Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.
-W. H. Auden
When I visited my family in Cape Town a few weeks ago there was one topic which came up every day; water. Even before had I landed there was announcement on the plane that Cape Town was in the middle of a severe drought and that everyone should use water sparingly. This was followed up with posters in the airport and the first tangible signs of how life had changed. I finished up in the airport bathroom but there was no longer the luxury of soap and water. That had been replaced with waterless hand sanitisers, as in my family’s homes.
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One of the most frustrating things about hearing news about Donald Trump is the complete disconnect between the fantasy world in his head and the real world that we all live in. Most of the time, people like that are ridiculous but can be, more or less, ignored. With Trump it’s different because what he does has a large amount of influence.
Given what we know about climate change and the stakes, it’s extremely depressing to see Trump pulling the US out of the Paris climate change agreement, especially when all his reasons to do so seem to be nonsense. He is basically flying against all the climate science that we have and upsetting most of researchers in the process. Continue reading →
Here’s a blog post containing a thought experiment about the ethics of vegetarianism that I found quite interesting. It was also written by a watcher of my blog; this blog is small enough that I do at least glance at each person who watches me. You are all important to me. I’d recommend reading the link but here’s a really condensed version of what it says.
If you were on one of two train tracks and were told continuing on your current would result in you hitting and killing a pig but you could change tracks to one where you would hit and kill a bean plant, most people would rather hit the plant. That’s an ethical decision where most people value animals more than plants. This is analogous to the situation in a shopping centre where you have the option of either buying ham or beans yet in that situation people do not go for the beans as often. This means at some point there is an inconsistency in the ethics of those people that would eat meat rather than plants but still avoid killing an animal when food is removed from the equation.
The other link I’ll share is a more practical one. Clean drinking water is a fairly rare commodity, particularly in Africa. A vegetarian diet can be produced with less water than a meat-based diet. This means become vegetarian (or at least reducing the amount of meat eaten) would have benefits with regard to water availability. This article shares that some water scientists are suggesting that mankind will be forced to follow a primarily vegetarian diet by 2050 in order for there to be sufficient water for everyone.