Pornography works in the most basic of ways on the brain: It is Pavlovian. An orgasm is one of the biggest reinforcers imaginable. If you associate orgasm with your wife, a kiss, a scent, a body, that is what, over time, will turn you on; if you open your focus to an endless stream of ever-more-transgressive images of cybersex slaves, that is what it will take to turn you on. The ubiquity of sexual images does not free eros, but dilutes it. Other cultures know this. I am not advocating a return to the days of hiding female sexuality, but I am noting that the power and charge of sex are maintained when there is some sacredness to it, when it is not on tap all the time.

Shocking video about the truth behind the environmental costs of eating hamburgers and the tragic truth of a typical American meat based diet. How cows are one of the biggest contributors of greenhouse gases to climate change and how the worlds increasing meat consumption is jeopardising the future of our planet.

Follow the link to watch the video or read the transcript here to find out some shocking facts about the beef industry..

It’s time to confront a major threat to our global environment: cows. Yup – turns out that worldwide, livestock are a major contributor to greenhouse gas pollution. Right up there with cars, planes and trains. And at the rate we’re producing beef worldwide emissions from cows – along with other harmful practices in beef production – threaten to mess up our climate, land and water. Big time.
On average Americans eat three times more meat than people in other countries. From the end of World War Two to the mid-1970s, beef consumption per person doubled. The US is now the largest beef producer in the world. Our beef industry is a powerhouse worth 74 billion dollars a year and providing millions of jobs. Today more and more Americans are choosing chicken and pork – even tofu. But much of the meat we still eat is beef.
Let’s look at an All-American food: the hamburger. On average we eat about three burgers per week. So let’s see, if all 313 million Americans eat three burgers per week that’s 156 burgers per person per year. All together that’s more than 48 billion burgers every year.
A quarter-pounder at a fast food joint costs about three or four bucks. That’s pretty cheap. But what we don’t pay for at the counter we end up paying for in other ways. What are the hidden costs?
First of all, cows take up a lot of space. Worldwide, livestock use 30 per cent of the Earth’s entire land area – that’s counting pastures and land used to grow grain for feed. We use about eight times as much land for feeding animals as for feeding humans. And in places like Brazil, acres of forest are still being cleared for livestock – which creates pollution and also removes a perfect sponge for absorbing carbon dioxide. And did someone mention water? It takes about 1800 gallons of water to make a single pound of grain-fed beef – that’s about four times the amount for chicken and more than ten times the amount for a pound of wheat.
Why does it take so much land and water to feed cows? Well, for one thing, cows eat a lot. During the first six months, a calf eats and eats and eats. When it’s about 700 pounds it’s sold at auction – usually to a feedlot, which is like a very crowded cow city. At the feedlot the cow continues to eat and eat and eat. At most feedlots cows eat a mixture of soy and corn. This whole feed system’s pretty new. Before the 1970’s cows ate mostly grass. Then Congress passed a farm bill that changed everything.
The government started paying farmers to grow feed crops like corn and soy. It also helped pay for more fertiliser. So voilà – now corn is in everything from sodas to cereal. And most of the country’s 90 million cows now get corn for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unfortunately, cows are built to digest grass. Corn can make them bloat with gas and cows make a lot of gas. This is no joke. See, cows are ruminants – meaning they create methane gas when they digest food. Chickens and pigs don’t.
Methane has 21 times more climate changing power than CO2. In America cows produce more greenhouse gas than 22 million cars per year. America’s cows create about five hundred million tons of manure in a year. That’s three times as much as we humans do. Cow manure also creates nitrous oxide, which has 300 times the global warming effect of CO2. Cow manure is responsible for two-thirds of all the nitrous oxide pollution in the world.
There’s another source of nitrous oxide in a cow’s life cycle: fertiliser. We Americans use about 17 billion pounds of nitrogen fertiliser to grow feed for our cows. When run-off from fertiliser and manure flow into rivers and then to the ocean, they create huge algae blooms, which suck the oxygen out of the water and leave dead zones where no life can survive.
Anyway, back to the feedlot. Once the cows are fattened up they head to the slaughterhouse. Slaughterhouses create about 30 million pounds of contaminants a year – mainly nitrates and ammonia used to disinfect meat. From the slaughterhouse the beef is shipped to big processing centres, where California beef is mixed with Texas beef and Colorado beef. One burger patty can contain the DNA of more than a thousand cows. That means a single case of E.coli could easily spread to thousands of burgers. Trucking all that beef around creates pollution too. This isn’t an exact science and the numbers vary depending on how the cows were raised. But a single quarter-pounder clocks in at about six and a half pounds of greenhouse gases. That might not sound like much but with Americans eating three burgers per week, that’s more than 158 million tons of greenhouse gases per year – about the same amount as 34 coal fired power plants. It’s not the cow’s fault. It’s the system we’ve created to mass-produce beef that’s the problem. Too many burgers take a toll on the environment. They can take a toll on your body too.
This is the recommended daily diet. And this is how most Americans actually eat. We eat too much meat, grains, fat and sugar and not enough fruit and vegetables. Many studies show that eating too much red meat can lead to heart disease, high blood pressure and even diabetes. The hidden costs add up. One research group figured the cost just in greenhouse gases, water for growing cow feed and health care at about $1.51 for every burger. Multiply that by the 48 billion burgers Americans eat every year and that’s more than 72 billion dollars. We don’t pay for it at the store or at the fast food joint. But we pay for it in other ways.
So what can we do? Well, we don’t have to give up meat to change our impact. Cutting out just one burger per week would remove as much greenhouse gas pollution as taking your car off the road for 350 miles. If all Americans ate no meat or cheese one day a week it would have the same climate change prevention effect as taking 7.6 million cars off the road for one year. And while it’s more expensive, grass-fed beef does less damage to the environment. Even the smallest choices make a big difference to the environment, to our neighbours, to our health. In the US, people are starting to eat less meat. But the rest of the world is eating more. Just imagine: what if all 1.3 billion people in China ate three burgers a week like we do? Could our planet keep up?


