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  Reply # 2181446 17-Feb-2019 10:58
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Rikkitic:

 

According to this, we can save the planet if we just eat better. I am a vegetarian and I try to avoid sugar. Not for health reasons, I should point out. I just don't like sweet things. Does this make me a hero?

 

 

 

 

Makes a lot of sense. Replace cattle in a paddock with crops. Methane is vastly more powerful than CO2 in global warming. Cattle generated methane is a very significant as a % of the global warming cause. More greenery = more CO2 removed form the atmosphere. Big reasons, let alone health benefits. 

 

I also read recently that India and China are greener, it was thought this was due to more CO2 in the air, so plants grow better, but its actually down to the area of arable land that they have increased in order to feed their people. Again, more cropping has many advantages, feeds more people, a boost to ingesting CO2 from the atmosphere. 

 

The kicker, is that you could literally enact a wholesale change in a few short years, just like that. Finish off the last cattle, plough those paddocks. Ideally get the fake meat made from veggies perfected.




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  Reply # 2181467 17-Feb-2019 11:36
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I think the problem with that is the farming lobby and the National dinosaurs who can't get past the idea that exporting meat and dairy = income and to hell with the hidden costs.

 

 





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  Reply # 2181471 17-Feb-2019 12:15
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Rikkitic:

 

I think the problem with that is the farming lobby and the National dinosaurs who can't get past the idea that exporting meat and dairy = income and to hell with the hidden costs.

 

 

 

 

Yes, you would need a party that has an environmental policy. The globe would need to revisit food and trade and who can grow what. Re align what we need, what the environment can cope with, and the extra crops we will want. 




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  Reply # 2181518 17-Feb-2019 14:57
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This is also worth a look. We have our fair share of neo-liberalism here on Geekzone.

 

 





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  Reply # 2181628 17-Feb-2019 19:06
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Rikkitic:

 

This is also worth a look. We have our fair share of neo-liberalism here on Geekzone.

 

 

 

 

Which is why I asked on the Trump thread why so few here. You can count the posters on one hand, yet there are a few other on political threads here. I do know the answer though.....

 

I recall one poster saying the Trump thread was crazy, or words to that effect. Crazy as in the posts that are made. 


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  Reply # 2181945 18-Feb-2019 11:39
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tdgeek:

 

Makes a lot of sense. Replace cattle in a paddock with crops. Methane is vastly more powerful than CO2 in global warming. Cattle generated methane is a very significant as a % of the global warming cause. More greenery = more CO2 removed form the atmosphere. Big reasons, let alone health benefits. 

 

 

Not necessarily. Greenery is only removing CO2 whilst it is growing. Once cut down and consumed, it turns back into CO2. The grass that the cows eat is also removing CO2, is constantly growing, and constantly being harvested by the cows. Given that grass covers the whole soil surface, and grows year-round, I suspect that a hectare of grass is better at photosynthesis than a hectare of e.g. cabbages, and therefore extracts more CO2 from the air. I can't find any figures to support that supposition though.

 

Whilst replacing cattle with crops is better methane-wise, you need to look at the entire CO2 cycle. How much more CO2 is generated moving the vegetables to market, given that meat is a more energy-dense food? Fertiliser and pesticide production? Energy used in cooking?

 

 




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  Reply # 2181949 18-Feb-2019 11:46
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Your points make sense and I don't doubt they are correct, but every study I have seen on this says that growing crops places a far lower burden on the environment overall than raising livestock, whether CO2 or other things. It isn't only just about CO2 and methane, important as those are. If you are going to look at the whole cycle, you have to do it for every variable.

 

 

 

 





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  Reply # 2181956 18-Feb-2019 12:01
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Rikkitic:

 

This is also worth a look. We have our fair share of neo-liberalism here on Geekzone.

 

 

Good article, although I'm a little dubious about it targetting neo-liberalism. The real target should be the neo-colonial idea of "If it's growing cut it down and sell it. If it's not growing, dig it up and sell it".

