Quick Links 15th August 2016

I’ve been publishing these Quick Links on a Tuesday for a while now. I’m going to try to continue to post them each week, but am moving them to a Monday until further notice as it’s a bit easier for me.


Each week I’ll try and post quick links to things that I’ve seen, read, inspired me or just sparked my interest in the previous week, with a little background and my thoughts and other things that I’ve been up to in the previous week. Mostly gardening, cooking and environmental stuff but not always.


One Of My Local Buzzards

One Of My Local Buzzards

I wrote last week about the licence to kill buzzards issued by Natural England (the supposed protector of our natural environment), although there has been a response by Natural England, which states that “Natural England will shortly be making documents associated with the assessment and granting of this licence publicly available”, I’m going to reserve judgement on this until I see the details.

In other areas however RSPB has released information about the disappearance of satellite tagged Golden Eagles. (There’s more detail on satellite tagging of birds in this blog post as well). With this and the persecution of other raptors e.g. Hen Harriers, for what seems to be the sport of a privileged few, we seem to be going back to the bad old days of gamekeeper and sporting estates (or maybe we never left). Earlier this year I read “Raptor” by James Macdonald Lockhart [GoodReads], which bought home to me just how persecuted birds of prey used to be. Although things have gotten better, it does seem that there are still a few that are intent on taking the law into their own hands, and committing wildlife crime.


My Mum has a whole herd of elephants in her house. There are African ones, Indian ones, China ones, wooden ones, glass ones, plastic ones, but they are all ornaments. Many of them run trunk to tail across her mantelpiece. For me the elephant is an iconic symbol of a wild animal, an intelligent giant. It would be a human failure of epic proportions if they became an extinct species in the wild. A bit more on the history, and prehistory of the species here.


The Week In Wildlife – In Pictures


This time of year, when the vast majority of our food is coming from the allotment, we seem to eat very little meat. The arguments for moving to a vegan diet are quite convincing from many standpoints. Could I do it full time? I’m not sure, although my meat intake is quite low anyway, and I can’t eat fish due to allergies, I do eat quite a bit of dairy, particularly cheese, eggs and milk. I know there are alternatives to some of those, so I might give them a try and see if I can reduce at least some of that. We’ll see.


 Currently Reading – bit of a mix at the moment.

Run to the Mountain by Thomas Merton [GoodReads]

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson [GoodReads]

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4 Responses to Quick Links 15th August 2016

  1. David says:

    We don’t eat very much meat at all these days. Most of our protein now comes from our free range chicken eggs, which we eat every day. We do eat a lot of dairy, though, and we’re hoping that we can produce our own soon, when we get around to raising goats. I don’t think we’d ever give up our eggs and dairy.

    One unexpected benefit of not eating (and preparing) meat is the time and general mess it saves during clean-up after a meal. Animal fat is such a pain, with which to deal, and we now find it somewhat on the revolting side, when we have to clean it from our pots and pans. And, of course, our grocery bill is a lot lower, since we stopped eating meat.

    I suppose the other consideration for not eating meat that you cannot raise yourself, or at least find someone who shares your values, is what nasty things you might find in today’s mass market meat, like antibiotics, hormones, and GMO contamination. Scary stuff.

  2. David says:

    P.S.
    Although the linked article makes some good points in regards to mass-market corporate farms, I don’t see anything wrong with people raising their own animals for their own consumption. Our little 15 acre homestead has no problem supporting our small flock of chickens, and would not have any problem supporting the small herd of goats we plan on getting ourselves.

    The way I see it is, the planet has no problem support our population or the plants and animals it would take to feed us all. But, it’s man’s greed and wasteful nature that is makes it not sustainable.

    • Hi David, You raise an interesting point about trace-ability of produce. I agree I think anyone raising their own produce or subsistence living is not really a problem, but the mass produced, and as you point out, probably treated with lots of different chemicals, antibiotics etc is just not right. If you can’t be sure what’s being put into it, why would you eat it? This and the amount of waste, both in the animal and vegetable side of food production, including for really silly reasons like how a vegetable looks, and it must be a certain length, width etc. are wrong. Why should we not eat something just because cosmetically it doesn’t look “normal”. There is too much wastage and over-exacting standards, that I don’t think consumers have ever actually asked for, but the sellers e.g. supermarkets etc, assume that their customers want. If we just reduced or removed this wastage, there would be even less pressure on dwindling space.

      • David says:

        Exactly.

        The pre-consumer waste is simply terrible. I used to work in a grocery store, when I was in high-school, and the amount of product that gets thrown out has gotten a lot worse over the years. And I’m talking about more than just the boxes of fruits and vegetables that get thrown out, but the in-store prepared food that gets thrown out is downright criminal. I think I’m safe in saying that the corporations themselves throw out more food than the consumers do, yet we have to pay the taxes and “environmental fees”, and constrain our way of life for all of this so-called “waste”; waste over which we have no control.

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