I love beef. I owned a cattle ranch, how could I not love beef? But yes, the problem with beef it seems is that the carbon contribution of beef, the beef industry, the porterhouse on my plate, to global warming means we should all eat less. I suppose I would be really distraught over all that if I hadn’t met and married my wife the nutritionist and curbed my natural bloodlust for cow – she had some argument to the effect of too much red meat is bad for your health.
I’ve been enjoying John Sutter’s columns over at CNN, and his recent article Why Beef Is The New SUV was a great read. Sutter has been doing a great job of traveling the country, tracking down and writing on the relationships of our daily lives to the climate and beef is very all American for most of us.
Most of Sutter’s article I was already pretty familiar with, where he succeeded and where the importance lies is in tracing the beef carbon footprint through the “production process” down to the feed and back again to our plates. Exactly how much and how responsible we are for that brisket.
Sutter wraps it all up by making the veiled suggestion that if we began to see beef as a treat to be had once a week or even less that would be a good start – pretty much where I’m at these days.
Conveniently as CNN published Sutter’s report Grist also ran a story on farms that were experimenting with anaerobic digesters, basically taking farm waste (animal crap, corn waste, silage etc) and fermenting it into biogas and fertilizer.
Side by side these stories at once illustrate the problem and provide a solution – read them.