When progressives are seduced by misinformation

“If you think that something in the cow’s digestive process changes the climate, there is something seriously wrong with you”

A social media friend posted this quote. She is someone who seems to care deeply about people and nature and is generally progressive in terms of politics.

This brings up a few things for me.

WHY DID SHE POST IT?

Why did she post it? I assume she may be one of the progressives naively seduced by misinformation. This type of misinformation often originates on the far-right and is – more or less consciously – designed to undermine sane collective action. (Anti-woke is another example of a far-right bandwagon that some naive progressives seem happy to jump on.)

Maybe she wanted to seem smart or anti-establishment? Maybe she wanted to fuel and present a certain identity?

Maybe she knows someone with that attitude and she wants to join in with them?

WHOSE INTERESTS ARE YOU SPEAKING UP FOR?

Here are some questions that come up for me…

Did you consider where that information and attitude come from? (You may find it’s most popular on the far right.)

Did you check to see if there is any solid science behind it? Did you consider if it would hold up in a court of law? (It certainly would not because it’s not funded in science or reality.)

Did you consider that you may be wrong if you see it one way based on whatever, and tens of thousands of scientists from everywhere in the world – who have spent decades studying it – have a different view?

Did you consider who you are aligning yourself with? Did you consider whose interests you are speaking up for? (In this case, it’s the beef industry. In a broader sense, it’s anyone who think they benefit from preventing a shift into a more sustainable civilization.)

Did you consider what those attitudes lead to? (Distrust of science, undermining of sustainable changes.)

Do you value staying close to reality, or something else like belonging or fueling a certain identity? (The second is fine, and it’s good to be honest about it.)

Did you consider that these attitudes undermine what you appear to care deeply about? (Taking care of nature and animals.)

If you love nature, why do you promote attitudes not supported by science that undermine sane actions to protect nature?

LOOK AT MORE THAN ONE CONNECTION

When you look at the connections between two things, it’s good to look at more than one connection.

In this case, what are some of the connections between cows and climate change?

An obvious one is that the digestive process of cows (the need for grass) destroys the Amazon at a rapid pace and that hugely impacts our climate and all of us.

There are more than one billion cows in the world. How can that not significantly impact our climate? They need an enormous amount of grass and grain, which means cutting down large areas of forests and vegetation. This changes the local and regional climate. It creates a dryer and hotter climate. When this happens around the world, it inevitably changes our global climate.

You cannot leave that out.

THE SPECIFIC TOPIC

To address the narrow topic she likely referred to: Methane from cows and climate change.

One cow can produce 250-500 liters of methane a day. With more than a billion cows, that’s a huge amount of methane.

Methane is a greenhouse gas. It works like a greenhouse. It allows light through but not heat.

Light passes through glass / our atmosphere -> the energy of the light is converted to heat when it hits matter -> and that heat is then trapped in the greenhouse / our planet.

It obviously will impact our climate. It’s inevitable. It’s simple physics.

Our planet is small and the atmosphere is thin. It doesn’t take that much to significantly change our atmosphere, and with it our climate and all we know.

This is all simple. It’s what you learned in elementary school.

SANE ACTION

When it comes to cows, there is a sane approach:

(a) Reduce the number of cows in the world and (b) change the way they live and are fed.

Eating meat is hugely inefficient when it comes to land use. It’s far more efficient for us to eat lower on the food chain. It’s also more healthy for us. It helps the cows often living in terrible conditions. And it helps protect nature and our ecosystems.

It’s fine to have some cows, but it’s better – for them and us – if they live outdoors as much as possible, on land that’s managed well. (For instance, silvopasture.)

This is sane action whether or not there is climate change (there is), whether or not it’s human-created (it is), and whether or not methane from cows contributes to it (it does).


DRAFT

WHEN NAIVE PROGRESSIVES JUMP ON MISINFORMATION AIMED AT UNDERMINING SANE COLLECTIVE ACTION

“If you think that something in the cow’s digestive process changes the climate, there is something seriously wrong with you”

A social media friend posted this quote. She is someone who seems to care deeply about people and nature and is generally progressive in terms of politics.

