Wednesday, 23 September 2009

World Peace Diet Ch 11

Ch. 11 'Profiting from Destruction' Most ominvores don't realise the terrible price that earth pays to provide them with the vast amounts of animal proteins they think they require. This chapter provides a brief introduction to this vast and endlessly fascinating (and troubling) topic. (These concepts are spelled out plainly and in great detail in the books Diet for a Small Planet and Hope's Edge by France Lappe. You must read them. For a taster of these concepts, this chapter is a start.)

Food animals eat a LOT. And they poop a lot. This fundamental problem has deeply damaging consequences for the environment and economy. To be blunt, the earth does not have the resources to sustain its population if we were all to adopt the current Standard American Diet (SAD), also sometimes called the Western Diet. There is not enough water, land or fossil fuel for everyone on earth to live like Westerners, and that's the truth. An even more inconvenient truth is, the attempt to sustain the Western Diet even just in the Western world is wreaking absolute havoc on the globe's fresh water aquifers, fossil fuel resources, air quality, streams and rivers, wildlife, and genetic diversity--that's something they don't tell you when they ask you if you want fries with that.

Causes for alarm:

  • America now consumes more chickens in ONE DAY than it did in ONE YEAR in the 1930s. And yet, food is a much lower percent of income now than then. Who is paying the price for this overconsumption? The environment, the third world, and the health of the America consumer, that's who.
  • 80% of the grain grown and 50% of the fish hauled in the US are FED TO LIVESTOCK.
  • 6,000 sq miles of land in America is cleared to graze or grow grain to feed livestock each year. (That's 10,000 acres a day, or 7 acres per minute!)
  • A day's production of food to feed one omnivore human requires 4,000 gallons of fresh water. To feed one human a plant-based diet requires 300 gallons.
  • It takes 24 gallons of water to produce one pound of wheat, tomatoes, lettuce or potatoes. To produce one pound of beef requires 5,200 gallons of water. (It takes more water to produce one pound of beef, in other words, than one average human uses to take a shower every day for 365 days. Think about it. That quarter pound beef patty used more water than you do in 3 months of showers. Ridiculous. Shameful. Stupid).
  • It takes 27 times as much petroleum to produce one calorie of protein in the form of beef as it does to produce one calorie of soy protein.
  • Over half of all US farmland is devoted to just 2 feed crops, genetically modified corn and soy crops that are not for human consumption (cannot be fed to humans) but for livestock feed. Two immediate problems there: 1) monocropping is a recipe for catastrophe in the event of a blight, 2) if you are what you eat, do you really want your dinner eating something that isn't fit for human consumption!

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