Veganism and Environmentalism go hand in hand

Vegan ARAs should support the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement

The Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement is waged by environmentally conscious and Earth-revering student bodies opposed to their own universities investing millions to billions of dollars in the fossil fuel industry, and it is sweeping the nation from Harvard on down. It should be supported by vegans and ARAs wholeheartedly – for obvious reasons. But some denounce it vehemently on not so obvious grounds, and here is my rebuttal:

1. Some say that the oil/coal/gas industries own and run the government and are too powerful to fight, and therefore should not be fought. Would they say the same about the meat/dairy/egg industries which also own and run the government?

2. Some say that “animal agriculture emits 51% of all greenhouse gas emissions” and that to fight the fossil fuel industry which emits the other 49% is a diversion of energy and waste of time. What would this “logic” look like if the ratio is 50/50? Are the vegan and environmental movements mutually exclusive?

3. Some say that the oil barons are “impervious to symbolic action” of the anti-oil movement. By the same token would they say that the meat barons are likewise impervious to the “symbolic action” of the anti-meat movement? Defeatism at its finest. If a university invests millions or billions of dollars in the animal agriculture industry, would they likewise denounce an Animal Agriculture Divestment Movement against that university?

4. Some say that the hunting industry, which also owns and runs the government, is likewise too powerful to defeat, and further that domestic animals killed for food far out-number wild animals killed for recreation and trophy, and therefore, they conclude, the anti-hunting movement, like the anti-fossil-fuel movement, is also a fruitless diversion of time and energy from the vegan/AR movement, not withstanding that hunting itself is anti-vegan and anti-AR. I know this on the personal level, given that the Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (of which I am the founder) and Anti-Hunting in America (of which I am an admin) have taken much heat on this score. This same criticism is now directed against the anti-fossil-fuel movement which, like anti-hunting, also happens to be pro-vegan and pro-AR – e.g. the Alberta tar sands which levels huge swaths of boreal forest and poisons entire watersheds upon which native animals (and native peoples) depend.

5. Some strongly oppose major animal advocacy organizations for collaborating with the animal agriculture industry, and all power to them. On the other hand, they strongly denounce the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement waged by the environmentally conscious student bodies opposed to their own universities collaborating with the fossil fuel industry. Where is the consistency in this?

6. Some say that even if the Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement succeeds, the oil companies could just add a dollar to a gallon of gasoline, and the consumers would meekly pay it. By the same token, even if 20% of the population go vegan, the 80% would pay more for a pound of beef.

7. Some pile shame on “today’s environmental mis-leaders for exploiting the naivety and good intentions of a movement of activists who really do want to save the world”, which is an insult to those who, based on sound science, oppose the fossil-fuel industry, some of whom being themselves vegans and ARAs.

About the only difference they could pin between these two parallels is that while anti-meat activists do not eat meat, anti-oil activists still use oil. But this only goes to prove that the fossil fuel industry has such a monopoly in the energy sector that gives energy users no choice but to use oil. Even those driving pure electric cars use electricity derived largely from coal.

There is no question that diet-oriented veganism is a cardinal principle for saving the planet, but so is energy-oriented environmentalism. For one to denounce the other is to say “my way or the highway”. For the anti-meat movement to denounce the anti-oil movement is the right hand trying to cut off the left hand.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)



Place a few isolated neurons (brain cells) into a petri dish, submerge them in a solution of nutrients, and every time, without fail, they will reach out to each other with axons, touch each other’s dendrites, establish synapses, and, lo and behold, a mini-network, or neural circuit, will be formed. (The picture shows only 11 neurons, but the contacts number in the thousands.)

This happens in the brain millions of times every day. We also know that if one loses ones sight, ones hearing would become extra acute, indicating that the brain can “rewire” itself in response to major life changes.

What I’m writing about is my own “theory” of how this phenomenon of neural circuit formation and modification relates to and results in memory, thought and action. I could be completely wrong, or this model could have already been advanced, in which case any neuroscientist out there kindly correct me.

In neural circuitry analysis, the general schematic is that there are 3 general layers: the input layer, the processing layer and the output layer. The input layer receives stimuli from the 5 senses, and the output layer goes mostly to speech and action. It is the middle processing layer I’m talking about.

