The Greening of Earth
Mar 5, 2019 at 9:19 pm #3581957Mar 7, 2019 at 1:03 am #3582160
It surprised me, too. Water shortages in India are a major problem, as is water quality due to industrial pollution, fertilizer run off, and also in the northeastern regions(West Bengal) and Bangladesh from overuse drawing the water table down into arsenic bearing layers of subsoil. This has led to major health issues from arsenic poisoning. Less obvious, but equally serious, is the possibility of arsenic uptake by food plants from the arsenic bearing irrigation water. The brassica family is particularly efficient at this, and Indians use a lot of plants from that family. Still, it seems to me to be good news for the planet as a whole, and probably overall for the Indian and Chinese populations as well.Mar 8, 2019 at 8:26 pm #3582462
not good news. most of the ‘greening’ in china and india is agriculture, and another chunk is non-food commodities like bamboo. this acreage is not equivalent to forest acreage by most measures. the quick harvest cycle impacts ghg levels differently, many of the species are invasive or otherwise ecologically disruptive, water and chemical use is much higher, soil fertility is reduced, and animal displacement is still an issue and getting worse in many places. also, the agricultural practices and crops are not ideal for the people either. a lot of cash/commodity crops, much less subsistence farming.
arsenic is no joke. there is a lot of research out there…here is the first article on arsenic in rice i could find. does a decent job covering the basics. part of the reason eastern asian countries eat so much rice is because that is what they are made to produce for pay. cannot grow or afford as many vegetables any more.Mar 9, 2019 at 1:21 am #3582503
This is part of it.
Good news.Mar 9, 2019 at 1:24 am #3582505Mar 9, 2019 at 1:35 am #3582508
“arsenic is no joke. there is a lot of research out there…here is the first article on arsenic in rice i could find. does a decent job covering the basics.”
There are a lot of projects in progress in India that focus on low tech means of getting the arsenic out of the water supply, mostly combinations of sand, charcoal, and iron oxide(can’t remember offhand if is FeO or Fe2O3) that can be easily built, maintained, and replaced by uneducated or semi educated villagers. Arsenic in the water supply is the main issue there. Arsenic in rice is a much more widespread problem. Some of the worst is grown in Louisiana and Texas, on land formerly used for cotton. Back in the day, arsenic pesticides were heavily used on cotton, and a lot of it remains in the soil to this day.
“part of the reason eastern asian countries eat so much rice is because that is what they are made to produce for pay. cannot grow or afford as many vegetables any more.”
I can only comment on my personal observations when traveling in South Asia and to a lesser extent East Asia. I have never noticed a shortage of vegetables anywhere, with the exception of Inner Mongolia. India has a huge population of vegetarians, and the markets are overflowing with an astonishing variety of veggies. But that is just my own personal experience.Mar 9, 2019 at 6:29 pm #3582573
not sure what you are calling good news. i was talking about the amount of greening that is attributed to agriculture, and poor agricultural practices in the region. those links focus on combating desertification and air pollution. i guess if you want to call just any effort to address those problems good news you can, but China is using non-native, monoculture flora to achieve it, exacerbating other ecological issues like water use and animal displacement, while being less effective than native forests (or not really effective at all, as plants do not absorb particulate matter). all while giving little more than lip service to socioeconomic drivers of the problems.
perhaps better than nothing, but robbing peter to pay paul is poor ecological management. and relying on ‘better than nothing’ is not really good news.
sorry if i was unclear about my vegetable comment. i wasn’t speaking to the presence of vegetables, but access. not that they aren’t grown, but subsistence farming is much less common since the green revolution, and lower-middle to poor social groups cannot afford them at market (even the middle class in many places struggle to get a complete vegetable profile, but some of this is attributed to choice). the same is true in the developed world (lots of produce, lots of groups who have limited access), just that health issues caused or worsened by nutrition deficiency if more of a problem in the developing world.
also, vegetarianism may be high in absolute terms, but only because there are so many people. it is less common than most people think and, importantly, inversely related to wealth. and the ‘vegetarian’ part of people’s diets in most countries is more grain/legume than it should be.Mar 9, 2019 at 8:03 pm #3582591
Unless you can quantify for me how much of the “greening” is due to agriculture versus tree planting efforts I am not sure how my “good news” is any more misplaced than your “not good news”.Mar 9, 2019 at 8:43 pm #3582603
the 7th paragraph of the article from your original post:
“China’s outsized contribution to the global greening trend comes in large part (42%) from programs to conserve and expand forests. These were developed in an effort to reduce the effects of soil erosion, air pollution and climate change. Another 32% there – and 82% of the greening seen in India – comes from intensive cultivation of food crops.”
i gave several reasons why both commercial agriculture in those regions and their specific efforts at reforestry are ecologically and socially destructive. even the wiki page you linked about the great green wall spends more time discussing problems and criticisms than benefits.
i welcome your arguments for the good news and/or addressing mine.Mar 9, 2019 at 8:57 pm #3582604
“not good news. most of the ‘greening’ in china and india is agriculture, and another chunk is non-food commodities like bamboo.”
Ok well, maybe “most” but you highlighted the 32% in China and the 82% in India that are not due to tree reforestation but not the 42% in China that is. So I guess China and India combined you may be able to say most, but the amount of reforestation that has occured in China is not so minute after all to be dispensed in this thread.
