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Jeremy Rifkin Blog

Controlling Cattle Production Allows Us to Safeguard Our Current Climate

We’re currently at a point where we’re uncertain if humanity will be able to make it in the future. This may be far-fetched to some and difficult for others to hear, but the fact remains that unless humanity is willing to embrace the need for change, then its lifespan could be a lot shorter.

Given that such information hasn’t really been mentioned when discussing climate change, it understandable why some may not even recognise that the raising of cattle for beef production poses a problem. However, this is much of the problem associated with beef production and remaining ignorant to the fact could mean a series of consequences for the environment.

When we look at different forms of life that have inhabited the earth, we know that 99.5% of species have come and gone in the past. Although some may be in denial, humanity must accept that climate change is very real and the way it is dealt will determine as to whether humanity can survive for the long-term.

When it comes to making a change, there is very little time to make the jump. To be able to make a change in the way humanity operation there must be a shift in consciousness, which means a move from geopolitics to biosphere politics quickly.

At the moment, there are those that are operating in single camps, and for the problem of climate change to be addressed, we have to recognise the problem as a species. Only then can a solution be put in place that’s going to be effective. While it’s commendable that some countries are taking the necessary steps in relation to renewable energy, it’s important that humanity has the same vision when dealing with such issues.

Getting to the Root of Global Warming

When we think of global warming it’s easy to assume that the problem is related to the gas that we put in our car, but the truth of the matter is the meat we put on our table is one of the biggest causes of global warming by humans. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation put out a report that gets next to no attention that states the production of livestock contributes towards global warming more than all the transport on the Earth.

Another finding was that up to one-third of the world today is being used to grow grain to feed the cattle being produced. The fact that agriculture influences global warming is rarely discussed in public policy. It also speculated that this figure will reach 60%, meaning that there will only be 40% of the land for humanity.

There are around 1.3 billion cows in existence that collectively take up 23% of the landmass. There is also a lot of methane produced when dealing with cattle, which is 23 times more potent than co2. Despite these findings, there has been no mention of humanity reducing its expectations when it comes to cattle production, meaning that as demand rises, the more damage there is to global warming.

Instead, the solutions being offered is that the land should be used in a more efficient and sustainable way. Given that it takes nine pounds of grain to produce one pound of steak, it’s amazing that there is more focus on the use of gas in cars when the way in which beef is manufactured is more wasteful and has a greater impact on the environment.

This isn’t to say that the use of gas is going to be continued in the long-term, but it does highlight how some of the more important issues are overlooked when consciousness is lacking. Around the world, there have been various taxes applied to things like alcohol, tobacco and sugar. One way of ensuring that livestock is produced in a way that’s less detrimental to the environment is to ensure that there is a cap in place.

Back in 1990, I wrote a book called “Beyond Beef” which focused on the production of beef in the USA where I was told I was out of my mind and that very few wanted to offer our dietary habits, however different parts of the world have a different outlook. The Netherlands is a country renowned for beef consumption and is aware the moving down the food chain is essential for the survival of humanity.

To some, this may seem a little excessive, but it’s important to focus on the long-term goal, which is making a situation that’s getting out of hard right in order to preserve the future of the human species.