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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

Producing 1 kg or 2.2 lbs of veal releases the equivalent of 17 kg (37 lbs) of CO2 into the atmosphere, compared to 16 kg or 35 lbs for beef.

Posted by Digital Citizen on Sunday, May 31, 2009

Farting SheepThis data was from a British government-sponsored study, with media reference made by Jonathan Leake in the Sunday Times of London. The reason given for the higher CO2 footprint was that lambs burp (and probably farts to release methane and other greenhouse gases like you, me and the cows) a lot.

Problem was the study was advising to give up lamb roasts to save the planet, not beef. Sure, lamb roasts may be more popular in Britain than in North America, but I highly doubt it is more consumed than beef in either place. If anything, find a way to reduce cow farting and burping, possibly by altering their diets a little. Should be quite possible given you and I both know that if we don’t eat certain things, we don’t fart and burp nearly as much as other things we do eat.

Besides, even if sheep gave off more greenhouse gases than cows, I think most people would agree with me McDonald’s and other beef burgers generally make people fart more than with lamb roast, especially given what else you eat with fast food. We definitely make up for what the cows fart and burp less than the sheep.

Who does those studies and draws those kinds of conclusions???

Mary had a little lamb,
Which burped and farted lots,
Everywhere that Mary went,
She sure smelled like she rots!



Posted in Biodiversity, Canada, Environment, Farming, Food, Global Warming, Lifestyle, Statistics, United Kingdom, United States, World, ZONE | 3 Comments »

At least 21 countries have less than 1500 cubic meters of water available per person per year, which means they need to start importing food

Posted by Digital Citizen on Friday, February 13, 2009

The formula seems to be when a country devotes 40% of its renewable water resources or more to irrigation, it starts to face water allocation issues. It must import food, especially water intense crop.

Saudi Arabia, China and South Korea are among these countries. They are starting to lease land in Africa to grow food.

China is acquiring agricultural land in Southern Africa.

Daewoo Logistic is looking to lease land in Madagascar.

More countries in South Asia and the Gulf are considering similar moves because all countries in South Asia are projected to be at this point by 2030, among a projected 35 countries by then. Middle East countries are expected to hit 58% of its renewable water resources to irrigation by 2030.

BBC (Feb 2 2009).


Posted in Africa, Asia, Environment, Farming, Food, Statistics, Water, World | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Britain has about 250,000 vegans as of the end of 2006, while a typical vegan in the world emits 1.5 tonnes CO2 less than a typical meat-eater because it takes 7kg of feed to produce 1kg of beef, for example, and there’s also all that methane from farting cows and nitrous oxide from fertilizer.

Posted by envirostats on Friday, January 4, 2008

There’s a lot of health benefits to being vegan, but also a lot of challenges just to stay healthy because it is hard to get all the nutrients you need to stay healthy in the quantities you need, like iron.

Looking at this statistic, you should be concerned about your health in your ability to go vegan if you are considering it, and not the nobility of global warming. You can offset the 1.5 tonnes CO2 for about $45, which is a LOT less than the cost you’re going to incur in eating meat compared to going vegan, or your doctor and health bills if you don’t go vegan sufficiently to sustain your health.

I’m not against one or the other. I’m a meat-eater, to be upfront. However, I’m not going vegan because I know I can’t without devoting far more of my life to my diet than I care to do to get the proper requirements to not only stay healthy but also to marathon training. I know others who do it and I know I can’t do what they do so props to them. I’m just trying to put things into perspective, which is part of my purpose in having this blog.

However, here is some great advice from the source article below on how to be a “caring carnivore”, a term that must just make the vegans and vegetarians cringe! [Envirostats author] 

How to be a caring carnivore

* Elect to eat one or two organic, locally produced cuts of meat a week rather than eating cheap processed meat every day

* Roast a chicken and live off it for a week, making stock from the bones and eating the leftovers – avoiding wastage

* Investigate meat alternatives such as tofu (pictured left), tempeh, textured vegetable protein and Quorn

* Buy organic milk, or try soya (pictured right), almond, oat, hazelnut or quinoa milk instead

* Chicken and pork are more carbon-efficient and produces less methane than beef

* Be aware of other good sources of protein. These include pulses, beans, nuts, seeds and, of course, soya beans

* Many kinds of bread and even some vegetarian products contain unnecessary milk products like whey, buttermilk or lactose, or eggs. Check the packaging and avoid buying non-organic dairy by avoiding these products 

– Researchers from the University of Chicago for statistics on vegan versus meat-eater emissions via The Independent, Dec 23 2007

– Unattributed source for number of British vegans, via same newspaper source and link above

Posted in Economics, Environment, Farming, Food, Global Warming, Life Cycle Analysis, Lifestyle, Statistics, Sustainability, United Kingdom, World | Tagged: | 6 Comments »

About 2.2 million hectares of sugarcane field remnants were burned in Brazil in 2006, releasing about 55,000 metric tonnes of nitrogen in the form of NOx that is 35% of the nitrogen applied to cane as fertilizer.

