Our only practical solution…..?

2 12 2021

I face anti meat bullshit on social media constantly, and it really really pisses me off…… With ¾ of global farmlands incapable of growing non meat food without fossil fuels, exactly what do anti meat activists think we’ll be eating in coming decades? Cows do not emit greenhouse gases. It comes from their food. This food needs CO2 to regrow after being eaten, and the CO2 returns to the environment via what’s known as the carbon cycle. Reducing meat consumption is not what’s needed, what’s urgently required is an end to industrial agriculture. For both meat and non meat farming to boot.


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16 responses

2 12 2021
Dr Mike Joy

The anti-meat thing is legitimate because of the scale, I think this is what you miss. Humans now account for about 36 percent of the biomass of all mammals on the planet Domesticated livestock, mostly cows and pigs, account for 60 percent, and wild mammals for only 4 percent, This is a complete reversal of the ratio just a 1000 years ago, its not about the animals its about the utter alteration of the balance.

3 12 2021
mikestasse

Yes I’m well aware of overshoot, we’ve replaced wild animals with domesticated ones. The point remains there was no climate change when the world was populated with elephants, bison, wildebeest, rhinoceros, giraffes etc etc….. And that’s because ruminants are in balance with nature and don’t drive and fly everywhere.

2 12 2021
2 12 2021
James Wilson

I agree with Mike but would add that most land upon which domestic livestock graze has been colonised from natural vegetation harbouring a broad diffusion of biodiversity to a tragic uniformity of animals grown to feed humans at an extravagant cost of resources and, I would add, at a huge health cost to both the consumers and the planet.

2 12 2021
mikestasse

That also applies to the millions of acres under monocrop cereals etc….

2 12 2021
Sam Powrie

People simply don’t understand the carbon cycle Mike – that all agricultural plant & animal produce & emissions are already part of the biosphere & belong here. I think people want to be distracted from the reality of need to wean themselves of fossil fuel addiction. That’s my experience anyway…

2 12 2021
MARK+BEVIS

We can’t do agriculture in an unstable climate, which is where we are returning to. Humans lived for c310,000 years without agriculture, and for all but 250 years of our 320,000 existence without fossil fuels, so we’re quite capable of living without farming and without agriculture. Farming is not normal, nor is it part of the carbon cycle – it’s an addition to it. No other species farms on an industrial scale the way humans do.

I have been vegetarian for over 7 years, and vegan for over 3 years, through choice. But I wouldn’t go around telling people not to eat meat, dairy or fish. If you hunt it, kill it, skin it and cook it yourself then fine. It’s industrialised mono-culture farming I’m against, which is just another destructive form of capitalism. (Yes, I know, even vegan diet requires mono-culture farming)

As the KISS film shows, if we’re going to do organised food growing in the future, then some kind of silvopasture and food forestry is going to be the least
worst way forward. Mimicking the way nature did do things is the theory.

However:
The more recent brand of humans that moved into America and Europe 40,000 years ago managed to slaughter all the megafauna within a 9000 year period, whereas the neanderthals had co-existed besides them for the previous 250,000 years, even though they occasionally ate each other, so it could be said as a species we just like killing things. Regardless of how individuals feel about it.

We’ve destroyed the biosphere so much that there isn’t much left to hunt and gather in a post-agriculture world.

Our evolutionary challenge is not to continue growth in some form or other, but to live sustainably within the ecosphere – but with brain sizes that have diminished by a third since before farming, and a known and measurable destructiveness that we can’t seem to contain, is that going to happen?

3 12 2021
lemmiwinks

Bugs Mike. You’ll eat bugs, own nothing and be happy about it, remember? Now do as you’re told before your social credit score drops a grade.

3 12 2021
mikestasse

Here we eat pork belly and roast lamb….