Sharks rock!

Swiss May Grant Unconditional Income for ALL

A Letter From Ray Jasper, a deathrow inmate in Texas who is about to be executed 6 ways you can help save the oceans

What does a sustainable lifestyle look like and are many people actually prepared to voluntarily lead it?

I thought I would share this post I just made in response to another students post on my course forum. I won’t repost his full posting as that is private but the title is the main question he asked and I’m sure you can pick up what he was saying from my response. I’d love to hear any further feedback, questions or comments about my reply!

Steve what honesty! I like it and I love that you are coming around to the idea of Climate Change and questioning your friends.

I cannot speak for you, or your friends, or anyone else in the world but I can tell you how I feel and what I am doing about it. I’d love to know if you have actually asked your friends about this? Perhaps with your new found knowledge you can give them a run for their money?! Question that ski trip and perhaps prompt them to think about their own actions too? I think the biggest thing most people in the world are lacking, regardless of wealth, education, status or nationality, is knowledge and compassion. If these friends of yours you describe along with many other people in the Western world, stopped for a minute to actually think about where their energy is coming from, what it is doing to the planet and how this might be affecting other people in the world now or future generations then maybe they would feel compelled to make a difference? Maybe not as well.. I have spoken to many people who just don’t give a ****, which is fair enough! I don’t expect everyone to think the way I do or believe what I believe, but, education is one of the strongest things in this world and I think the greatest change we can all make, as environmental students/learners/believers, is to educate others. Even if just one person makes one change.. You know…etc

Anyway, firstly I just want to ask, do you have kids? Or are there children or young people that you care about? If so, then it’s not just the people of the Seychelles that are going to be affected by Climate Change, but our children and our grandchildren. These are the people that are going to grow up having to deal with the consequences of our actions and are going to have to live in a world that has been destroyed by our generation and previous.

I am 25 and have been lucky enough to grow up with a caring family, nice home, good education and money to spend so I appreciate that adapting to climate change is a lot easier for me plus I was taught as a child to be aware of things like switching off lights which has made me have a more conscious outlook on my life and the environment. So I do appreciate that I have grown up with Climate Change being a top new story and having learnt about it from a young age, I haven’t had to change my ways. Even I find it hard to change bad habits that I have made in just 25 years of life so I fully understand people who are 40, 50, 60+ may find it hard or not even want to make these changes.

However you asked ‘What does a sustainable lifestyle look like and are many people actually prepared to voluntarily lead it?’

I try to live my life as environmentally conscious and sustainably as I can, considering that I live in a big urban city with all the trimmings at my fingertips. I am very passionate about all things green, lefty and environmental so maybe I have the drive to learn more and make these changes but if everyone just made one change it would make a huge difference to the planet, their bank balance and even their health!

