VEGA News Item

Give Up Meat To Save The Planet - 02/11/2009

Front page of Times says - give up meat to reduce climate change

Times Front Page

1. It has been a hectic week and another is due to stretch VEGA’s resources to the limit; and the pressure is likely to be unremitting for the rest of the year.

2. Good.  It’s what we are here for, as an independent scientific research Trust – an NGO with experience of foodie and environmental matters in the purview of “farming, food, health, and the land,” and – unusually, alas – a concern for those other animals, domestic and wild, whose territories and lives have been neglected in measures more in the style of jackboots than footprints.  Nowadays, we try to keep up with events and reports of our own research and interpretations of the general scene.  Periodic surges of research have preceded several international conferences of high significance, and preparatory conferences are held, still with high significance.  We are now on course for a plenipotentiary conference on food security and climate change to be held next month in Copenhagen.  This week, on the 2nd and 3rd November, a London-based “Chatham House” conference, anticipating the even bigger event in Copenhagen, will be beginning.

3. The recent death, at the age of 95, of Norman Borlaug, architect of the first and controversial Green Revolution, coming at the time when World Food Day is commemorated annually (on the 16th October) has prompted renewed thought and action.  Our Portfolio of Eating Plans reflects beneficial aspects of developments that suffer, perhaps because they can’t be easily faulted but can be ignored, by dismissal of dietary change in a vegetarian direction as “unthinkable” and “extreme” and the products of “extremist” NGOs. However, the trends towards more plant-based and “austere” diets (and some of our Trustees and volunteers remember campaigns before WW2 and must have looked forward to Woolton pie and nutritional and medical experiences of vets and doctors returning from service overseas and the do-gooders and missionaries whose experiences and deeds developed into global organizations such as Oxfam and Christian Aid; austerity in those times – during WW2 and in its aftermath, whether thru force of circumstances and especially by the exercise of restraint and self-discipline, was a medal to wear with pride.)

4. The “exclusive” Times front-page story has not found VEGA unprepared, although overwhelmed.  Grow Food, not Feed was our motto as the world tackled the aftermaths of the post-WW1 Depressions and post-WW2 struggles to return to “high standards of living,” some with scant regard for the Quality of Life.  It has led us to continue with our mission with the headline and under the banner of the thought-provoking generalization Grow Food, not Feed.  We had the leaflets and placards ready or made for picketing a meeting in London one evening a few days after the Times burst out with its lively front page (albeit with subsequent contempt by experts for the activities of wayward NGOs).  The 2 pickets at the first gentle demo could at least boast 160 years of life between them.

5. In the rest of this year VEGA will persevere with its reprentations of citizens’ power in  practicable farm-to-fork manifestations.  We try to impress on experts and po-faced politicians a jollier approach to serious challenges in the next Green Revolution.  Our website offers suggestions, Updating another effectual slogan of the past we might proclaim.

There’s just this one golden rule
Food, not feed! That’s real cool



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