Wednesday, May 28, 2008

V-Climate: U.N. Blames Cows for Global Warming -- Unjustly!!

U.N. Blames Cows for Global Warming -- Unjustly!!
by Carolyn Lee
May 25, 2008
The following passages are from an article by Matthew J. Rales which appeared in the Spring, 2008 edition of Wise Traditions, a publication of the Weston A. Price Foundation. The entire article is not yet available online. Matthew Rales obtained his BA in Environmental Studies from Middlebury College in Vermont. He recently completed an apprenticeship at Joel Salatin's grass-based Polyface Farm and is pursuing a career in grass-based farming at Polyface.

Before the excerpts from Matthew Rales, we have Michael Pollan. His video is an entertaining and thought provoking discussion about the relationships between people, food and plants; gardening, industrial agriculture, and farming.

The last section of the video wonderfully illustrates what is possible with grass and cows. In fact, Pollan is describing his visit to Joel Salatin's farm. He discusses how natural and ecologically balanced this system is, and how much food it produces.
(Sandra's comment: It's almost a side benefit that it also takes carbon out of the atmosphere. You can't get better than that!)

Farming in this way produces healthy animals, healthy plants, and extraordinarily health-supporting food. At the same time, it is BOTH ecologically and economically viable.

Go to the video on ted.com. The part about Salatin's farm starts a bit after 10:30 minutes.

The Omnivore's Next Dilemma

Now, to Rales.

An Inconvenient Cow: The Truth Behind the U.N. Assault on Ruminant Livestock
Matthew J. Rales
Wise Traditions, Spring, 2008 edition

In late November of 2006, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization released a startling report. Its official title is "Livestock's Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options". References to this report have been frequent in the last year, especially on environmental and nutrition-related fronts. The report accuses the cow of the worst environmental crimes -- land degradation, water pollution, acid rain, biodiveristy and habitat loss, desertification, deforestation, and foremost among the headlines, global warming. Cows and other ruminants are responsible for generating 65 percent of anthropogenic nitrous-oxide, 64 percent of ammonia, and 37 percent of the world's methane, the U.N. scientists declare.

Ancillary reports that expound upon these figures are everywhere. The American media have enjoyed selling the annihilator-cow theme to an audience conditioned by anti-animal foods propaganda and environmental fabrications, such as the "fact" that greedy farmers in the Amazon eradicate rainforest for more and more land to graze their cattle.

Syndicated nutrition columnists present us with lists of environmentally friendly food choices, invariably free of any and all animal products, and environmentalists cite the report as further evidence to keep cattle out of national parks and "protected" public lands.

But it's not just the mainstream news networks and publications that have circulated these accusations aginst livestock. Alternative energy and sustainable living magazines have produced a smattering of recent articles: "Eat Less Meat", "Meat is Methane", "Save the World; Go Vegan". These catchy titles sit on the magazine rack at your local natural foods co-op. And so the readership of these publications continues to patronize those trendy pseudo-foods like soy milk and veggie burgers -- the production of which is a principle reason for deforestation in the Amazon. The other use for soybeans from these degrading land use practices is feed for confinement animals -- beef and dairy cattle, pigs, poultry and fish -- for which pasteured cows continue to be blamed.

INDUSTRIAL ENVIRONMENTALISM

Make no mistake; rainforests are not cleared in any drastic measure by independent farmers who want to raise a few steers. They are cleared by United Nations-supported corporate giants under the guise of feeding the world and alleviating poverty -- all for the production of more of their patented seed. This seed, of which the U.N. and its "green" lobbyists are so fond, assumes the role of displacer of traditional food and farming all over the world. That means health-giving foods like lamb tallow for frying, lard for baking, and real butter, which the industry-led dietitians have condemned from on high, are the foods these GMO seeds are replacing. It is no wonder the U.N. has launched its campaign against livestock -- these animals represent the only food source that can supply the people with enough good nutrition to empower them (both physically and emotionally) to resist the global onslaught of food police, biotech crops and chemicals.

A recent article in Business Week reports that Brazil alone grows over 25 million acres of soybeans -- all of which are genetically engineered. The Wall Street Journal reports that Monsanto's stock has tripled in the last year due to Brazil's demand for Roundup Ready soybeans -- a genetically engineered plant that can withstand multiple, frequent applications of toxic herbicide.

Allan Nation, editor of the Stockman Grass Farmer, reports back from his recent trip to Argentina that "eight dollar" soybeans for world export are edging out the domestic, sustainable grass-fed beef industry. Why don't we hear environmentalists denouncing this supreme symbol of industrial agriculture with the same passion they muster for condemning beef? Why are the green-conscious not boycotting the oilseed plant that literally drinks Middle Eastern oil in the form of petrochemical herbicides? That's because our society has been conditioned to support a co-opted environmental movement in the name of a chemical-intensive vegetable bypass industry, at the tragic expense of good health to both man and environment via the qualities of grazing animals (those methane-belching creatures that we love to hate) and their products -- meat and milk for people, manure for the soil -- none of which our society can afford to lose.

DESTRUCTIVE PARADIGM

The real paradox of the report is the way in which it avoids dealing with the twin-conundrum of mass-scale monocultural grain production and confinement animal feeding operations (CAFOs). These are the two destructive pillars of an industry gone wrong, yet the U.N. points its global finger not at bad management practices like feedlots and confinement dairies, but at the cows themselves; not at Monsanto, but at real farmers, who raise livestock in accordance with nature's principles -- on grass.
[end of first excerpt]

Later, Matthew Rales continues...

