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Eating as Though the Environment Mattered

Eating as Though the Environment Mattered

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Published by Still Rage

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Published by: Still Rage on May 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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21/05/13 10.31Bruce Friedrich: Eating As Though the Environment MatteredPagina 1 di 3http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-friedrich/meat-consumption-impact-environment_b_3274251.html
Eating As Though the Environment Mattered
Imagine taking 6-20 plates of food and dumping them in the trash, perfectly freshand edible. Off they go to the landfill. Obviously, none of us would behave sowastefully.And yet that's precisely the effect each time any of us consumes meat, since the vastmajority of the calories consumed by a chicken, pig, or other animal goes into keep-ing that animal alive (or into producing bones, blood, and other parts humans don'tconsume). Only a small fraction of those calories is turned into flesh.And that's just the pure "calories in, calories out" equation. When you factor in all theextra stages of production that are required for meat relative to grains and legumes,the anti-environmental nature of meat consumption becomes even more stark: First,you have to grow many times more corn, grain, and soy (with all the required tilling,irrigation, crop dusters, poisons, and so on), than would be required if we ate theplants directly. Then you have to transport all that grain and soy to feedmanufacturers, in gas-guzzling, pollution-spewing 18-wheelers. Then you have tooperate the feed mill (again, using massive amounts of resources), truck the feed tothe factory farms, operate the factory farms, truck the animals many miles toslaughterhouses, operate the slaughterhouses, truck the meat to processing plants,operate the meat processing plants, truck the meat to grocery stores (in refrigeratedtrucks), and keep the meat in refrigerators or freezers at the stores.With every stage comes significant additional energy needs, and with that energy usecomes air and water pollution, and massive greenhouse gas production. Of course,grains and legumes require some of these stages too, but they cut out the pollutionspewing factory farms and slaughterhouses, as well as multiple stages of heavily pol-luting tractor-trailer trucks. And as was already noted, they also require a fraction of the calories (and tillers, pesticides, herbicides, etc.) from crops, since those crops areturned directly into food rather than funneled through animals first.The vast inefficiency of funneling crops through animals means that eating meat is --according to the United Nations-- "one of the major causes of the world's most press-ing environmental problems, including global warming, land degradation, air andwater pollution, and loss of biodiversity."
For space, I'll look briefly at just two of those issues:
21/05/13 10.31Bruce Friedrich: Eating As Though the Environment MatteredPagina 2 di 3http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-friedrich/meat-consumption-impact-environment_b_3274251.html
Eating Meat Causes More Global Warming Than Everything Else Combined
When United Nations' scientists evaluated the vast quantity of resources required formeat production, they came to the conclusion that eating meat causes almost one-fifth of all global warming, which is forty percent more warming than all cars, trucks,planes and other forms of transport -- forty percent more than all transport!World Bank and International Finance Corporation agricultural economists Dr.Robert Goodland and Jeffrey Anhang, however, point out in a studypublished by theWorldWatch Institute(andcited by Bill Gates), that meat "has been vastly underesti- mated as a source of greenhouse gases, and in fact accounts for at least half of allhuman-caused greenhouse gases." For one thing, the U.N. ignored respiration, whichis a huge cause of warming (these are domesticated animals who would not exist if they weren't being raised for meat). Once youcrunch the numbers morescientifically , the proportion of global warming caused by farm animals surpassesfifty percent -- that's right, as much as all other human sources of warming combined.This alone should cause everyone who cares about climate change to cut back (or out)animal product consumption.
The Meat Industry Causes Global Poverty
Because meat is so resource intensive, competition is created for crops "between afflu-ent meat-eaters and the world's poor" (WorldWatch). AsOxfam's Ben Grossman-Cohen explains ,It takes massive amounts of land, water, fertilizer, oil and other resourcesto produce meat, significantly more than it requires to grow other nutri-tious and delicious kinds of food. . . If we don't reduce our environmentalfootprints as we increase production, poor people ... will be the first tosuffer. Eating less meat is a simple way to reduce the pressure on global re-sources and help ensure that everyone has enough to eat. To say it simply,eating less meat helps fight hunger.
What About Eating Meat That Isn't From Factory-Farmed animals?
The U.N. and WorldWatch reports indict the inefficiency and waste that are inherentin meat production. No matter where meat comes from, raising animals for food willrequire that exponentially more calories be fed to animals than they can produce intheir flesh, and it will require all those extra stages of CO2-intensive production as

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