I don’t think I can contribute any more to this .Mar 9, 2019 at 11:06 pm #3582632
most is accurate. and that does not include the majority of southeast asia, and much of the rest of the developing world, who put a lot more into agriculture than reforestation–more akin to india than china (which is one of the few developing countries that has its own reforestation program, instead of relying on REDD+ and other external financing/framework programs).
and i did speak to the 42% of china that is attributed to reforestation. i did not dismiss it as minute, but instead stated my concerns; concerns which scale with the acreage impacted by those ecologically destructive practices. my words from the post that directly addressed your links to china’s great green wall and other reforestation efforts:
“i guess if you want to call just any effort to address those problems good news you can, but China is using non-native, monoculture flora to achieve it, exacerbating other ecological issues like water use and animal displacement, while being less effective than native forests (or not really effective at all, as plants do not absorb particulate matter). all while giving little more than lip service to socioeconomic drivers of the problems.”
and here is what the wiki link you provided says about china’s attempt to prevent desertification (my bold), which i also referenced in response to your previous post:
As of 2009, China’s planted forest covered more than 500,000 square kilometers (increasing tree cover from 12% to 18%) – the largest artificial forest in the world. Of the 53,000 hectares planted that year, a quarter died. In 2008, winter storms destroyed 10% of the new forest stock, causing the World Bank to advise China to focus more on quality rather than quantity in its stock species.
If the trees succeed in taking root, they could soak up large amounts of groundwater, which would be extremely problematic for arid regions like northern China. For example, in Minqin, an area in north-western China, studies showed that groundwater levels have dropped by 12–19 metres since the advent of the project.
Furthermore, planting blocks of fast-growing trees reduces the biodiversity of forested areas, creating areas that are not suitable to plants and animals normally found in forests. “China plants more trees than the rest of the world combined”, says John McKinnon, the head of the EU-China Biodiversity Programme. “But the trouble is they tend to be monoculture plantations. They are not places where birds want to live.” The lack of diversity also makes the trees more susceptible to disease, as in 2000, when one billion poplar trees were lost to disease, setting back 20 years of planting efforts.
Liu Tuo, head of the desertification control office in the state forestry administration, is of the opinion that there are huge gaps in the country’s efforts to reclaim the land that has become desert. there are around 1.73 million sq kilometers that have become desert in China, of which 530,000 km<sup>2</sup> are treatable. But at the present rate of treating 1,717 km<sup>2</sup> per year, it would take 300 years to reclaim the land that has become desert.
China’s forest scientists argued that monoculture tree plantations are more effective at absorbing the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide than slow-growth forests, so while diversity may be lower, the trees purportedly help to offset China’s carbon emissions. However, a study released in 2016 finds that wild woodlands are much more effective than monocultural forests in storing carbon dioxide, with more resilient and greater tree health, size, lifespan, and depth of organic matter rich soil.
Gao Yuchuan, the Forest Bureau head of Jingbian County, Shanxi, stated that “planting for 10 years is not as good as enclosure for one year“, referring to the alternative non-invasive restoration technique that fences off (encloses) a degraded area for two years to allow the land to restore itself. Jiang Gaoming, an ecologist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and proponent of enclosure, says that “planting trees in arid and semi-arid land violates [ecological] principles”.The worry is that the fragile land cannot support such massive, forced growth. Others worry that China is not doing enough on the social level. To succeed, many believe the government should encourage farmers financially to reduce livestock numbers or relocate away from arid areas.
i don’t believe that is me “dispensing” their efforts…these are legitimate criticisms that have been raised by many people, including those within china.
i appreciate you posting the links and starting the conversation. again, i welcome any thoughts and/or evidence you have regarding the many arguments i outlined, or supporting your statement. maybe once you read what i have written and the full text of the links you provided, you can leave us with some parting words on how or why this is ‘good news.’Mar 9, 2019 at 11:13 pm #3582633
“i wasn’t speaking to the presence of vegetables, but access. not that they aren’t grown, but subsistence farming is much less common since the green revolution, and lower-middle to poor social groups cannot afford them at market (even the middle class in many places struggle to get a complete vegetable profile, but some of this is attributed to choice).
I can only rely on what I have seen in something like 15 trips to India since 1978, what I have seen in the many markets I have strolled through, and endless fields of vegetables. If what you say is true, then my question to you is, who exactly is buying all these veggies? India certainly is not a major exporter of fresh veggies, and now has a middle class of well over 300 million people. Even villagers have small plots where they grow their own veggies, as I have observed countless times across a wide spectrum of regions. I have nothing to say about what is going on in the developed world, except to sigh at the profound ignorance of the millions who prefer their Big Gulps and Cheetos in the midst of an incredible abundance of healthy food.
“also, vegetarianism may be high in absolute terms, but only because there are so many people. it is less common than most people think and, importantly, inversely related to wealth. and the ‘vegetarian’ part of people’s diets in most countries is more grain/legume than it should be.”
I’m sorry, Jared, but you are so incredibly wrong here that I don’t know where to begin. Hundreds of millions of Indians across the entire economic spectrum are vegetarian for religious and cultural reasons, and have been for thousands of years. Gujarat is entirely vegetarian except for the Muslim minority, South India is predominantly vegetarian, as is Rajasthan. I could go on, but I think I’ll end my participation in this thread atthis point.
