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Paleo and the environment

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  • Paleo and the environment

    Does anyone else wonder what would happen to the world if Paleo became mainstream?

    It seems to me that a diet based to a much larger extent on animal and fish products would put a much greater strain on the environment damaging it more and more quickly.

    Also, mainstream would mean that you've got Jon and Jane Stupid and their interpretation of Paleo. Which would likely just mean eating tons of cheap beef and battery farmed chicken. Probably in the form of bap-lass McDonalds 'Happy Meals'.

    I think this Paleo malarky needs to stay underground. At least for the sake of the planet.

  • #2
    I think if they ate cheap beef and battery farmed chicken they's die even sooner than if they stayed on SAD.

    Eating primal is not cheap. I pay dearly for grass-fed meats and dairy. I had to increase my food budget by $50/week. Thankfully I'm earning more now than I did this time last year, but if our family suffered an economic setback, I'm not sure what I would do.

    They only way this could be sustainable on a global level is if every single person eating and breathing thought first about their environment and the neighbors BEFORE they thought about themselves. There would be no room for greed or dominance if the whole world went primal, truly primal, according to the "Blueprint." Because then everyone would be healthy and happy. Imagine a whole world of healthy, happy people. You may not need to lock your door.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by jonnyhollis View Post
      Does anyone else wonder what would happen to the world if Paleo became mainstream?

      It seems to me that a diet based to a much larger extent on animal and fish products would put a much greater strain on the environment damaging it more and more quickly.
      No, it's actually the other way round.

      Grass is actually an even better sequestrator of carbon than trees. Grazing animals should be out there on grass. it's actually cheaper, and the only reason why that doesn't happen in the U.S. is government subsidies to grain-growers.

      All healthy farming is built on perennials (like grass) and grazing animals to crop it and drop dung. The trick is you must keep moving them -- every day. You can do that with electric fence. This is what happens in the wild: effectively the movable fence mimics what wolves and fire do. If they don't move around, the dung doesn't get spread so that there's no feeding of the soil in some places, and a scorching excess of nitrates, etc., in others.

      You can slot some crop-growing into that cycle. Without it, how are going to feed the crop? You'll soon exhaust the soil. The current answer is to use artificial fertilisers -- but that's a non-renewable resource (they're made from petrochemicals) and in any case they don't supply humus. Over time it destroys soil structure.

      There's what's called the Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico and it's growing ... that's caused by large-scale intensive crop farming.

      http://serc.carleton.edu/microbelife...one/index.html


      The only thing that is sustainable in the long run is small-scale mixed farming.

      The man to hear on this is Joel Salatin.

      Go on -- it's an important issue for the future, and it doesn't cost much for one of his books:

      The Sheer Ecstasy of Being a Lunatic Farmer: Amazon.co.uk: Joel Salatin: Books

      Here he is being interviewed -- audio available:

      http://livinlavidalowcarb.com/blog/‘...ocal-food/6230

      I doubt any informed source in the Uk would tell you any different. Have a look at the Soil Association's website, for example.
      Last edited by Lewis; 09-25-2012, 10:19 AM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by HilaryJ View Post
        I think if they ate cheap beef and battery farmed chicken they's die even sooner than if they stayed on SAD.
        Actually, most paleo adovcates (bloggers and big names) say it's better to eat paleo/primal/ancestral with low quality foods than to stay on the grain-based/high-processed/high-carb diets.
        Depression Lies

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        • #5
          Yes, if 7 billion people (or 9B, or 12B...) started eating more meat, there would be a major problem. There is no way to grow enough food to feed the current population without artificial fixation of nitrogen for fertilizer, which given our current energy economy requires the extraction and burning of fossil fuels.

          I don't know how many grazing animals and how much permaculture-based plant food the world could support if we converted the monocropped corn, soy and wheat fields to pasture, but it almost certainly wouldn't be enough to feed everyone. We are currently eating a lot of food grown with petroleum energy instead of sunlight. Meeting this energy demand with renewables only (assuming we don't solve the fusion problem in the near future), which is what we would have to do to have an energy-sustainable food supply, is a serious challenge and may be impossible.

          Overpopulation (despite the protestations of a few around here) is a major, major problem affecting nearly every aspect of human life, and the dependence of our food supply on unsustainable energy production (and the attendant environmental degradation inherent to this agricultural technology) is only one of the many symptoms. The population simply cannot continue to increase or even remain steady if we want to solve the problems it's causing right now.
          Today I will: Eat food, not poison. Plan for success, not settle for failure. Live my real life, not a virtual one. Move and grow, not sit and die.

