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posted by janrinok on Friday December 06 2019, @03:12PM   Printer-friendly
from the can-i-have-ketchup-with-that dept.

"A meat-eater with a bicycle is much more environmentally unfriendly than a vegetarian with a Hummer."
--Dr Mark Post

The world's largest food concern, Unilever, has opened a new research lab at the world's most prestigious agricultural university, the University of Wageningen (the Netherlands). Unilever will locate all elements of its foods R&D there. A spokeswoman on Dutch radio stressed plant-based meat alternatives as an important research subject.

Wageningen University has strong credentials in that respect, with the development of shear cell technology.

Shear cell technology strings plant proteins together in tightly controlled fibers, resulting in a meat substitute where texture (fibrousness, bite, mouthfeel) can easily be controlled, and changed at will. This, combined with 3D food printing, offers the possibility of creating multiple meat (substitute) variations in future.

Unilever's food campus is open to startups, innovators and partners. One of the first to have build its own lab on the same grounds is Symrise, an industrial flavours and scents group.

About half of Dutch people call themselves 'flexitarians'. This means that they don't eat meat with their main meal at least three times a week. The proportion of vegetarians is stable, at just under five percent of the Dutch population.

Wageningen researchers believe, however, that feeding 9 billion people with animal meat will not be sustainable for the planet.


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  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by PiMuNu on Friday December 06 2019, @03:25PM (36 children)

    by PiMuNu (3823) on Friday December 06 2019, @03:25PM (#928868)

    I tried to find some concrete information on e.g. energy usage of meat versus veggie stuff and couldn't find much. Is there any good information out there?

    "A meat-eater with a bicycle is much more environmentally unfriendly than a vegetarian with a Hummer." is a nice catchphrase, but is there any meat on the bone?

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @03:28PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @03:28PM (#928872)

    > "is there any meat on the bone?"

    Not any more, Dr. Mark Post ate it.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by Mer on Friday December 06 2019, @03:58PM

    by Mer (8009) on Friday December 06 2019, @03:58PM (#928890)

    Giving up regular streaming of videos has about the same environmental impact as giving up meat says this source (pardon the french)
    https://raphael-lemaire.com/2019/11/02/mise-en-perspective-impacts-numerique/ [raphael-lemaire.com]

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  • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday December 06 2019, @04:26PM (12 children)

    by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday December 06 2019, @04:26PM (#928909) Journal

    https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/07/110714101036.htm [sciencedaily.com]

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/10/19/lab-grown-meat-could-exacerbate-climate-change-scientists-say.html [cnbc.com]

    There's some perspectives on lab-grown meat.

    https://www.cnbc.com/2019/09/02/beyond-meat-uses-climate-change-to-market-fake-meat-substitutes-scientists-are-cautious.html [cnbc.com]

    Impossible’s website includes a 2019 lifecycle assessment report by the sustainability firm Quantis, which spells out the smaller environmental footprint of the Impossible Burger. It found that the Impossible Burger used 96% less land, 87% less water and 89% less greenhouse gas emissions.

    Rachel Konrad, Impossible’s chief communications officer, said that the Impossible Burger also has public health benefits because of its reduced land, water and energy use.

    Notice that the %s quoted by Impossible Burger are very similar to those used to support lab-grown meat. Any of it could be wrong, but it could also point to absurdly high land and water requirements for raising livestock that will make other products look good by comparison.

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    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by choose another one on Friday December 06 2019, @05:05PM (11 children)

      by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @05:05PM (#928934)

      Any of it could be wrong, but it could also point to absurdly high land and water requirements for raising livestock that will make other products look good by comparison.

      The usual way in which the requirements are absurd is the assumption that all land is equal and all livestock raising methods are equal.

      Where I am, most farmland is actually graded as unsuitable for arable, it's good for growing grass and sheep, or cattle (maybe, some of it) - but that's it. Stop growing meat on that land and it doesn't magically start to be able to produce plants to replace the meat, you just lose the meat production and gain er... nothing.

      These sort of comparisons are typically done by saying you take prime arable land, put a large shed on it, fill the shed with cows, use other prime arable land to grow concentrated food for the cows and ship it to the shed, add the costs of shipping enough water into the shed and shipping the shit out and... basically no wonder you end up with same costs as lab-grown meat because that is more or less what you are doing.

