Climate Justice – Moon’s History

Preamble

I really enjoy this preamble portion I’ve added to my posts. I’m drunk on power, I could say whatever I wanted… Peanuts!

Sorry to those of you with allergies that was probably very rude. Forgiveness, please!

Annnnyyyywaaaaay, when I say Moon’s history, I don’t mean the great celestial body in the sky, I actually am referring to myself, in the third person… You might think this is weird, but Le’Boo will tell you, I’ve been weirder.

Basically, I’m a trained anthropologist, working in a business management school, with a background in development. I interned with an NGO called Trócaire for 6 months in 2015. Myself and three other interns, who were also students from my Master’s programme, teamed up to write a project for Trócaire.

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The theme? Climate Justice awareness on the Maynooth Campus. This was where Trócaire had its headquarters. The results? Stunning. (Is this considered clickbait if you’re already reading?) Also here I am in 2015 nervously competing in a colloquium with PhD students when I was but a wee Masters student.

Climate Justice

Climate justice has been in the news lately connected with the 16-year-old Swedish student Greta Thunberg. Now what is climate justice, you ask, or maybe you’re nodding along because you already know, and that’s cool. Thanks for reading anyway. For me, climate justice is an amalgamation of the two most important issues facing humankind at the moment. The problems caused by climate change, and human rights.

They may seem like two diverse and unrelated topics but the truth is they are more connected than you can ever realise. Today I will tell you two interlocking stories from the perspective of food anthropology (it’s all I know people).

rancehers
Climate Justice

Let me tell you a story about a cattle rancher in the United States of America. They’ve raised cattle all their lives, and so has their family before them. For generations in fact and they are a staple of not only state beef consumption, but other parts of the country as well.

The rancher’s cattle have won awards and they make a conscious effort to feed them as close to a wild diet as possible, which adds to the flavour of the meat. They are also considered to be more ethically driven than other ranchers as they don’t corral their cattle into tight spaces, and they slaughter them as humanely as possible.

Yet when it comes down to it, there are still people just outside their property accusing the ranchers of being animals. They are murderers because eating meat is murder. The ranchers are both disheartened and angry because they are doing the best they can with what is their livelihood.

Now let me tell you a story of a small family in Africa, (bear with me it will all come back around I promise). Their family have lived in the area for thousands of years, and they cultivated grains for the most part. Their other subsistence was hunting and gathering up until more contemporary history. Now while some hunting and gathering still goes on they are expected to buy their supplementary fibre.

Their forefathers grew food and ate most of it themselves. Occasionally either

farmer-3239302_960_720
Climate Justice

trading the excess with neighbours or sharing when there was a feast or a famine. Although food was never bountiful, they rarely went hungry. Now they are expected to sell some of their hard grown food in exchange for money, to buy their remaining food needs.

Yet in the last 10 to 20 years, the farmers have been noticing a shift in the climate. Nothing too drastic at first, but year after year it builds. The summers are longer, and the wet season is shorter. Water is harder to come by, so their crops aren’t as plentiful as they once were. The farmers are falling on hard times, and not only do they have less crops to eat, but they have less to sell in exchange for other foods.

Where they may have sent all their children to school with the excess money, now they only send the eldest or perhaps only the male children. Female children are less likely to receive an education and are stuck in a poverty loop which is exacerbated by the tough climate.

Back in the United States, pressure is put on ranchers for producing beef. “People should eat less beef.” Cry the animal activists. “Beef is one of the worst contributors to Co2 emissions.” Cry the climate activists, and neither are wrong. Beef isn’t the healthiest of protein available, and cattle rearing produces dangerous amounts of carbon emissions.

Yet what of the rancher? They are just doing their job. If they change to farming something else, it will be very costly and may end up costing them their very livelihood. Plus there is a serious market for beef in the United States, and giving up that to grow something else could be a bad move business wise. Besides the climate isn’t affected that badly in America.

Climate Justice
Climate Justice

Conclusion

Most of the population that suffers from climate change, live in the poorest areas of the world. Our excessive need to have beef in our diet, and available in every fast food outlet, produces the market for beef. Yet the change in the climate caused by western agriculture and industry affects the already water-starved areas of the world.

Climate change is not proportional, and this is why justice must be served. Although many of us living in the western world cannot see the damage wrought by climate change, it is happening none-the-less, causing devastation to those already struggling to survive in the lower socio-economic bands of society.

This is a new series on my blog, one that was ignited back in 2013 when I was still a young idealistic fool. Now I am an older fool, but one who is idealistic still none-the-less. I am not willing to give up on climate justice, and neither should you.

That is why I have individual sustainability goals. That’s why I don’t eat beef, and only eat meat 3 days out of the week. It’s why I gave up fast fashion, and use a deodorant that is all natural. You can learn more about me in the sustainability section of my blog than anywhere else so you will be getting more of it in the coming months.

I hope you stay with me, and even if you don’t agree, you listen.

References

Principles of Climate Justice – Mary Robinson Foundation

Greta Thunberg

Sustainability & Anthropology

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12 thoughts on “Climate Justice – Moon’s History

Add yours

  1. I enjoyed reading this and I like that you’re talking about these topics. I don’t eat beef either and have been trying not to eat meat 2-3x a week. Does it bother me if other people eat beef? Not really. My family does but not often, but I can understand both sides of the issue. I think cutting back would help. It’s funny when I get around family and some don’t understand it at all. Part of the reason I did it is for the environment but also, I’m a huge animal lover. I stopped eating pork because my neighbors across the street have a pet pig and seeing it lying on their front porch during the summer just did something to shift my perspective haha.

    That went on longer than I meant it to but again, great post 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No I really appreciate the thoughts, and I’m glad there is someone else in the same boat as me. People keep making fun of me, and saying why would I choose not to eat beef or meat during the week etc, but I feel like I need to do my part. Honestly I’d love to be vegan, but I’m so bad at my diet as it is. Also pigs are so cute, and I feel bad everytime I east pork.

      Thanks again for reading and for sharing!!!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the feedback Steven. I always mean to write more about this stuff especially since I’m trained in it. I’m really glad you not only enjoyed it but feel like you’ve learned from it.

      More shall be coming in the future so. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s really hard for people and I understand that. I come from a country where beef is King, and people get insulted when I don’t support beef farming. It’s not about not supporting the farmers, it’s about needed support to change people’s mindsets. Thanks for reading Michelle. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post thinking 🌒. I was raised a vegetarian and till this day I have not even touched an egg despite this I am confused how one kind of food choice is better than the other. I believe we all are confused and can’t say why we love one animal to eat and cuddle the other. In certain countries our beloved dogs (though I personally like cats more) are the delicacy and our hearts cry to see them on diner table as food but on the other hand the cows on the plates are acceptable. How eating the vegetables is not violence considering that plants have life and can feel pain and why to eat humans is punishable by law considering that we eat all kind of animals.

    There are many questions and answers are scarce to comeby.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are so right, in fairness plants are alive just as much as you or I, and we were bred as omnivores. I think the issue is the cruelty to animals, their whole lives is an exercise in creating food for humans. Thanks for sharing!

      Like

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