 

The idea that the Earth and all its resources should be *freely* available for people to exploit is deeply ingrained in NZ's culture, so that water in particular has historically been something that whoever grabbed it furst could take as much as they wanted. Nowadays, we have resource consents and the RMA and suchlike, but fundamentally water is still a freebie, rather than a commodity that is owned by the country and its citizens. Compare that to minerals or land, which have since colonial times been owned by the Govt. Perhaps one day air and seawater will also be seen as a collectively owned commodity, and that using the air or sea for commercial gain, particularly to discharge waste, will be something you have to pay for.

 

 


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  Reply # 2181965 18-Feb-2019 12:50
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Rikkitic:

 

Your points make sense and I don't doubt they are correct, but every study I have seen on this says that growing crops places a far lower burden on the environment overall than raising livestock, whether CO2 or other things. It isn't only just about CO2 and methane, important as those are. If you are going to look at the whole cycle, you have to do it for every variable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's two things; firstly, cows fart, and methane is much more potent than CO2. Secondly, it takes several years growth of a whole paddock of grass to raise one cow which might feed a few dozen people for a couple of meals. If that paddock were growing cabbages instead, then it could feed hundreds or thousands of people.





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  Reply # 2181970 18-Feb-2019 13:05
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SaltyNZ:

 

Rikkitic:

 

Your points make sense and I don't doubt they are correct, but every study I have seen on this says that growing crops places a far lower burden on the environment overall than raising livestock, whether CO2 or other things. It isn't only just about CO2 and methane, important as those are. If you are going to look at the whole cycle, you have to do it for every variable.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It's two things; firstly, cows fart, and methane is much more potent than CO2. Secondly, it takes several years growth of a whole paddock of grass to raise one cow which might feed a few dozen people for a couple of meals. If that paddock were growing cabbages instead, then it could feed hundreds or thousands of people.

 

 

Back to a single cow example, if that one cow was eating cabbages, thats a massive amount of cabbages from weaning to slaughter. Far out weigh steaks and saussys


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  Reply # 2181972 18-Feb-2019 13:06
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frankv:

 

tdgeek:

 

Makes a lot of sense. Replace cattle in a paddock with crops. Methane is vastly more powerful than CO2 in global warming. Cattle generated methane is a very significant as a % of the global warming cause. More greenery = more CO2 removed form the atmosphere. Big reasons, let alone health benefits. 

 

 

Not necessarily. Greenery is only removing CO2 whilst it is growing. Once cut down and consumed, it turns back into CO2. The grass that the cows eat is also removing CO2, is constantly growing, and constantly being harvested by the cows. Given that grass covers the whole soil surface, and grows year-round, I suspect that a hectare of grass is better at photosynthesis than a hectare of e.g. cabbages, and therefore extracts more CO2 from the air. I can't find any figures to support that supposition though.

 

Whilst replacing cattle with crops is better methane-wise, you need to look at the entire CO2 cycle. How much more CO2 is generated moving the vegetables to market, given that meat is a more energy-dense food? Fertiliser and pesticide production? Energy used in cooking?

 

 

 

 

You still need to get meat to market and fertilise and pesticise it, and cook it.


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  Reply # 2182084 18-Feb-2019 16:28
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Rikkitic:

Your points make sense and I don't doubt they are correct, but every study I have seen on this says that growing crops places a far lower burden on the environment overall than raising livestock, whether CO2 or other things. It isn't only just about CO2 and methane, important as those are. If you are going to look at the whole cycle, you have to do it for every variable.


 


 



Are those studies based on the US farming system? Where grains are grown, harvested, transported. Only for cows in feedlots to consume. With every step in the process often involving significant input from fossil fuels.

Vs the NZ system. Where grass is grown, the cows eat the grass. And the effluent from the cows is sometimes used as fertilizer. So almost a completely closed system.

The NZ system has such low carbon emissions. That NZ can provide beef to the UK with lower total emissions than UK Beef. Even when the emissions from shipping are included. Any restrictions on NZ farming would probably cause total worldwide emissions to increase. As a drop in NZ farm output would be matched by an increase in output from inefficient overseas farms.

And there is lots of land in NZ that is too steep to enable mass crop farming. But is still perfectly usable for cattle / sheep farming.

