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Vegetarian political power

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Apr. 30th, 2008 | 03:31 pm

I became vegetarian because of being disgusted by roadkill, and thinking wow I eat dead animals what am I thinking. Though it's true that a picture of something gross changed me I don't think that is the best way to recruit new members. I think the way to get new members to anything is to either make it fun, or show how it's going to save them money. Pictures of tormented animals aren't going to do either.

I've been really active in the bicycling sector, and have been considering how I can promote some of my other values. I've gone to a few veggie events, and mostly been either disturbed, or bored. One presentation stood out though. One by someone who worked for one of the environmental organizations of the government. He detailed quite well how much of our resources were wasted on the inefficiency of animal products. You would have much more food if you eating crops directly instead of feeding them to animals, and then eating the animals. There is a lot of pollution involved too. So much is wasted in fact that a vegan driving an SUV may very well have less environmental impact than someone with a typical American meat eating diet who bikes exclusively. I think it might be possible to make this into something that is easier to promote. Saving resources effectively saves money. We just have to figure out a way to make that fun, and perhaps we have a marketing campaign.

So how does this all work in the bicycling sector. The league of American bicyclists refers to the 5 E's Engineering, Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, and Evaluation & Planning. It's I'm sure a bit different with veggie stuff, but here is my take on a translation of the paradigm.

Engineering:
This is a lot of work. Have to figure out the numbers to make a convincing case. Have to do the math for resources needed, and the math for nutrition. Need to put infrastructure in place to make being vegetarian/vegan a practical choice.

Education:
Teach people the benefits they will get from a standpoint of costs, health, happiness. Teach them to cook. Teach them to grow their own food.

Encouragement:
Make being vegan fun! How is food fun? Food is usually a part of every party. Cooking, and gardening can also be fun activities. How often should there be a fun filled vegan event? If you don't have to make a choice as to which event to go to on any given day there aren't enough events.

Enforcement:
I'm not saying there should be vegan police giving tickets. Where we need enforcement is when a business claims something is vegan, or cruelty free it really should be. There are laws against false advertising, and they should be used.

Evaluation & Planning:
How is the plan to get people to eat less meat working out? Do we need to change our way of doing things?


Political power is based on a few things. How many people support an issue. How many people oppose an issue, and how loud each of them are to elected officials. The fraction of people in Portland who bike commutes is about the same as the fraction of them that are vegetarian. Though the cyclists have a LOT more political power. They influence elections. Why do they have so much more power? A few things. Most people who don't bike generally support the idea. It benefits them indirectly by less congestion, less pollution, and lower health insurance premiums. Vegetarians, and vegans on the other hand are seen as weirdos that pass out gross pictures. How can we get the non vegetarians to see us as a benefit to society, to support us even if they don't join us? Change how we promote ourselves! We are people who reduce pollution, and greenhouse gas emissions. We teach people how to not go hungry by eating less expensively. We turn wasted city land into gardens. Speak with that kind of message, and instead of opposition there will be government sponsorship of our activities. Corporate sponsorship. Exponential growth of converts. And of course with more converts our power grows.

I'm not saying that the people who are passing out gross pictures are wasting their time. I mean a gross picture changed me. I think though that my way will work better. I hope to start something soon.

I might have an ego in thinking that I know best. I admit that. I've been in the paper, and caused government money to be spent because of one of my actions, and on Friday I'm hosting a debate between people running for office. I know I'm an agent of change, so perhaps my ego isn't entirely unfounded. We shall see.

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Comments {22}

The World's Sexiest Killing Machine

(no subject)

from: notorious_oit
date: May. 1st, 2008 04:47 am (UTC)
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I see roadkill all the time and it never crosses my mind to equate roadkill with actual butchered meat. There is a HUGE difference. Roadkill IS gross, but it's never going to stop me from eating meat. I could NEVER be vegetarian or vegan, I love meat and dairy too much. I could cut out stuff like bread, veggies, and eggs, and be happy for the rest of my life, but try to take away my bacon and prime rib, and someone's pulling back a bloody stump.

