Do you participate in your (low carbon) culture at all?

There’s this quote by Aida Hurtado.

“It doesn’t matter how good you are, as a person, if the institutions of the society provide privilege to you based on their group oppression of others. Individuals belonging to dominant groups can be infinitely good, because they are never required to be personally bad.”


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Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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8 Responses to Do you participate in your (low carbon) culture at all?

  1. Jenny says:

    Well that’s a useful quote from Aida Hurtado: just substitute ‘animals’ for ‘others’ & think about the implications. Apart from the immorality of allowing the enslaving, torturing & killing of innocent non human animals, just for human pleasure, not need
    …18% of climate changing emissions come from animal agriculture. That’s a fifth of the total?
    Live Vegan, it’s easy, peaceful activism.

  2. roger says:

    Are you saying Aida’s a vegan and agrees with you? Her quotation is “useful” to you – if you think it’s persuasive to change any word in any statement to appear to endorse your views. You are implying that production of non-animal foods does not contribute an increasing and larger amount to emissions. There are low emission alternative methods of animal agriculture e.g. . You don’t accept humans need to eat animals so you assert it must be pleasure that makes people eat them. You don’t need to look far to find evidence we need nutrients from animals to function well.
    If you think your veganism allows you to feel you are “doing your bit” because you’re not harming animals and trying to persuade other people not to, maybe you’ve fallen into the trap Aida warns us about: I’m guessing you are relatively privileged (hey, so am I). You’ve offered no criticism of for example current global arable production and appear happy to perpetuate the system that you benefit from as it supplies you with your food. Unfortunately, that’s oppressing others, as Aida says – and threatening the planet. You have defined what’s good and bad and appear to think you “can be infinitely good”, but then you “are never required to be personally bad”.
    I too like my activism to be “easy” but not that easy.

  3. rogerbysouth says:

    Is being a vegan enough to class yourself as an activist (read “moral”)? No mention of how you get your “food”. No mention of ALL mainstream agriculture (not to mention distribution) causing major “climate changing emissions”.
    Looks like you may have fallen into that trap that Aida is warning us about. Your privilege (reasonable assumption for anyone on this site, including me, and starting with access to the cash crops of poor people around the world) appears to give you that magic feeling of you “can be infinitely good, because [you] are never required to be personally bad.”

    • gille liath says:

      That’s a bit unreasonable. What do you suggest: not eating food? Yes, of course all agriculture uses energy, but vegetable production generally uses it more efficiently.

      On the other hand, from a climate POV it’s not much use being a vegan if (for example) you travel thousands of miles by air every year. So you’re right in that it doesn’t absolve anyone of having to think about their overall lifestyle.

  4. gille liath says:

    Is it? I must’ve misunderstood then… 🙂 Consumption, to quote Monty Python’s anarcho-syndicalist, ‘is what it’s all about’. We may not all agree politically – if you see veganism, for example, as a political issue – but surely anyone who wants to reduce carbon emissions understands that what that means is reducing consumption?

    This is something that’s been bothering me lately, in relation to the Ukraine crisis. Why, if you want peace, fairness, and to preserve the natural infrastructure we all depend on, are you expected to sign up for a lot of (what some people would regard as) flaky left-wing idiosyncrasies? I consider myself left-wing; I see the *economic* case for everyone eating less meat, but I don’t accept the moral / political (actually, quasi-spiritual) arguments of vegetarians and vegans that animals should be treated the same as people. Do they have to come as a package? Don’t people see that that excludes the ordinary, average punter who does not see their politics as primarily a lifestyle choice? As Orwell said in The Road to Wigan Pier, ‘to him, a socialist means an eccentric and an eccentric means a socialist’. Shows how little things change.

    • gille liath says:

      Correction: the word Orwell used was the much punchier ‘crank’.

      Btw, anybody who hasn’t read that book, read it! It’s the best critique of the Left, from a Leftist perspective, that I know; plus plenty of local colour for those who may not know much about Greater Manchester’s heritage…

      • rogerbysouth says:

        Sorry I posted twice covering the same points. My fault. So I’ll be brief-ish.
        Hello Gille
        1. that’s right, I do not think veganism is “enough”. Nor do I think it is necessary. Or healthy.
        2. “…vegetable production generally uses (energy) more efficiently”. Think that’s open to debate. Even if it were true, it doesn’t follow that we should all eat no animals. See link in my first posting.
        3. Maybe I am “unreasonable”. But less so, imho, than Jenny’s “easy, peaceful activism”.
        4. I’m a big George fan too. Great to see him getting some coverage. Another ranter. Always ready to give a fellow socialist some stick, along with any “fruit-juice drinker, nudist, sandal-wearer, sex-maniac, Quaker, ‘Nature Cure’ quack, pacifist, and feminist”. Not especially I think that he disagreed with all such people. But those issues could be a diversion from the crisis of the time. A balance we have to get right – as Marc is possibly pointing out.
        5. BTW George also muses in TRTWP that “A human being is primarily a bag for putting food into … it could be plausibly argued that changes of diet are more important than changes of dynasty or even of religion”. Not saying he’s right. But it’s an interesting perspective.
        Didn’t someone once say: the personal is the political? (Ditto)

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