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Meat, eggs and dairy account for 51% of our greenhouse gas emissions!

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11:55 am
February 8, 2013


cindy

Member

posts 263

12:19 pm
February 17, 2013


marea

Member

posts 431

I must admit I had no idea that the proportion of total emissions was as high as 51%.

I checked out the article at the link you provided and it says, inter alia:

"…replacing livestock products with soy-based and other alternatives wouldbe the best strategy for reversing climate change. "This approach would have far more rapid effects on GHG emissions and their atmospheric concentrations-and thus on the rate the climate is warming-than actions to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy."

Mind you,  I think replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy is a good thing to do anyway. Fossil fuel emissions have so many disastrous health impacts through the pollution they create.

6:35 pm
February 18, 2013


cindy

Member

posts 263

Absolutely, we must replace fossil fuels with renewables to stop the pollution, I agree this is a given. 

We have to do more than this though. Forests are natural carbon 'sinks', they draw carbon from the sky through the process of photosynthesis. Over the past 200 years we have destroyed 80% of our forestsand so now our capacity to keep a stable carbon balance is greatly diminished.  

The part of the balance that most people don't understand is the oxidation/bio sequestration process. We know that photosynthesis enables trees to draw carbon out of the air. Initially, this carbon goes into the growth of the plant. Later, it can be bio sequestrated into by soil fungi and microbes. Sadly though, if the soil fungi and microbes are dead then the carbon cannot be bio sequestrated, it will instead oxidise back into the atmosphere. So our landscapes can either absorb carbon down out of the atmosphere, or 'polute' carbon back into the atmosphere.   

To re-stabilise our climate we need to keep our remaining forests and we need to regenerate our landscapes. Strangely enough, cattle can potentially be part of the solution, see

http://fletcher.tufts.edu/CIER…..er-Jan2013.

Local NGO Soils for Life http://www.soilsforlife.org.au/ is working supporting farmers to regenerate their landscapes whilst continuing to farm .. .. But then in other parts of the world forests are being cleared to make way for the grazing land needed to supply the developing world's increasing interest in meat ..  So many things to think about! Mostly I think I need to find some really awesome vegetarian recipes so that my family and I reduce our meat consumption …  …

 

10:09 am
February 19, 2013


marea

Member

posts 431

Thanks for the reference to that article about livestock being part of the solution. It's really counter-intuitive, but it does bear thinking about.

So the article seems to be saying that you can significantly increase the amount of livestock on land but have to be very careful about sequencing their feeding through different segments of the land, so that their excrement and gut bioflora can help to regenerate the soils.

I guess though that this approach would only be relevant to particular types of land, maybe already degraded farming land?

11:08 am
February 19, 2013


cindy

Member

posts 263

Yeah definitely degraded grazing land and this is a lot of land – over
half of Australia
- 430 million hectares!!!

Geologically
most of Australia's
soils are quite thin and they lack phosphorus and nitrogen, two of the most
important nutrients required for growth. Cattle excretions can add these, and
also enable in-soil microbe ecosystems to expand and become more ecologically
diverse. In time these can increase the quality of the grazing land, even
gradually transforming the edges of our desert!!

It's
so exciting isn't it! Soil scientists have previously only really looked at the
physical and chemical aspects of soil, hence the development of fertilisers.
What had been missed and completely misunderstood was thebiology, the
massive ecosystems of fungi, bacteria and other microbes. We are only now
starting to hear how these incredible organisms actually biosequester carbon
whilst supporting plant growth!

If
we regenerate 20% of our grazing farmland we could draw down all of Australia's
carbon emissions, including those from coal exports!! Unfortunately coal
companies are basically paying no carbon tax and there is not yet an ethical
market for carbon credits, so we still have a long way to go, but it is so
fantastic that there is a solution in sight!!!!! 

 

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Meat, eggs and dairy account for 51% of our greenhouse gas emissions!

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