Also, vegan != fun, no matter how much you dress it up and try to make it look cool. My whole perspective on this is just like with religion, "You're vegan/Christian? Fine. Whatever helps you sleep better at night. Just leave me/my fucking steak alone." My best friend in high school was Catholic and vegetarian, and would make animal sounds at me whenever I bit into a meat-based sandwich for lunch. This did not make me want to be vegetarian. Setting a quiet example, rather than evangelizing for the Cult of Veganism, will do more for your cause. It's the radical, unwashed, patchouli-smelling assholes who hurt veganism's image.

Edited at 2008-05-01 04:59 am (UTC)

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cm

Gross?

from: cratermoon
date: May. 1st, 2008 05:29 am (UTC)
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Man, roadkill is clean compared to the stuff you buy from the butcher at the grocery story. Read the whole "There is shit in the meat" part of "Fast Food Nation" , or hell, go back and read Upton Sinclair's book "The Jungle", and realize that things haven't substantially improved.

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The World's Sexiest Killing Machine

Re: Gross?

from: notorious_oit
date: May. 1st, 2008 05:35 am (UTC)
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Not only were we forced to read that crapfest "The Jungle" in high school, we had to DRAW A FUCKING PICTURE of a scene from the novel. Stupid muckraking propaganda...that shit was the National Enquirer of its day.

I grew up on a farm, we butchered our own animals or sent them to a local butcher for sausage-making. I have no qualms about eating meat that I helped raise and butcher. The pain adds flavor.

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cm

Re: Gross?

from: cratermoon
date: May. 1st, 2008 05:56 am (UTC)
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*shrug* I retract my response to you, it's clear spending time discussing it with you is wasted effort better spent sharing ideas with open minds.

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The World's Sexiest Killing Machine

Re: Gross?

from: notorious_oit
date: May. 1st, 2008 06:14 am (UTC)
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HAHAHAHA, that is the funniest thing I've ever read. ME, of all people, not having an open mind about something, indeed.

I have a very open mind about vegetarianism, not unlike my views toward Christianity. I just know it's not the right path for me, and I don't appreciate other people trying to make me feel bad about my personal choices. I'm not going around trying to change vegetarians' minds by saying, "Mmmm, meat is so delicious, and you're really missing out on it...Come onnnn, just try it for a week...ZOMG WTF YOUR NOT GONNA SWITCH YOU SUCK AND UR GONNA DIEEEE COS UR SOOOO UNHEALTHY!"

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katerrzzz

Re: Gross?

from: katerrzzz
date: May. 1st, 2008 05:59 am (UTC)
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Wow, your last statement was ignorant and disgusting. Congrats.

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The World's Sexiest Killing Machine

Re: Gross?

from: notorious_oit
date: May. 1st, 2008 06:27 am (UTC)
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LOL, I'm glad you feel that way. That's why I said it.

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katerrzzz

(no subject)

from: katerrzzz
date: May. 1st, 2008 06:00 am (UTC)
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How does being a vegan automatically negate "no fun?" Please elaborate on this one. This should be good.

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The World's Sexiest Killing Machine

(no subject)

from: notorious_oit
date: May. 1st, 2008 06:28 am (UTC)
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Because I said so.

Neener.

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katerrzzz

(no subject)

from: katerrzzz
date: May. 1st, 2008 06:09 am (UTC)
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Oh, and I feel like I should add that you could definitely give up meat if you really wanted to. You've never actually tried to live with a meat-free diet, so automatically saying that you never could is quite silly. Becoming a vegetarian is actually quite easy. Many people always ask the question, "Well, what DO you eat?" Apparently many people forget that meat is supposed to be one of the smallest components of our daily diet, and that things like fruits, veggies, nuts, legumes, grains, and dairy exist as well. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a vegetarian, and I guarantee most vegetarians share the same perspective on your diet as they do theirs. I find it really irritating how you and many other people paint a picture of vegetarians being pushy and rude. Just because you've had an experience like that with a friend doesn't mean that all vegetarians are like that. And lastly... vegetarianism is NOTHING like religion, so do not even try to compare it to that.

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The World's Sexiest Killing Machine

(no subject)

from: notorious_oit
date: May. 1st, 2008 06:26 am (UTC)
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How is it NOT like religion?