Final thought: Have you ever spent any significant time in India?Mar 10, 2019 at 12:41 am #3582643
did you read the article i linked? that is where you should begin. written by BBC india correspondent Soutik Biswas, summarizing “new research by US-based anthropologist Balmurli Natrajan and India-based economist Suraj Jacob” (all of whom have spent significant time in india). some highlights (my bold):
<p class=”story-body__introduction”>What are the most common myths and stereotypes about what Indians eat?</p>
The biggest myth, of course, is that India is a largely vegetarian country. … only about 20% of Indians are actually vegetarian – much lower than common claims and stereotypes suggest.
Hindus, who make up 80% of the Indian population, are major meat-eaters. Even only a third of the privileged, upper-caste Indians are vegetarian.
The government data shows that vegetarian households have higher income and consumption – are more affluent than meat-eating households. The lower castes, Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) and tribes-people are mainly meat eaters.
Dr Natrajan and Dr Jacob conclude that in reality, closer to 15% of Indians – or about 180 million people – eat beef. That’s a whopping 96% more than the official estimates.
Clearly, the majority of Indians consume some form of meat – chicken and mutton, mainly – regularly or occasionally, and eating vegetarian food is not practiced by the majority.
~20% of indians are vegetarian. much less than people think. current population of india: 1.36 billion. so 272 million vegetarians…indeed hundreds of millions (which i did not dispute). nearly 1.1 billion meat eaters. vegetarian households have higher incomes.
i do not believe i misreported, so you must think they are wrong as well? do you have any evidence countering these researchers’ findings? i could go on, as so much research into this matter does.
and here are a number of sources supporting my claim that indians (especially lower socioeconomic classes) are not getting enough vegetables, even though india is a net importer of vegetables (by nearly 4:1 i believe):
-f&v as part of food consumption in india, 93-94: just under 8%; 14-15: just under 6%
-from the peer reviewed ‘indian journal of community medicine’ in 2013:
Globally, majority of people consistently are consuming less than the daily recommended F AND V requirement. Even in developed nations e.g., Australia, Canada, Europe, UK and USA, researchers have concluded that there is large gap between actual and recommended consumption of both F AND V despite decades of concern and publicity while resultant outcomes were short-lived. In a study from 52 low and middle-income countries 77.6% of men and 78.4% of women consumed less than the minimum recommended servings of F AND V. Same study reported 74% low F AND V consumption amongst adults in India.
-from ‘the times of india’ article titled “production high, but indians eating less f&v” (2016): “f&v account for only 9% of calorie intake in the country” … “average daily intake is higher for higher income groups” … “indians consume quite less than WHO (world health organization) norms”
-from ‘down to earth‘ magazine (Asia’s premier fortnightly on politics of environment and development assisted by the Centre for Science and Environment and published from New Delhi, India (description from wiki): “even after being one of the largest producers of fruits and vegetables, India’s consumption of these food items is less than the standard” and ‘average daily serving is lower for lower income groups’ (summary of graphic used).
your single-point observation and anecdotal evidence is not to be dismissed–the gap between presence and access is a serious problem for many types of food in many societies–but it is not sufficient to make generalizations about the whole of indian society/culture. seeing a lot of vegetables in the market or a field is great, but did you see enough to feed 1.36 billion people? then maybe there are gaps in your experience that i hope these articles can fill.
to answer your question (and i would love to hear your explanation of its relevancy to the discussion): no i have not been to india, but these researchers have, and many of them currently live there. i’m happy to look over any evidence you have to dispute their claims, but just calling me wrong because your individual experience/assumptions are different from my research is not helpful to the discussion. also, i must admit that i assume you did not read the article i linked to in my previous post. if i am wrong, my apologies, but then i would like to know how you justify claiming that i am “so incredibly wrong here,” or really, how the author and researchers are so wrong, as i merely stated the points of their research.Mar 10, 2019 at 1:49 am #3582657
Enough time spent. You can find all sorts of articles, and I can only reply with what I have seen over the years, and heard from countless Indians I have known. As I said, someone is buying all those vegetables, and if you think vegetables are expensive….take a look at meat prices. You note that 180 million Indians are meat eaters. Do yourresearchers distinguish between Hindus and Muslims? The are about 180 million Muslims in India. I would suspect a high correlation between them and meat eating, as they have no cultural or religious inhibitions against it. I frankly find the estimate of 1.1 billion meat eaters in India pretty far fetched. It would not surprise me is an increasing number of Indians eat meat at least occasionally, but accompanied by a lot of vegetables.Mar 10, 2019 at 1:53 am #3582658
I am out of my depth and got defensive when something that I posted as positive news was rebuked (?) as not all that true or positive. So until/unless I know more I am going to bow out.Mar 10, 2019 at 3:51 am #3582667
odd, or maybe fitting, that you are ignoring the research i presented, as well as my direct questions to you. especially asking how you justify calling me wrong in an arguably disrespectful way, despite me providing evidence alongside the claim, to which you are still refusing to respond. or why you are asking if i have been to india? looking to be a gatekeeper because you have been there on holiday and all i have done is researched food access for impoverished communities around the world?
