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Racial hatred is a cultural issue

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Homo sapiens is a tribal species with a dangerous propensity to unite ‘us’ against ’the rest’.  Our history is marred with despicable acts of cruelty, as contact between different hunter-gatherer bands, tribes and states turned into inter-community hatred and violence. Since the Enlightenment the level of violent conflict has declined and the major powers of the world have learned to live in peace with each other. However, inter-community hatred is still present and can bubble up at any time. When combined with differences in physical characteristics this inter-community antagonism is known as racism.

Those in the Eugenics movement in the early twentieth century tried to show that this racial division had a scientific basis; that different races were essentially different species. This has since been disproved; we now know we are all one species that emerged some 200,000 years ago in Africa. The latest proof comes from David Reich in his book Who We are and How We got Here.  He has shown conclusively that the makeup of our DNA is a result of tens of thousands of years of intermixing of peoples from different geographical regions. Differences in skin colour and facial and physical characteristics between people from different countries account for only one sixth of the natural variation in DNA between humans.

Racial hatred is a cultural issue that has no scientific validity. This does not mean that it does not exist or is not important. It is part of our inherited tribal behaviour; it can only be overcome by changing cultural habits. Groups of humans always have a choice about the way they interact with other groups; they can compete or co-operate. In our globally integrated world competition that leads to hatred and violence is especially destructive. This is why developing a culture that can unite people of different cultures, religions and nations is so important for the future of mankind.

 

Our politicians are hopeless

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We need our politicians to plan our country’s future. We know that society is aging and that this will create huge problems for our health and social services. Surely the least we could ask of our politicians is to have a plan to deal with this challenge?

Two reports published recently (see Health and Population Articles page) underline the extent of the task ahead.

They show:

  • The number of people over 85 that require 24-hour care will double in the next 2 decades.
  • British women are amongst the least healthy in Europe; they are more likely to suffer diabetes, breast cancer and Alzheimer’s at an early age.
  • Whilst life expectancy is increasing for women, healthy life expectancy remains constant. Women are spending longer living with chronic health conditions

These are just a few of the issues. The NHS and Social Services stumble from crisis to crisis. There is no plan.  Our politicians have no clue what to do and there is no initiative to tackle the problem. We are all going to suffer in the years to come from our leaders’ lack of political foresight.

If you want to save the world veganism isn’t the answer

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Environmental activists are encouraging us all to become vegans because methane emissions by ruminants are a major cause of climate change. There’s no question that we should be eating less meat but Isabella Tree in her book Wilding: The Return of nature to the British Farm argues that veganism also has environmental downsides. She says:

 [Veganism] drives up demand for crops that require high inputs of fertiliser, fungicides, pesticides and herbicides, while demonising sustainable forms of livestock farming that can restore soils and biodiversity, and sequester carbon… Counter-intuitive as it may seem, adding the occasional organic pasture-fed steak to your diet, could be the right way to square the circle.

Sustainable living

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How do we develop the habits and systems that preserve nature and reduce pollution? Most people would agree with the aim of living a sustainable life on Earth.  However, they do little in practice; compared with other pressures on their lives, creating an eco-friendly society seems much less important and far too difficult.

In Compete or Cooperate, Roger Heppleston argues that creating an eco-friendly society will only happen if the moral culture of society as a whole changes.  The wave of hot weather that has swept the world this summer has finally convinced most people that climate change is real. As the environment deteriorates further and the effects of climate change bite harder, people will gradually come to realise the importance of preserving the planet for our children.  When this happens, we will develop a practical set of moral imperatives that each of us can follow to preserve the environment.

The aim of the Eco-humanity website is to accelerate this process by drawing up a practical set of moral behaviours that support a life-fulfilling, eco-friendly society.  These should be capable of being adopted by people of all cultural backgrounds. A first suggestion is shown on the Sustainable Lifestyle web page. Please let us know your views.

Let’s stop buying black plastic containers

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Every week we dutifully wash out used plastic containers and put them in the recyclable waste bin for collection by the council. It now transpires this is largely wasted effort.

