- the failure of the first vegan community, ‘Fruitlands’, to survive a New England winter
- the status symbolism of meat, especially during periods of scarcity like the World Wars
Even if exceedingly rare in the Enriched World, vegetarianism and veganism, whether
- de jure, whereby there were rigid taboos against consumption of meat or all animal foods, or
- de facto , whereby animal foods or meat were available in insignificant quantities
- the two forms of vegetarianism or veganism are totally distinct
- de jure vegetarianism or veganism does not imply its de facto equivalent; nor does de facto vegetarianism or veganism imply its de jure equivalent
- the hot and wet climates of the Tropical World allow for longer periods of plant food availbility, as do the very poor soils of the Unenriched World, which select for longer-lived plants
- paradoxically, the high soil fertility in Mesoamerica and Andean South America may have encouraged de facto veganism by making plant proteins more abundant and selecting against the hierarchical social structures essential for animal domestication
By contrast, even as foragers, Tropical and Unenriched World peoples were largely vegetarian before modern fertilisers increased nitrogen, phosphorus and chalcophile element availability. Amongst farmers, conservation required (near)-vegetarianism or veganism as disciplines to ensure societal growth and ecological protection – although whether any of these societies was absolutely vegan remains uncertain.
It’s paradoxical that the greater greenhouse efficiency of vegetarianism and veganism may have negligible environmental effects if it reduces animal food production merely over the Enriched World. In contrast to the Tropical and Unenriched Worlds, meat and fish production in Enriched lands is entirely “natural” and has never had the impacts on so many native mammals that the pastoral industry in Australia has had. Moreover, their risk-aversion, along with the status symbolism of meat in agricultural societies, has meant vegetarianism and veganism have not caught on in those regions where they are most intuitive and natural as they have in the Enriched World.