i noted that 180 million people in india eat beef, not meat as you said. please, please, please, at least read what i wrote, and stop misrepresenting or misreporting what i said.
you may find it far fetched that 1.1 billion eat meat, but then again, these are statistics from reliable sources. and you are just a dude with an opinion based on…what exactly? you never stated the basis of your belief…or really any specific belief at all other than that i was wrong. so again i ask…do you have any evidence against it? sure, there are other numbers out there…i have seen as little as ~70% who identify as meat-eaters, to as much as nearly 90% who have admitted to eating meat in the past six months or year…but what exactly is your claim? how many do you think are vegetarian, and where is your evidence? or do you just wish to vaguely disagree with me because you do not like what the data shows? or don’t like that i repeated it?
and again with the vegetables thing. “accompanied by a lot of vegetables”…evidence? data? anything other than you just saying it on a forum on a backpacking website? because i provided quite a bit of data demonstrating that people all over the world, including india, and especially lower-income groups, do not get enough vegetables. and you…said nuh uh. so…probably not going to just take your word for it. but again, happy to look at some counter evidence you may provide.
people are buying them…but as i pointed out, there is a big difference between seeing a lot of vegetables, and seeing enough for 1.3 billion people to get 5x80g servings per day of f&v (WHO recommended daily intake).
i cited legitimate sources, mostly based in india, researched and written by people who are indian–born, lived, and many still live, in india. people who have access to thousands, if not tens of thousands of survey results, and decades of various data from india, the UN, and other sources. are you saying you know more than them? that the trips you have taken and the ‘countless’ indians you have talked to even begin to approach the resources to which they have access? real question though…and i would really love an answer. do you know more than them? please answer, would love to get a real sense of where you see yourself on the hierarchy of sources about the nutritional intake habits of all of india.Mar 10, 2019 at 3:07 am #3582670
i appreciate it. the nasa article is a great debate starter on both the challenges to addressing environmental degradation without creating new ecological issues, and the issue of green-washing and cherry picking data points in easily digestible public releases (as opposed to scientific or academic publications).
both are interesting, as are worldwide efforts to combat desertification and ghg emissions (and other env’l problems) through ecosystem restoration. depressing, for sure, but interesting.Mar 10, 2019 at 4:44 am #3582688
“i noted that 180 million people in india eat beef, not meat as you said. please, please, please, at least read what i wrote, and stop misrepresenting or misreporting what i said.”
That was a mistake on my part, in the heat of the minute. I meant beef, quite simply because there is no restriction in Islam against eating it. Score a point if you wish, but that was my intent.
“According to the 2006 Hindu–CNN-IBN State of the Nation Survey, 31% of Indians are vegetarian, while another 9% also consume eggs (ovo-vegetarian).<sup id=”cite_ref-TheHindu_24-1″ class=”reference”></sup> Among the various communities, vegetarianism was most common among the Brahmins, Lingayat, Vaishnav Community, Jain community, and, less frequent among Muslims (3%) and residents of coastal states. Other surveys cited by FAO<sup id=”cite_ref-62″ class=”reference”></sup>and USDA<sup id=”cite_ref-63″ class=”reference”></sup><sup id=”cite_ref-Amber_Waves_(2004)_64-0″ class=”reference”></sup> estimate 40% of the Indian population as being vegetarian. These surveys indicate that even Indians who do eat meat, do so infrequently, with less than 30% consuming it regularly, although the reasons are mainly cultural.<sup id=”cite_ref-Amber_Waves_(2004)_64-1″ class=”reference”></sup> In states where vegetarianism is more common, milk consumption is higher and is associated with lactase persistence. This allows people to continue consuming milk into adulthood and obtain proteins that are substituted for meat, fish and eggs in other areas.<sup id=”cite_ref-65″ class=”reference”>[6</sup>
Here is the source for the above quote. It pretty much summarizes what I have to say, and have found with a cursory set of searches. 40% vegetarian/lacto vegetarian, and infrequent meat consumption by another 30%, primarily due to cultural preferences. I suppose I could go on and dredge up more supporting evidence, but I do have a life to get on with, so this will have to do.
“looking to be a gatekeeper because you have been there on holiday and all i have done is researched food access for impoverished communities around the world?”
Now you’re getting nasty. As it happens, I have been married to an Indian woman for 45 years, and on numerous trips have seen quite a bit of the country from ground level, inside homes, very basic restaurants, higher level restaurants, street food, and on and on. This does, I think, add a dimension you simply do not have when reading articles like those you present. No, of course I don’t know more than Indians in India, but when I see some of the numbers, I CAN be skeptical as to their positions and intentions in a hyper politicized atmosphere. Meat is a very politicized subject in India these days, which you would know if you had a broader perspective on India, and when I see numbers like 1.1 billion meat eaters out of a population of ~1.35 billion, I’m sorry, Jared; it just doesn’t pass the smell test. The article I cited estimates a total of 31% veg, plus another 9% if you add in eggs. As near as I can tell, that’s a teeny bit more than your figure of 272 million, and also gives the lie to the figure of 1.1 billion meat eaters. It also makes me wonder if the actual number of vegetarians is higher. But, no, I don’t know with any certainty.
