About the Meat of the Issues

The Meat of the Issues is the author website for Arturo P. J. Watts, whose two goals are 1) to aim the spotlight at the biggest problems facing humanity and, in accordance with this first goal 2) to discuss the massive and growing impact of high global meat consumption, which is among the top contributors to a long list of humanity’s greatest challenges.

 In pursuit of both of these aims, Watts attempts to purge his writing and thinking of all ideological influence to provide a purely fact-based perspective, during heavily partisan times, on the biggest problems and the most impactful solutions.  This includes eliminating any semblance of vegan or vegetarian thought, so as to avoid an anti-meat slant in any writing which directly relates to the production or consumption of meat.  Thus any claims made in the writing on this site is transparently cited for readers to verify, as they like, the content.

More on these twin goals below:

  1. Discussing the biggest problems, because solving the biggest problems has the greatest impact on our collective betterment.
    Social problems are like vectors, in physics.  They have a direction AND a magnitude, but  public attention often overlooks magnitude to simply ask “is this bad” or “does this upset me?”
    Thus, people get focused on problems like terrorism and breast cancer, (which are both so easy to hate) to the exclusion of problems with a far greater impact but less, shall we say, PR.

    It’s not just the direction of issues that matters, (i.e. good or bad). Their magnitude and overall impact in the big picture should always be taken into account as well. (photo from physicsclassroom.com)

    For example, heart disease actually kills about ten times as many women as breast cancer and takes a preventable death toll on the scale of two or three 9/11 attacks every week.  In another example, suicide takes about 200 to 300 times more American lives than terrorism every year and is far more preventable than attacks which make use of everyday materials like fertilizer (Oklahoma city bombing) and pressure cookers (Boston marathon bombing).  

    Thus, the Meat of the Issues is for readers who want to know about the biggest issues and not just the ones which air because they get good ratings or trend on social media.  This includes issues which are often either overlooked or warped with a partisan slant.  It’s for those who want to attend to huge problems systematically, and not just as a function of emotional appeal. In a sense, the first goal is to talk about the meat of the issues, or what we are inclined to think about as the most substantial and weighty stuff facing humanity.  This necessarily brings us to the other goal:

  2. Highlighting the impact of high meat consumption.
    Rising meat consumption is having a massive and largely underestimated impact on humanity for the simple reason that animal protein requires way more resources to produce than plant based protein.  When the human population numbered just 1 billion, around the time the United States became a nation and Adam Smith wrote The Wealth of Nations, this wasn’t a major problem.  But as the earth’s population approaches 8 billion AND incomes rise. rising meat consumption plays an ever greater role in exacerbating our most pressing problems.

    Chinese Meat Market
    Meat section of a Chinese “Wet Market” in Zhongshan, China. Photo by Arturo P.J. Watts

    From pressure on food prices and therefore poverty, to the deforestation required to clear more farm land, to climate change, to pressure on water scarcity, to the proliferation of western diseases like obesity, diabetes and heart disease, to the associated stress on public finances, the mass production of meat and dairy has an outsized impact placing it among the top two to three contributors of many of humanity’s greatest problems.

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