      If you do the comparison with "put cows on pasture land, collect cows when they've grown big enough" it doesn't come out as well for the plants, so they don't do that...

      • (Score: 3, Touché) by takyon on Friday December 06 2019, @05:27PM (6 children)

        by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday December 06 2019, @05:27PM (#928953) Journal

        All the land used for cows could be used for arcologies instead!

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        • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday December 06 2019, @07:22PM (5 children)

          by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @07:22PM (#929058) Journal

          I like the idea of archologies, but we need to develop several technologies before they are really practical. And one of them is sociology. That, actually, was one of the points raise by "Oath of Fealty". Many other valid points were raised. He assumed tech a bit in advance of ours in several ways, and this still didn't solve the social problems, but each one of those assumed technologies needs to be looked at as "Do we need this before starting?". He doesn't really address the problems of keeping things repaired over normal wear and tear, but that also really needs to be looked at. An archology is expensive to build, so you don't want to even risk "planned obsolescence". And the economics was also raised as a problem, but the solutions were a bit hand-wavy.

          Well, it was a story. I really liked it. But Niven/Pournelle raised a lot of valid questions about what's needed to make it work.

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          • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday December 07 2019, @04:54AM (4 children)

            by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 07 2019, @04:54AM (#929303) Journal

            Many of the sociological problems with arcologies are solvable as long as they are a minority of total habitation, and they have an ejection mechanism. People who don't or can't fit in will leave. It won't be a freedom-loving frontier, more like a condo with the HOA turned up to 12, but some people would like that.

            If they start getting built I would also expect deliberate differentiation à la The Diamond Age. Some will be almost hippie free-love communes, some more strait-jacketed than imperial China. Others might be neo-Victorian, or artist colonies. Pick the society you like and move there (if they will have you).

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            • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday December 07 2019, @05:06PM (3 children)

              by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 07 2019, @05:06PM (#929436) Journal

              They could be hippie "free-love" communes, if such really ever existed, but they would still need tight controls over actions...artificial structures are too fragile. Sex is, or at least appears to be, irrelevant to that, and perhaps loose controls over sex could allow tight controls over reproduction to be tolerable.

              That you're talking about an "ejection" feasibility in a really hostile environment is equivalent to talking about making them walk the plank, i.e. killing them. And not necessarily slowly. If oxygen or a survivable temperature is hard to come by, then ejecting them is just killing them without admitting it.

              P.S.: The groups I ever met that really seriously believed in "free love" didn't practice it. They just allowed informal polygamy or polyandry, which is a very different idea. I only met one person from Kerista, a group that actually practiced "free love", though they apparently thought of it more as a plural marriage that encompassed everyone. It kept going for decades, but was so minor that I only met one member (so my idea of their beliefs may be a bit skewed). So my expectation is that actual "free love" societies would be unsuccessful. But this might not be true in an artificial habitat without intrusive neighbors.

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              • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday December 07 2019, @08:14PM (2 children)

                by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 07 2019, @08:14PM (#929499) Journal

                Don't get hung up on the hippie free love bit. It was just an example at the other extreme from a regimented society.
                I used ejection because I meant removal from the group, which is a bit more than a simple eviction for not paying the rent. And we were discussing this in the context of Oath of Fealty, which was about an arcology near LA. This isn't a space ship, where did you get a really hostile oxygen-free environment from?

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                If you cough while drinking cheap red wine it really cleans out your sinuses.
                • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Saturday December 07 2019, @09:08PM (1 child)

                  by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 07 2019, @09:08PM (#929513) Journal

                  Oath of Fealty was the local context, but the larger context was habitats in extremely harsh environmental circumstances. Oath of Fealty was just an example of a fiction which detailed many of the problems inherent in ANY large ecology.

                  FWIW, I expect they'll be too expensive to justify except in extreme conditions. For reasons which are implicit in the story. But the social system depicted in the story would not function in such conditions...so my reiteration that part of what we need is much better sociology. Yes, it's got difficult feedback cycles in it, many of them instigated because those making decisions will tend to make decisions that favor themselves in the relatively short term even at the cost of social stability.

