Sunday, June 22

Kinko Bay

Featuring the ever-active Sakurajima stratovolcano as seen from Yoshino Park.

Friday, June 20

Life-threatening Livestock

I discovered Mark Bittman giving a thought-provoking speech on livestock and its impact on the planet. Bittman highlights the fact that, after energy production, livestock
is the second highest contributor to atmosphere-altering gases. Nearly one-fifth of all greenhouse gas (18 percent) is generated by livestock production, more than transportation... And it's not just methane (that is a problem). Livestock is also one of the biggest culprits in land degradation, air and water pollution, water shortages, and loss of biodiversity.
Given this, one wonders why Al Gore never mentions meat consumption in his talks, including his most recent one. One also wonders why people continue to eat meat everyday. Of the many reasons why anyone might not eat so much meat, cruelty to animals, Bittman argues, is, by comparison to the environmental impact of livestock production, a red herring. As Bittman suggests,
let's get the numbers of the animals we're killing for eating down, and then we'll worry about being nice to the ones that are left.
He's referring to the fact that in the US, for example, every year 10 billion animals are killed for eating. And the important thing is not simply that that amounts to 10 billion acts of cruelty per year in the US that could be avoided altogether and in so doing promote health across the nation, but that the overproduction and overconsumption of livestock worldwide currently swallows up 30 percent of the Earth's service and that the amount of land needed is predicted to double in the next 35-40 years. In short, what Bittman argues is that eating beef regularly is not only bad for an individual's health, but bad for the health of the planet and in a very serious way.

Bittman's NYTimes article on the same subject can be consulted here.