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 15 – Variation of a Previous Game

Was working on a couple of things today (Friday as it was, only posting this on Saturday) & none of them really panned out. I might revisit one of the others tomorrow or later.

Today’s task is inspired by the announcement of the Man Booker International Prize 2016 Shortlist. 6 books, 5 great titles & one which doesn’t go very well with the rest. So, feeling lazy, that “hard-to-fit-with-the-other-5-books” title, became the “doesn’t-really-make-sense” title of today’s poem. Given more time, or energy, or creative juice – maybe I coulda made it fit.

As it is, you have 4 versions of the same poem. No extra words added.

the vegetarian
(in four repeating acts)

a strangeness in my mind
the story of the lost child
the four books, a whole life
a general theory of oblivion

a general theory of oblivion
the four books, a whole life
the story of the lost child
a strangeness in my mind

the story of the lost child
a strangeness in my mind
a general theory of oblivion
a whole life, the four books

a whole life, the four books
a strangeness in my mind
a general theory of oblivion
the story of the lost child


Note: As a way of apologising to Han Kang, I am using a detail from an edition of The Vegetarian.

Note 2: Late posting is due to slowed down internet/difficulty uploading images. Apparently multinational telcos like you pay their bills regularly…