The Local Government Association says that two thirds of plastic is unrecyclable and being sent to landfill. This is a scandal. Even industry sources say that most packaging could be made to be recyclable. But yet again the government and industry leaders are letting us down. No one is looking at the big picture and ensuring that we do the right thing. Simple  inexpensive solutions that would drastically reduce plastic waste are not being applied.

What can we do as consumers? Well, for a start, we can stop buying anything in black plastic containers. The only reason black plastic is being used is that it makes the food look good.  However black is the only colour that can’t be easily scanned by recycling machines; as a result, all black plastics are being sent to landfill.

Stopping buying black plastic is just a first step, but we need to make a stand and take action to show we care about our environment.

Articles web-page

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The Articles web-page is launched today.

It will aim to a library of articles and books that show the development of human evolutionary change.  It will show how global warming, the destruction of the natural world, the headlong pursuit of technological development and economic growth combined with the misuse of political power is creating a divided world that is destroying the planet

If you think it’s hot now – just you wait to see what’s coming

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With extreme temperatures being reported across the world, this could be the year when the public at large finally believe that climate change is happening. Belief is one thing, doing something about it is another. The first reaction seems to be to cope rather than to address the fundamental problem. In the UK we are talking of installing air conditioning into our homes and workplaces. This will only make matters worse.

This is just the beginning; as we continue to pump green house gases into the atmosphere, temperatures will rise further. We need preventative action now if we are to mitigate the worst effects of climate change

Defeatism in the face of climate change

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The world is sweltering in a massive heat wave causing wildfires, drought and distress. The scientists told us this would happen if we didn’t cut back on the emission of greenhouse gases. Climate change is happening before our eyes and, so far, little has been done to prevent the continuing deterioration of the biosphere.

But where is the anger and alarm? There is a Dad’s army mentality around of muddling through. It seems the human instinct is to accept what is happening and make the best of it. We seem to be prepared to accept the direction that evolution is taking us. This is defeatism. We can only preserve the planet if we insist on sustainability as a critical moral principle and develop actions accordingly.

Only when the public response to heat waves is outrage rather than passive acceptance will we begin to mitigate this impending disaster.

The benefits of not eating lamb and beef

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The benefits of not eating lamb and beef extend beyond  the reduction in greenhouse gases to  preserving the environment.

According to the Rainforest Partnership https://rainforestpartnership.org/the-beef-industry-and-deforestation/  the production of beef is without question the biggest cause of deforestation in the Amazon. With millions of acres of land devoted to the cultivation of soya beans for animal feed as well as the animal pastures created by clearing the forest, Brazil has become the biggest exporter of beef in the world.

 

 

Hence cutting down your consumption of hamburgers can help save the rain forests.

 

As to sheep, according to George Monbiot

Sheep have reduced most of our uplands to bowling greens with contours. Only the merest remnants of life persist. Spend two hours sitting in a bushy suburban garden and you are likely to see more birds and of a greater range of species than in walking five miles across almost any part of the British uplands. The land has been sheepwrecked.

 

By cutting back on your lamb kebabs you can contribute to the spread of biodiversity and the return of the natural world

Dish the meat

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Our love of eating meat has long cultural traditions. The initial evolutionary success of the human species was based on our ability to catch and eat large mammals. We have since learnt to domesticate cattle, sheep, pigs, chicken and many other species purely so we can eat their flesh.  But the chickens are coming home to roost. Livestock farming now accounts for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions and according to the latest UN report, this number is set to increase 75% by 2050. This problem can’t be solved by just switching to green energy sources. Cattle and the other ruminants emit methane, a much more potent source of greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide; over a 5-year period methane traps up to 100 times more heat in the atmosphere.

It is possible for humans to change their eating habits. For thousands of years Hindus have avoided eating beef. Brahmins are vegetarian.  Jews and Muslims have been taught to avoid pork. If we are to avoid the worst excesses of climate change we need a new moral initiative to dish the meat and become vegetarian.