat and high
metabolism to sustain energy levels of body during winters in the mountains
of Canada. There is no loss of energy if you create enough for your desired
systems while maintaining top-soil integrity.


> Does the nitrogen
> gained by feeding to ruminants exceed the amount that would be fixed by
> growing legumes on the same amount of land?

My body does not have the energy to spend on trying to extract protein from
a vegetable during cold months of winter. I tried working in winter on a
vegetarian diet and found myself eating butter like it was cheese. When i
started eating meat again (the next winter), my cravings were balanced out
and my energy levels were up.


> There is always more energy lost
> with each step that it must pass through the food chain before it reaches
us.

And more energy gained come when the earth shivers me bones and muscles.



>                 However, these animals also require nitrogen on the input
> end.

So do my squash. I am an efficient enough farmer to manage to feed both
animals and legumes enough nitrogen to sustain my systems.


> Why am I going to take nitrogen, whether in bulk or concentrated form,
> and feed it to an animal who will expel it as volatile urea and
ammonia(and
> therefore lose it), when I can incorporate it into the soil to provide a
> longer lasting soil-ammendment?

Because you have enough for both uses, your top-soil remains growing, your
systems are fully charged sustainably with maximum diversity, you have
carefully kept enough trees on their way to old growth (or in old growth) to
filter these gases coming from a prudent amount of anuses, and you can use
that "volotile" urea and ammonia to help the breakdown cycles of your
biomass into good organic/biodynamic fertilizer.


> Pure manure in any form is a short-term,
> quick-fix ammendment to the soil, and its composition will not yield the
> much longer benefits of the inactive humus that can be generated from
plant
> residues.

Why would one use pure manure as an ammendment. I can see why letting your
beloved ducks into the garden some times, to paddle through and eat some
slugs and other insects and randomly/lightly return some fertilizer, could
be considered pure manure ammendmenting. But other than that I get better
results if I mix pure manure with plant residues to create a very diverse
fertilizer. If we are eating most of our foods from one garden/field, it
does help create a diverse/complex manure if you add an animals manure who
has grazed over other parts of the earth. I guess you could barter for some
of your neighbors or in-laws humanure.


 It is plants that fix nutrients in the first place, and the energy
> constantly pouring into the system in the form of sunlight allows the
plants
> to continually unlock nutrients from the soil they grow in as well as
>
> reclaim the nutrients of other plants and, yea, even from animals. This is
> why the laws of thermodynamics are firmly in place in a field of
> farm-generated fertility that does not include animals, because it relies
on
> that continual energy input to raise nutrients back into the cycle. Any
such
> system uses energy inputs outside of itself to stay in existence.

The continual energy input of biospheres and ecosystems (where food grows)
has, until the vegan (very recently), relied upon not only plant inputs for
energy, but animal inputs for energy. I walked in a forest today off the
coast of BC among cedars, firs and maple. Over my entire day hiking i came
across many islands of animal manure from 1 to several years old. Deer, Bear
and probably cougar and some birds. As they slowly dried and aged i could
see the grasses or salal or fern that had benefitted from the slow release
of these "volatile" chemicals. The grasses were the most obvious. The ones
that grew around the drying dust pile of manure were the thriving ones of
the lot. The biggest and strongest in size, color, and aura.



>                  I have consistently heard that the monocrops of soybeans
> are environmentally damaging. Who claimed that vegetarians had to rely on
a
> monoculture to supply their protein needs? That is kind of putting down
the
> diversity of all of the alternative sources of protein from permanent
> plantings that I have seen suggested on this list alone. But I find no
> reason why I should have to feed any of this protein to an animal before I
> eat it myself.

You are right. It is not necessary if you reduce your economics of scale on
your farm.



> The typical kinds of animals that north american agriculture
> uses are not very dainty, and I find that they tend to increase compaction
> and erosion, not prevent it.

Same goes for their vehicles, and roads. Once again, if your economics of
scale on your farm are out of balance, then you will see compaction and
erosion.

> The only reason that human beings need to put
> an animal into the mix is possibly to preserve the genetic diversity of
rare
> breeds.