I see absolutely ZERO difference between "You could definitely give up meat if you really wanted to. You've never actually tried to live with a meat-free diet, so automatically saying that you never could is quite silly" and "You could definitely give up your agnosticism and convert to Christianity if you really wanted to. You've never actually tried to live a Christ-centered life, so automatically saying you never could is quite silly."

They're both fucking rude assumptions.

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aneed2try

(no subject)

from: aneed2try
date: May. 1st, 2008 07:22 am (UTC)
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and the reply of "neener" is not rude? Not to mention completely immature. Are you trying to actually prove a point here? I've lost it in your use of profanity and asinine commentary.

Of course vegetarianism has similarities with religion, just like atheism has similarities with religion. We are all living by some code we choose. Some put labels on it, like vegetarian, christian, buddhist, atheist, etc, but they are still beliefs, they still guide the person through each day. We have different reasons for picking the labels we do. Sure there are similarities, but you can find similarities in just about anything. I mean, vegetarians and religious people are both human, and so the similarities begin.

Moving on, your comment about The Jungle sounds really ignorant. Just because you happen to grow up on a farm and kill the animals you ate doesn't mean the meat the rest of americans buy is the same meat you had. Just because the books says something different than your personal experience on one farm in one city in one state doesn't mean that's how everything is run. Propaganda? Maybe. Does that mean it's not true? No. Not all propaganda is false.
And since you screamed out propaganda so fast, what about your history books? Are those not biased? Do they not support a certain political point of view? I would have to say that they do.

I have yet to see one thing written that shows you are open minded. Sure you say you are okay with people being Christian, Vegetarian, etc, but every comment made thereafter shows otherwise.

How would you know if veganism was fun or not? (Talk about rude assumptions.) You said yourself you could never do it. That doesn't mean it isn't worthwhile and enjoyable to others. Believe it or not, bacon isn't the greatest invention to everyone, even those who are meat eaters.
I once said I could never do it either, and then I realized I wasn't giving it a chance, so on a dare I went vegetarian for 3 months and then I never went back. I don't think I have ever been happier with any other lifestyle change like I have been with this one. I'm not saying by any means that anyone else has to try it, I'm just saying that it's been incredibly enjoyable for me. And yes, I've eliminated just about all dairy too, veganism is fun, you just have to know how to do it right.

and last but not least, if you took all veggies and grains out of your diet the last thing you would be is happy for the rest of your life. You need veggies and grains to live a healthy life, we no longer need meat to live a healthy life.

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mardy bum

(no subject)

from: wreckingheroine
date: May. 1st, 2008 09:51 pm (UTC)
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you know what? just see her (notorious_oit) display picture. everything just explains her size. ;D

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Gul Dukatja

(no subject)

from: eevilyounggirl
date: May. 1st, 2008 02:34 pm (UTC)
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Hi. I'm a vegetarian and an agnostic. I see the parallel you've drawn, and it's not entirely inaccurate. Thing is, "living a christ-centered life" requires you to believe in a magical man in the skies, while being vegetarian has underpinnings that are, in fact, quite scientifically noticable.

If you're vegetarian, you get less cholesterol in your diet. You make a tiny ding in the armor of the meat industry, which is one of the ecologically worst industries on the planet. You eat a more balanced diet, in which you actually get closer to the recommended daily intakes of various vitamins, minerals, fibers, etc.

None of these benefits come from a "christ centered life." In fact, no real benefits come from it at all. Thus, to equate vegetarian proselytizing with christian proselytizing is fallacious because one can actually create positive change with positive benefits while the other has a massive potential for self-destruction.

I do appreciate that you apparently grew up on a farm. I, as a Wisconsinite, am annoyed by "holier than thou" vegans who seem to think every chicken was treated cruelly when its eggs were laid. As you, I know that that is simply not the fact. If you do, indeed, eat only meat that you helped raise, that's very noble of you. More omnis should be like you. If you brought that up as something you did in the past, but that you now do no longer for whatever reason, perhaps you should consider buying your meats from farmers markets instead? The meat industry truly is deplorable, even if you do not consider cruelty a factor.

