Blog Action Day: Water

Friday, October 15th, 2010

Today, dear grasshopers, is Blog Action Day – the fourth annual. Held every October 15th, the goal is to focus attention on a given topic via mass participation (this year, the White House is even getting in on the act!). Whereas previous year’s topics have included poverty, the environment and climate change, Blog Action Day 2010 is all about water. Pollution, scarcity, waste – you name it. Water it is.

As I noted last year, pretty much any and every topic under the sun can be tied to veganism and animal advocacy in some way, shape or form. Last year ’twas simple; the consumption of animal flesh and secretions is a major contributor to climate change. So too does our exploitation of nonhuman animals impact water, in myriad ways: waste from animal agriculture operations pollute our waterways; the production of “meat,” eggs and dairy requires the use (waste) of more water than does eating lower down on the food chain; and, by contributing to climate change, animal ag. has a further negative impact on weather patterns, including precipitation. Etc., etc.

Unfortunately, looking at change.org’s Blog Action Day page, one might not know this. Of its 18 featured post ideas, only one mentions “meat” production, and with little context – only by clicking through to The Water Project’s website does the reader learn of “meat’s” “water cost” relative to, say, an apple. Since most of us consume three meals a day throughout our lives (while only purchasing a new cell phone or pair of jeans sporadically), food should really be a primary focus of this action day as opposed to an afterthought, don’t you think?

Because I’m feeling both lazy and cynical (the former perhaps owing to the latter), I really don’t have the heart to delve too much more into the topic. Luckily, Elaine did, so instead I shall direct you to her post, and leave you with the following tables to consider:

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Table: The water cost of food
Source: The Water Project. Click through for a plain-text version.
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(More below the fold…)

Veganism is the solution. (VeganMoFo, meet Blog Action Day!)

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

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As you may have already heard, today is the third annual Blog Action Day. Started in 2007, the goal is to create awareness of a single issue through mass participation. Activists online – and in the real world – focus their attention on a social problem: by writing or blogging about the issue; by posting links to Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites; by donating time and money; by discussing the topic amongst friends and family members; and so forth. This year’s topic is climate change; previous areas of concern were the environment and poverty.

While easyVegan is an animal rights blog, this is the third year I’ll be participating. The environment, climate change and yes, even poverty – all can be discussed vis-à-vis our relationship to animals. In fact – and this occurred to me while voting on next year’s topic – pretty much any subject you dream up can be tied back to animal rights, environmental justice and/or veganism. Issues of race, gender, sexuality, class, size, health, nutrition, labor, poverty, xenophobia, species, nature, the environment – you name it – all are interconnected. (So much so that it’s starting to feel arbitrary and capricious to file some posts under “intersections” at the expense of others; ditto: veganism. This entire blog is centered around veganism, yo!)

Some of these connections are more obvious than others; for example, like many of the animal advocates taking part in Blog Action Day, my focus will be on the significant contribution of animal agriculture to climate change. Other intersections are much more subtle; take, for example, PETA’s “Save the Whales” billboard. While clearly sizeist, PETA’s fat-shaming is classist and racist, too. Because PETA fails to address factors linked to class and race (which themselves are inextricably connected) that make it more difficult for disadvantaged populations to consume a healthy, cruelty-free diet, the campaign reinforces class and race privilege and shifts responsibility to the individual, in contrast to systemic factors that set certain people up for failure.

So it feels somewhat serendipitous that the third annual Blog Action Day – for climate change, to boot – falls smack dab in the middle of the third annual Vegan Month of Foods. I guess you could write this off as laziness, but the two blog carnivals (swarms? whatever!) seem a perfect match – so much so that they can share one post between the two of ’em! Action to combat climate change must include veganism – not as an afterthought, not as a quirky personal choice, not one day a week – but as a lifelong commitment by humans (at first living in privileged/developed nations, and perhaps some day globally) to stop viewing other animals as commodities, products to be bought, sold, used and discarded at our convenience.

For we all share the same fate: the water we poison with animal waste; the antibiotics we inject into sick and tortured factory farmed animals; the methane we unleash into the atmosphere; the forests we de-virginize; the so-called “pest” species we eradicate; the ecosystems we decimate – we are all one. We all share one planet, one environment. We all breathe the same air, drink the same water, bask under the rays of the same sun. That which we do to one being, we do to all beings. Once we rationalize and accept our subjugation and exploitation of one class of “lesser” animals, it becomes that much easier to extend the oppression to other classes of animals – humans and nonhumans alike.

