Flatulent cows…and saving the planet


1.5 billion cows on planet earth do nothing but eat, drink and eliminate...solids, liquids and gas...and none of them are a bargain for the environment.

Every two-year old knows that flatulence is funny, they just haven’t learned that fancy word for it yet. But the environmental impact of the 60 billion animals that we raise for our dinner tables is no laughing matter.

In a March 30 article in Time (online) by Jeffrey Kluger, there was an article all about the methane emission from cattle and its corresponding impact on global warming. Quoting from the article (See link at end of this post)…

The emissions produced by nature’s woodwind section contain a nasty mix of many gasses, among them methane. Though carbon dioxide is the first gas that comes to mind when we think of greenhouse emissions, pound for pound, methane is more than 20 times more powerful in terms of its global warming potential. Methane doesn’t linger in the atmosphere quite as long as CO2, and it’s not produced industrially in anywhere near the same quantity, but it does its damage all the same — and livestock toots out a surprisingly large share of it.

This news is not new. In a 2006 UN Report entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow, there was compelling data showing that livestock contribute 30% more to global warming than ALL of transportation combined. So why didn’t Al Gore tell us about that in his movie that same year? Remember An Inconvenient Truth, for which he won the Nobel Prize?

How could a man win a Nobel Prize for a movie about global warming and not even mention the #1 cause? Actually since that 2006 UN Study, the World Bank has come up with data suggesting that the livestock contribution is closer to 50% of the cause of greenhouse gases as opposed to the 18% reported in the UN Study.

So, once again, why didn’t Gore mention it? One reason is probably money. The other is the continued belief by the vast majority of the most educated people in the world that we truly “need” to eat animal products in order to be healthy. This belief, despite overwhelming scientific and clinical evidence to the contrary, continues to be widely held.

But now there’s a former president of the United States (Bill Clinton) who is beginning to learn that not only do we not “need,” animal products — they are in fact the primary drivers of disease throughout the western world. But the writers of the Time piece haven’t been enlightened to those facts yet and are still focusing on things like eating kangaroos or changing what we feed the cattle….

Since nobody is going to re-engineer the ruminant digestive tract anytime soon, the solutions are limited: stop eating meat or at least eat other kinds. (A 2010 study from the Science and Environment section of the Library of the U.K.’s House of Commons reported that a pair of Australian biologists have recommended eating marsupials instead of livestock, since kangaroos and their kin produce almost no methane when they digest.) But there’s one more answer too: reformulate the diet of the animals themselves. If you change what goes in, you should be able to change what comes out.

J. Morris Hicks, the "big picture" guy enjoying the fresh air of New England -- far from the vast feedlots of Nebraska.

Bottom line. In the western world, we are eating a totally unnatural diet for our species and we’re growing 60 billion animals a year to feed less than 2 billion humans. That number is projected to increase to 120 billion by 2050.

Not only is this toxic diet destroying our own health, it is destroying the health of the planet in a very long list of ways — global warming is just one of them.

Complex problem — refreshingly simple solution. Just begin a deliberate shift back to the health-promoting natural diet for our species. Our 4-Leaf Programwill help you get started. On a plant-based diet, we can feed twenty times as many people on the same amount of land and simply eliminate the sources of vast damage to the environment. A blinding flash of the obvious to be sure.

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at HealthyEatingHealthyWorld.com

PS: Occasionally an unauthorized ad may appear beneath a blog post. It is controlled by WordPress (a totally free hosting service). I do not approve or personally benefit whatsoever from any ad that might ever appear on this site. I apologize and urge you to please disregard. 

Silence the Cows and Save the Planet – Ecocentric – TIME.com

About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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