Here is a link to the cost of a variety of food items in India. Notice the difference in price between meat and vegetables/milk. I couldn’t find the cost of the various types of lentils, a major source of non animal protein in India, quickly, but I can assure you it is much cheaper than meat, and for those who cannot afford either meat or adequate vegetables, it has and will continue to be, a go to source of protein. With meat/chicken at those prices, they are out of reach for many, many Indians, and a rare treat for many more
Anyway, I have said all I have to say. The last word is yours.Mar 10, 2019 at 4:54 am #3582689
“accompanied by a lot of vegetables”…evidence? data? anything other than you just saying it on a forum on a backpacking website? because i provided quite a bit of data demonstrating that people all over the world, including india, and especially lower-income groups, do not get enough vegetables.”
Excepting the lowest rung on the economic ladder, just go into any Indian home or restaurant and see what is served, even when there is fish/chicken, etc on the menu. Heck, go into any Indian restaurant here, where meat is served and very affordable, and tell me what you see. Your reliance on high level data obtained by analyzing a necessarily relatively small sample of data points is blinding you to some pretty basic ground level realities. You really should get out in the world and take a look around. ;0)
But enough. Finished.Mar 10, 2019 at 6:12 am #3582694
i see the error in the beef/meat mixup. haste on both our parts.
so you searched for evidence to support your point instead of the most current data on the issue. a quick google search of ‘vegetarianism in india’ pulls up that wiki page first (along with the bbc article i originally cited as the fourth option, depending on the order of your search terms). then you scrolled down to the first bit of information that backed-up your claim, and voila. but in your excitement, you missed a few things. 1st–study from 2006. quite outdated for a study on cultural values of today. 2nd–that was a survey done by the ‘Hindu,’ the daily paper of Chennai. not exactly a reliable source. 3rd–maybe scroll down three more paragraphs to the most recent study:
A 2018 study from <i>Economic and Political Weekly</i> by US-based anthropologist Balmurli Natrajan and India-based economist Suraj Jacob suggests that the percentage of vegetarians may be closer to 20%; the study argues that meat-eating behavior is underreported because consumption of meat, especially beef, is “caught in cultural, political, and group identity struggles in India”.<sup id=”cite_ref-74″ class=”reference”></sup>
and we’re back to the study i originally cited. a very recent, peer-reviewed journal article by industry professionals. an article that also discusses the political and cultural issues surrounding meat consumption as a primary driver of underreporting.
like you said “but when I see some of the numbers, I CAN be skeptical as to their positions and intentions in a hyper politicized atmosphere” and so can i. but what you mean is, you can be skeptical of numbers you don’t like, even from recent, peer-reviewed sources, in favor of numbers you do like from old newspaper articles that are subject to less scrutiny and higher levels of sociopolitical influence. i’m happy to debate the merits of the two sources.
now…i’m getting nasty? for accusing you of gatekeeping? we’ll get to that, but first, you said:
I’m sorry, Jared, but you are so incredibly wrong here that I don’t know where to begin.
i took that as a bit nasty, considering the claim in question was accompanied by the aforementioned 2018 source. and then this gem:
Final thought: Have you ever spent any significant time in India?
wow. not nasty? i’m still waiting for an explanation on how this isn’t gatekeeping. what is the purpose of the question? again, i’m not making these claims, i am stating the claims made my validated researchers who have spent significant time in india, and have access to piles of information about it. who are indian husbands, and indian wives, and indian citizens. their credentials are well beyond mine, which is why i cited them, and well beyond yours, by your own admission. so what does it matter if i have or have not? please explain. does my experience or lack thereof somehow diminish my ability to literally restate numbers?
yes you have been on trips…again not disputed. but you didn’t answer my questions. holiday, or researching food access? how many meals have you shared with impoverished/lower-income families? honestly i find the potential answers less interesting and less telling than your avoidance of them.
but again, access to f&v was the main part of my original claim. if you recall, the vegetarian thing you brought up. my original point was all about vegetable (and to some degree fruit) consumption and access. you started to talk about the numbers of vegetarians, which speaks to the number of meat eaters and some factor of overall meat consumption (which i cited), but not really about the consumption of f&v.
ah, and here you have responded yet again. and again, not a source to back up your claim. what is it this time…
Excepting the lowest rung on the economic ladder,
my points about access specifically target lower-income households
just go into any Indian home or restaurant and see what is served, even when there is fish/chicken, etc on the menu.
i see more meat than recommended, more rice than is healthy, a lot of legumes, and not enough vegetables and fruit.
Heck, go into any Indian restaurant here, where meat is served and very affordable, and tell me what you see.
so american-based indian restaurants are representative of meals in indian homes? i have indian friends who would disagree, but sure, i’ll bite: i see even more meat, even more rice (overall larger portion size), and still not enough fruits and vegetables.
Your reliance on high level data obtained by analyzing a necessarily relatively small sample of data points is blinding you to some pretty basic ground level realities.
are you suggesting that tens of thousands of surveys, and decades of research and data collection, analyzed by indians, born in india, raised in india, many still living in india, with the specific purpose of addressing known health issues related to nutrient deficiencies caused by lacking fruits and vegetables, and other issues caused by a diet too rich in meat and grains/legumes (because they care about their countrymens’ health and welfare), and facing a known production and import/export system that does not provide enough produce and/or at low enough prices for everyone to get their recommended intake of f&v, is too small a sample size?
and your…what…15 trips and one newspaper article is better? being married to an indian woman for 45 years means what? that you know more than the researchers? certainly more than me, but, and you keep saying, that i am…whatever…this time blind. it is not me making these claims. it is actual indians living in actual india facing actual issues with their fellow indians. who are you to say they are blinded by data? would you say it to them? to their face, instead of throwing shade at some guy across the internet who you know so very little about but seem to want to demean my statements by attacking my experience, when i am just relaying the statements of people that i can say are, unequivocally, more knowledgeable than you.