So why did she post it? I assume she is one of the naive progressives who are seduced by campaigns to spread misinformation and undermine sane collective actions. These campaigns often originate on the far right. (Anti-woke is another example of a bandwagon some naive progressives jump on.)

My response is: If you don’t see the connection, you missed something important in school. To take one example: The digestive process of cows (the need for grass) destroys the Amazon at a rapid pace, and that hugely impacts our climate and all of us.

I know that’s not what she referred to, but the quote misses important things in the bigger picture.

There are more than one billion cows in the world. How can that not significantly impact our climate? They need an enormous amount of grass and grain, which means cutting down large areas of forests and vegetation that store carbon. (Or preventing it from growing back.)

The same happens across the world. Our hunger for meat, and the conventional industrial way to feed cows, hugely damages our ecosystems and that impacts our climate in several different ways, none of which are beneficial to us or our ecosystems.

…..

NOT BEING SEDUCED BY MISINFORMATION

SECOND DRAFT

“If you think that something in the cow’s digestive process changes the climate, there is something seriously wrong with you”

A social media friend posted this quote. She is someone who seems to care deeply about people and nature and is generally progressive in terms of politics.

WHY DID SHE POST IT?

So why did she post it? I assume she may be one of the naive progressives seduced by misinformation campaigns to undermine sane collective actions. These campaigns often originate on the far right. (Anti-woke is another example of a bandwagon some naive progressives jump on.)

Maybe she wanted to join a group or someone she wanted to be associated with?

Maybe she wanted to seem smart or anti-establishment? Maybe she wanted to fuel and present a certain identity?

Maybe she is willing to abandon critical thinking and integrity in the process?

WHOSE INTERESTS ARE YOU SPEAKING UP FOR?

When you posted this…

Did you consider where that information and attitude come from? Did you check to see if there is any solid science behind it? Did you consider if it would hold up in a court of law?

Did you consider that you may be wrong, if you see it one way based on whatever, and tens of thousands of scientists around the world – who have spent decades studying it – have a different view? (It seems incredibly naive to assume you somehow know better.)

Did you consider whose interests you are speaking up for? Did you consider what those attitudes lead to? Did you consider that these attitudes undermine what she appears to care deeply about?

Did you consider who you are aligning yourself with?

If you love nature, why do you promote attitudes not supported by science that undermine sane actions to protect nature?

LATERAL THINKING & THE BIGGER PICTURE

When you look at any topic, it’s important to include the bigger picture.

For instance: The digestive process of cows (the need for grass) destroys the Amazon at a rapid pace, and that hugely impacts our climate and all of us.

There are more than one billion cows in the world. How can that not significantly impact our climate? They need an enormous amount of grass and grain, which means cutting down large areas of forests and vegetation. This changes the local and regional climate. It creates a dryer and hotter climate. When this happens around the world, it inevitably changes our global climate.

I know it’s not what she referred to, but it’s an important side of the topic.

THE SPECIFIC TOPIC

To address the narrow topic she likely referred to:

One cow can produce 250-500 liters of methane a day. With more than a billion cows, that’s a huge amount of methane.

Methane is a greenhouse gas. It works like a greenhouse. It allows light through but not heat.

Light passes through glass / our atmosphere -> the energy of the light is converted to heat when it hits matter -> and that heat is then trapped in the greenhouse / our planet.

It obviously will impact our climate. It’s inevitable. It’s simple physics.

Our planet is small and the atmosphere is thin. It doesn’t take that much to significantly change our atmosphere, and with it our climate and all we know.

This is all simple. It’s what you learned in elementary school.

SANE ACTION

When it comes to cows, there is just one sane approach:

(a) Reduce the number of cows in the world and (b) change the way they live and are fed.

Eating meat is hugely inefficient when it comes to land use. It’s far more efficient for us to eat lower on the food chain. It’s also more healthy for us. It helps the cows often living in terrible conditions. And it helps protect nature and our ecosystems.

It’s fine to have some cows, but they should live outdoors as much as possible, on land that’s managed well. (For instance, silvopasture.)

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