Vegans 🥬Versus Meat 🥩
Both approaches can help solve Climate Change - when done the right way!
Let me first introduce our Guest Writer and thank him for giving us permission to publish his blog.
Khory Hancock (known as The Environmental Cowboy) is a country boy & Environmental Scientist on a journey that aims to inspire a complete regeneration of our forests, oceans and soils. He is an Environmental Scientist with a vision to empower others to regenerate our natural world ultimately creating a more sustainable future for our world.
Climate change is by far the biggest threat the world faces and Khory (aka The Environmental Cowboy) is starting an industry wide movement to drastically reduce our carbon emissions (by using renewable energy) and capitalise on the economic and social opportunities to draw it back down out of the atmosphere and store it safely in our oceans, forests and soils (carbon farming).
Khory originally comes from a 30 000 acre cattle station on Carnarvon Gorge, central Queensland, Australia. Growing up on the land helping his family run cattle for a living taught him basic sustainability principles - about giving back and looking after the land so that it could continue to support us. Khory now works as an environmental professional across many different industries including carbon farming, land management and rehabilitation, water management, regenerative agriculture and Light Rail (public transport). He is a highly sought after public speaker and social media influencer that provides solutions to the environmental challenges we face at an individual and company level. He uses the 'cowboy' persona to communicate the messages more effectively to the public. Join The Environmental Cowboy for adventure after adventure that inspires and is full of laughs for all!
Back to Khory’s presentation:
Firstly, the comments and messages I get on my social media are highly regulated. There is no toleration of rude, aggressive, disrespectful or ignorance towards this page or others. When it comes to this topic, this is by far the worst I have seen...and I constantly hear or read things like 'if you're an environmental scientist can't you see the facts about going vegan?!' or from the other side.... 'vegans have no idea and it's all bullsh*t!'
So I thought I would set the facts straight. I stay out of the ethical side as well, after all I am a scientist...I just give the facts on the current science.
Now to be clear, I SUPPORT BOTH SIDES OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL ARGUMENT. And for good reason.
Health and nutritional science facts have also been left out of this piece as well.
VEGANISM PROS - Current Scientific Theory
• By eating less beef, lamb and pork (high carbon emission producing meat) you are dramatically reducing your carbon footprint under current agricultural practises.
• Less water usage by going vegan
VEGANISM CONS – Current Scientific Theory
• The scientific research does suggest veganism is one of the main ways you can act on climate change HOWEVER.... It doesn't take holistic and regenerative farming into account
• Not everyone wants to go vegan
• We need people out there managing the land to help it regrow and recover as we have changed the landscapes dramatically
• Most agricultural crops/vegetable farms are still conventionally farmed and do not aim to regenerate the soil and store carbon
• The current and future climate impacts now need to be counteracted, at scale. The only way to do that is to have farmers still employed out there on the land.
MEAT EATER PROS - Current Scientific Theory
• Holistic and regenerative grazing practises using animal agriculture/better cropping strategies is the only current way we know how to regenerate not only soil carbon but also woody revegetation in parts of Australia at the speed we need to counteract climate change.
• Holistic and regenerative grazing practises can actually increase water holding capacity in soils, nutrient cycling and reduce surface water runoff
• Animal agriculture keeps employment rates high, not only in rural areas but urban as well, such as the hospitality industry
• It supports economic growth.
MEAT EATER CONS - Current Scientific Theory
• Currently, there is only a small minority of farmers implementing regenerative agricultural practises (an estimated 10-15% in Australia).
• There is a high demand for agriculture to produce more and more
• This is not currently a sustainable way to manage our land, especially with the rapidly changing climate and growing population.
• The current economic model needs to be transitioned away from high production growth rate but replaced with something that helps regenerate and manage our land, while also maintaining the current social and economic models
SOLUTIONS - Based on my educated/scientific strategies theory backed by research
We need a complete transformation in industry to replace the high demand for animal agriculture and replace it with more sustainable industries like Carbon Farming (a way to pay farmers to regenerate their soils and forests by storing carbon) to encourage alternative approaches to agriculture, like holistic and regenerative farming.
To do this, we need both meat eaters and vegans. Not one side or the other is the ultimate answer to sustainability. It does not mean we get rid of animal agriculture entirely either, it’s just about transitioning away from the current industrial models into more effective ones.
THE WORLD NEEDS MEAT EATERS. THE WORLD NEEDS VEGANS.
The world needs less meat eaters to reduce the demand on industrial agriculture, so go vegan if you wish. If you wish to eat meat, try and purchase through farmers who are implementing the regenerative practises on their stations...support those that are doing better (I can refer you to a few names if you wish) because animal agriculture using more effective management strategies, as I stated before has been proven to be the only way we know how to regenerate our deteriorated landscapes in a rapidly changing climate.
Alternatives to high carbon producing meats like beef and sheep under the current model includes eating kangaroo meat, to manage their exploded populations out in Western Australia due to agricultural expansion.
Buy carbon offsets/credits and encourage the company you work for as well so you support carbon farming which in turn gives cattle/sheep station owners a financial incentive to implement regenerative practises that increase soil carbon and biodiversity.
Personal beliefs should be respected. Think about the word holistic...as we are using it to describe a multi-disciplinary approach to farming practises (both for veggies and meat!). There is not one solution to climate change, which is the most pressing issue of our time. There are many. We don't know what we don't know, and I don't pretend to know everything either. But that is half the fun...learning new things, approaches and ways to do things better.
The ONLY way to achieve that, is through a respect for people's different beliefs to help gain a deeper understanding of both sides.
Written by Environmental Scientist and Climate Change Solutions Strategist, Khory Hancock.