You really should get out in the world and take a look around.
this isn’t nasty? sounds like old man snark to me. i would very much like to get around more, but in absence of that, i will work with those who have more experience and knowledge than me (and you), will use the work of those that i cannot work with, and use the best research and data that is available to me, and the rest of the world, instead of just the data that i like, cherry-picked from wiki while ignoring the more relevant information three paragraphs below. to be fair though, i have spent quite a bit of time with poor families, and other socioecon groups, to include indians, and many ethnic groups, and many nationalities, and many american families. the vast majority of people do not get enough f&v, and get too much meat, grains, and legumes. my observations.
and sure, you have mentioned 4 times being done with the conversation…maybe this time will stick. i kind of hope it will, when the alternative is likely you spewing more ignorance that is not helpful to those who are negatively impacted by their nutritional access and choices. fortunately, i can rest easy knowing that there are better people working on this problem, and you have no impact on their efforts.Mar 10, 2019 at 3:41 pm #3582716
“up your claim, and voila. but in your excitement, you missed a few things. 1st–study from 2006. quite outdated for a study on cultural values of today. 2nd–that was a survey done by the ‘Hindu,’ the daily paper of Chennai. not exactly a reliable source. 3rd–maybe scroll down three more paragraphs to the most recent study:”
You clearly missed the extensive list of references provided by both the FAO and the USDA, current to 2018, in your haste. I will keep it brief here, except to say there is more to my post than a Chennai newspaper article. To wit: According to the surveys cited by these well regarded organizations, some 40% of Indians are vegetarian, with another 30% consuming meat infrequently, largely for cultural reasons. This would indicate to me that on any given day some 70% of Indians are eating vegetarian. The reason I cited this article is because it tracks, with the credibility that I would assign to such large organizations with all the resources they have at their disposal, with what I have observed down through the years. You, on the other hand, are content, as indeed you must be, given your complete lack on on the ground exposure, to rely on studies by, admittedly, experts using survey techniques, carefully selected samples, and statistical modeling to try to derive a picture of the eating habits of 1.35 billion people, many of them in remote, difficult to reach villages(thousands of them). You simply have no way to evaluate their work based on real world experience.
“my points about access specifically target lower-income households”
And you think they are eating meat, at up to 400 rupees a kilo? When, according to you, they can’t afford much cheaper fruits and veggies? 1.1 billion of them?
“so american-based indian restaurants are representative of meals in indian homes? i have indian friends who would disagree, but sure, i’ll bite: i see even more meat, even more rice (overall larger portion size), and still not enough fruits and vegetables.”
Heck no, but I figured it was about as close as you’re ever likely to get. Most of them are fror Western customers anyway. For a more accurate experience, try a South Indian vegetarian restaurant(most of them are) frequented by Indians, where you will see a very wide variety of veg dishes. This wil get you close to what is served in Indian veg restaurants. But inside an Indian home is where the rubber meets the road, if you can manage an invite.
“this isn’t nasty? sounds like old man snark to me. i would very much like to get around more,”
More like old man experience, and a certain impatience with one who relies solely on the experience(probably misinterpreted) of others when making ridiculous statements like 1.1 billion meat eaters out of 1.35 billion Indians, and even middle class Indians being unable to afford F&V, both of which do not compute. I will not disagree about those at the bottom of the economic ladder being unable to afford F&V, but if that is the case, neither will they be able to afford meat. More likely, they will rely on dal and grains, which are by anyone’s definition vegetarian. Whether it is a nutritionally adequate diet is another discussion, which you and I will not be having.
“maybe this time will stick. i kind of hope it will, when the alternative is likely you spewing more ignorance that is not helpful to those who are negatively impacted by their nutritional access and choices. fortunately, i can rest easy knowing that there are better people working on this problem, and you have no impact on their efforts.”
Oh, definitely. This conversation has taken an increasingly unproductive turn, which isn’t going to lead anywhere I care to go. I just couldn’t resist a chance to sum up my thoughts and point out your own ignorance. Suffice it to say, I am far less ignorant about India than you. I have witnessed countless street scenes of poor people, living on the edge, cooking a thin gruel of dal over a twig fire, and trust me when I tell you that there weren’t pieces of meat floating in it. But enough. Have a nice day.Mar 10, 2019 at 5:27 pm #3582737
indian national family health survey 15-16(ministry of health and family welfare): 30% women identified vegetarian; 22% of men.
the times of india reporting in 2018 that vegetarianism is no more than 30%, and likely closer to 20%, according to the most rescent data and surveys from NSSO (national sample survey office), IHDS (india human development survey), and NFHS (national family health survey). pretty important to point out that these are some of the same surveys that influenced the ‘Hindu’ paper numbers you keep citing from 2006, and who have redone the surveys a decade later and found a trend towards more meat eating. conveniently, you ignore updated/new research because you don’t like the results, even from the same sources. are you a politician by chance?
one of many, many articles discussing the sociopolitical influence of self-reporting eating habits in india…(which you also pointed out), and which every source suggests skews the survey data away from meat consumption. so likely all surveys are underreporting the incidence of eating meat…my original thoughts on the matter of vegetarianism.
and another, from curtin university (australian, with a campus in india) from 2015 that finds young people are increasingly eating meat in secret, away from their families.
and an older female india, writing for down to earth, discussing the survey methods of the indian government, the cultural and religious drivers behind underreporting meat consumption, her experience living and working in india, and the increasing meat consumption per capita (70% increase from 2007 to 2015). .
