Methane — a bigger problem than we thought?

We have a “Post-Carbon Institute” to address our reliance on fossil fuels.  But there is no “Post-Methane Institute.”

Methane, the second largest human-caused contributor to global warming, often doesn’t get any respect.  The constant focus on “carbon” leads people to believe that our only climate change issues are issues with fossil fuels and carbon dioxide.  A key source of methane is livestock (basically, belching cattle); in fact, livestock agriculture is also a significant source of carbon dioxide as well. Continue reading “Methane — a bigger problem than we thought?”

Interview: Why the environmental issue is important for vegans

Last January 21, the KPOV show “All Things Vegan” aired an interview of me in which we discussed a number of issues, the most important of which is why the environmental issue is important for vegans. The following clip gives the segment of the show which interviews me (it’s about 17½ minutes long).  Click the picture below to listen to the interview.  (EDIT: This link was broken, so I have replaced it with the link to the “All Things Vegan” show. The interview with me starts at about 40:25).

 

Vegans Marching for Climate Change Action

iMatter March

We joined the “iMatter” youth-led march for climate change action yesterday, shortly after it left Cuernavaca Park in Denver. There were several hundred people who marched up 15th Street to Civic Center Park. We had our “Go Vegan” signs, and weren’t quite sure where we would fit in, but finally joined the march just in front of the Greenpeace contingent, which looked like the most animal-friendly bunch. Continue reading “Vegans Marching for Climate Change Action”

Bill McKibben on Grass-Fed Beef

A key cause of climate change
A key cause of climate change

It hardly seems fair to attack an article in which Bill McKibben, a tireless and effective advocate for much needed action on climate change, issues “a call for America to divest its heart and stomach from feedlot beef.” McKibben, like Michael Pollan, is attempting to define grass-fed beef as good, and factory farmed (corn-fed) beef as bad. From a political and ethical point of view, this isn’t a bad approach. In Colorado some years ago a ballot initiative restricting hog farms found the vegetarians and the cattle ranchers on the same side.

But does this make sense scientifically?  Continue reading “Bill McKibben on Grass-Fed Beef”

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”

Livestock The Main Cause of Global Warming?

At first this sounds like some PETA press release, but it’s right there in the current issue of WorldWatch: “Livestock and Climate Change,” by Robert Goodland and Jeff Anhang. The key conclusion: livestock-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are 51%, or more, of all human-caused GHG emissions.

What?

 

If this stands up, it completely changes the politics of fighting global warming. Continue reading “Livestock The Main Cause of Global Warming?”