          My Primal Journal

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Uncephalized View Post
            I don't know how many grazing animals and how much permaculture-based plant food the world could support if we converted the monocropped corn, soy and wheat fields to pasture, but it almost certainly wouldn't be enough to feed everyone.
            It's always those that don't know that shout the most.

            If current practice carries on it will simply destroy soil structure, besides causing even more soil-erosion and poluution of waterways. That will not feed anyone.

            To the OP. Try the links I gave.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Uncephalized View Post
              Overpopulation (despite the protestations of a few around here) is a major, major problem affecting nearly every aspect of human life, and the dependence of our food supply on unsustainable energy production (and the attendant environmental degradation inherent to this agricultural technology) is only one of the many symptoms. The population simply cannot continue to increase or even remain steady if we want to solve the problems it's causing right now.

              Wait, there are people here that don't think this is an issue? Holy shit.
              I used to seriously post here, now I prefer to troll.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Uncephalized View Post
                I don't know how many grazing animals and how much permaculture-based plant food the world could support if we converted the monocropped corn, soy and wheat fields to pasture, but it almost certainly wouldn't be enough to feed everyone.
                Infographic: How big a backyard would you need to live off the land? | MNN - Mother Nature Network

                Someone did the math for you. About half an acre per person, give or take, depending on location and soil and weather, etc.

                Even with just the "prime" farmland (~7million acres), by these methods the state of Wisconsin could support double its current population (just shy of 6 million), leaving all the non-prime farmland (another 7 million acres) for money crops. This doesn't include the 30 million acres of rural non-agricultural land, as a good portion of that is likely to be heavily wooded. Not all states are as fortunate in farming conditions as Wisconsin is, though- lots of rivers and pretty good soil all around.
                Last edited by jfreaksho; 09-25-2012, 07:16 PM.

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                • #9
                  To do it in a more sustainable way but still remaining 'paleo' you could eat less meat, raise your own chickens for eggs and grow your own tubers and some caloric dense fruit. I don't think blanket recommendations for everyone to eat more meat is the right way to go about things.

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                  • #10
                    If the world went paleo... I definitely see meat prices going up but I'm pretty sure many people will start growing their own as well. This of course will lead to me getting more and more meat for free when I start cattle raiding.
                    In all of the universe there is only one person with your exact charateristics. Just like there is only one person with everybody else's characteristics. Effectively, your uniqueness makes you pretty average.

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                    • #11
                      There are a few areas where I think people could do quite well.

                      Since going primal/paleo, my husband and I have noted that we are eating far few calories because of the satiety business from fat. DH used to consume A LOT of food, but now he's consuming about 1/2 than he was before. And, he's just as strong, lean, able to build muscle, etc. I dropped my calories down by about 1/4, which is still great.

                      We also started consuming more bone broth, which increases protein uptake, which means that you actually require less protein per lb lean muscle mass (ie, we're moving down to the .8 per lb lean muscle mass right now as an experiment), which could mean consuming less meat, and if you're eating the whole animal, then it's really consuming fewer animals.

                      We're also keeping track of how much produce we need and how much our community garden provides, as well as local farms. Eating seasonally makes a huge difference.

                      I do believe it's possible to live well as a primal person.

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                      • #12
                        OK then maybe in a perfect world, full of intelligent primal people, with no interference from multinationals and governments, it wouldn't be that bad for the environment. But I just don't see this happening if it went mainstream and huge profits became invloved. You'd get the food industry version of Paleo sold to the masses and I dread to think what that would involve at the farm level and environment level.

                        I just see a vast expansion of super farms filling the rapidly heating up planet with even more cow and pig farts. Big industry and Paleo won't go well together in my opinion and that's what you'd have if it went mainstream.

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                        • #13
                          Perfect, imperfect. . . only thing I can really worry about or control is myself, right?

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                          • #14
                            There's too many people on the planet to support paleo, this is why there was a population explosion once humanity started agriculture. That said certain steps could be taken to maximise food production like people eating liver and heart, which are commonly thrown away. Anyway I really don't care about the environment, our contribution as individuals is utterly insignificant and I'll be dead before the climate gets significantly worse (if it does).
                            http://lifemutt.blogspot.sg/ - Gaming, Food Reviews and Life in Singapore

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                            • #15
                              You're right, there are too many people on the planet and they'll be even more when the Great Fill Up is over. 10 billion being inevitable by 2040 or 50, as the parent of child 10 billion is already alive now. But you are right, as an individual, there's nothing you can do to really make a difference. Change will only happen once population size effects the economy on a really significant scale.

                              Thing is, I do care about my kids but all I can do is educate them. Maybe get them to think about some kind of Paleo career or one in saving the environment. Both of which are going to be huge when everything else economically goes to sh*t.

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