Save The Planet: Eat A Scientist!

Both Slashdot and BoingBoing linked to this article today. If you frequent these sites I’m sure you’ve seen it.

I for one wish I hadn’t.

I got work to do, so I will keep this brief and to the point:

Getting rid of your dog, or your kitty or even your freaking goldfish, won’t absolve you of having a gasoline-guzzling monster of a car.

This is sheer lunacy. Even if I ignore that what carnivorous animals eat is mostly crap that a human wouldn’t touch if you starved him for a month (in other words  the yucky by-products of the production of food for humans) this so-called theory isn’t worth the paper it was printed on. All our cat does is purr, eat, chase the occasional bird and sometimes fart a little (oh, horror, just like those evil moose farts that we got to fret about a few years ago). A car, on the other hand, is a machine that eats gasoline, which by the way happens to be a non-renewable resource, and blows tons of exhaust into the air. Exhaust that is composed of carcinogenic hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide (which causes global warming), nitrogen oxide which causes (amongst other things) acid rain, and a slew of other friendly compounds. Aside from that cars aren’t known for being that great on the subject of biodegradeability.

And now try to tell me that I should get rid of Cat and buy a car. I dare you. I double dare you. And if you try, I’ll shove my carbon footprint up your stupid pseudo-scientific arse.

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13 thoughts on “Save The Planet: Eat A Scientist!

  1. According to the article, the authors are architects, not scientists. You might want to change the title of your post. Architects are probably tastier, anyway. 🙂

    But yeah, it is pretty dumb, isn’t it? Our basic problem is overpopulation. Neither pets nor cars would be much of a problem without that, and getting rid of pets would do nothing at all if we keep reproducing so irresponsibly.

    Actually, for many people I know, pets are a substitute for children, so it might make more sense to ENCOURAGE pet ownership. (No, I’m not seriously suggesting that as any sort of solution to overpopulation, either.)

  2. I don’t think overpopulation is a problem… yet. We could keep population at the same level (or a bit more) without destroying the environment if we applied our scientific knowledge to controlling the pollution that we produce. That’s the real issue: we *have* the technology to solve the problem, but to do so would require us to put the environment over profit. That’s why I so intensely dislike the argument that global warming is a moral/personal problem: it’s not. It’s a systemic problem and needs a systemic solution.

  3. That article is impressively moronic. Eat the architect!
    … I’m up for encouraging pet ownership, but not breeding. Lets give those animals who get killed in shelters homes now, and ditch the car (or downgrade your car! Seriously, most people don’t need huge vehicles!). And how about investing in public transport, which desperately needs to be done in North America. *sigh* So many issues.

  4. (Hello, Verena. I’m somebody who reads your husband’s blog and likes his work and ideas. Recently, I began reading yours too, and am quite liking it, especially these short posts in which your writing flows marvellously!)

    I don’t think overpopulation is a problem… yet.

    No? Then I disagree radically with you here. It is one of our basic problems indeed: it would be tiring to describe everything it causes/worsens; just think about it. Poverty itself, for example. But anyway, if it isn’t a problem in Europe (as far as I know, population is decreasing and the number of people more than 65 years old is increasing there, isn’t it?), it surely is in the rest of the World.

  5. No? Then I disagree radically with you here. It is one of our basic problems indeed: it would be tiring to describe everything it causes/worsens; just think about it. Poverty itself, for example. But anyway, if it isn’t a problem in Europe (as far as I know, population is decreasing and the number of people more than 65 years old is increasing there, isn’t it?), it surely is in the rest of the World.

    But poverty isn’t caused by the amount of people there are, it’s caused by how resources are distributed. Let’s take a famous example: the image of overpopulated Indian slums with the huge skyscrapers of the rich rising in the background (you can find similar images anywhere these days, from Africa to America). Do we have these slums because there are too many people? No. We have them because the people in the skyscrapers make more money in a day than the people in the slums make in a year. If this was more balanced, the slums could be decent housing, and the situation would be completely different. It’s not like we don’t have the space – right now, we still do. It’s just how we use it that sucks.

    To reverse the thought: if there were fewer of us, would we be richer? No, because for the people on top to have almost everything, we must have almost nothing. If you put 99& of your resources in one basket, the other one will logically only have 1%.