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                  • (Score: 2) by deimtee on Saturday December 07 2019, @09:31PM

                    by deimtee (3272) on Saturday December 07 2019, @09:31PM (#929523) Journal

                    At one point I lived for a few years in a smallish (but nice) apartment that was on top of a shopping centre. There were about 40 apartments, and even though there was no direct access to the shops it was very convenient (you had to go out on the street and back in a different keyed entry to the apartments). It was very different to living in a house in the suburbs, and I can see the appeal for living in an arcology. It's not for me long term, but there were aspects of it I liked.

                    You're right about the sociology, and the attitudes of the inhabitants being critical. A community with a guarded wall might be a sanctuary or a prison. It depends on the people, the guards, and the direction of the guarding. That was even in the book - the bit about the drunk businessman holding it together until he could get past the city cops who would arrest him, and into the arcology where the cops would help him get home.

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      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday December 06 2019, @07:14PM (1 child)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @07:14PM (#929051) Journal

        Actually, the traditional use for that kind of land was wood lot. This assumes, of course, that you get enough rain for trees to grow without irrigation.

        Today, instead of making it a wood lot we could make it an "ecological reserve" and allow limited tree culling. But to satisfy the "ecological reserve" status you'd really need to limit the tree culling, and prohibit clear cutting and "purning". Perhaps allow seasonal hunting of large animals...though again that would need to be strictly limited to prevent overuse.

        If you need irrigation for trees to grow, then this approach won't work, of course.

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        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @07:22PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @07:22PM (#929057)

          But to satisfy the "ecological reserve" status you'd really need to limit the tree culling

          So basically we would release the CO2 in random forest fires like they do in California rather than in a useful fashion.

      • (Score: 2) by Gault.Drakkor on Friday December 06 2019, @08:28PM (1 child)

        by Gault.Drakkor (1079) on Friday December 06 2019, @08:28PM (#929113)

        Any of it could be wrong, but it could also point to absurdly high land and water requirements for raising livestock that will make other products look good by comparison.

        The usual way in which the requirements are absurd is the assumption that all land is equal and all livestock raising methods are equal.

        While your statement is true. I believe you are missing the point.
        I suspect the percent of all livestock(or at least cattle) that is raised primarily on forage is low.

        There is a significant percentage of livestock that whose primary diet is crops that are grown explicitly for feeding livestock. That i would expect is gp post's point.
        https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/8/3/034015/pdf [iop.org]
        Says that 36% of the worlds crops are used for feed. I would expect many of these crops are most definitely grown on prime arable land.

        This has a pretty picture showing regions where crops are for food vs feed/fuel.
        https://www.vox.com/2014/8/21/6053187/cropland-map-food-fuel-animal-feed [vox.com]

        More or less comparing to feed lot is viable comparison, so as long as it is clear that is what is being used for comparison.

        • (Score: 2) by choose another one on Saturday December 07 2019, @08:42PM

          by choose another one (515) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 07 2019, @08:42PM (#929508)

          This has a pretty picture showing regions where crops are for food vs feed/fuel.

          That pretty picture is exactly my point.

          Over 80% of agricultural land in Scotland (similar in Wales) is actually classed as "less favoured area" which means "poor land" "suitable for extensive livestock farming" (that's the opposite of intensive livestock farming btw.). Scotland is shown as basically "feed and fuel", no food.

          Your pretty picture is quite clearly showing poor land _only_ suitable for growing livestock (and not intensively either) as "feed and fuel". The picture, and article, gives the less astute reader the (incorrect) impression that you can change "feed and fuel" land to "food" land, no distinction is made between the land which you could do that and the land where this is physically impossible (almost all of Scotland). For figuring out what the optimum land use is for food production either world wide or in any particular place, the picture is therefore precisely completely and utterly useless.

          People without the knowledge and understanding of what actually happens on the ground as it were, will, nevertheless, continue to make flawed land-use arguments from your picture (and other similar maps and data).

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by canopic jug on Friday December 06 2019, @04:43PM (15 children)

    by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @04:43PM (#928918) Journal

    I tried to find some concrete information on e.g. energy usage of meat versus veggie stuff and couldn't find much. Is there any good information out there?

