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Sustainability Isn’t About You

Natasha over at the Sustainable Food blog of has posted "Meat that can save the climate," to which I inadvertently double-commented on.

This topic is important to me because I spent at least a couple of years telling people that if they were going to eat animals, they should purchase their animal products from preferably local, organic farms where the animals roam free. And that then it would be okay.

And for the record I do think that you can be omnivorous in a way that is sustainable, and probably also in a way that is relatively healthy (i.e., by eating minimal animal products). But I don't think it's possible to do be omnivorous in a humane way, and I don't think it's possible to feed the world the same way you'd feed your family (sustainably), simply because there isn't enough room. Feeding the American, Chinese and Indian appetites for animal flesh cannot be done in a "sustainable" way, and Natasha's blog is about sustainability (not humane treatment of animals, though she does think you can kill someone humanely).

When we're talking about sustainability, we should be talking about the planet, not your backyard. If you or your neighbor has developed a system for sustainable animal farming, where the sentient nonhumans have acres to roam and feed on (i.e., are not penned, but have space similar to what they'd have in the wild), what if everybody did that? Sustainability isn't about you–it's about over 6 billion people and the planet they live on.

Then there's the reality that no matter how much soil fertility you're restoring, you're never going to have a humane farm, as that's an oxymoron.

You might think it's not worth it to try to reason with Natasha, but I'm sure she has a big audience, like Stephanie (whose rat post and video must be seen), and reaching them is the real purpose of commenting.

Finally, speaking of audiences, I have recently joined Facebook (Mary Martin Loder) and I've started tweeting at mary_martin. My intention is infiltration, and it's already working (3 Facebook converts to veganism, 2 of whom have been around my veganism for years so I was just one of many seeds, I'm sure). I'll tweet about nonprofits, politics and religion, as well as animals, thereby casting a wider net, which by the way is an image that reminds me more of Planet of the Apes than fishing.

We'll see how it all goes. I welcome you to friend me on Facebook, but only if you have good intentions. And if you're into Twitter, and you don't mind the meanderings of my dysfunctional mind, follow me!

Life is all just an experiment for me. But at least I have agreed to be the subject.

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. I have been reading and truly enjoying your blog for several weeks. Keep up the excellent work and thank you for the food for thought. I became vegan over the summer but have recently needed more encouragement to keep it up and found it here.

    January 25, 2009
  2. Angus #

    Mary puts her finger on a key issue here: the growing move toward what might be called "Respect for humans, fascism for non-humans". The dogma of "human exceptionalism", which rests on the increasingly discredited idea of an intrinsic radical distinction between humans and non-humans, is being replaced by a justification of domination and exploitation based on predator-prey relationships and ecological balance. I call this "the new argument from nature". I say something about it in an updated version of the piece that Mary made accessible here a few months ago. For the recent version, go to:
    You might like to check out the rest of the website too.
    Comments are appreciated.

    January 25, 2009

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