Firstly I don’t drive. Depending on where I live in the world I walk, cycle or take public transport. For long distance journeys I take public transport or car share. I know this is not a zero carbon lifestyle but I believe it makes a huge difference; to the environment, my bank and my health! I do travel a lot but I try to be very conscious about this by getting the train over flying wherever possible. However I am okay with the fact I may take flights a few times a year as I have made so many reductions in other parts of my life. I think it’s all about balance as it is impossible for us to all be perfect, the world isn’t built to be sustainable right now but we have the power to make choices.

I would love to have more control over my energy suppliers and installing things like water meters and energy/water saving devices but I live in a rented apartment. For now though I make huge efforts to switch off lights, unplug appliances, not run too many high energy things, keep the heating low..etc

I try to be aware of what I buy to minimise packaging and waste, only buy what I need, be aware of ethical consumerism..etc Reduce, Reuse, Recycle is a big moto of mine. I like to buy second hand furniture over brand new which is likely to be badly sourced wood..etc. I am big on recycling too but I am aware that this isn’t always as good as we think it is so I make a big effort to reduce my intake of plastics. I never buy plastic water bottles for instance and try not to buy stuff with lots of plastic packaging or which I know is bad for the environment.

I am a vegetarian and I eat mostly vegan. This is for health reasons as well as for my personal beliefs but mostly because I am aware of how bad the meat and dairy industry is for the environment. This is probably the area of my life I get the most flack for but I stand by my reasons and will happily educate people on why. I also make a big effort to always buy my food organic, non-gmo, fairtrade..etc

I just generally try to be very aware of what the environmental and social impacts are of everything I buy and do. This may sound horrible and very taxing but I find it honest and it is something that I care about so has just become second nature now. I make a lot of my own cleaning products..etc and try to keep away from chemically polluting things and companies that have a bad track record such as big beauty companies (l’oreal, proctor and gamble..etc) or big food corporations such as nestle.

If I could I would do much more such as growing my own vegetables, keeping chickens, insulating my house, changing energy supplier, offsetting my carbon footprint, reducing my intake and use of plastics..etc but financial reasons stop me as well as that I am young and still learning.

I also make an effort to buy from responsible and local companies, support local organisations, volunteer weekly and work for companies that are working towards a sustainable business.

It may sound like I do a lot but I have worked these things in gradually over time. Yes I was once an 18 year old that ate meat and went out drinking every night and didn’t care much about saving the world but I have learnt a lot and I am constantly making an effort to change my lifestyle a little bit more each year. I also think everyone is different and you cannot generalise people in to groups. I would say I come from a family that is socially aware full of bloody teachers, social workers and professors..etc (!!!) and although we are not perfect, far from it, I like to think we make a difference. Saying that I also know a lot of well off people who are not very socially aware and don’t do anything and then I know a lot of less well off people who are maybe less educated or who haven’t been given the same opportunities in life as us yet they are often the people that make the biggest difference and try the hardest. I think it is all about being open to change, self educating and taking one step at a time. If you don’t know why you are being told to turn off the lights or buy organic then why would you?

I hope that my experiences have helped you understand a sustainable life better and may have promoted you to have this discussion with your friends? I think a lot of people are all talk and no action but the worst thing people can do is generalise people in to groups and criticise them as a whole and also standing by and doing nothing. Just the fact alone that this course has taught you about Climate Change is great and has lead you to question your friends and perhaps your own life is the first step. You already seem to be more conscious then they are!

Many thanks for the discussion,

Another green lefty vegetarian tree-hugging hippy ;)

(Please note much of what I said was in response to something that was said in the original posting i.e my sign off so please see the humour in many of my references!)

Mar 03





I love this more than words could ever describe.

I have lived this.

Mar 03


Feminism is having a wardrobe malfunction.

Does your brand of feminism remove barriers for women, or simply move them around? Does is expand options for women, or does it just shift them? You don’t liberate women by forcing them to choose option B instead of option A. What is comfortable for you might not be comfortable for someone else, and it’s entirely possible that what you see as oppressive, other women find comfortable or even downright liberating.

Before you think the girl in the middle is a strawman, let me tell you I used to be her, back in my misguided youth. I considered myself the standard to which other people should adhere. But that was stupid. It’s not up to me to tell people how to dress, and it’s much nicer to let everyone choose for themselves.