Do you think the cycles of nature intended for these rare breeds to drop
something useless out of their asses? They are essential to the cycles of
life, as is our manure. They are not to be ignored, ruled out, set aside or
evacuated out of tubes through our basements to go to the river, fondled
with chemicals and pumped back into our drinking water back in through the
basement. The first vegans must have come from the city, are wise people
that realize an imbalance, but still act daily in a reactionary behaviour
reacting to the industrial factory food method. I did the same when i was in
university and read Animal Liberation and Diet for a New America. I became a
vegetarian out of reflex of my ethical duty as a responsible earthling.
Eventually i realized the importance of diverse natural systems and that
humans have been able to take from all systems with respect.


> If preserving the natural order or imitating it as close
> as possible is what what you desire, why not set a planting in place, and
> then allow indiginous animals to wander in? You can still eat most of
them,
> and your ecologically sound sytem should work much the same, in theory.

I like that system, but one does not exclude the other with me. I allow both
in my farming. Diversity is key

>                   It would be nice to think that animals were the perfect
> complement to plants in a system. But they arent't. Plants can be arranged
> on a grid, or however you desire, to take full advantage of the available
> resources.

I feel nervous when people start judging the natural systems. City people
have a dis ease of natural systems, but they haven't seen one. Here in BC
the city people mistake tree farms for forests. Only a city person would
arrange a plant on a grid. What the heck is a grid? How do you think a plant
feels on a grid. You are being anthropocentric with your respect to life.
Anything with two eyes and a beating heart like yours is to be "protected"
from harm. Why do the carrots get the shaft, don't they have spirits also?


> Animals on the other hand, have a mind of their own.

But the carrot is ours to do as we please? We own the carrot because it
lacks something we lack? Now who is the righteous one? Fence it in, then
before it can blossom its flower and sew its seed we can yank it out and eat
it dead?


> (and then spending the energy to preserve,
> haul, and spread the manure).

If you rotate your fields and keep your numbers in balance, then this energy
is needed to spend.


 It is interesting that someone mentioned the
> practices of Native Americans in the argument for "sacred killing". Now
they
> had a true reverence for the land, and didnt raise any large meat
> animals(except for some south american cultures). Those cultures that
> primarily hunted had the benefit of few other consumers to compete with,
as
> well as great efficiency when consuming the kill.

Read Wendell Berry. We too need more reverence for the land. A few large
meat animals can be raised if you are mindful of their "footprint". You are
right we need to be much more efficient with a smaller scale of economics. I
want to learn to use the entire animal. The natives only left behind the
fermenting grass found in the gut. Now that we are no longer nomadic we can
compost this.


 But Europeans rolled in
> uninvited, and they are now living among populations of much higher
density.
> "Natural" populations of (large)animals couldnt even begin to supplement
our
> diet usefully, much less can they exist among us.

You are right. All people living in cities must by law be vegan. Awesome
idea!


 So here we are trying to
> micromanage this flock of chickens or cattle again, pretending that an
acre
> of animals on pasture will produce as much digestible protein as an acre
of
> properly spaced, properly timed plants(monoculture or otherwise), and that
> they will have less of an environmental impact if we blunder into trying
to
> force them to do so.

Again you have forgotten about trying to do this with respect. If you ask
the great spirits of each food you consume to make these spirits live again,
then you shall open yourself up to learning how this balance can be struck
so as to accomodate all environmental impacts. In the cold climes where i
live and even when i lived in northern california, those cold nights off the
ocean really showed my how much more digestible animal proteins are than
vegetable proteins. Sashimi is the quickest for my metabolism.



And maybe that guy over the fence has a lesser density
> of cattle that he raises on permanent pasture, and at that density he
doesnt
> have to manage nearly as carefully and he doesnt experience compaction or
> overgrazing, and his climate is such that his naturally diverse forages
are
> in their peak year round . . . well then he could probably lessen his
> footprint if he used less land(back to intensive management). And at a
> certain point this hypothetical rancher would be producing so few pounds
of
> extra protein per his low management acres that the amount of protein that
> would be provided per capita to everyone who ate beef if all cattle were
> managed this way becomes an insignificant figure.

That settles it. All people who live in cities must be vegan. Then the
Amazon can be spared the fast food frenziests and us slow pokes can live in
harmony.


Michael Hollihn,
Sustainable Forest-Farm-Garden Design
Ecosystem Mapping For Sustainable Production of foods and building
materials,
yaya at telus.net
604.253.2536
http://www3.telus.net/circleworks/sustmed2.htm
Vancouver, BC, Canada
NW Coastal Turtle Island






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