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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: 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]

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  • (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.

    --
    Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
    • (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.

        --
        Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
        • (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.

            --
            Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
            • (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.