Some women would feel naked without a veil. Some women would find it restrictive. Some women would feel restricted by a bra. Some women would feel naked without one. Some women would feel restricted by a tight corset. Others love them. Some wear lots of clothes with a corset. Some only wear the corset and nothing else. What makes any article of clothing oppressive is someone forcing you to wear it. And it’s just as oppressive to force someone not to wear something that they want to wear.

frankensteennn said: What do you think about that documentary blackfish?

Hi what a great question, thank you! Blackfish is something that is highly topical for me right now as I am a big ambassador for animal rights especially protecting marine animals such as whales and dolphins. I also volunteer at the Vancouver Aquarium which once owned an Orca but has since announced they will no longer capture marine mammals from the wild or display any marine mammal caught from the wild since 1993.

However with regards to Blackfish I think it is very controversial. I have seen it and I think it is great, I think it highlights some important truths, raises awareness about the conditions of animals at Sea World as well as scientific reasons as to why Orcas and dolphins should not be kept in small tanks or used as money making tools for corporations. I also think the media campaign that has since raised so much awareness for dolphins and whales in captivity and in the wild is great and is teaching people about the complex lives and emotions of dolphins and whales and some of the awful things that humans do to them.

However, I cannot say whether Blackfish is entirely truthful and I also do feel it is a bit sensational. I have heard rumours that it was all a plan to win an oscar..etc I try not to believe anything I read on the internet without doing my own research first but the fact I have heard so many mixed reviews about Blackfish does raise some questions for me. That said, I don’t think that the message of the film is wrong and I am extremely against capturing marine mammals from the wild, keeping them in small enclosures and training them to do tricks/be ridden and touched by humans for money. There are of course certain situations where I am okay with keeping marine mammals in aquariums such as at the Vancouver Aquarium where they have two dolphins who were rescued from fishing nets and due to their injuries were deemed unreleasable. They are now looked after at the Vancouver Aquarium where they take part in research and are on display as part of an educational program teaching visitors about the dangers faced by dolphins in the wild. The Vancouver Aquarium is also a non-for-profit charity that does so much great work protecting the oceans and marine life.

Sea World on the other hand has a terrible reputation and with just a bit of research on the internet with some reputable websites you will come across so much information about how little they do in terms of education and protecting/rehabilitating the animals they display. They are also a money making corporation that has done very little to protect whales and dolphins yet has made an awful lot of money for its bosses, chairmen, sponsors, shareholders..etc

Here is an interesting article that sums up Blackfish’s message and talks about the call to free Tilikum.

There are also many petitions calling to release Tilikum to a seapen including this one

Plus the story of Lolita is heartbreaking and there is also a petition which has gone to the government and is being backed by the Feds calling for Lolita to be released back to her pod which is now protected where she will be reunited with her mother after 43 years! If that doesn’t back Blackfish and make you slam Sea World then I don’t know what will!

Anyway I could talk about this all day but I hope I have answered your question and told you how I feel about Blackfish. I think it’s very sad yet a very good and powerful documentary and I think the compassion, support and action that it has created is even better! Two other great documentaries to watch are Blackfish’s partner The Cove and also Revolution which I think is a very truthful, moving and brilliant documentary about saving the oceans, our planet and climate change.

Thank you for reading!


Please take some time out of your day and watch this documentary. Everyone in the world needs to become more aware of the damage we are doing to the oceans and marine life. Not just through over-fishing but by polluting the oceans with rubbish and destroying coral reefs. I want my children to be able to grow up in a world with sharks, whales, seals and dolphins in the wild, as well as all other marine life. I want future generations to be able to swim in the Great Barrier Reef like I have or be able to eat seafood if they choose. At the rate we are going, all of it will be gone by the time my children are adults. This is not okay! Watch Blackfish and The Cove, eat sustainable seafood, sign a petition to save the Great Barrier Reef, don’t throw litter in the sea and reduce your use of plastics! If everyone in the world made these small changes, we can save the oceans because this is really happening.

Counting the Earth's living riches is a landmark moment

Could this be the turning point?

We’ve just reached 7 billion people on Earth.

This figure is set to reach almost 10 billion by 2050.

If our Earth is already in crisis now.. We can’t support the people we already have. Extreme weather, starvation, disease and war are killing millions of people each year. We are destroying the planet, it’s oceans, forests, ice caps and millions of species. Climate change is already changing our world faster then ever before.

What are we going to do?