6

votes

Are you comfortably unaware of Dr. Oppenlander?

Commented on March 08, 2015
Created January 05, 2012 at 7:30 PM

"Comfortably Unaware explains, so clearly, how what we choose to eat has a direct impact on the health of Planet Earth: how modern agro-business and our thoughtless appetites are, quite literally, destroying the environment and the future of our children. I urge you to read it, to think about its message, discuss it with your friends ??? and start to change the world, one bite, one meal, one diet at a time." -- Jane Goodall, PhD, DBE, UN Messenger of Peace.

I just stumbled across Dr. Richard Oppenlander of http://comfortablyunaware.com.

On December 5th 2011, he uploaded a whole series of lectures. The first one I saw was The myth About Grass-fed Beef: Is it Sustainable?

Personally I think if you have time it is not a bad thing to watch and read this sort of thing to understand the other side of the ongoing conversation. There are I know already loads of posts about sustainability, and I know this is not a direct question, but I thought it might be a useful post for archives sake.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:06 PM

Kill the humans! Save the animals! If Hitler didn't say this he acted that way. Vegetarian logic.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on May 10, 2013
at 01:21 PM

Who is the "we" in the above? Not me. I'm not quite ready for vegan jackboots.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on May 10, 2013
at 01:17 PM

Help us out Cassie. Give us some intelligent rational arguments against Dr. Opplander. You could start with ancestry or protein maybe. No irrational moralism though.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on May 10, 2013
at 01:11 PM

Beer diet? Seriously?

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on August 22, 2012
at 01:04 PM

Welcome Aisling!

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 17, 2012
at 06:48 PM

Animals already inhabit this earth. Do you propose to do away with them? They are a necessary part of any natural system, and their predators (humans included) will kill and eat them. Certainly the current system isn't very good, but what you are describing would lead to a lot of death and destruction- for ourselves and the animals.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 17, 2012
at 06:45 PM

Let me suggest that people are fighting back with the same emotionality that Dr. Oppenlander does- the only difference is that they aren't hiding behind the vagueness that is sustainability. There are few people I trust who use that word, but those people happen to believe animals are an integral part of natural systems (permaculturalists like Wheaton and Lawton). The people I don't trust with that word are essentially parasites/bureaucrats; their sustainability turns out to be slavery and bad health for the rest of us.

193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

(1260)

on August 13, 2012
at 05:55 PM

I imagine the million-gallon-per-cow figure accounts for the water needs of the grass that the cow grazes on, in addition to the water the cow uses itself.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 13, 2012
at 10:28 PM

I would say I am more "uncomfortably aware" of him. He has many correct concerns, but incorrect conclusions as far as I can tell, but I can't make myself wade through all of his videos to see how divergent our ideas really are. It seems to come from the same place as "Diet for a Small Planet" which I used to wave a around when I was a veg-hole. Again, my apologies for all who had to listen to my banter back then.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 13, 2012
at 10:27 PM

I would say I am more "uncomfortably aware" of him. He has many correct concerns, but incorrect conclusions as far as I can tell, but I can't make myself wade through all of his videos to how divergent our ideas are. It seems to come from the same place as "Diet for a Small Planet" which I used to wave a around when I was a veg-hole. Again my apologies for all who had to listen to my banter back then.

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 13, 2012
at 10:10 PM

There's a project in Europe to restore wild grazing ruminants in prairie habitat.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 13, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Agreed, no need to think grassfed beef is a selfish choice, quite the opposite if it is grazed properly.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:59 PM

"People can lie to themselves and the world about how much better a vegan diet is for the planet..." is what you should've said there. Personal Health and Environmental Health are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, a Vegan Health and Soil/Environmental Health are directly (in declination) proportional!

Medium avatar

(5639)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:53 PM

His water-usage "facts" are laughable at best. And the sending of cheap food overseas does nothing but destroy local agriculture and economies.

D465d14cf5ef9da8436caf6435a5af67

(65)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:52 PM

@lostmitten, this makes them an appropriate snack in case you get a cold in harsh winter times - I see new products on the market... inspiring

Medium avatar

(5639)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:52 PM

Mash - DEFINITELY check out Vegetarian Myth! I read it, and LOVED it. Sadly, Ms. Keith has gone off the deep-end and now advocates the total destruction of civilization as the only solution to save the planet....HOWEVER, I do think everyone who eats should read the book. I gave it to the bass player in my band, who is a vegetarian, and I'm waiting to see what he has to say on the subject.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:14 PM

We had four cows when I was growing up (another one of my mom's "cute baby animals" auction buys that we ended up raising), there's no freaking way they had that much water in their life. That doesn't even make sense.

51a4b53ca196e59b01960b1a39b5f5a3

(85)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:10 PM

I bet you can't. Koala's eat nothing besides eucalyptus. It'd be like eating menthol-cough-drops-game-meat.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:11 PM

Worse, I don't directly watch youtube, instead, I used the Download Helper extension to download the vids. I downloaded like 15 of them, thinking they were pro-paleo vids that I could share with friends before I watched the 1st one, so wasted a bunch of bandwidth on those. :(

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 06, 2012
at 11:13 AM

@Raydawg I know the ones you are talking about, I managed to watch around five of them before I went... wwwaaaaaagggghhhhhh@%$%!

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 06, 2012
at 11:07 AM

There some other testosterone depleted (based on his weak, whiny voice) douche nozzle on youtube who made a 70 episode video series to "debunk" the Paleo diet. No, I won't drive traffic to his nonsense by mentioning his username. Wish I had the time and energy to post 70 reply videos back to answer his lies, but I do have a life.

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 06, 2012
at 11:02 AM

That Koala Bear looks so tasty! I'd bet I could come up with some yummy slow cooker Koala recipes! :)

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:33 AM

"It takes 1 - 2 million (1,000,000 - 2,000,000) gallons of water per grassfed cow. I call BS. Second, that same cow, if it were to consume 1,000,000 gallons of water, pisses out 999,950 gallons. How much does 'kale' retain?? A LOT MORE, but guess what? Whatever eats it pisses it all out.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:13 AM

+1 on the youtube videos.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on January 05, 2012
at 07:42 PM

On my top five books to read in 2012: The Vegetarian Myth: Food, Justice, and Sustainability - Lierre Keith

  • Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

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14 Answers

14
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on January 06, 2012
at 02:03 AM

He just happens to be an animal rights zealot (meat=murder), as are most of his endorsers. That's one thing I give Campbell some credit for- it's clear he actually believes his diet is best and isn't just harping on about it because he wants a new world order where chickens have rights. It's also a little suspicious that his site never says what his doctorate is in. I suggest everyone check out Simon Fairlie's book Meat.

Also, what is it with vegans and youtube videos? Do they think we all have time to watch videos for hours? Can't they just write a blog post with references? I looked at his book preview on Amazon though and he makes the completely stupid mistake of basing his numbers on as if we kept consumption constant, which wouldn't happen because grass-fed meat is more expensive. As any economist will tell you, that affects demand. He also acts as if the water drunk by cattle simply disappears and is gone forever and totally wasted, which violates physics and also ignores the fact that opportunity cost of water use is a localized issue. He also says that XYZ amount of quinoa could be grown on the land that cattle are grazed on without telling us how soil fertility will be maintained.

It's pretty telling that his last chapter is basically a guilting chapter about the poor sad animals and how evil humans are.

0d0842381492a41b2173a04014aae810

(4875)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:13 AM

+1 on the youtube videos.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on May 10, 2013
at 03:06 PM

Kill the humans! Save the animals! If Hitler didn't say this he acted that way. Vegetarian logic.

13
Medium avatar

(12379)

on January 05, 2012
at 09:35 PM

Blergh is what I say to Dr Oppenlander. This "lecture" (and I put lecture in brackets because if this was delivered to any of my classes in university it would have gotten holes shot through it starting about his fifth sentence) is definitely meant for his target veggie audience and it delivers well to his applauding audience. I find it terribly absent of REAL facts.

I love when he talks about water consumption he never goes near water consumption of the kale or quinoa or tomatoes; apparently they do not need water.

And boxing up your tomatoes, kale and quinoa and send it to starving children in Ethiopia while being a nice thought comes with sustainability issues also. He really should have defined what sustainabilty means to him in the outset of this lecture, especially if he is talking about what is and is not sustainable. Sustainable for what and to whom?

EDIT - just got to the part where he's hugging a koala bear - oh boy, can't argue with the cuddly baby koala

96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

on January 06, 2012
at 11:02 AM

That Koala Bear looks so tasty! I'd bet I could come up with some yummy slow cooker Koala recipes! :)

1c67bc28f4e44bbb8770b86df0463df3

(6719)

on January 06, 2012
at 06:33 AM

"It takes 1 - 2 million (1,000,000 - 2,000,000) gallons of water per grassfed cow. I call BS. Second, that same cow, if it were to consume 1,000,000 gallons of water, pisses out 999,950 gallons. How much does 'kale' retain?? A LOT MORE, but guess what? Whatever eats it pisses it all out.

D465d14cf5ef9da8436caf6435a5af67

(65)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:52 PM

@lostmitten, this makes them an appropriate snack in case you get a cold in harsh winter times - I see new products on the market... inspiring

Medium avatar

(5639)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:53 PM

His water-usage "facts" are laughable at best. And the sending of cheap food overseas does nothing but destroy local agriculture and economies.

51a4b53ca196e59b01960b1a39b5f5a3

(85)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:10 PM

I bet you can't. Koala's eat nothing besides eucalyptus. It'd be like eating menthol-cough-drops-game-meat.

518bce04b12cd77741237e1f61075194

(11577)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:14 PM

We had four cows when I was growing up (another one of my mom's "cute baby animals" auction buys that we ended up raising), there's no freaking way they had that much water in their life. That doesn't even make sense.

193f00d53ebcb13940c7a55afc78ad17

(1260)

on August 13, 2012
at 05:55 PM

I imagine the million-gallon-per-cow figure accounts for the water needs of the grass that the cow grazes on, in addition to the water the cow uses itself.

9
5e36f73c3f95eb4ea13a009f4936449f

(8280)

on January 05, 2012
at 08:59 PM

Can I be comfortably "do not care"?

3
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 13, 2012
at 09:07 PM

I would counter with the argument that grassfed ruminants are probably the answer to our food and environmental crises, not the cause of them. As far as I know you don't have to supply water for wild ruminants noshing on grass, so I'm a little confused about his whole water thing. Are modern cows diabetic, and extra thirsty? I bet they could be if fed grain. If so, answer solved, just raise more primitive varieties of cattle on native grasses.

I'd like to see what he has to say after spending a few weeks with Sergey A. Zimov in his Pleistocene Park up in Siberia, or with these guys doing rewilding work at the Savory Institute: http://www.savoryinstitute.com/

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on February 13, 2012
at 10:10 PM

There's a project in Europe to restore wild grazing ruminants in prairie habitat.

3
11b7b7ba720a5cd43c74a0ef99a16adb

(3448)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:45 PM

"What's good for the planet?" and "what's good for my physical health?" are two entirely unrelated questions.

People can talk till they are blue in the face about how much better a vegan diet is for the planet, but if eating meat is healthier for my body, then eating meat is healthier for my body. End of story.

Medium avatar

(5639)

on February 13, 2012
at 08:59 PM

"People can lie to themselves and the world about how much better a vegan diet is for the planet..." is what you should've said there. Personal Health and Environmental Health are NOT mutually exclusive. In fact, a Vegan Health and Soil/Environmental Health are directly (in declination) proportional!

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on February 13, 2012
at 09:26 PM

Agreed, no need to think grassfed beef is a selfish choice, quite the opposite if it is grazed properly.

2
E791387b2829c660292308092dc3ca9b

(831)

on August 17, 2012
at 04:01 PM

I will say first I am new here and new to Paleo. So I am going to respond to the question from the perspective of a farmer who raised 100% grassfed beef for 10 years. It is infinitely sustainable. Scientists and philosophers crunching data in their Ivory towers need to come down once in awhile and see real life. Eating naturally fed animals has less impact on the environment and is completely sustainable we just need to keep moving backwards in how we raise the larger ones like cattle and we need to eat more of the smaller ones that have less impact like rabbits. We also need to expand our diets to include some of the wild species that are currently over running and ruining parts of America like white tail deer and feral hogs. Those who eat meat really need to learn how to raise or hunt their own food. They need to truly become Paleo.

Ca2c940a1947e6200883908592956680

(8574)

on August 22, 2012
at 01:04 PM

Welcome Aisling!

1
D7cc4049bef85d1979efbd853dc07c8e

(4029)

on February 14, 2012
at 04:02 AM

Dr. Oppenlander, meet Richard Manning.

1
9e975c86f483555ed19e59c5628488ca

(823)

on January 06, 2012
at 04:31 AM

Check out the book "Meat a Benign Extravagance"

1
Medium avatar

(10601)

on January 05, 2012
at 09:10 PM

one bite one meal

I think I'll invite a duck to dinner tonight for a few bites. Wonder who Jane's having for her dinner? No doubt she's been comfortably paid for her book endorsement and could splurge on a low fat chicken breast.

0
77877f762c40637911396daa19b53094

(78467)

on February 13, 2012
at 07:34 PM

For all the Dr. O haters, you guys sound very ignorant to say the least. You should do some real research on these matters before getting defensive on your own beliefs. Take the time to read his book before you react with your comments.

-1
556d37884babbe390a3de9da9dfed3f9

on May 10, 2013
at 12:27 PM

www.Waterfootprint.org we'd better start to drink beer than eating meat. Oppenlander is right. We eat too much meat. All against this fact are a bunch of meat junkies. I myself love meat, once a week and high quality, superb taste and accompanied with terrific vegetables.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on May 10, 2013
at 01:11 PM

Beer diet? Seriously?

-1
3c57152b6f11ed4218d967596963f386

on August 17, 2012
at 03:42 PM

Finally - an intelligent post, thanks to Cassie! I have met and heard Dr. Oppenlander several times, and he is an intelligent, compassionate man who backs up every single sentence he writes with extensive citations from sources such as the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UNFAO), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, World Health Organization, Scientific American, and 15 more pages of citations. Lierre Keith, on the other hand, relies extensively on Wikipedia as a source for the claims she makes in her extremely poorly researched book. No serious journalist considers Wikipedia a credible source, and many Universities will give a paper a failing grade if it's used as a source.

The science is in - the human addiction to eating animals and their emissions is devastating to the environment, human health and animals. And it is entirely unnecessary. Those who become aware of those facts and modify their food choices accordingly, will be joining a growing league of individuals who are committed to a sustainable and compassionate human civilization. Those who refuse to become aware, or become aware and don't care (which seems to define most of the people commenting here) will suffer increased health insurance premiums and taxes. Why? Because those of us who eat a plant based diet will not consent for long to continued subsidization of those who continue to consume animals in the form of increased medical costs for animal eaters' heart diseases, cancers, obesity, diabetes and other diseases caused by lifestyles. And we won't subsidize for much longer your incredibly high carbon footprint, which exacerbates the climate change already on us.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 17, 2012
at 06:48 PM

Animals already inhabit this earth. Do you propose to do away with them? They are a necessary part of any natural system, and their predators (humans included) will kill and eat them. Certainly the current system isn't very good, but what you are describing would lead to a lot of death and destruction- for ourselves and the animals.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on May 10, 2013
at 01:21 PM

Who is the "we" in the above? Not me. I'm not quite ready for vegan jackboots.

-1
6947ce4547688711de5c89dd06f2478f

on August 13, 2012
at 05:48 PM

All of these responses are quite interesting. Not only are they emotional and defensive, they are irrational and obviously come from extremely small minds. Dr. Oppenlander backs up all of his statements with years of research and personal experience. If any of these people actual read his book or listened to more of his presentations or did any research themselves, they would find endless factual studies and reports explaining the situation in more detail. Also, it is always intriguing to me how someone trying to advocate a healthy, peaceful way to live while also trying to save the earth and protect the environment gets met with such immature hostility and aggression. There is a way to intelligently and rationally debate a point you may disagree with, yet I see none of that here.

7bf306ada57db47547e9da39a415edf6

(11214)

on August 17, 2012
at 06:45 PM

Let me suggest that people are fighting back with the same emotionality that Dr. Oppenlander does- the only difference is that they aren't hiding behind the vagueness that is sustainability. There are few people I trust who use that word, but those people happen to believe animals are an integral part of natural systems (permaculturalists like Wheaton and Lawton). The people I don't trust with that word are essentially parasites/bureaucrats; their sustainability turns out to be slavery and bad health for the rest of us.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on May 10, 2013
at 01:17 PM

Help us out Cassie. Give us some intelligent rational arguments against Dr. Opplander. You could start with ancestry or protein maybe. No irrational moralism though.

-1
C4f1a0c70c4e0dea507c2e346c036bbd

on January 06, 2012
at 02:13 AM

He looks like a dandy. I expect him to start striking poses. He does have a nice hair doo though, reminds me of cyclops.

Ff0823fb0815a589407932c025f5f20c

(0)

on March 08, 2015
at 01:44 AM

Also it seems someone pretended to be an expert in agronomy or agriculture science. Cows are indeed causing a water problem; that is plain enough to see in California. Perhaps, all of the water vapor from cow urine and respiration will find its way into the Colorado River. The people of Los Angeles can drink atoms of water that theoretically exist in the closed system call the Earth's atmosphere just as easily as the water from the tap. Secondly, it is not necessary to use cows to fertilize the farmland. In the Americas and elsewhere, people somehow find a way to add nitrogen into the earth without using cow dung.

Ff0823fb0815a589407932c025f5f20c

(0)

on March 08, 2015
at 01:36 AM

Regardless of what Dr. Oppenlander's views might be about giving chickens rights, it seems all of his videos, commentaries, and his book say NOTHING about animal rights. Given the brevity of some of his presentations and the fact that many do not include citations of research, should tell the reader that Oppenlander is trying to provoke the public to action as opposed to dispassionately, advancing research to other scientists. If someone does not believe his claims, he can look it up. In fact, that is the intended consequence of good journalism or oratory, to stimulate debate and research.

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