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Dr. Moses Seenarine is a graduate of Columbia University and a former Assistant Professor at Hunter College, City University of New York. He is the founder of a non-profit group, Climate Change 911.
Dr. Seenarine is the author of Education and Empowerment Among Dalit (Untouchable) Women in India by Mellen Press, and several articles on gender, caste, migration, the environment, and climate change. Dr. Seenarine's work has been cited by the FAO, UNESCO, Human Rights Watch, Anti-Slavery International, the Institute for the Study of Labor, World Council of Churches, and many others.
The path that led to writing this book begun on the edge of the Amazon forest, in Guyana, South America, and on the coast of the Atlantic ocean. Georgetown, the capital, is where I was born and grew up in the 1960s. The forest was immense and mostly intact, and I was aware of its value to biodiversity and clean air.
In the 1970s, I became appalled at news about government and private interest invading the Amazon for timber, mining and pasture. News of oil spills and coal mining accidents around the world were common, but how fossil fuels was causing
global warming was rarely mentioned. Climate change was viewed as dangerous, but far off.
In the early 1980s, I migrated to New York City, but remained concerned about the forest, its people and animals. I was inspired by Chico Mendes and his struggle to protect the people of the Amazon. In my early 20s, I could no longer ignore the link between diet, deforestation and biodiversity loss, and became an ethical vegan.
In the 1990s, a group of friends in New York started the Saxakali organization to work on environment and social issues in South America and the Caribbean. We did community outreach, published six issues of Saxakali magazine, and developed an educational website. We raised awareness about deforestation and mining pollution in the Amazon, and showed its connection to planetary heating.
We knew the Amazon and other forests act as our lungs providing essential oxygen to breathe. We were unaware though, that ocean phytoplankton are equally crucial in oxygen production and carbon capture. Or that oceans are masking climate warming.
In 1994, I spent a year in South Asia researching gender, caste and development. In contrast to the over-consumption and obesity in the global North, half a billion poor people in the region eat a plant-based diet and are not obese. They waste little, and have a small carbon footprint, yet they may suffer the most from climate vicissitudes.
I became concerned over deforestation and global warming to a greater extent, especially after becoming a father in 2006. I started a non-profit organization, Climate Change 911, to do outreach on climate literacy through art and activism. We attended the 2014 People's Climate March in NYC, and and made several presentations on climate and diet in NY and California.
Dr. Robert Goodland's 2009 groundbreaking article on animal-based diets and greenhouse gases was especially inspiring. This publication is a tribute to Dr. Goodland who recently transitioned, and an attempt to continue his groundbreaking work.
Robert Goodland (1939-2013) lived an exemplary life as a policy advocate, and his biography will inspire all who care about the environment and social justice. He authored or co-authored numerous books, reports and articles on sustainable economic development and the environment.
Goodland helped to protect the environment and indigenous peoples, and to reform many international institutions, like the World Bank. Using logic and accumulating scientific evidence, Goodland slowly subverted the standard development paradigm, which was an enormous accomplishment. For this he became known as "The Conscience of the World Bank."
Goodland's recruitment of social scientists was instrumental to the development of several essential fields, like environmental assessment and ecological economics. The first International Society for Ecological Economics Conference, was held and sponsored by the World Bank, in Washington in 1989.
This is part of the legacy of Dr. Goodland. In the 1990s, while pursuing doctoral studies at Columbia University, Goodland's work on the social impacts of development policy was a huge influence.
Two decades later, analyzing and disseminating Goodland's work on animal-based agribusiness is coming full-circle. Curiously, Goodland's masters thesis and career began with tropical ecology fieldwork in Guyana's savanna and forests.
Although this treatise draws heavily upon the work of Dr. Goodland, it is an independent work. The book's interpretation and presentation are different, and it incorporates insights from numerous authors and areas of research. All errors in exposition and analysis are mine. None of the information in this publication is intended to represent health, medical, dietary, nutritional or similar advice.
Anyone paying attention to climate warming, the environment, diet, health, social inequality, and the food system will find this review useful. It is written in simple, clear language for the general public, students, educators, activists, climate scientists and policy-makers.
The beauty and mystery of animals sustains me everyday. This manuscript represents a small part of my gratitude to all creatures, great and small. May they inherit a world free from the appalling rein of modern patriarchal humans.