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sustainability

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Eating Grass-Fed Beef isn’t as Climate-Friendly as You May Think

Photo by Justin Sullivan for Getty Images

 

On the sustainability of beef…

Of the many terms attached to our burgers and steaks, “sustainable” and “grass-fed” often sit next to each other. But a new study finds that raising livestock on grassy pastures is far from sustainable and doesn’t have the climate benefits proponents have claimed.

“Can we eat our way out of the climate problem by eating more grass-fed beef?” Tara Garnett, of the Food Climate Research Network at Oxford University in the UK, and her colleagues asked. The answer, they found, is no.

Eating grass-fed beef doesn’t get climate-conscious carnivores off the hook.

Read on at Inside Climate News.

Why are Bill Gates and Richard Branson Investing in Meat That Costs $18,000 a Pound?

Photo by Memphis Meats

 

On a new kind of meat….

The world loves meat. So much so that demand for meat products is projected to grow by nearly 70 percent by 2050. But meat production places a significant strain on the planet’s resources. Research shows that today’s meat-producing efforts uses one-third of the Earth’s fresh water and land surface and generates nearly one-fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions.

But that’s not going to stop most of us from eating it because it’s too darn delicious. The founders behind San Francisco-based Memphis Meats know this, and they’re responding with what could be a disruptive change to the trillion-dollar meat production industry. Memphis Meats is making “clean meat.” It’s also delicious. But there’s one problem: It costs about $18,000 a pound.

Read on at The Washington Post.

Does ‘Sustainability’ Help The Environment Or Just Agriculture’s Public Image?

Via Dan Charles/NPR

 

On the impacts of Land O’Lakes’ SUSTAIN program…

Brent Deppe is taking me on a tour of the farm supply business, called Key Cooperative, that he helps to manage in Grinnell, Iowa. We step though the back door of one warehouse, and our view of the sky is blocked by a gigantic round storage tank, painted white.

“This is the liquid nitrogen tank,” Deppe explains. “It’s a million-and-a-half gallon tank.”

Nitrogen is the essential ingredient for growing corn and most other crops. Farmers around here spread it on their fields by the truckload.

“How much nitrogen goes out of here in a year?” I ask.

Deppe pauses, reluctant to share trade secrets. “Not enough,” he eventually says with a smile. “Because I’m in sales.”

For the environment, though, the answer is: Way too much.

Read on at The Salt.

This Giant Automated Cricket Farm is Designed to Make Bugs a Mainstream Source of Protein

Photo by Aspire

Could crickets be the next sushi?

Inside a new building in an industrial neighborhood near the airport in Austin, a robot is feeding millions of crickets, 24 hours a day. The facility–a 25,000-square-foot R&D center that opened this month for the startup Aspire–uses technology that the company plans to soon duplicate in a farm 10 times as large. It’s a scale that the startup thinks is necessary to begin to make cricket food mainstream in the United States.

Eating bugs–or at least products made from bugs–has been growing in popularity. For a few years, it’s been possible to buy cricket snacks such as protein bars made with cricket flour or cricket chips (like Chirps) at some grocery stores or online. But for insect food to fulfill its sustainable promise of supplying protein without the massive carbon and land footprint of beef, it will have to be much more widely available, and more affordable. Aspire believes its farms can make that possible.

Chirp on at Fast Company.

Beer is the Greenest Beverage

Photo source: Pixabay

 

On the sustainability of beer…

Henry David Thoreau once said that a glass of beer would “naturalize a man at once — which would make him see green, and, if he slept, dream that he heard the wind sough among the pines.”

That quote might as well be emblazoned on every IPA in America. Craft brewers across the country are finding innovative ways to guard the water, soil, air and climate on which their businesses depend.

Read on at Nexus Media.

Industrial Meat Production is Killing Our Seas. It’s Time to Change Our Diets

Photo by Patrick Semansky/AP

How eating meat impacts the environment…

Every spring, as the snows thaw, water rushes down the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, spreading life, then death into the Gulf of Mexico. The floodwaters are laden with fertilisers washed from fields and factory farms. As spring turns to summer, excessive nutrients first drive a huge bloom of living plankton, then cause death on a gargantuan scale as a dead zone blossoms across the seabed. Most years it grows swiftly to over 5,000 square miles of seabed, killing everything that cannot outrun it.

This year’s dead zone has engulfed 8,700 square miles, the biggest ever recorded.

A new report lands much of the blame for the dead zone at the door of modern industrial agriculture. America’s addiction to cheap meat, fed on corn and soy in vast indoor factories, comes at a high cost in human health problems and environmental destruction. None of these costs are paid for by the companies that produce the meat and feed, such as Tyson, Cargill and ADM.

Read on at The Guardian.

Pepsico, Unilever and Nestlé Accused of Complicity in Illegal Rainforest Destruction

Photo by Sutanta Aditya/Barcroft Images

 

Major food corporations are responsible for major deforestation….

Pepsico, Unilever and Nestlé have been accused of complicity in the destruction of Sumatra’s last tract of rainforest shared by elephants, orangutans, rhinos, and tigers together in one ecosystem.

Plantations built on deforested land have allegedly been used to supply palm oil to scores of household brands that also include McDonald’s, Mars, Kellogg’s and Procter & Gamble, according to a new report.

Read on at The Guardian.

Is Organic Always Better? It’s Not as Clear-Cut as You Might Think.

Via Shutterstock
Via Shutterstock

 

Do organic agriculture practices need to be improved?

It’s easy to think that buying organic food helps to support local communities and protect the environment from the heavy hand of big agriculture. But the reality is not so clear cut. A detailed new analysis finds that organic farming is not always more upstanding than its conventional counterpart.

One of trickiest challenges facing society is how to produce enough food for growing populations without wrecking the environment and local communities. A study published on March 10 in the journal Science Advances finds that organic agriculture is not the “holy grail” of sustainable agriculture that its image suggests.

Read on at Grist.

An (Edible) Solution to Extend Produce’s Shelf Life

Via The New York Times
Via The New York Times

Using leaves, stems, banana peels and other fresh plant materials left behind after fruits and vegetables are picked or processed, Apeel has developed a method for creating imperceptible, edible barriers that the company says can extend the life of produce like green beans and berries by as much as five times. Apeel can even deliver a day-of-the-week bunch of bananas, each ripening on a different day.

Read on at The New York Times.