Most people would say that our Western society is more humane now than it has ever been. We have evolved and become better human beings. We used to be brutal, heathen thugs, but now we are civilized and we know how to behave ourselves.
That is a lie.
We are not more civilized. We are still just apes with long hind legs. And our society today is causing much more harm than it has ever done.
I will tell you why. But first: This is not going to be another blog post where you’re told to use your car less and wear a pullover made from organic youghurt or whatever. I am not going to tell you that you’re destroying the planet. If you’re reading this, chances are you are not. Why? Because I know this blog post is being read in countries where the population is stable. Women and men have equal rights, which I believe is the single most important factor for preserving our planet. Free women rarely choose to have lots of children. And while having lots of children is right for some, on the average women in cultures where individual freedom is seen as essential, will have 2 children. In Europe it is less, which is actually becoming a much bigger problem than most people will admit, but that will be a topic for another blog post. The point is that as the world population grows exponentially, more food is needed. And to produce more food, more forest is destroyed, and more animals are held captive, slaughtered and eaten. Yes, you read that right. I believe animals that are kept behind bars are held captive. What else would you call it? And while we have become experts at killing each other with bombs and bullets, it is the way we treat animals that is the big problem with today’s society. I mean, we are not just killing them. We are killing them in a way that is beyond imagination. It is a sort of morbid cruelty that you couldn’t make up.
For instance, Easter is just around the corner. And here in Norway, those yellow, fluffy little chickens are the symbol of Easter. On children’s tv, they have those little, fluffy creatures in studio and all the kids think they are very cute. Maybe so, but they are also all female. You see, all their little, fluffy brothers were put alive in a meat grinder. Which is quite an effective way of dealing with birds who can’t lay eggs, because the stuff that comes out of the meat grinder will be made into food for caged foxes, who themselves will be electrocuted and skinned to make fur coats.
At this point someone will usually suggest that we should all go vegan. I have lots of respect for people who make that choice. But after having lived next to a wheat field for many, many years, I can tell you that virtually all vegan meals have blood on them. The farmer scrapes fawns’ entrails off his combine’s blades every fall. Wildlife is killed to make soy fields. Entire forests and every living being in them are being scorched to produce more and more fertile farmland.
The problem is that there are just too many of us. We can’t feed every human being on the planet and still not harm the environment. We can’t have food on every table and still treat all animals nice. There are way too many of us, and it’s getting worse every day. It is the population in Africa that will present the biggest demographic problem, and we are already seeing mass immigration into Europe (but we haven’t seen anything yet).
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a fan of governmental control of the population, women being pressured into having abortions or anything like that. I believe having children is a blessing. We can only stop the world population from growing by providing education and freedom for all, including girls. If we could rid the world of the most dogmatic variants of the Abrahamic religions in the process, that would also help a lot. We need to start understanding that we are not on the top of the food chain, we are not the masters of nature. We are part of nature.
So maybe it’s time to stop eating chopped up animals wrapped in plastic and start using that big brain of ours to live in a way that doesn’t involve extreme fear and pain of other creatures. Hunting – when done right – is probably a much more ethically sound way of providing protein than getting it from the shop. But when I see people driving their car into the woods behind my house during hunting season, and then sitting down on their fat asses with their shotgun and shooting at everything that moves, don’t come to me with that smug smile and claim that it’s much kinder than buying that meat in the shop. Because it is not. Do it right, or don’t do it at all. Or consider finding vegan sources of protein and calories that has been ethically grown and harvested. I won’t go into the discussion about how a vegan lifestyle will affect your body (or maybe I just did). I will only say that we should live in a way that is more ethically sound. It will probably make your life better and your body healthier too. But will it help the planet? The honest answer is «Not much». There are simply too many people who doesn’t care, who doesn’t even know about such a concept as «environment» or who are simply too desperate to try to feed their numerous children.
So I guess I don’t have all the answers. We know that we must stop the world population from increasing. Education and freedom for women will help a lot to acheive that, but even if we stay at the existing population level, there are still too many of us. And to be honest, at the end of the day, we are not really that civilized. We are apes with guns, and we are hungry.
-Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen