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Old 04-20-2010, 07:38 PM
 
Location: San Diego North County
4,800 posts, read 7,867,425 times
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Do you really want to contribute to the health and well-being of the planet--not just for Earth Day, but every day? Resolve to give up eating meat for just one day a week (more would be even better). Human beings are not obligate carnivores. We do not require meat to survive--our bodies are actually healthier without it.

Quote:
Growing meat (it’s hard to use the word “raising” when applied to animals in factory farms) uses so many resources that it’s a challenge to enumerate them all. But consider: an estimated 30 percent of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production, according to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, which also estimates that livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases — more than transportation.
Save the environment: Eat less meat (http://www.ujf.net/page.aspx?id=165851 - broken link)

We can regulate fossil fuels and the machines that use them until we're blue in the face and we will not resolve the number one cause of greenhouse gases.

Quote:
Though some 800 million people on the planet now suffer from hunger or malnutrition, the majority of corn and soy grown in the world feeds cattle, pigs and chickens. This despite the inherent inefficiencies: about two to five times more grain is required to produce the same amount of calories through livestock as through direct grain consumption, according to Rosamond Naylor, an associate professor of economics at Stanford University. It is as much as 10 times more in the case of grain-fed beef in the United States.

The environmental impact of growing so much grain for animal feed is profound. Agriculture in the United States — much of which now serves the demand for meat — contributes to nearly three-quarters of all water-quality problems in the nation’s rivers and streams, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
According to Dr. David Brubaker, PhD, at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for a Livable Future, “The way that we breed animals for food is a threat to the planet. It pollutes our environment while consuming huge amounts of water, grain, petroleum, pesticides and drugs. The results are disastrous.”

Not a day goes by when some politician or movie star doesn't go on television and preach to the masses about using public transportation, recycling, or switching to Earth friendly light bulbs. These actions are all well and good, but if we continue to produce animals for food--devoting otherwise usable resources that would feed millions of starving people into the wasteful and polluting process of factory farming, we remain nothing more than hypocrites--able but not willing to sacrifice our carnivorous ways in order to save the world in which we live.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:40 AM
 
3,550 posts, read 7,704,710 times
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The planet is going to take care of itself.


YouTube - George Carlin - Saving the Planet
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:32 AM
 
Location: Londonderry, NH
41,492 posts, read 51,406,502 times
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The planet will take care of itself. However, if we really try we can make it uninhabitable for humans and most other complex creatures. Some stromatolites have been around for over 3 billion years so I figure they would survive and evolution would just start over if we really, really, really destroyed the environment. I don’t think we could do that much damage even with a nuclear war.
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Old 04-21-2010, 06:02 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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Yeah the planet will probably take care of itself by killing us all, sooner or later.

But in the meantime do you want your children to have asthma? Do you want cancer?

Even if you do not "care" about the environment, you should care about what happens to yourself and your family which is going to be directly impacted by your environment.
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:07 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,439,794 times
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There's a major false premise at work here, especially in areas like Wyoming's grazing lands ...

the forage that cows or sheep eat is on lands that don't grow sustainable crops suitable for human consumption; ie, the grasses that cattle eat aren't useable by humans, nor will the lands otherwise grow crops that humans can eat. The assumption that grazing lands that will support livestock is at the sole expense of resources that will support human food production is false ... and a tour through "cattle country" in many states rather than sitting in an ivory tower pontificating about the waste of resources would be a first step in understanding the realities of sustainable livestock production.

While it is the practice in some feedlot operations to feed grain crops that come from land that might otherwise produce human consumable grains, most lands that produce the feed quality grains are not very well suited for human consumables. There's a big difference between feed/silage corn varieties and sweet corn, for example.

To assert that livestock producers are destroying the planet simply doesn't ring true. If you are a vegetarian, so be it ... that's your choice, and I can respect that. But don't come after those of us who raise livestock with sustainable natural practices as destroyers of the planet, it's clearly not so ... why don't you take a tour of the lands that are so marginally productive it takes well over a hundred acres per cow/calf unit to support one unit? Between poor soil quality, and low natural moisture annually, there's not much there that's usable for any other productive purpose.

Similarly, we free range our poultry production to take advantage of the bugs and insects and forage that is sustainable and available off of land that could otherwise not be productive.

By using sustainable organic and natural farming/ranching practices, we are not contributing to the problems asserted in the cited study. We don't use pesticides, nor herbicides, nor chemical fertilizers in our operations. With low pressure pivot irrigation in the fields and drip tape irrigation in our greenhouses, we are especially conservative in our use of water and the energy to provide it. There's a lot of government programs available to help others achieve these levels of efficiency, too .... NRCS, for example, is a great source of grants to help farmers/ranchers head toward sustainable efficient practices.

Last edited by sunsprit; 04-21-2010 at 07:19 AM..
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:24 AM
 
Location: Vermont
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sunspirit I don't think they are coming after you.

What percentage of beef in the US do you think comes from producers who are raising livestock with sustainable natural practices?
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:03 AM
 
1,882 posts, read 4,118,176 times
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Very well said, Sunsprit.

Kele, check out where one of the largest ozone "holes" are located. A hint, it's over a rain forest, iirc. I read about it a yr or two ago. Surprised me, too.

From my experience, these type of threads never end well. BUT, they sure are fun to read sometimes.

Take care, Kele.

Again, nice post, Sunsprit!
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:08 AM
 
1,882 posts, read 4,118,176 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
What percentage of beef in the US do you think comes from producers who are raising livestock with sustainable natural practices?
"Sustainable natural practices"? Sustainable has been proven, natural is a whole new ball game. As far as beef goes, I'd say it is a very high number. As far as poultry, I can't say. I've never visited a farm that raises poultry for a living, nor have I talked w/a farmer who does raise them.

What do you call natural, Joe?
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:29 AM
 
Location: SWUS
5,421 posts, read 7,895,001 times
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I'd love to see the evidence that we are indeed healthier without meat. Just sayin'.

I care enough about the planet to use a vehicle that has a stick shift and a 4-cyl engine. I care enough to walk wherever possible (I like walking anyway.)

Do I think we'll destroy the planet? No. It'll right itself and destroy us first life has been evolving and dying off long before we were around, it's a natural cycle that occurs on its own.

I *don't* buy into as much of the global warming hype as most people my age..

and you want to know how I'm doing my part to save the planet from greenhouse gases? I'm eatin' the cow.
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Old 04-21-2010, 08:49 AM
 
11,256 posts, read 43,439,794 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe moving View Post
sunspirit I don't think they are coming after you.

What percentage of beef in the US do you think comes from producers who are raising livestock with sustainable natural practices?
While I don't have percentages to cite right now, I do know that most cattle are raised on lands that are otherwise unsuitable for other agricultural ventures.

It's a case of "highest and best" financial use of the land. Cattle are rather efficient harvesters and able to utilize forage that comes off of land that is unlikely to be economically productive in any other manner. So, a rancher doesn't take land that could be efficiently farmed for those idealized crops to feed humanity that all the greenies dream about ... he takes that land that isn't otherwise productive and puts it to the best use possible. For the most part, those lands aren't irrigated, fertilized, tilled, or have any expense put into them except to fence them and to manage the natural resources as best as possible.

It's only at the end of the chain, when the cattle are "finished" as a product for the market ... ie, max weight gain and muscle developement (since these issues determine market value per pound at the point of sale) ... that other crops are brought into the picture. Again, most of the forage crops fed to finish those cattle are from lands where that's the most productive use, not growing foodstuffs for human consumption.

I think you'd find that most cattle raised and kept in relatively total confinement for their productive lives are in the dairy industry, which is another financially marginal business, at best. Since the market demands the lowest price per gallon (or per lb, as the market measures it), it's the most efficient way to keep the cows productive. And they get fed a lot of forage and grains to maximize their production to help keep the end product retail cost as low as the consumer apparently wants to pay for the product.

Another way to look at the fallacy of the complaining about the cost to the planet of agriculture today is to look at how few people are willing to pay the price for "sustainable" "organic" "natural" food production. I know in our area that there is a loyal supportive group willing to pay the price of my lower production per acre due to my organic production ... but they do so because they believe they are purchasing a more wholesome product, free of pesticides and herbicides and similar contaminants. But even with the presence of Whole Foods and other "organic" "natural" food retailers in the area, they are just a small fractional percentage of the overall food sold daily in the area.

One really needs to look at the economics of what's going on to get a better picture. Some of this is so simple, it's too easy for the green theorists to understand ... here's an example: given today's rate of return (which isn't necessarily a profit these days) on cattle production, you can figure that a cow generates less than $1 per acre per year. So it wouldn't take a much better profit potential in a human edible crop to be a better return and higher value use of the land. Why isn't that land used for that better return? because it's not able to produce it.

Another example of the risks/rewards in the ag business which drive the realities ... I put in HRWW for last year on some of my irrigated ground (a crop rotation out of alfalfa). Made 60 bushels per acre, a pretty good harvest. Guess what? a lot of the local dryland wheat farmers around here made 60 bu wheat on dryland due to a decent year for moisture. The marketplace responded to our good harvest by dropping the wheat price down to the low $4.00/bu range. While the dryland farmers can still make money at that price point, I can't. I'd have been better off to have invested the cost of the irrigation, seed, property tax, farm insurance for that acreage, fuel for tilling the soil to prepare the seedbed, harvesting costs, transportation costs ... in a 4% CD for the year and not had all my labor time invested in the crop, too.

For most of us, ranching and farming is a lifestyle choice, not a clear economic choice ... especially when we're not into large scale operations. The folks I know who can make a living at this game around here are farming 3,000 to 5,000 acres, and ranching a lot more than that. "dirt rich, but cash poor"

Last edited by sunsprit; 04-21-2010 at 09:47 AM..
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