    Not really. There is plenty of disinformation though. One of the biggest fallacies, one which Mark Post falls for and promotes, and common on the left in general, is that the meat and the petrochemicals are in the same carbon cycle. The petrochemicals have been out of the loop for aeons. Bringing even a single gram out of the ground and into the atmosphere is harmful. So the assertion that "A meat-eater with a bicycle is much more environmentally unfriendly than a vegetarian with a Hummer", is 100% bullshit. So are all the vegans that fly often whether for work or vacation because they are adding carbon back into the system, rather than just moving it around like meat eaters. Work flights are probably the easiest to cut back on and even a small reduction will have a large positive impact.

    However, food is not carbon neutral. Not counting the petrochemical based fertilizers and pesticides, the inability to get locally sourced food any more means that even the food networks, from farm to table, are maintained by releasing fossil carbon into the atmosphere. Also, some countries are infamous for lack of passenger rail and other viable options. Many countries which are still good have sadly cut back. Others are going forward, but we all have to go forward to make a solution to the crisis.

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    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @04:55PM (6 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @04:55PM (#928929)

      > "Bringing even a single gram out of the ground and into the atmosphere is harmful"

      It's not harmful, it is natural. Beavers do it all the time: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/20/climate/arctic-beavers-alaska.html [nytimes.com]

      • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Friday December 06 2019, @05:40PM (5 children)

        by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @05:40PM (#928965) Journal

        “When you start flooding areas with permafrost you immediately trigger permafrost degradation,” said Ken Tape, an assistant professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks who has researched the beavers. “You start thawing the frozen ground that’s holding the soil together, and that water and soil and other things are washed away.”

        What remains is a pitted landscape, with boggy depressions, that directs warmer water onto the permafrost, leading to further thawing. As permafrost thaws it releases carbon dioxide and methane, which in turn contributes to global warming and helps increase the speed that the Arctic, which is already warming faster than the rest of the planet, defrosts. Worldwide, permafrost is estimated to contain twice as much carbon as is currently in the atmosphere.

        Beavers Emerge as Agents of Arctic Destruction [nytimes.com]

        Beavers are just speeding up the carbon release, not causing it. They're following the treeline as it moves north or up. Even if there weren't beavers, the effect they are worsening would make the permafrost melt anyway, just a bit more slowly.

        --
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        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @05:47PM (4 children)

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @05:47PM (#928971)

          >"Beavers are just speeding up the carbon release, not causing it."

          No, without the beavers the dams would not be built, the water would not accumulate, and the permafrost would remain frozen.

          • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Friday December 06 2019, @06:38PM (3 children)

            by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @06:38PM (#929011) Journal

            Re-read it. The treeline is moving as the permafrost disappears. The beavers are just following that and speeding up the melting along some of the edges.

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            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @06:50PM (2 children)

              by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @06:50PM (#929027)

              You quoted it yourself, the beavers are directing warm water into the permafrost, which melts it and releases hydrocarbons. As a result, the get a more pleasant home.

              • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Friday December 06 2019, @06:56PM (1 child)

                by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @06:56PM (#929031) Journal

                The beavers are sending water short distances not 100s of kilometers. The permafrost they are melting is just melting a little sooner from their activities than it would without them. However, don't pretend that it would not melt without their activities.

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                • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @07:25PM

                  by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @07:25PM (#929061)

                  An "agent of arctic destruction" is not causing the destruction?

                  So if a nuclear bomb is dropped on a city, it is not the bomb that destroyed it. It isn't the plane that dropped it, the pilot flying the plane, the general who gave the order, the first monkey to climb out of a tree and stand upright, etc.

                  Those are all just agents, the cause is something else.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @06:49PM (5 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @06:49PM (#929026)

      You're totally ignoring that meat needs feed which is plant based, grasses and occasionally grains. They're shipped out, beef steers to feedlots specifically, where they're fed copious amounts of grain including corn and soy both of which must be moved by some means (train, then tractor trailer/dumptruck). Then they're sent to slaughter which could be the feedlot or it could be 100 miles away. Then their processed bodies are shipped the world over. They will require freezing and refrigeration from here on out, using electricity that is probably generated with fossil fuels.

      This as opposed to fertilizer shipment, pesticide shipment, and then watering for a crop season. Then shipping. I'd posit you're cutting out one or two shipment cycles, and a 70% conversion loss. Shelf life on a lot of plant products supersedes animal proteins. A good deal of staples like onions, potatoes, many fruits can all be held at room temp. There's also nuts which have a very long room temp shelf life. I can't speak for dehydration, but considering the cost of jerky meat is much more difficult to process compared to fruits, which also lends itself to plant based shelf life efficiency arguments.

      • (Score: 2) by HiThere on Friday December 06 2019, @07:29PM (1 child)

        by HiThere (866) Subscriber Badge on Friday December 06 2019, @07:29PM (#929066) Journal

        I think the problem with jerky is tradition. That's also why it's high in salt. It could probably be vacuum dried at just above freezing to jerky dry and then pressure cooked with hot dry air and then sealed. I think this would keep as well as jerky does as long as the seal was kept. But it's not traditional, it would take preparation to taste better than jerky, and there's not already a market for it. You might check hiking supplies, as it might already be available, but high in cost because it's only for a specialty market.

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        • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @08:01PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @08:01PM (#929089)

          People who eat higher salt diets have lower blood pressure:

          In Framingham, people with higher combined intakes of sodium (3,717 milligrams per day on average) and potassium (3,211 milligrams per day on average on average) had the lowest blood pressure.

          https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/04/170425124909.htm [sciencedaily.com]

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Friday December 06 2019, @11:45PM (2 children)

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Friday December 06 2019, @11:45PM (#929191) Journal

        You assume that cattle require feed to be trucked in from other places. In the West, cows eat grass on the plains.

        Second, you assume that veg transported from farm to market require no refrigeration or treatment. You are wrong. They require inspection and climate control.

        Then when it comes time to transport a ton of beef to market, vs. a ton of, say, cucumbers, the fossil fuel cost is the same.

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        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Saturday December 07 2019, @03:43AM (1 child)

          by Reziac (2489) on Saturday December 07 2019, @03:43AM (#929279) Homepage

          "Then when it comes time to transport a ton of beef to market, vs. a ton of, say, cucumbers, the fossil fuel cost is the same."

          However, the per-unit cost to truck veggies is a lot higher if you count not gross tons, but protein and calories. Counted that way, only wheat and corn come anywhere close to the per-ton nutritional density of meat.

          --
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          • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Saturday December 07 2019, @01:22PM

            by Phoenix666 (552) on Saturday December 07 2019, @01:22PM (#929378) Journal

            That's a good point.

            --
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    • (Score: 1) by khallow on Saturday December 07 2019, @12:20AM (1 child)

      by khallow (3766) Subscriber Badge on Saturday December 07 2019, @12:20AM (#929204) Journal

      Bringing even a single gram out of the ground and into the atmosphere is harmful.

      Nonsense. You do realize that even in the absence of humanity, coal seams are exposed, eroded, and sometimes even burn. Yet where was the harm in that (particularly, when one considers that there's a great deal of harm in too little CO2 in the atmosphere to support photosynthesis)?

      And it's not the gram of carbon going into the atmosphere that is harmful. It's the gram's estimated 10 quadrillion friends per year that are causing the harm.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07 2019, @05:08AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07 2019, @05:08AM (#929305)

        Don't forget shellfish. They sequester 200 megatonnes of carbon per year as limestone. Without carbon release, give it 10,000 years and the biosphere is dead.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @07:43PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 06 2019, @07:43PM (#929080)

    Yes, it’s a quote attributed to the founder of a meat substitute company who stands to make a great deal of money off that catchphrase, a fact which subby somehow managed to miss in that rather notably long summary.

    • (Score: 2) by quietus on Friday December 06 2019, @07:54PM (1 child)

      by quietus (6328) on Friday December 06 2019, @07:54PM (#929085) Journal

      *WOOSH*

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07 2019, @05:07PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 07 2019, @05:07PM (#929437)

        You weren’t making a sarcastic point of it, you were just lazy. The wooshing sound is just your farts traveling up your own nose

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by Thexalon on Friday December 06 2019, @07:52PM

    by Thexalon (636) on Friday December 06 2019, @07:52PM (#929083)

    I'm an enviro-vegetarian who has studied some of this stuff, so here's the short skinny on the subject:

    It's possible to raise meat in an environmentally friendly way. Not only that, it's what a lot of people did for millennia prior to the advent of industrial agriculture. There are 3 main ways to do it:
    1. Mixed agriculture: Farms were generally mixed between a variety of crops and animals, the animals got to eat some of the crop, and produced meat, leather, wool, hair, eggs, milk, and manure, all of which were used. This worked well from an environmental standpoint because this was an integrated system, with every organism feeding other organisms. If you hang around with "back-to-the-land", Whole Earth Catalog hippie types, they'll be happy to talk your ear off about doing this kind of thing. This is also what many third-world farmers are doing, and what intentionally low-tech people like the Amish do.
    2. Pastoralism: The animals are grazed on land that produces stuff that they can eat but humans can't. This works just fine as long as you don't do it so heavily that the grasses or other plants can't regrow before you bring the herd around again. This is only a slightly-human-influenced version of what herd animals will do anyways. In theory at least, this is one use of BLM land on the east side of the Rockies, and there are supposed to be scientific types making sure that there isn't overgrazing.
    3. Hunting / Fishing: The animals are in the wild until they get slaughtered and eaten. This also works out fine as long as you don't do it too heavily, and can be extremely useful in environments where there are animals lacking natural predators. In modern times, this translates to people with hunting licenses going out and getting their deer for the year, and that's something I wholeheartedly approve of doing.

    The problem is that the way most meat is produced for the US market has little if anything to do with any of that. What's happening instead is:
    1. Petroleum is drilled out, and converted into chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which are shipped to the crop farmers. There are of course all kinds of pollution problems from this stage.
    2. Major agribusiness companies produce large quantities of GMO seeds for crops that can handle having large quantities of chemical fertilizers and pesticides dumped on them. These are also shipped to crop farmers. There are also lots of pollution problems from this stage, and also patent problems because it's generally illegal to save the seeds from these crops.
    3. Crop farmers plant those GMO seeds and spread those chemical fertilizers and pesticides in as large a quantity as they can get away with to maximize output, to grow feed crops such as field corn. In addition to the pollution created by running their tractors and such, there are major problems with runoff from the field leading to such fun as Lake Erie turning fluorescent green during the summer due to algae blooms.
    4. The feed crops are shipped to what the industry calls "Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations", but used to be called "feed lots". Basically, thousands of animals of the same species crammed into as small a space as possible. Which, if you think this is a recipe for disease spreading very quickly, you're right, so most animals are heavily drugged with antibiotics (leading to resistant bacteria that can infect humans) and all sorts of other interesting treatments. When the animals are done, they'll go to a meatpacking plant to be butchered by illegal immigrants working in incredibly dangerous conditions, and from there make their way to McDonald's and the like.
    5. Remember all that poo that the old-school integrated farmers were composting into fertilizer for the next year, which represents most of the substance of what that animal ate? For example, each pound of beef = 26 pounds of dry cow pies. In these operations, that poo is siphoned off into giant lagoons of poo, where it's combined with anaerobic bacteria to try to break it down a bit, but this also produces all kinds of environmental problems including nasty gasses that give nearby people asthma, as well as large quantities of methane (one of the worst greenhouse gasses around) and CO2. Some of that processed poo turns into fertilizer for the crop farmers, but a lot of it just kinda sits there. And if there are floods or hurricanes or similar problems, guess where that poo goes?

    The problem isn't meat per se, it's switching from integrated cyclical food production, where "waste" isn't waste at all but food for something else, to industrial linear food production, where inputs come from outside the system in the form of petroleum and chemical processes and much of the output is "waste" and sent off into the environment. A vegetarian diet cuts out steps 4 and 5 of the industrial system above, and it's far more efficient to grow, say, 3 pounds of crops for 1 pound of plant food than it is to grow 27 pounds of crops for 1 pound of meat and 26 pounds of poo.

    --
    The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Pslytely Psycho on Friday December 06 2019, @09:33PM

    by Pslytely Psycho (1218) on Friday December 06 2019, @09:33PM (#929138)

    "A meat-eater with a bicycle is much more environmentally unfriendly than a vegetarian with a Hummer."
    --Dr Mark Post

    So would an omnivore with a Corvette fall somewhere in the middle? Or an insectivore with a semi truck? These are questions we demand answers to!

    /s because somewhere, someone always takes me seriously...

    --
    Alex Jones lawyer inspires new TV series: CSI Moron Division.