The reason I cited this article is because it tracks, with the credibility that I would assign to such large organizations with all the resources they have at their disposal, with what I have observed down through the years.
admitting you selected an article based on the results (instead of the most recent and best quality data). and again, those org’s are now reporting different data…but you don’t like it. too bad.
You, on the other hand, are content, as indeed you must be, given your complete lack on on the ground exposure, to rely on studies by, admittedly, experts
i am content using experts. plural. who have so much more on the ground exposure than you. and you are content using your own, extremely limited observations. again…happy to debate the merits of these sources vs …just you. i wonder…if i was indian, would you still fight me on this? and then i wonder…if the sources of the information were indian, would you fight them? but then i see the answer is—yes. you, a non-indian man, are directly opposing the lifelong work of many indian experts, on the subject of indian people, because another non-indian guy presented their numerical findings.
using survey techniques, carefully selected samples, and statistical modeling to try to derive a picture of the eating habits of 1.35 billion people, many of them in remote, difficult to reach villages(thousands of them).
again, you were ok with this when it produced numbers you like. reminds me of certain political actors in the US. so your own comments invalidate your criticism. also…how are you able to acquire information about remote, difficult to reach villages? have you been there? to more than the combined researchers and government survey takers (who have traveled to remote villages…to take the surveys and because, in some cases, they grew up there). and i will ask again…have you had many meals with the poor? you still won’t answer, and i suspect no (because you won’t answer).
You simply have no way to evaluate their work based on real world experience.
i feel like you are missing a huge and obvious point, so i will make the words more noticeable: i am not evaluating their work. i am literally restating numbers of experts (your word) and indian people who know more than you and me (your words). and you are disagreeing with their evaluation of the data available to them.
And you think they are eating meat, at up to 400 rupees a kilo? When, according to you, they can’t afford much cheaper fruits and veggies? 1.1 billion of them?
this question is poorly crafted. vegetarianism and f&v consumption are two different discussions. no one is disputing that people in india are largely not getting enough per day. or anywhere else in the world. no one. not in india, not at the UN. just you. based on…essentially a single person’s observations of restaurants and the occasional meal with families in india.
and the meat thing. lets start with annual per capita meat consumption. based on production and trade, it is around 5-5.5 kg per year. so 11-12 pounds per year. less than 4oz per week, per citizen. you can adjust that by accounting for the vegetarian population, the occasional meat eaters, those that raise their own without reporting it, etc… and get a slightly higher number for people who eat meat, then adjusted based on wealth. but i never said indians ate as much meat as anyone else (by all accounts, they are at the bottom in terms of worldwide meat consumption). i never speculated on daily meat intake…just the underreporting on vegetariansim and, originally, missing global targets for f&v intake.
But inside an Indian home is where the rubber meets the road, if you can manage an invite.
i have been invited. to indian homes, and many other ethnic groups. across the wealth spectrum. as it happens, i shared a meal with my indian colleague, her husband, brother, mother, indian friend, and two other non-indian colleagues (who are from argentina and south korea) this past week. lots of rice, not enough vegetables. so very, very good.
More like old man experience, and a certain impatience with one who relies solely on the experience(probably misinterpreted)
show me how i ‘misinterpreted’ by restating numerical values
not just others. according to both of us, they are experts, with much more knowledge of this situation than both of us, because they are actual indians, who live in india.
when making ridiculous statements like 1.1 billion meat eaters out of 1.35 billion Indians,
what’s ridiculous is you challenging the numbers produced by indian experts, indian researchers, and the indian government, as just some dude from another country with only old sources of data that most of these indian experts, journalists, government officials, etc…admit are underreporting because of cultural issues (which you noted is true).
and even middle class Indians being unable to afford F&V,
what i said was lower-income cannot afford enough f&v; for middle income it is a combination of availability, cost, and for many, largely choice. which was also backed up by plenty of research about india specficially, and the rest of the world.
both of which do not compute. I will not disagree about those at the bottom of the economic ladder being unable to afford F&V, but if that is the case, neither will they be able to afford meat. More likely, they will rely on dal and grains, which are by anyone’s definition vegetarian.
certainly, they are vegetarian. but also by anyone’s definition…not f&v.
Whether it is a nutritionally adequate diet is another discussion, which you and I will not be having
no we won’t, obviously, because nutritional deficiencies was my original point, and you refuse to have that conversation, instead going in hard on old data about meat-eating and non-indian anecdotal evidence about the mere presence f&v. and really, its not a debate…the discussion there is what to do about nutritional deficiencies, not whether or not they exist, and i suspect you would be no help in trying to get a society to eat healthier, because according to you, the problem doesn’t exist. if that is what you mean by ‘old man experience’ then i completely agree.Mar 14, 2019 at 10:37 pm #3583545Eric BlumensaadtBPL Member
@danepackerLocale: Mojave Desert
GOOD to see so many commenting on an environmental thread!
