Peak Animals

A key cause of climate changeA lot of the questions people have about the WorldWatch article “Livestock and Climate Change” (Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang, in the November / December 2009 WorldWatch) comes down to a simple problem: it’s difficult for many people to wrap their brains around what the authors are saying. All they see is something about livestock and a jumble of data. Maybe this is the way we should leave it, so that only the serious scientists will consider the idea. But the spread of an idea depends on its making intuitive sense. Here’s how I would pitch their thesis: you’ve heard of peak oil, the time of maximum production of oil on the planet. This is peak animals. We have an unprecedented (and unsustainable) amount of animal biomass on the planet, and climate change is just one of the symptoms. Continue reading “Peak Animals”