Friday, October 09, 2009

Gut Check: Here's the Meat of the Problem - washingtonpost.com

I agree... why are people so prickly when you suggest that, maybe, you know, eating too much meat is bad all around... It's bad for YOU, it's bad for the environment, and eating less is easy.
Gut Check: Here's the Meat of the Problem - washingtonpost.com: "But the result isn't funny at all: Two researchers at the University of Chicago estimated that switching to a vegan diet would have a bigger impact than trading in your gas guzzler for a Prius (PDF). A study out of Carnegie Mellon University found that the average American would do less for the planet by switching to a totally local diet than by going vegetarian one day a week. That prompted Rajendra Pachauri, the head of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, to recommend that people give up meat one day a week to take pressure off the atmosphere. The response was quick and vicious. 'How convenient for him,' was the inexplicable reply from a columnist at the Pittsburgh Tribune Review. 'He's a vegetarian.'

The visceral reaction against anyone questioning our God-given right to bathe in bacon has been enough to scare many in the environmental movement away from this issue. The National Resources Defense Council has a long page of suggestions for how you, too, can 'fight global warming.' As you'd expect, 'Drive Less' is in bold letters. There's also an endorsement for 'high-mileage cars such as hybrids and plug-in hybrids.' They advise that you weatherize your home, upgrade to more efficient appliances and even buy carbon offsets. The word 'meat' is nowhere to be found."

6 comments:

Watch Me Eat said...

Or at least stop eating beef. I forget where I originally read this, but it's amazing how energy goes into getting a cow big enough for market compared to the amount of energy humans get by eating a piece of the cow. I can't find the article now, but you only get something like 0.02% of the energy that went into the cow when digesting it. Eating smaller animals, even sheep and goats, but especially birds like chickens are much more energy efficient!

Randy said...

Well, from a grass-fed perspective, there isn't a shortage in the input of energy to that ruminant. If the animal (cow, sheep, goat, or hey, llama) harvests its own food, then no pollution has been done to add energy to the cow. Basically, its a solar powered, self-replicating lawn mower. And its edible too! (Which is way better than that self-replicating soloar powered robot lawn mower which is plotting my eventual servitude in a dark corner of my shed.)

The harvest of small species has a lower investment in the animal, but birds like the improved chicken varieties that you're thinking about, would need a high-energy diet with purchased grain and oilseeds. You could grow your own, theoretically, but even Harvey Usery only grows something like 10% of his chicken feed ration.

I am in full agreement that its just not healthy for a person to consume meat multiple times each day. No one would do that if they had to slaughter all the meat that they eat. Slaughtering, especially home rearing and home butchering, is HARD WORK, and not for the faint of heart. But there is a reason that such hard work has been done for millenia. We need some animal products, especially the saturated fats, in our diet in order to have happy, healthy lives. (This public service announcement brought to you by the Weston A Price Foundation...)

Anonymous said...

Live and let live

Steven Hunt said...

There are many angles to this issue, and I would check out Charles Eisenstien's writing on this topic, as well as the ecological crisis that is mounting. His 2006 book The Ascent of Humanity is quite compelling and thourough.

Sustainability, for me, is the key. As well, the factory farming methods are ugly and barbaric.


If something strikes me as ugly, it's my cue to stay away from it.

I only consume non-factory forms of meat, and seafood species that are not under threat of extinction.
That said, commercial fishing is pretty brutal, and certainly isn't 'sustainable'.

Our goal is to develop our own meat sources at the farm, little by little. Free-range chickens and, hopefully, a water buffalo or two.

(A friend of the family that we lease our two acres from caught two wild pigs that he is fattening up in a horse stall. This is pretty ugly--especially since he fancies himself a hunter. I respect hunters--especially those that think a bit more deeply about the socio/ethical/ecological ramifications of this millenia old activity.)

Our chinampa experiment will encompass farming fish in our retention pond projects--stocking the ponds with base, introducing bullfrogs, snails, ect. However, we will definately have to test for pollutants.

As with all of our projects, all this happens very slowly.

First we learn the wisdom/art of nurturing life from the level of seed--then we might gain sustainance with Nature's blessing.

Fukuoka's book "One Straw Revolution" and several interviews of him really got me thinking...

blstone said...

Since raising our own vegetables, we have been eating less meat and really enjoying these veggies. Also our grandson took up fishing and he has given us an abundance of them which we really enjoy.
Needless to say the beef has been sort of forgotten which really has helped my husband's cholesterol but now we find that we both are anemic so one must eat some beef but how much is enough or not?

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