Long, but this is the best thing you’ll see all week.
“I was thinking that heretical thought as I drove through my neighboring countryside, scanning empty cornfields for signs of life, and wondering at the hubris of mankind. When did we decide that we can stake our claim to all of the lands on the Earth, and use every square inch of it for our own purposes and needs?
“About 10,000 years ago, actually, when we invented the idea of agriculture.
“Sadly, in the practice of agriculture as it exists now, it is impossible to refrain from causing endless suffering to many living creatures. One could argue that the most suffering of all is caused by the practice of annual agriculture, which is the cultivation of vegetables, including grains, beans, and rice, that only take one year to grow from seed to food. We displace countless wild animals from their homes and landscapes when we cultivate annual crops. Not only that, we also kill thousands of creatures when we till the soil and pull our harvests from its depths.”
Just a little something to perk you up today.
Despite that it sounds like he’s delivering his talk in a busy shopping mall, this is well worth watching if you’d like a quick update on the latest climate change science.
“Farming is a stressful job – uncontrollable weather, physical demands and economic woes intertwine with a personal responsibility for land that often is passed down through generations. But experts say that some of the chemicals used to control pests may make matters worse by changing farmers’ brain chemistry.
“Recent research has linked long-term use of pesticides to higher rates of depression and suicide. Evidence also suggests that pesticide poisoning – a heavy dose in a short amount of time – doubles the risk of depression.”
Annual production of major commodities.
“The mass of fossil fuels produced and consumed each year is huge – about 12 billion tonnes every year, over one and a half tonnes for each person in the world. That is much more than other major commodities. Wheat is less than a billion tonnes per annum, the iron ore for the world’s iron and steel industry is a little over two billion tonnes, and cement is something over four billion tonnes. … However the CO2 produced from energy and industry (so excluding land use), is much greater still – about 36 billion tonnes. … Even capturing and transporting around a third of current emissions would involve dealing with masses as large as the current fossil fuel system, which has required, cumulatively, tens of trillions of dollars of investment over many decades. … The problem gets even worse for any process of CO2 capture from the air that involves use of a solid to bind the CO2. This is because binding CO2 as a solid inevitably involves adding mass. For example, if the CO2 were eventually to end up as limestone (CaCO3) the limestone would have more than double the mass of the captured carbon dioxide.”