Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hamburgers are Destroying Our Planet

I'm a big supporter of vegetarianism. All the cows I eat are vegetarians. A growing number of scientists believe hamburger is destroying Earth. Cows, they say, are the primary culprit in the 18% of greenhouse gases produced by vegetarian animal protein sources. Nathan Pelletier of Dalhousie University, Canada is one of those numbers studying the environmental costs of food from field to plate.

Beef accounts for only 30% of meat consumption it is responsible for 78% of greenhouse gas emissions in the first world. Pelletier says that one kilogram of beef produces 16 kilograms of carbon dioxide. That's 4X higher than pork and more than 10X higher than a kilogram of poultry. He goes on the say that people eat more meat than is nutritionally necessary.

Yeah, yeah. That's all probably true, but as is so often is the case, so what? All of what Pelletier claims is arguable and is supportive of a particular position. One thing he has to say is pure hogwash for us here in America. Pelletier said,

"Meat once was a luxury in our diet. We used to eat it once a week. Now we eat it every day."
Maybe in Canada, but down here in Baja Canada, we have traditionally eaten larger amounts of meat. In Colonial America, 95% of the population lived in the countryside and 40% were farmers who were able to sell 40% of what they produced for cash.

By 1740, the American standard of living had surpassed Europe's, and the Colonies, with only 32% the population of Great Britain, reached 50% her productivity. In comparison to the British, very few of whom owned any property, 70% of the Colonists owned enough property to have the voting franchise. By the latter half of the 18th century, American men were 2-3 inches taller than their English and European counterparts (largely due to more nutritive, higher protein diets).
An average 1784 family of four living in Watley, MA, ate 1/2 pound of meat every single day per person. Over the year, that family of four would eat 500 pounds of pork and 200 pounds of beef.

Producing and eating large quantities of meat has contributed immeasurably to America's development and prosperity. After World War II, the Japanese increased their meant consumption. The people grew taller amidst a burgeoning economy. The Euroweenies opted for a more vegetable and grain centric diet and are, well, weenies. I, for one, don't want to emulate Euroweenies.

Beef. It's what's for dinner. Pork is for breakfast.

The life of Indigo Red is full of adventure. Tune in next time for the Further Adventures of Indigo Red.


Anonymous said...

I know that humans are actually omnivores, but I unashamedly admit to being 76% carnivore. All these educated idiots can come up with any ridiculous statistic they want and people are still going to crave meat. What people crave, they will find a way to procure. Don

Indigo Red said...

And in this case, Don, what we crave is something our bodies compel us to crave.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

There's nothing quite like a good, juicy steak!

Indigo Red said...

What?! You mean soy burgers aren't just like beef steak? Even with lots of ketchup?