Thursday, February 1, 2007
Beans NOT beef!
I dig Science Daily. Read this article called EAT TO LIVE: Cut beef, save the globe.
......the [new years] resolution I propose: Reduce your consumption of beef.
Cows do more harm to the environment than cars.
Livestock generates 18 percent more greenhouse-gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide (CO2) than transport. It is responsible for producing 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which compared to CO2 has 296 times more GWP. That's Global Warming Potential, in science-speak. Most of this, according to a report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, comes from manure.
Manure is responsible for 37 percent of all human-induced methane, mainly produced by the digestive system of livestock. That's 23 times more warming power than CO2. It also accounts for 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.
Alright, so you're one of those -- increasingly rare -- people who think the whole global-warming issue is a load of hot air. Consider this instead:
Thirty percent of the entire land surface of the Earth is now given over to the raising of livestock. While most of that is in pasture, 33 percent of arable land feeds not people but cows, pigs and sheep.
We are expected to double our global meat production by 2050, from 229 million tons in 1999-2001 to 465 million tons. The output of milk is expected to rise from 580 million tons to 1043 million.
As we become more prosperous, our meat consumption increases. To feed the livestock that feeds us, we need more land to make more pasture. In Latin America 70 percent of what used to be forest in the Amazon basin has now been turned into grazing land.
The more we focus on feeding cattle, the more we diminish the biodiversity of the globe. Fifteen out of 24 key ecosystem services are reckoned to be in decline, with the prime blame laid at the feet of our clove-hoofed friends.
They're chomping through so much grass that 20 percent of their pastures has been written off as overgrazed, the land now vulnerable to compaction and soil erosion. Overgrazing also disturbs water cycles, reducing replacement both from the sky and the diminishing water table. Where drylands have been turned over to livestock, the problem is even more severe. The land is become desert.
The biodiversity loss of marine ecosystems in the South China Sea has been blamed on contamination by phosphorous and nitrogen, coming from the on-land waste of animals, the antibiotics and hormones used in their feed, the fertilizers and pesticides applied to the crops that fatten them, along with chemicals from tanneries.
Want another slice of that beef? Instead, why not nip in your car down to your supermarket for another protein source.
Refer to my protein posting on Sunday for ideas!