SIXTY MILLION BISON

In his fascinating recent book, 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, Charles Mann paints a picture of wild ruminant populations before the arrival of Europeans: "North America at the time of Columbus was home to sixty million bison, thirty to forty million pronghorns, ten million elk, ten million mule deer, and as many as two million mountain sheep". That's just North America. We have not even considered the enormous herds pounding the African plains, nearly all of which are methane-producing ruminants including wildebeest, Cape buffalo, giraffes, gazelles, antelope, kudu -- you get the point. Even today, these animals number in the hundreds of millions; their number were many fold greater in the past. How can it be that we have been able to overlook this perfectly natural scenario and move forward with casting the blame on the world's 1.5 billion domesticated cattle?

Nature's herds are by no means light on the land. Reports from the travels of Lewis and Clark attest to the fact that the herds of bison left not one scrap of fodder for their horses to eat, and the land was coated with a sheet of manure so thick, it turned vast expanses of prairie black. This manure, with the help of sage grouse, prairie chickens and dung beetles was then quickly recycled into some of the richest soil on the planet; this is the same manure that the U.N. blames for poisoning our atmosphere with nitrous-oxide.

MIMICKING NATURE

Managed grazing, which attempts to mimic the grazing patterns of these great wild herds, can produce an abundance of nutritious animal foods, while sequestering massive amounts of atmospheric carbon. We are told by the global warming gurus that the earth is heating up due to excess carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Through specific grazing strategies we can sequester this excess carbon and form rich, productive topsoil in the process. We do this not by planting more trees, or even setting aside more wildlife preserves. We do this with domesticated ruminants -- pulsing the landscape with large numbers of animals for short periods of time.

In nature, bison and wildebeest graze in huge mobs, remaining in one location briefly, and then they move on to fresh ground. They keep bunched together tightly for fear of pack-hunting predators. These ruminants are Nature's soil-building and fertility management mechanism. We also know that the soils under which these animals graze are our largest land-based carbon sinks on earth. All we need to do, then, is to mimic these native grazing patterns with our domestic stock, and we have an easily achieved, rapid solution to the excess carbon in the atmosphere.

The hoof action, manure, urine, and saliva all act as bio-stimulants on the pasture, encouraging the grass plants to thicken, bare spots to fill in, and species diversity and succession to accelerate forward from simplicity to complexity. The productive grasslands of the world and the massive herds of herbivores that grazed them coevolved together. One cannot exist without the other. The grass relies on the ruminant for its full expression just as much as the ruminant relies on grass. Without ruminants to fertilize the soil and break down cellulose in dry climates, prairies quickly become deserts; and with managed grazing of ruminant animals, deserts can be restored to productive land.

GRASS-FED BUTTER: MOST ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FOOD

Grass farmers produce the most ecologically sensible food on earth, food derived nearly in its entirety from solar energy. Grass-fed butter is perhaps the finest example of solar energy converted into nutrient-dense food for people. Grass-fed meat and other grass-fed dairy products are equally wonderful, earth-friendly foods. However, I use butter here to illustrate how we can derive pure, nutrient-dense animal energy from solar energy with very few steps in between. Here's how it works: Grass plants convert solar energy (and atmospheric carbon dioxide) into plant biomass, and the cow synthesizes that plant material into her own energy via the cellulose-digesting microbes in her rumen. From this energy she then produces milk, of which the energy-rich portion (the cream) is separated. The cream is then made even more energy-dense through churning into butter. No chemicals or petroleum required (exc ept electricity for churning the butter); just the sun, the grass and the cow (and her rumen flora) in an elegantly simple process.

Let's run a quick comparison to the production of a food that the U.N. and its whistleblowers tell us has a smaller ecological footprint -- the production of vegetable oil. First the soil must be plowed; a process that requires immense amounts of diesel fuel. Then the seed, whether it's rapeseed (canola), soybeans, or corn or any other oil-producing seed, must be planted. This is accomplished by a tractor as well, thus more fossil fuel. After the plant begins to grow, the field must be cultivated to kill the invading weeds. Then the fields are sprayed several times by a tractor-mounted rig, dowsing the fields in oil-derived petrochemical herbicide. If bugs are a problem out comes the pesticide, also derived from oil. Harvest time, and massive combining ensues. The seeds are then trucked cross-country to a factory where a multi-step refining process takes place. The factory is similar in design and practice to a crude oil refinery.

After much chemical and mechanical refining of our seed, we have a product, which is not food, but which the U.N. tells us is the earth-friendly substitute for our solar energy-derived butter.

[end of excerpt]

Carolyn's comment: Obviously we can't trust the United Nations to solve the problem of global warming! They have a hidden agenda, as usual!

For more information:

-- Read the latest reports on global warming here: Is Global Warming for Real?
-- If you haven't watched it yet, be sure to view the exciting slide presentation at this post about soil carbon sequestration. A picture really is worth a thousand words! Putting Carbon Back Where It Belongs - In the Earth
-- Read about the environmental benefits of grassfarming here Grassfarming Can Help to Reverse Global Warming, and here Reversing Global Climate Change with Holistic Management
-- Read about the importance and value of cows and about the battle over raw milk here.

-- Go to www.factoryfarm.org to learn more about confinement animal feeding operations (CAFOs). Be sure to watch The Meatrix.

-- Go to my blog posting about soy, to learn about the health hazards associated with the consumption of soy foods. A tremendous amount of information about soy is available through the Weston A. Price Foundation, among others.

Monsanto's Harvest of Fear
Monsanto's Harvest of Fear By Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele Vanity Fair. May 2008 Issue. Monsanto already dominates America's food chain with its genetically modified seeds ...

-- Read about the Clintons and their ties to Monsanto at Our Food, Monsanto & the Clintons.

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