Then there is economics. As NZ often imports frozen vegetables (which indicates that we can't grow them locally cheap enough) And Horticulture normally involves lots of pesticides and fertilizer (far more than just growing grass). As well as the Labor required to tend to all of the plants. While dairy products can be processed into things like whey proteins. Which are both high value, and have long shelf life. So can be exported by ship. And there are people in the USA and other countries. Who are willing to pay over $100 per KG for top quality steak. Can you get similar value from growing vegetables? I doubt it.





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  Reply # 2182099 18-Feb-2019 16:52
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CO2e (equivalent -not plain CO2) is the issue with our (dairy) agriculture production.

 

Total from agriculture is around 48% of NZ's net CO2e emissions.  Most of that 48% is methane and nitrous oxide.




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  Reply # 2182102 18-Feb-2019 17:01
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Aredwood:

Are those studies based on the US farming system? Where grains are grown, harvested, transported. Only for cows in feedlots to consume. With every step in the process often involving significant input from fossil fuels.

Vs the NZ system. Where grass is grown, the cows eat the grass. And the effluent from the cows is sometimes used as fertilizer. So almost a completely closed system.

The NZ system has such low carbon emissions. That NZ can provide beef to the UK with lower total emissions than UK Beef. Even when the emissions from shipping are included. Any restrictions on NZ farming would probably cause total worldwide emissions to increase. As a drop in NZ farm output would be matched by an increase in output from inefficient overseas farms.

And there is lots of land in NZ that is too steep to enable mass crop farming. But is still perfectly usable for cattle / sheep farming.

Then there is economics. As NZ often imports frozen vegetables (which indicates that we can't grow them locally cheap enough) And Horticulture normally involves lots of pesticides and fertilizer (far more than just growing grass). As well as the Labor required to tend to all of the plants. While dairy products can be processed into things like whey proteins. Which are both high value, and have long shelf life. So can be exported by ship. And there are people in the USA and other countries. Who are willing to pay over $100 per KG for top quality steak. Can you get similar value from growing vegetables? I doubt it.

 

I am prepared to look at any data but I have major reservations about these kinds of arguments, which I think are just backdoor attempts to carry on without making any meaningful changes. As I understand it, any form of agriculture is many, many times less polluting and more efficient than any form of livestock farming. In any case, the NZ system is far from closed. Grass is also artificially boosted with fertiliser and pesticides, that then run off into the streams along with all the animal excrement. Although steps against riverside feedlots are fortunately being taken at last, there are still a lot of cows crapping in our waterways. Where I live, very little effluent seems to get used as fertiliser.

 

Crops don't have to be limited to vegetables. As has been mentioned, bio-fuels can also be grown. And land that is too steep for crops is perfectly fine for trees. The article I cited was about world-wide measures that are needed to save the planet. Arguing that inefficient producers elsewhere will cancel any improvements made in New Zealand is fake reasoning. What the article is saying is that if changes aren't made everywhere we will all die anyway.

 

You want to have your steak and eat it too. The point of this is that you will choke on it if that remains your attitude. If we want to survive, there has to be a fundamental change in the way we do things. There has to be a new way of thinking. You are still locked into the old one. 

 

  





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  Reply # 2182223 18-Feb-2019 20:01
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SaltyNZ:

 

Rikkitic:

 

Your points make sense and I don't doubt they are correct, but every study I have seen on this says that growing crops places a far lower burden on the environment overall than raising livestock, whether CO2 or other things. It isn't only just about CO2 and methane, important as those are. If you are going to look at the whole cycle, you have to do it for every variable.

 

 

It's two things; firstly, cows fart, and methane is much more potent than CO2. Secondly, it takes several years growth of a whole paddock of grass to raise one cow which might feed a few dozen people for a couple of meals. If that paddock were growing cabbages instead, then it could feed hundreds or thousands of people.

 

 

I think your figures are way off. Some back of the envelope calculations:

 

A steer might give you 200 or so kg of beef = 1,000 servings. Stocking rate of 3 animals/hectare for 2 years. So that's 1,500 servings /hectare/year

 

Cabbages at .25sq m each = 400/hectare/year How many servings do you get from a cabbage? 8 would give you 3,200 servings /hectare/year

 

So cabbages are about twice as efficient at feeding people compared to beef. But they don't fart.

 

 

 

 


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