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katerrzzz

(no subject)

from: katerrzzz
date: May. 1st, 2008 03:08 pm (UTC)
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How does swapping a word out of a sentence mean that two things are similar? I could easily say "You could definitely give up using nail polish if you wanted to, You'e never actually tried to live without using nail polish, so automatically saying you could is quite silly,"" but would that be saying that vegetarianism is closely related to nail polish? Hmm, you tell me.

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Jerry Federspiel

(no subject)

from: jpfed
date: May. 1st, 2008 10:30 pm (UTC)
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How is it NOT like religion?

Easy. Religion is about belief, and this about action. Belief is much harder to change than action.

If you want to stop eating something, stop buying it. It's a fairly simple process, if you want to do it. But you clearly don't want to do it, so the conditional "You could definitely give up meat if you really wanted to." is irrelevant to you. The antecedent is false, so the consequent can be whatever it wants to be and the statement is still true.

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Nic

(no subject)

from: quan_yin
date: May. 1st, 2008 06:15 pm (UTC)
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"Setting a quiet example, rather than evangelizing for the Cult of Veganism, will do more for your cause."

Normally, I say the same thing when my fellow vegetarians speak out against meat-eaters...but I would like to point out that posting something in a personal journal is, in my opinion, setting a quiet example.

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cm

(no subject)

from: cratermoon
date: May. 1st, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
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He detailed quite well how much of our resources were wasted on the inefficiency of animal products.

Yah. The relatively ancient book Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe discusses this at length in the chapter "A Protein Factory in Reverse". Good reading, if you ignore the bit on "protein combining" for "complete proteins" in another part of the book.

Edited at 2008-05-01 05:26 am (UTC)

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(no subject)

from: cipjik
date: May. 1st, 2008 10:20 am (UTC)
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I am a vegetarian. This is a personal choice to make and it does make a lot of sense to me. I don't understand though why people get so uptight when I talk about it. They usually ask but it seems it is only to make fun about it or tell me that they like meat so much they would never stop eating it. I wouldn't try to convince anyone to become vegetarian or vegan but why should I have to go through these comments whereas I am only trying to listen to my own needs. This can't be a bad thing to do and could be beneficial for each of us.

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(no subject)

from: cipjik
date: May. 1st, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
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I must say it isn't an easy thing to do to change our eating habits

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Vegetarian political power

from: anonymous
date: May. 2nd, 2008 12:40 am (UTC)
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Top 10 Reasons Why It's Green to Go Veggie

What we choose to eat is one of the most significant factors in the personal impact we have on the environment and the fastest path to climate change. A recent study, examining the impact of a typical week's eating, showed that plant-based diets are better for the environment than those based on meat. A vegan, organic diet had the smallest environmental impact. The single most damaging foodstuff was beef and all non-vegetarian diets, which require significantly greater amounts of environmental resources such as land and water.

It is noteworthy that the United Nations and many leading environmental organizations-including the National Audubon Society, the WorldWatch Institute, the Sierra Club, and the Union of Concerned Scientists-have recognized that raising animals for food damages the environment more than just about anything else that we do. Whether it's unchecked air or water pollution, soil erosion, or the overuse of resources, raising animals for food is wreaking havoc on the Earth.


http://dinnerlately.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/being-a-vegetarian-can-help-save-our-world/


According to researchers at the University of Chicago, by simply becoming a vegetarian or vegan, you could dramatically reduce your carbon footprint by almost one and a half tonnes.
According to Canwest News Service “a meat-based diet requires seven times more land than a plant-based diet. Livestock production is responsible for more climate change gasses than all the motor vehicles in the world.”

Source: http://dinnerlately.wordpress.com/2008/04/25/being-a-vegetarian-can-help-save-our-world/


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¢  ª  ®  ª

(no subject)

from: vivalacara
date: May. 2nd, 2008 07:06 pm (UTC)
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there's this 'meet your meat' video at peta (i know they arent the best veggie group out there but they have pretty good info and facts about slaughterhouses.
i put the video on my myspace page (you have to click on it though to see it.. i didnt want to MAKE ppl watch it)
check it out... it's really eye opening. and depressing...


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