Worldlog Week 43 – 2009

23 October 2009

Last week I was in Suriname on a working visit. The working visit with all Dutch party leaders was an extremely intensive one and I barely had time to write a report in between times. You can see a few photos of my visit to Suriname below. In the mean time, I read some spectacular news. Two researchers from the World Bank, Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang have researched cattle farming's effect on the climate. Their conclusion is shocking; cattle farming is not responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions, but for 51%. For those who are interested, you can find the report here.

Our scientific office is working on a film about how we are overfishing the oceans. Did you know that our cats eat more fish than all seals put together, that our pigs eat more fish that all sharks put together and that battery-farmed chickens eat more fish than all the puffins and albatross in the world?
Our Ponzi politics are taking a destructive toll on the futures of our children and our children’s children, from which there is no return.

In 1980 we surpassed the earth’s regenerative powers – we now consume more than the earth can provide. The Global Footprint Network calculates that what we consume this year after the 25th of September is stolen from future generations. Politics is guilty of Ponzi-type schemes in the areas of water management, food production, overfishing the oceans, the emission of carbon dioxide, the price of fossil fuels and the production of animal proteins.

According to the World Water Forum, 70% of the world's population will find themselves in drinking water dire straits by 2017, and yet the Netherlands still does not abate meat production that squanders thousands of litres of drinking water per kilogram.

400 children die every hour as a result of a lack of food, but we still hand over half the world's grain production to cattle farming. We know too that this problem is swiftly becoming unsolvable – according to the Food and Agriculture Organization, global food production will need to be 70% higher in 2050, something which is unthinkable when today’s use of raw materials is taken into account. The oceans will be empty of fish by 2048.

We know the world’s supply of phosphates will dry up this century, making the production of artificial fertiliser impossible, and still no one prioritises the stimulation of organic agriculture.

Climate scientists believe the consequences of climate change, which are becoming unmanageable, can be cut by 50 to 70% by swapping society to a plant-based existence, but the topic was never mentioned at the climate summit in Copenhagen.

We can wait for the consequences of this Ponzi politics, which will be hunger, influxes of refugees, wars and finally, conditions hostile to life on planet earth…or we could choose a different form of politics, one that focuses on sustainability and compassion. Albert Einstein said we cannot solve problems with the same thinking we used to create them. The fact that Ponzi politics is a bankrupt concept is something the voters will need to express.

One final great piece of news, a Dutch monthly magazine called Opzij has listed the 100 most powerful women in the Netherlands, spread over 10 categories. I’m included! Another woman and I are the youngest of the lot as 98 of the hundred were born before 1972.

This is a wonderful windfall for our movement, we can no longer be ignored, ridiculed or resisted – our efforts are being recognised far and wide, and that is to the animal’s benefit!

See you next week!