Intensive animal farming, also known as factory farming, is controversial for two reasons. First of all, it has a huge negative impact upon our environment – cattle is, for instance, one of the major sources of methane (a greenhouse gas stronger than carbon dioxide) emission. Second but not least, is the suffering imposed on animals kept as livestock. Though animal slaughter is an unpleasant aspect of livestock farming, the way we keep animals is probably far more cruel than merely killing a sentient being.
In this essay I want to explore a not-too-far future in which technology has reconciled our demand for animal products and animal welfare. Of course, I know that certain animal welfare activists will argue that we should become all vegans in order to put an end to animal suffering. However, I do not believe such strategy will be successful. Too many people like meat and other animal products, while current plant-based alternatives cannot (yet) satisfy this demand.
What are the main animal products we humans consumer? Meat, dairy, eggs and leather. I will discuss each product one by one. Thereafter I will argue that we can return to small scale farms that both respect animal welfare and play an important social function.
Read full essay
The agricultural section of a Bernal Sphere (source: NASA)
In regard with agriculture space settlements will have to deal with two issues. First of all, an independent food supply is essential for the success of any civilization. Secondly, during the early stages of the humanization of space there a shortage of labor will be quite likely. Since we cannot dispense with agriculture, at least not in the long run – as the alternative would be very expensive – space settlers will need to embrace agricultural robots full heartedly. Continue reading Agricultural robots
This video by Care Farming UK explains the concept of care farming.
Bamboo is a fast growing plant with various uses. Hence it is a suitable source of timber, paper and textiles for space settlements. Below several videos to explain how bamboo could help space settlers to become self-sufficient. Continue reading Bamboo products
Scientific and technological progress will make factory farming obsolete in the near future. Here is short video explaining how we can still consume meat and dairy products, while avoiding the mistreating of animals.
For more info:
Perfect Day Foods (animal free dairy)
Cultured Beef (Mark Post’s official web page)
New Zealand couple Robert and Robyn Cuyton have developed a two-acre forest garden. This video shows what a forest garden looks like and the Cuytons explain how to create and maintain one.
Here is an interesting video on suburban parmaculture or food garden:
Scientists have created genetic modified plants with a more efficient photosynthesis. On average plants only use about 4% of the energy of light. By increasing the efficiency of photosynthesis we can obtain higher yields of crops. Continue reading Supercrops
Borrowing and lending money is the cornerstone of modern capitalist economy. And commercial loans virtually always involve interest. Therefore most people are unable to imagine a society without interest. However interest has several negative effects on society. Continue reading Interest-free finance