Day 29 — meat & milk

I’ve saved writing this one till almost last because I know it’s going to be somewhat controversial or confrontational for many people. As mentioned in my pome plague species from last’s year’s pandemic suite, humans & the beasts we own as pets/property or product are somewhere/between 96-98% of the entire biomass of the planet. 

Even more unsustainable than the 8 billion humans on Starship Earth are the 1 billion cows, 1 billion sheep, 26 billion chickens, 700 million goats, 680 million pigs that exist at any one time, because, for example, while there’s only about 26 billion chickens alive at any one time, the world eats about 50 billion … every year.


meat & milk

setting aside the many moral 
& ethical considerations

as the world gets richer
it eats more meat & drinks more milk

without seemingly understanding
rearing cattle 

~ puts more heat-trapping gas into the air
than every car truck train boat & plane 

~ causes a tenth of CO2 derived
from human-related activities

~ two-thirds of human-related nitrous oxide
(300x the Global Warming Potential of CO2)

~ a third of all human-induced methane 
(23x as warming as CO2)

~ two-thirds of ammonia
a key factor in acid rain

~ uses a third of the earth’s entire land surface
a third of the global arable land to produce feed

~ about a fifth of all pastures are degraded 
through overgrazing, compaction, erosion

~ forests are cleared to create new pastures
& so is a major driver of deforestation 

~ threatens our scarce water resources 
through pollution from animal wastes antibiotics 

hormones chemicals from tanneries
fertilizers & the pesticides that spray crops

we may think we’re raising them 
to feed our appetite ~ but ultimately 

our hunger might kill us all as well

NB Humans kill 50 billion chickens, 3 billion ducks, 1.47 billion pigs, 545 million sheep, 444 million goats and 300 million cattle every year. All in all, 72 billion land animals & over 1.2 trillion aquatic animals are killed for food around the world every year.
We drink around 600 million tonnes of milk every year.
& these numbers continue to rise…

Day 08 – recipe for mourning


I’ve been saving this idea for a day when I was low on energy & creative juices. Sadly I was hoping it would be a little later in the month. That said, it’s tough churning out a poem a day even when 100% healthy: to do so while ill is an added challenge.

It’s definitely an unusual “poem” … a cross between a recipe & a list poem … with, I hope, an unexpected sting in the tail.

recipe for tuna mournay

Part 1:

1. Fish
anchovy, barracuda, grouper, flying fish,
cod, common sea horse, king mackerel,
Spanish mackerel, common sea bream, 
white marlin, grey triggerfish,
blue runner, rainbow runner,
black gemfish, bluefish, red drum,
greater amberjack, black ruff, yellowtail,
named for other things
sailfish, swordfish, lancet fish, puffer fish,
goosefish, porcupine fish, monkfish,
sunfish, pilotfish, dolphin fish, needlefish,
spurdog fish, Cuban dogfish,
longbill spearfish, bigeye cigarfish, stone bass,
Bermuda chub, opah, escolar,
leerfish, tripletail, Murray eel,
pomfret, bigeye thresher, wahoo,
bonito, cassava fish, spotted skate,
manta ray, devil ray, 
bignose, hammerhead, Galapagos,
sandbar, night, sand tiger,
copper, blue, (great) white, mako

2. Reptiles
loggerhead,  leatherback,
green, hawksbill, Kemp’s ridley 

3. Mammals
northern right, pilot, humpback,
beaked, goose-beaked, killer,
sperm, minke, sei, fin,
common, striped, spinner,
Atlantic spotted, bottlenose,
harbor porpoise, 

4. Birds
Atlantic yellow-nosed, black-browed,
northern royal, shy,
yellow-legged, great black-backed,
herring, laughing, Audouin’s,
balearic, great, sooty, Yelkouan,
great-winged, grey, southern fulmar, 

Part 2:

this is
a not-so-quick list
of some of the 145 species
regularly killed & discarded
while “fishing” for tuna
charmingly known
as by-catch

*List taken from Jonathan Safran Foer’s Eating Animals

Day 07 – the obsession that’s eating our planet

07 Doutielt3

One of the things I hope to do over this month is come at the theme PANDEMIC from a range of angles. Looking at, if possible, a little like a cubist Picasso painting where we can look at all sides of the subject at once. It’s still a bit stat heavy but this poem really is about the big elephant in the room. (Not it’s not really an elephant.)


plague species 

a mere ten millennia ago when we first
trick tamed cattle from wild aurochs
humans & those critters that would become
our domestic buddies (cows, chickens, pigs, sheep)
represented around 1% of earth’s biomass
wild animals (using the most basic maths)
represented 99% of all living creatures.

now humans & the beasts we own as pets
property or product are somewhere
between 96-98% depending on the study cited.
basically earth has been stolen from free-living
animals for those species we most love to pat
but even more so for those we lust to eat.
the plague has spread — & continues to …