The recent controversy that arose from the video by Alberto Garzón, Minister of Consumption, about the recommendation or, rather, the need to eat less meat seems to me a great opportunity to finally put the issue on the table; never had a minister said it so clearly and so well explained and that, furthermore, it jumped to the front page of the media agenda and on everyone’s lips.
While it is true, I am very saddened that it happens at a time of such low morals for many politicians and the reactions have been in a tone of derision instead of a tone of disputed discrepancy. The palm, as everyone knows, has been taken by the President of the Government, answering in the purest ‘cuñao’ style. The vice president of Ecological Transition has answered with a great silence; surely because all this is more motivated by a political war than by the debate in question, you probably think similar. For the most skeptical, please watch the video calmly, it is very well founded and obviously very summarized, but providing the fundamental keys to the problem. Again, politics is more important. The loser, the usual ones, the environment and people’s health.
In the debate in the street, the tone of derision from the critics, mostly carnivores (people whose diet predominates meat against the criteria of health that they well know and shakes their consciences in the background) is very visible. That mockery is not clear to us if it would have been their natural reaction or in the end the politicians are great influencers and once again they should be reminded that perhaps they should be more ethical and responsible in their interventions due to the mere public responsibility that their positions oblige them. But here I would like to stop and tell the reader that, if he is one of those who has bothered with the video of the minister, this writing is especially addressed to him. Put your reactions aside for a moment and take a moment to read this and then reflect and reposition your ideas. I intend to give a more general framework that helps to see the problem in a more global context that makes the matter look from the point of view of the globe, not just from the individual point of view.
From the reactions of friends of whom I have defined as carnivores, I can only say that I see that the subject bothers them a lot, they justify with arguments that they themselves know they are not the best, but of course I notice them stung. My impression is that they have been personally upset. I’m sure they know perfectly well that their diet is not healthy, no matter how much the culture of this country allows you to defend it, even to brag about it. But it gives me that here the popular saying works perfectly: the one who chops garlic eats.
First of all, no one has told them not to eat meat. They know. The second thing, nobody has said, Mr. Revilla, that we eat only vegan burgers. And you know. Third, both Garzón, like me, and many nutritionists, we love to eat a steak, but knowingly and balancing the diet the rest of the week. And you all know it from the joke.
The problem of livestock and agriculture (they are directly related, more agriculture is spent on feeding livestock than on feeding ourselves. The manures of the first fertilize the second and pollute the soil and air) is a problem for our country, a little (14%) due to climate change, a lot for health, both due to diets and something that has not yet been barely entered into the debate, due to emissions of atmospheric pollutants such as ammonia (NH3, 96%) and NMVOCs (27%); without forgetting other very serious problems such as water pollution, deforestation, environmental degradation and displacement and damage to wild animal communities. The usual, the competition for the territory in which the natural spaces always lose. And finally, we will see these problems on a global scale that take on another dimension and we must all understand.
In our country, this is a very powerful sector, I am not going to go into what is involved in climate change, nor in the ecological footprint of carbon or water, problems perfectly explained in Garzón’s video and that at this point I hope that the reader has already seen it calmly attending to the numbers.
Regarding gas emissions, Spain has had a very big problem for years. And once again, environmental initiates, not everything is explained by climate change. Spain also has commitments for emissions of other gases that do not contribute to climate change, but they do directly affect the health of people in the country itself and in neighboring countries. This is how the control of these pollutants was born, by an international treaty that aims to control cross-border pollution within Europe from the acid rains that fell in countries such as Sweden as a result of the SO2 that emanated from the chimneys of the United Kingdom during the industrial revolution. in which coal was indiscriminately burned. By the way, problem solved, we are still living well and acid rain is not so much of a problem anymore.
At this time, I hope that the reader has discovered that, just as not only cars contribute to climate change but also livestock, now you see that not only cars damage our health in cities with the pollution of other gases, but also livestock and agriculture.
Well, the Ministry of Ecological Transition has a good headache because Spain will not be able to meet the objectives or commitments acquired in 2020 for the emission of these two pollutants. And both, but especially NH3 has its origin mainly in agriculture and livestock. And it is very difficult to stop it, among other things because the legislation is always very lax, because in the end we have not seen brave politicians who get involved in this issue, before they go out defending the interests of farmers and ranchers without more than facing the problem and to help them to be able to modernize without suffering losses and to create an industry of which we are all proud and is not seen as the enemy of the environment. But all this does not matter, we fail to comply with the commitments made in Europe and we will suffer the consequences. Trust me, they only talk about climate change, but air pollution is equal or more important and legally carries even greater risks.
The relation of agriculture, we all know it, cattle are fed with feed that comes from agriculture, the more intensive the exploitation, the more food must be provided. And we solve that in two ways: either by allocating more of our crops to livestock or by importing. If we do it here, we have a problem of ammonia emissions, a problem of water scarcity, a problem of the death of animals due to the use of phytosanitary products and herbicides, a problem of competition with natural spaces, even a food safety problem because we don’t produce enough. Or we can simply import it from other countries and outsource environmental problems, and let others suffer. Out of sight, out of mind. Well, as you surely know, this is one of the main causes of the disappearance of the Amazon, the jungles of Borneo and therefore the extinction of many animal species, of which, to get closer to your feelings of equality with animals, it includes the disappearance in a few years of the Orangutan, an almost human animal. I am ashamed to appeal to this, to easy emotions as politicians do; I hope that we all also care about the extinction of butterflies, bees, fish, etc.
Well, at this point, reducing meat consumption is not only good for your health (we can leave this to a personal decision of what to do with your life in the end) but it is also necessary for the health of the planet and the very existence of those thousands of species that are becoming extinct. In case you don’t know, we are experiencing the Sixth Great Mass Extinction. According to the records there were 5 others, almost all due to cataclysms such as the one known from the dinosaurs. The particular thing about the current one is that it is due to the fact that a single species is taking control and the use and enjoyment for itself of all the ecosystems of the Earth, including the oceans. Yes, we humans, the people who only think about political controversy. And if you think only about the economy, think long term, get it right now and the economy will not suffer future crashes.
Finally, reader, when the WHO and any nutritionist recommend a quantity of meat intake, they stop seeing it from the Eurocentric point of view, as privileged. We are about 300 million people who are lucky to see this as what a problem that we go beyond the recommended intake! What a bitch that I’m not going to be able to eat all the steaks I want, I’m going to have to cut myself! Well, for some 4,000 million people what worries them is that they do not reach the recommended daily intake! That is a problem. Put yourself in their place.
Fortunately, little by little these countries are developing and reaching a more recommendable and healthy nutrition. At the moment we see it in Asia, where millions of people are improving their standard of living and with it their consumption of fish and meat. Finally! They needed it and they have every right to do so. Now, if with what we have now agriculture, livestock and fishing are a problem for the planet, for our health and our economy sustained on the planet, what is going to happen in a few years?
Now do you think that we should all adjust to a more moderate carnivorous diet? Or do you feel so free to do what you want and I understand that others must also feel that way and in a few years we will be billions of people eating an excess of meat and fish that will leave us without a vacation because there will be no forests on Earth to walk in or sea to swim in?
Now comes the moment of reflection. To expand the points that you want to understand better. A video or an article does not go much. At the stroke of a tweet one is not trained, nor is informed.