I take this “greening” news as relatively good news. The greening means more Co2 uptake by the plants. But for agricultural plants one must ask HOW is the Co2 sequestered and for how long?Mar 15, 2019 at 6:04 pm #3583701
relatively is a fair point if you focus solely on CO2 (which, to be fair, is what many countries do). the efforts to increase natural sequestration and resist desertification [in China especially] are better than nothing, better than some other attempts around the world, but misguided. setting aside the ecological harm from planned forests, they do soak up a fair bit of CO2, even if it is less effective than natural forests (check out some of the articles Kat posted above, especially the wiki page)–and something needs to be done about desert encroachment. but, a lot of the ‘greening’ is short-term solutions in place of sustainable ones, and these stop gaps become permanent plans most of the time…while giving hollow justification for countries to keep increasing emissions of CO2 and other, more potent ghg.
agriculture is another story. here’s an article from ATTRA that does a great job summarizing the relationship between agriculture and climate change, with a lot of sequestration. it’s from 2009, but the article (and it’s sources) are still valid and used often in eco-ag research. to sum it up: natural forests and grasslands are the best for long-term sequestration; agricultural practices can be mostly neutral or even beneficial in some respects for local ecosystems and global carbon capture, but the cyclical nature means much of the carbon used during growth/production will be released during harvest. what happens to the carbon during/after harvest is the issue, and in many places (all over the world, not just [south]east Asia), carbon capture at this stage is not part of commercial operations.
that article doesn’t get into it, but the practices actually used in most places generate a lot of agricultural waste (biomass and chemicals), strip the soil of organic matter (important for soil sequestration, nutrient transfer to food crops, and crop growth), rely on nitrogen fertilizers (a lot of ghg to produce), or involve a lot of commodity crops that replace food/natural ecology (see: palm oil plantations, etc…)…and that doesn’t even get to the issue of ghg from livestock. it’s unlikely that agriculture as a global system will ever be fully neutral (though it could be offset by better land-use management), but modern, commercial practices are the reason agriculture (as well as forestry and land-use…often evaluated together) is such a large contributor to global ghg emissions.Mar 16, 2019 at 4:37 am #3583822
I thought I’d let the dust settle a while before I got back to you, because I have to admit you really got my blood boiling with some of the smelly stuff you were throwing at the wall, and nothing good would have come from reciprocating. Let’s try to make this time different? In the past few days, I’ve taken the time to read the full article by Natarajan & Jacoby, not just the summary in The Wire. I am assuming you have also read the full article in The Economic and Political Weekly? I found it an interesting piece of work, with some interesting insights and a methodology I appreciated, that of dehomogenizing groups often assumed to be monolithic. That said, there were two other things I noted that gave me pause: 1) The article relied on surveys conducted using self reporting, which is known to be less than reliable in its results, for exactly the reason the authors cited; Sure enough, the results varied from 37% to 23%, only to be lowered to 20% or less by the authors on the assumption of underreporting. So, you see, it is not just me questioning the results of the experts; the experts themselves are questioning the results of other experts. 2) None of the surveys were exactly current, having been done in 2005 in the case of the NFHS, and 2011-12 in the case of the NSSO and IHDF surveys, nor were many of their other sources, several of which dated back to the late 20th Century. Needless to say, this gave me a chuckle in light of your peremptory dismissal of the sources I provided, one of which, the infamous Hindu-CNN survey, the authors referred to when questioning the validity of the 37% vegetarian number in the NSSO survey results. They didn’t seem to have any reservations about its validity when it supported their argument about underreporting. Whatever the true number, and they vary from the outlier 20% assumed by the authors up to the low 30s, not counting those who eat eggs, but no flesh, the mid range percentage invalidates your claim of 1.1 billion meat eaters. As for the great F&V controversy, I am still puzzled as to how you came to the conclusion that I think everybody is getting adequate fruits and veggies. A morning stroll through the streets of just about any large Indian city will quickly disabuse a person of any such delusions. I have been back over our dialogue several times and it seems clear, to me at least, that my point was as follows: There is an abundance of fruits and veggies in Indian markets, and they don’t end up being fed to the goats and chickens. People are buying them, or they wouldn’t keep showing up day after day in the markets. As you admitted, it is mainly an affordability problem, not a supply problem. The vendors are pretty astute, and know what and how much they can sell. Indeed, their own livelihoods depend on it. We never got around to the part of the conversation that seems to preoccupy you, which is those unfortunates who can barely afford much more than dahl with rice or a couple of rotis, let alone F&V, some 200 million of them by most estimates(although that is a number very much in flux and apparently falling fast). And I never did get you to directly answer my poorly crafted question:
And you think they are eating meat, at up to 400 rupees a kilo? When, according to you, they can’t afford much cheaper fruits and veggies? 1.1 billion of them?
‘this question is poorly crafted. vegetarianism and f&v consumption are two different discussions.’
I have to disagree. They intersect in the context of your statements about 1.1 billion people being able to afford meat, but not many times cheaper F&V.
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