Veganism is a diet, yes, but it’s also so much more: a lifestyle, an ethical system, a new way of viewing the world and one’s place within it. A light bulb, if you will.

Before I get full-on radfem, let’s return to the topic at hand: climate change and veganism (or, because I’m all about the macro, the environment and veganism).

Here are five reasons (out of a multitude) why environmentalists should – must – eliminate animals and their secretions from their diets.

(More below the fold…)

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty – Eat Green, Save Green

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

The following is the 2008 Blog Action Day post I wrote for Smite Me! [.net], my non-AR blog. At first, I’d intended to write a post about how to live frugally while also being eco-friendly, but it quickly morphed into a post about veg*n food. Blame it on VeganMoFo!

If I have enough time tonight, I’d also like to blog about the impact of the economic crisis (especially foreclosures) on our animal companions, but that remains to be seen. In the meantime, check out this piece at Invisible Voices, in which Deb links Nestle’s exploitation of women and children to that of animals.

Who says animal liberation isn’t a feminist issue?

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In the wake of the current credit and banking crises, many pundits have been predicting that the presidential candidates will have to curb their proposed spending plans drastically when the winner takes office in January. With home foreclosures skyrocketing, pumping money towards renewable energy may seem like a luxury. Yet, an investment in these technologies could create jobs and set us on the path to energy independence. Though the initial investment might be high, the cost of feeding our oil addiction may prove much higher.

Aside from voting and petitioning our state and federal representatives, there’s little we can do as individuals to impact federal spending on eco-friendly options. However, on a micro level, we have a chance to save both money and the earth through the many little (and the few big) choices we make on a daily basis. Just as with the federal government’s expenditures, being “green” may cost a little more up front, but could save us money in the long run.

In a recent piece at Grist, Miles Grant observes notes an obvious parallel between tips to help you save money – and tips to help you save the environment:

Who are you to deny me my two-car garage filled with junk, an elegant dining room I’ll never use, and massive heating/cooling bills?

That’s the basic response from critics when greens question McMansions in particular and our consumer culture in general. I mean, isn’t newer, bigger, better the American way? Didn’t President Bush urge us to go shopping more?

But one financial advisor says trying to look rich by buying so much stuff is keeping some Americans from being rich. And while he never once mentions the environment, his prescriptions for building your savings have a lot in common with tips for cutting your environmental impact.

Being green and being frugal aren’t mutually exclusive, you see. Oftentimes, the two go hand in hand.

This year’s Blog Action theme is poverty; because I’m all about intersecting oppressions (such as classism, environmental destruction and the role of the megatheocorporatocracy in each), I thought I might offer some food-related tips for positively impacting your cash flow and your ecological imprint. Since we’re in the midst of the Vegan Month of Foods – for which I’ve been baking, cooking, drying and otherwise experimenting like mad – I’d like to focus on food, specifically, how one can eat green to save green.

(More below the fold…)

Painting the Interwebs Green

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Yo! It’s Blog (for Enviro) Action Day!

According to the blogswarm’s www site, there are three things you can do to join the fifteen thousand (!) other green activists blogging for the planet today:

On October 15th, bloggers around the web will unite to put a single important issue on everyone’s mind – the environment. Every blogger will post about the environment in their own way and relating to their own topic. Our aim is to get everyone talking towards a better future.

Blog Action Day is about MASS participation. That means we need you! Here are 3 ways to participate:

* Post on your blog relating to the environment on Blog Action Day
* Donate your day’s earnings to an environmental charity
* Promote Blog Action Day around the web

I had a whole junk-you-should-be-doing-to-save-the-environment-but-you-aren’t-because-
it’s-totally-inconvenient-and-the-speciesist-jerks-at-the-sierra-club-aren’t-
pressing-the-issue-because-gawd-forbid-they-offend-a-few-liberals-OMG!!! mega-post planned out, but now here it is, 8:30, and I still have a pile of laundry to sort and a sink full of dishes to scrub and my how the day’s gotten away from me! (That, and I was busy moving my main blog from http://www.kellygarbato.com to http://www.smiteme.net – just though I’d drop that in there, ahem.) So. In two words: go veg. In spite of PETA, not because of them.

And if you want to donate to an enviro charity…I *heart* Farm Sanctuary. But you probably already knew that.

Now go! Blog! Browse! Link!

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