3 12 2021
David+Higham

Reducing meat consumption could certainly help. It’s not as if meat animals are only grazing land that could not be used for production of food crops that coild be used directly by humans,thus avoiding the huge energy loss by being
a trophic level higher. The enormous land areas used for production of soy beans and maize ,for example,which are directed to feed lot cattle,factory farmed pigs and poultry ,could produce those or other crops to feed humans
directly.
However,the whole system is so riddled with other unsustainable flaws,that it wouldn’t make much difference to our trajectory. For example,that land
would still be subject to soil erosion and structural degradation,still reliant on
fossil fuels and synthesized fixed nitrogen,etc..
All previous agricultural civilisations have collapsed. We have placed an additional layer of fragility because of the dependence on fossil fuels to sustain the current,grotesquely inflated population bubble. We couldn’t sustain the
current population without industrial agriculture. Vaclav Smil,in his book on the
Haber-Bosch process, “Enriching the Earth”,estimates that the maximum human population that could be sustained on the land area now used for food production would be around three billion,without the ‘fixed’ nitrogen from the H.B. process.

3 12 2021
mikestasse

Sorry but you are wrong. ¾ of farmland IS incapable of growing crops without fossil fuels. In the valley where I live, I happen to have some of the best soil in the area, and yes you can grow apples cherries and blackberries (that like acidic soil) bit they’re short seasons you can’t live off.

You’re also wrong about soy. Cattle are normally fed the meal left over after it’s processed into oil, biofuels, human processed foods. I’m totally against feeding grazing animals anything but grass anyway. Instead of campaigning against meat, we should be supportive of ethical graziers.

Most fossil fuelled agriculture is for crops, not meat.

3 12 2021
David+Higham

‘Most fossil fuelled agriculture is for crops,not meat ‘
I’m not sure what you think is feeding the factory-farmed pigs,poultry
and feed-lot cattle of the world,iif it isn’t industrial agriculture. Fossil fuels have not only allowed a bubble population of humans,but a bubble population of industrial agriculture-fed animals as well.
Al those animals were a valuable part of small-scale food production systems,but we’ve managed to transform it into a horrendous ;system,
horrendous for the lives of the animals,horrendous for the biosphere,and horrendous for us as wel,because the requisite energy
will be ending.
I’ve had a small beef herd,grazing a natiive forest block,for forty years,
and agree with you about the grass-fed bit. I could write some info on the techniques required to manage that in a monsoonal climate with a long dry season ,but I don’t have the inclination to do that. It wouldn’t be much help for you in your climate. All the best to you.

3 12 2021
4 12 2021
Naturalised

For the vegetarians and vegans: I won’t tell you what to eat and you will not tell me what to eat.
I have a 1.9 ha hobby farm on the Mid coast off N.S.W. and until recently produced sheep for our meat. They kept all the weeds down in my paddocks and the paddocks mostly looked like a well kept lawn. actually I had created a desert and called it nice and tidy. Most of the property is not suitable for cropping and we had to build up garden beds to prevent our vegetables from rotting off in wet periods.
Now I only have two goats to supply our milk and cheese and only have a couple of kids to kill for meat each year. For those people desperately concerned about about methane, I am waiting for a supply of asparagopsis seaweed and will feed some as soon as it becomes available. However between those kids, the cheese and some free range chooks we get ample protein.
From our these goats, orchard, garden and nut trees we get all we need. When I have finished three quarters of the property will be planted to native trees many of which have been specifically planted for goat feed to avoid worm problems.

4 12 2021
mikestasse

This coming apple season will hopefully be proof of concept for us. Since putting our sheep in the orchard, we’ve had two seasons straight without coddling moth. If it happens three years running….

6 12 2021
Chris Harries

The almost universal science conclusion these days is that humans need to eat mainly plant based food. It could be that this conclusion is mainly a counter to industrial scale animal farming and should not be applied to communities who engage in healthy mixed farming?

But nowadays set in many ethical people’s heads is the idea that they really ought to become vegans, just like they really out to abandon jet setting holidays and really ought to go out and buy an EV etc.

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-021-03565-5

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