Posted by envirostats on Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Apparently, before chopping the cane with large machetes called facão, the workers burn huge swaths of cane fields (seems to the remnants of the cane crops on the ground) to remove dry leaves and drive off snakes and other creatures. The cleared fields are easier to cut by hand, but the massive burns create choking clouds of smoke and ash. Other insightful excerpts are below, from the source story.

Nitrogen compounds naturally vary in global warming potential, but tends to be hundreds of times that of CO2, meaning a given mass of various nitrogen gases can do several hundred times the global warming damage as the same mass of CO2.

Happy New Year, everyone! Thank you for reading Envirostats! [Envirostats author]

During the harvest period from April to November, a layer of ash covers cars, and NOx levels double in the main sugarcane-growing state of São Paulo, says study leader Arnaldo Cardoso of São Paulo State University.

The equivalent of 35% of the nitrogen applied to cane as fertilizer goes up in smoke, Cardoso says. Some of this comes back down and recycles nitrogen into soil to fertilize plants, but much of it does not. “This may generate impacts such as acid rain, ozone, and changes in the quality of water in rivers and lakes,” Cardoso adds.

Cardoso notes, based on his group’s previous work, that “because this season is also dry, this usually increases the particles in the air.” The combination of particles and gaseous emissions can lead to harvest-time ozone levels in the agricultural regions that are “similar to [those in] a big city like São Paulo,” he adds. A recent study by a different research group tied sugarcane burning to higher hospital admissions for asthma.

This kind of research is useful, says Mark Delucchi of the University of California Davis, “because it is important to characterize all of the environmental impacts of the bioethanol life cycle in Brazil.” The country faces growing concerns about ethanol production, and the workers who harvest cane are believed to be the most vulnerable.

– Arnaldo Cardoso of São Paulo State University via Environmental Science & Technology, Dec 5 2007

– Abstract for original research article in Environmental Science & Technology, Oct 23 2007

Posted in Environment, Farming, Food, Global Warming, Life Cycle Analysis, South America, Statistics | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

2007 grain harvest was 2.3 billion tons or 350 kg per person (before use for reasons other than food), but cereal stocks are at 30 year lows due to not keeping up with population growth, livestock feed demands (27%) and biofuel demands (17%) that all helped US hard wheat prices increase 65%

Posted by envirostats on Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tons are suspected to be metric tonnes due to the kilograms used in other parts of the article despite the tons spelling.

World population of 6.6 billion was used to get some per capita statistics not mentioned in source article.

I don’t know what is a sufficient amount of grain per person, but the more important issue is properly distributing this resource. Despite less food being available per person than in 1986, far less if you factor in the biofuels demands because the world didn’t have that resource withdrawal to any significant extent in 1986, there is no big famine in the much more evident media these days than was in the 1980s when there seemed to have been a famine in Africa for most of the second half of the decade.

Despite growing harvests, several factors are actually decreasing the amount of grain available per person as food, which peaked at 376 kilograms in 1986:

  • Industrial livestock production requires large amounts of grain, particularly corn. Grain, in conjunction with soybeans, provides the primary source of livestock feed: in total, roughly one third (35 percent) of the world’s grain becomes feed.
  • Ethanol and other fuels now consume 17 percent of the world’s grain harvest. Worldwide, the amount of course grains (a group that includes corn, barley, sorghum, and other grains fed mainly to animals) converted to energy jumped 15 percent in 2007 to 255 million tons, although this is small compared with the 627 million tons devoted to livestock feed. The 255 million tons is course grains only, not all grains.
  • In recent decades, annual growth in grain production has at best matched each year’s population growth.

The low stocks and strong demand combined to push prices of all cereals to new highs in 2007. At harvest time, the U.S. corn export price was up about 70 percent from the previous year, while the U.S. hard wheat price averaged 65 percent more than a year earlier.

Other key trends in the Vital Signs Grain Update include:

  • At 784 million tons, the record 2007 corn harvest was buoyed by growing use of the grain to produce biofuels, which prompted farmers in the United States, Brazil, and Argentina to plant more land for corn. The U.S. alone is responsible for over 40 percent of the global corn harvest and half of world exports.
  • The global rice harvest was up slightly to 633 million tons, while wheat also increased modestly (by 2 percent) to 605 million tons.
  • Corn, wheat, and rice account for about 85 percent of the global grain harvest by weight, with sorghum, millet, barley, oats, and other less common grains rounding out the total.

Comments in italics by Envirostats author.

Worldwatch Institute, Dec 12 2007

Posted in Economics, Energy, Environment, Farming, Food, Statistics, United States, World | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »