Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Wednesday July 23 2014, @04:25PM   Printer-friendly
from the order-another-burger dept.

Research into the environmental impact of animal-based foods has concluded that beef has the greatest impact by a large margin (Full text [pdf]).

When the numbers were in, including those for the environmental costs of different kinds of feed (pasture, roughage such as hay, and concentrates such as corn), the team developed equations that yielded values for the environmental cost per calorie and then per unit of protein, for each food.

The calculations showed that the biggest culprit, by far, is beef. That was no surprise, say Milo and Shepon. The surprise was in the size of the gap: In total, eating beef is more costly to the environment by an order of magnitude about ten times on average than other animal-derived foods, including pork and poultry. Cattle require on average 28 times more land and 11 times more irrigation water, are responsible for releasing 5 times more greenhouse gases, and consume 6 times as much nitrogen, as eggs or poultry. Poultry, pork, eggs and dairy all came out fairly similar. That was also surprising, because dairy production is often thought to be relatively environmentally benign. But the research shows that the price of irrigating and fertilizing the crops fed to milk cows as well as the relative inefficiency of cows in comparison to other livestock jacks up the cost significantly.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:56PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 23 2014, @06:56PM (#72906)

    Right now, manufactured meat is as real as a flying car.

    It has not been shown to be up to quality, and the approaches used to get it there tend to be expensive and hard to scale.

    It is quite distinguishable from live grown meat, which is why they're working in terms of nuggets and hamburger.

    The capital investment and running costs currently are far higher than any regular ranch.

    All of these problems need to be meaningfully solved before it turns commercially viable. Are there approaches to solutions? Yes. Are there commercially viable solutions? No. Not yet.

    As for vertical farming, that can only work as much as your sunlight will penetrate. It's no accident that gardeners worry about the sunlight needs and shade tolerance of plants. There's only so much insolation you get. What's worse, if you pack your vertical farms close together they shade each other when the sun is low in the sky, instead of just shading their own lower layers.

    Real, practical vertical farms are best approximated with some of the permaculture approaches, and even then your ground cover is impoverished compared to what you would get in an open field. The benefit is that with multiple crops over a single acre you get better net yields even though each individual yield is lower.

    All these people are spinning their wheels desperately searching for free lunches.