Today I heard that livestock “farmers” are upset because corn prices are rising, due to the demand for corn in making ethanol. Don’t get me wrong, I love America’s farmers — the ones who don’t “farm” animals. The methane produced by cows greatly contributes to global warming. If you really want to be green, don’t eat meat! Putting the cruelty to animals argument aside (I consider it to be important, but many others could care less what happens to the animals that are put on their table), and putting the artery clogging argument to the side as well, these animals are polluting our earth! Here is part of an article published by Noam Mohr for Earth Save:
Methane and Vegetarianism
By far the most important non-CO2 greenhouse gas is methane, and the number one source of methane worldwide is animal agriculture.
Methane is responsible for nearly as much global warming as all other non-CO2 greenhouse gases put together. Methane is 21 times more powerful a greenhouse gas than CO2. While atmospheric concentrations of CO2 have risen by about 31% since pre-industrial times, methane concentrations have more than doubled. Whereas human sources of CO2 amount to just 3% of natural emissions, human sources produce one and a half times as much methane as all natural sources. In fact, the effect of our methane emissions may be compounded as methane-induced warming in turn stimulates microbial decay of organic matter in wetlands—the primary natural source of methane.
With methane emissions causing nearly half of the planet’s human-induced warming, methane reduction must be a priority. Methane is produced by a number of sources, including coal mining and landfills—but the number one source worldwide is animal agriculture. Animal agriculture produces more than 100 million tons of methane a year. And this source is on the rise: global meat consumption has increased fivefold in the past fifty years, and shows little sign of abating. About 85% of this methane is produced in the digestive processes of livestock, and while a single cow releases a relatively small amount of methane, the collective effect on the environment of the hundreds of millions of livestock animals worldwide is enormous. An additional 15% of animal agricultural methane emissions are released from the massive “lagoons” used to store untreated farm animal waste, and already a target of environmentalists’ for their role as the number one source of water pollution in the U.S.
The conclusion is simple: arguably the best way to reduce global warming in our lifetimes is to reduce or eliminate our consumption of animal products. Simply by going vegetarian (or, strictly speaking, vegan), , , we can eliminate one of the major sources of emissions of methane, the greenhouse gas responsible for almost half of the global warming impacting the planet today.
Indeed, all the waste runs off into our crops. Experts believe this is how e coli outbreaks occur in vegetables (e coli is found in the intestines of livestock). While I feel sorry for farmers who are suffering from the higher prices of corn, I really wish they would find another line of work. However, as long as people want to eat animals, “farmers” will want to breed and raise them. Do something green (and good for your body too) stop eating meat!