Presentations from an expert
on vegetarian issues: Pamela Rice
Click above title for link to comprehensive Web page for course outline and registration information.
Pamela's health, fitness, and weight loss seminar for vegans
Meat production is enormously taxing to the environment. It depletes, destroys, and pollutes the natural world. This talk will touch on issues of:
The environmental impact of society's meat-centered diet
- Inefficiency. What are the "grain-to-flesh ratios" of the various cuts of meat that people eat?
- Resource drain. What is the connection between water, land, forest, and fossil-fuel depletion and society's meat-centered diet?
- Pollution. What is the extent of fertilizer runoff associated with feed-grain crops? How much manure does livestock produce in a year, and what is its effect on our water and air? And what about slaughterhouse sludge and those nagging residual "mortalities," which must be disposed of?
- The land. What do we know about soil erosion associated with the many acres of land needed to produce feed grains? How do cattle turn lush ecosystems into deserts?
- Extinction. What's the connection between cattle and the extinction of plants and animals?
- Water hot spots. We'll discuss the dead zone, Pfiesteria piscicida, and underwater grasses.
- Air pollution. What about ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane, and odor from factory farms and feedlots?
- Fishing. What is the state of our oceans and fresh waters today?
Why is there so much meat everywhere? Why is it so cheap? How could cows' milk cost less than soy milk? This talk gets to the bottom of the meat-industry gravy train, both outright and hidden.
Separation of meat and state: Subsidies to the meat industry
- Excuses for handouts. Are agricultural subsidies really necessary to national security? -- New Zealand has scrapped them.
- Isolating the numbers. Since vegan values are far from the minds of government policy makers, it can be difficult to identify meat-specific budget items.
- Econ 101. An analysis of farm subsidies: First handouts, then overproduction, then programs to reduce oversupply -- and how does it all affect the small farmer?
- Direct subsidies. In some cases livestock producers receive treasury checks in the mail; the question is, why?
- Indirect subsidies. What are the dynamics of commodity crop payments?
- Hidden subsidies. The government pays the operating expenses of the meat industry. Examples include research, meat inspection, environmental cleanup, predator control for ranchers, and the expediting of trade in meat.
- Invisible subsidies. Exemptions from and minimal requirements for compliance with federal laws.
- Other support. "Surplus removal" programs, rancher disaster relief, and below-market-rate grazing fees on federal land.
- Rural welfare. The insidious social and economic disruption of farm communities.
Many people are completely unaware of the holocaust that is taking place in our oceans and fresh waters today. This talk will give statistics as well as the underlying causes of this grim state of affairs.
The environmental impact of global fishing
- The dire pronouncements. Numerous groups, from the U.N. to the World Wildlife Fund to the environmental group Greenpeace, have weighed in on the extent of fish depletion.
- High tech. We'll discuss today's predatory implements of the seas: driftnetting, dredging, trawling, and longlining, as well as the military technologies that support them: radar, satellite positioning, and sonar.
- Fisher desperation. What fishers are turning to as fish become depleted: deep-sea fish, species lower down on the food web, and illegal catches.
- Bycatch. To what extent do catches consist of unintended species?
- The vegetarian answer versus conventional "solutions." Fisheries management, aquaculture, and marine sanctuaries are discussed.
- Coral reef fishing. Small operations, too, can have a very big impact.
- Fish stories. Blue fin tunas, swordfish, orange roughy, and sea cucumbers.
- Nutritional substitutes. Omega-3 fatty acids in fish are easily obtained from vegetarian sources.
Who is Pamela Rice?
Pamela Rice is the author of the popular 16-page pamphlet "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian," which boasts some 180,000 copies in circulation, 10 printings, and 6 updated editions. Many have dubbed this veggie manifesto "the mighty convincer." A good read-through and you'll find yourself at least considering reducing the amount of meat in your diet.
Ms. Rice is the author of an expanded book-length version of her "101 Reasons". The book bears the same name TOP
Ms. Rice has dedicated her life to ferreting out every argument under the sun that lends credence to the personal choice of vegetarianism -- the environmental argument, the health argument, and the ethical argument.
Ms. Rice is currently the director of the Vegetarian Center of New York City -- a referral center, a reading room, a research library, and a cultural hub for vegetarians to meet and form groups.
She is the publisher of the incisive magazine The VivaVine: The Vegetarian-Issues Magazine.
She is also known to engage the public through "vegetarian street outreach," distributing pro-vegetarian literature, including her "101 Reasons," using eye-catching costumes and arresting images.
Who should hear Ms. Rice?
- Environmental groups. E: The Environmental Magazine, in its January 2002 issue, asked readers on its front cover: "So you're an environmentalist.... Why are you still eating meat?" Ms. Rice continues this discussion.
- Political clubs. Any group interested in public policy should find the information in Ms. Rice's talks compelling.
- Groups interested in fiscal responsibility. Subsidies to the meat industry are some of the most egregious and fiscally counter-productive.
- Churches, synagogues, and mosques. The ethical components and moral imperatives of vegetarianism make religious communities perfect settings for discussions on the merits of the vegetarian lifestyle.
- Salons, social clubs, cultural associations, academic societies, and neighborhood groups. Everyone eats, and now it seems everyone has a friend, family member, or colleague who is a vegetarian. We need more understanding of this increasingly common subgroup.
- Book discussion clubs. Instead of a book, have members read "101 Reasons Why I'm a Vegetarian." Then have the author come to sort out the questions.
- Trade groups and unions. The talks may not put more bread on your plate, but taking the chicken out of your pot may start to look more appealing.