Let’s talk in terms of memory alone. In my view, memory is not some nebulous, mystical or metaphysical phenomenon, but is as physical, chemical and biological as, well, the brain itself.

Memory could be multilevelled in that it could be stored on the molecular, cellular and intercellular levels. It is the intercellular level that I will be concentrating on.

On the intercellular level, i.e. in terms of neural circuitry, in this model, MEMORY IS CIRCUITRY; THE CIRCUIT IS THE MEMORY.

Let me explain:

Neurons are the only cells in the body that do not divide and multiply. The number of neuron one is born with is the maximum number one will ever have, maximum because, on the other hand, neurons can die, and they do so on a daily basis , especially after mid-life. The average number of neurons a human being is born with is about 100 billion, and this number decreases in the brain as one ages. On the other hand, there is almost no limit as to the number of synaptic contacts a neuron can have with its neighbours, far and near. On average, they number about 7000 per neuron. Generally, the more thinking one does and the more experiences one accumulates through life, the higher this number. Einstein, for example, could have 10,000 synapses per neuron, or 20,000, or 30,000, while a recreational hunter doing nothing but serial deer-killing, or some religious fanatic who reads just one book through his life (you know which one), if he reads at all, could have only 1,000, or less.

This also means that even though the number of neurons through ones life may gradually decrease, the total number of synaptic contacts may continue to increase.

In a new born baby, the 100 billion neurons are all there, but the number of synapses per neuron could be near zero. As he grows and learns, the synapses per neuron increases, and neural circuits develop. For example, when he learns how to ride a bicycle, a bicycle-riding neural circuit would be formed, and the more he rides, and develops skills, the more complex and stronger the circuit becomes. Likewise if he develops a bad habit, like smoking, there will likewise develop a smoking circuit, and once the circuit is triggered by some timed means, the urge would arise, and the output layer would cause him to light up another cigarette. In this latter case, if he wants to quit smoking, he would have to actively resist the urge and desist, which brings forth the reverse phenomenon, which is that the lesser he uses the circuit, the more it will atrophy, until finally, the circuit disintegrates, and the urge to smoke eventually dissipates.

This can apply to almost every thing in his life experience. When he hears a song, a circuit of that song would develop, and the more he hears the song, the stronger that circuit becomes, and the better he would remember the lyrics, and the more automatic the output layer can enable him to sing the song.

In this model, memory can be lost in one of two ways: the dismantling of a circuit by decreasing the number of synapses in the circuit, or the death of the neurons involved in the circuit.

This brings us to the unsavory subject of dementia, and the hopeful topic of prevention thereof. According to this model, the more one uses ones brain, in as diverse a range as possible, the larger the number of synapses would be per neuron, and the greater the total number of synapses in ones brain, and the more complex the neural circuitry therein, will result. So, even if a redneck and a renaissance man lose the same number of neurons by the same age, the redneck will be the one to lose his brain function, or lose it first.

So the moral of this model is: USE IT OR LOSE IT!

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)

Posted by at 5:26 PM



We don’t have to wait for global warming to bake us in the inescapable atmospheric oven before we begin to suffer. The collapse of techno civilization will come even sooner, where, in a normal summer afternoon at 50C/122F in the shade, where often there is no shade, you will not be able to run your A/Cs due to prolonged blackouts, and you won’t be able to have even temporary relief with your car’s A/C, because there will be no gasoline to run your car.

This will come abruptly in the not too distant future, perhaps a matter of one or two decades if not mere years, when our ever escalating demand for oil intersects oil’s own geometrical decline. Given that peak oil is long past, while peak demand is still somewhere in the murky future, the crash is inevitable. I have always shaken my head in disbelief when I read about projections saying that by year 2050 we will have cut oil consumption by so many percent. It never fails to amaze me to see people still buying new gasoline cars, when the days of affordable oil, and of oil itself, are numbered.

The oil-price graph will have peaks and valleys in micro-adjustments to supply and demand, but it will be in a generally upward trend due to the ever-rising demand and the ever dwindling supply. And there will come a time when one of these peaks will rise so high as to be unreachable by individuals and corporations alike. Oil companies are deviously inducing consumers to burn as much gas as possible for their maximum short-term profit, but in so doing, they hasten their own demise, alas, along with our own.

When this happens, the energy-dependent societal infrastructures, most notably the transportation system, especially that sector dealing with food distribution, be it in the form of trucks, trains, ships or planes, will all more or less grind to a halt. Grocery store shelves previously brimming with imported food such as spinach from China or bananas from Latin America, will be empty. Gasoline pumps will be dry. Abandoned car will be everywhere, many with keys left in the ignition, and no one will steal them.

Those who are well grounded in the global communication network, such as FaceBook, and cell-phones, should get used to the idea that the World Wide Web will have disintegrated, and they will feel isolated.

When we have fuel and food in the same sentence, something has to give. In the face of severe fuel and food shortage, and they are related, we have to decide on whether to use our drought shrunken crops of soy and corn for food or for fuel (ethanol), and in the case of food on whether the soy and corn should serve as human food or cattle feed, bearing in mind that it take 10-20kg of feed to produce 1kg of meat. If the former, the cattle will starve, and if the latter, then while the super-rich will continue munching on juicy steaks, the masses of humans will starve. The sad situation is that even the best scenario is a bad scenario, because there is simply no net-good human action that will result in any good scenario.

Major metropolises such as London, Los Angeles or New York City, and cities that are normally hot and dry, like Las Vegas or Phoenix, will not be pleasant places to be in. Given the stagnation of the food transportation system, most food available will be locally grown, it will be difficult to grow enough food within a large city to feed the entire populace, especially factoring in water shortages. I would not rule out emaciated corpses in the street. Law and order will have broken down and robbing and looting will be commonplace. And when it comes to the dead of winter closing in, many will be frozen to death.

Residents will try to emigrate to surrounding areas, by bicycle or on foot, but where are they to go? Along the miles and miles of hot and dry highways people will drop like flies. And those surviving will overwhelm the surround rural areas. If your family has a small farm on the outskirts of a major metropolis, consider it taken over and you possibly ousted if not killed. I suspect that gun-fire will be a common sound. The murder rate will be by the dozen per day.

There will be areas where the impact will be less severe, which are already serviced by electricity grids centred upon extant large-scale solar and wind installations, e.g. parts of eastern California and central Texas. Bear in mind, however, that most of our day to day commodities are derived from oil, including all plastic products, tires (each car tire requires 7 gallons of gasoline to make), pharmaceuticals, electronics, computers, buildings, and basically everything that requires oil to manufacture (e.g. entire cars). So, once these items have been used up, it cannot be expected that new products will take their place.

This does not necessarily mean that there will be no oil left anywhere in the world, but much of it will be in government controlled storage facilities for the most essential of governmental services, perhaps to the tune of several hundred million barrels in the United States. This may sound like a lot, but the formula is that one billion barrels can feed the current U.S. demand for only 8 weeks. If civilian usage is cut off, it would last longer, but not forever. And a large part of it will still go towards the military against likely oil-grab invasions, or worse, towards invading another country for their oil-in-storage, or whatever oil fields that still remain. Canada, with its still extensive tar sands, for example, will be a prime target, and the Arctic, with its ice cap melted off and its polar oil reservoirs accessible to deep water drilling, as well as its easily accessible methane hydrate deposits on land and on the shallow continental shelves, will likely be a global battlefield.

So, what can the individual citizens do to ensure their own survival? This brings us to the concept of the deep rural green community, which should have the following properties:

1. It should be beyond walking distance from a major metropolis, and topographically easy to defend.

2. It should be water-self-sufficient, i.e. on a river-front, lake-front, or has its own year-round stream or well, as well as enough rainfall.

3. It should be food-self-sufficient, i.e. endowed with a good stock of foundational organic seeds (no Monsanto please!), and enough land to produce enough food for the entire community.

4. It should be energy-self-sufficient, employing renewable energy sources only with on site solar panels and wind turbines, some biofuels, all electric appliances, including electric vehicles, solar cars for long distance travel, and enough batteries to store enough electricity.

5. It should comprise people with a broad range of knowledge and skills, including academic, agricultural, medical and technical.

6. It should be animal-friendly, both domestic and wild.

If you would like to explore this idea further, please like and comment.

Good luck to us all.

Anthony Marr, Founder and President
Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE)
Global Anti-Hunting Coalition (GAHC)