Monday, July 25, 2016

It just isn't sustainable in the long run...

• Animal protein production requires eight times as much fossil fuel as plant protein. • The livestock population of the Unites States consumes five times as much grain (which is not even their natural diet) as the country’s entire human population. • Every kilogram of beef requires 100,000 liters of water to produce. By comparison, a kilogram of wheat requires just 900 liters, and a kilogram of potatoes just 500 liters. • A United Nations-sponsored workshop of about 200 experts concluded that 80 percent of deforestation in the tropics is attributable to the creation of new farmland, the majority of which is used for livestock grazing and feed.— Whole: Rethinking the Science of Nutrition, page 166

<idle musing>
And this is where theology intersects life. This lifestyle is just not sustainable. It is bad stewardship of the earth.

Dare I say it is sinful? Well, at least at the level we are doing it, I think I can say that...
</idle musing>


Tim Bulkeley said...

For a (in some ways) different take on much the same ideas see
As far as I can see neither the extreme carnivorous diet of most of the Western world, nor a Vegetarian (i.e. replacing the meat often with eggs and dairy products) diets are sustainable. The only sustainable diets are Vegan or what I'm calling Repentant Carnivores (i.e. eating that is significantly Vegan, but with some meals of meat or eggs or dairy products. (I recognise an alternative form of RC might be possible where only a very little meat/dairy/egg is consumed at more meals... I just find the more extreme manner easier to explain.)

jps said...


Thanks for the reference. You are indeed correct; vegetarian is just a way of sneaking in an unsustainable lifestyle in a nice title. I've found over the last 4.5 years of being whole foods, plant-based, that total abstinence from animal protein is the easiest route, but the RC alternative sounds good, too.

Thanks for commenting,

Tim Bulkeley said...

As your reply hints it is easier to think about than achieve.

For us especially since we have moved onto 3Ha of pasture and bush. It is not good land for horticulture too high and therefore cool and windy, but grows great animals (which are difficult to sell legally in NZ, they have to be sold live or taken to a slaughterhouse) so meat is more economical for us than veges, as well as easily accessible in the freezers. Ironically therefore when we lived in town our diet though using many more food miles used less of the earth's surface to sustain us!