    A few years ago there was a UN report on how much it would take to feed, clothe, house and educate the entire population of the planet. It was less money than we are spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Or think about food – we are producing enough to feed the whole world over, and yet world hunger has reached over 1 billion people this year. There is only one reason for this: we destroy huge amounts of food for the sake of market prices. We would continue to engage in this kind of idiocy no matter how many people there are, because production in the free market is not controlled by reason.

    Finally, as Sarah mentioned, public transport would solve a huge number of problems. Unfortunately, we either don’t have enough of it or it is unaffordable to the common person. It would be ridiculously easy (especially compared to blowing up civilians in faraway countries) to institute free public transport, and it would make a huge difference to the environment. Why aren’t we doing it? Because the people in power refuse to put anything outside the reach of the free market. And so paying for a bus ride costs as much as a meal, and going by plane to a nearby city is cheaper than going by train.

  6. But poverty isn’t caused by the amount of people there are, it’s caused by how resources are distributed.

    That’s certainly debatable, but it’s not the big problem, anyway. The Earth is finite, and overpopulation stresses any environment. There are just too many people using too many resources. And unfortunately, increasing the wealth of the vast numbers of poor people on the planet would make the situation even worse. People are people, and they’ll want the same kinds of things that wealthier people want (and rightly so).

    There are certainly things that we can do to lessen our impact on the environment, but the more people there are, the harder that is to do. Pollution is a byproduct of life. When populations were small, the Earth could handle it. But with 7 billion people on the planet, and billions more yet to come, we’ve long passed the point where natural processes can cope.

    With technology and intelligence (and will, which is something sadly lacking), we might be able to cope with 7 billion people. But it will get harder and harder with more people. And don’t other species have any right to a small portion of the planet themselves? We are crowding them out, and crowding the Earth to ecological collapse. There are certainly other causes, but the root cause of all this is overpopulation.

    And as a practical matter, rapid population growth also makes it harder for a developed country to grow itself out of poverty. Haiti, for example, suffers from ecological collapse amid one of the highest birthrates in the world. It has a lot more problems than just population growth, but that rapid growth makes all of them harder to fix.

  7. The Earth is finite, and overpopulation stresses any environment. There are just too many people using too many resources. And unfortunately, increasing the wealth of the vast numbers of poor people on the planet would make the situation even worse. People are people, and they’ll want the same kinds of things that wealthier people want (and rightly so).

    That all depends on how wealthier people live. There are thousands of things we could do to improve our environmental impact as a society.

    But with 7 billion people on the planet, and billions more yet to come, we’ve long passed the point where natural processes can cope.

    If it gets a lot more, it will certainly become impossible.

    There are certainly other causes, but the root cause of all this is overpopulation.

    Really? Think about the disproportionate amount of pollution coming out of the United States; its population isn’t that large compared to the landmass it inhabits, and yet the amount of pollution produced by America is significantly higher than that of comparable countries, such as Europe. But Europe has the same quality of life, the same amount of technology – it’s just used in a slightly more rational way. And European environmental laws are still pretty bad, and European industry still driven by profit. Take Germany, for instance – do you know how far down we could take emissions just by creating free public transport?

    And as a practical matter, rapid population growth also makes it harder for a developed country to grow itself out of poverty. Haiti, for example, suffers from ecological collapse amid one of the highest birthrates in the world. It has a lot more problems than just population growth, but that rapid growth makes all of them harder to fix.

    History shows us that high population growth is usually the result of poverty, not the other way around. Even within one nation, if you observe the poor parts of the population, you will see a significantly higher growth rate. Or just compare Europe to poorer countries. Higher standards of living mean that people generally have fewer children. If there were fewer people, working people would still not profit from their work while their CEOs prospered, and poverty would be just as real. But if people actually got paid for their work, and we distributed resources more justly, birth rates would go down.

  8. But poverty isn’t caused by the amount of people there are

    Well, I didn’t say that anyway. “Causes/worsens”: poverty is certainly not caused by overpopulation (please!), but it is undoubtedly worsened by it and I think I don’t need to explain why.

    (…) it’s caused by how resources are distributed.

    The issues you mentioned here (and a lot others) aren’t really caused by overpop, that’s true. It isn’t the “source of all evil today”; actually I think it currently is more an aggravating factor than a problem source.

    Liked your argumentation. It’s a shame so few people know all of that…

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