What Has More Climate Potential: Sustainable Ranching or a Meatless Diet?

Posted by in Healthy Food Choices

(Essentially, I’m responding to a question from … What-has-more-climate-potential)

The answer is often in the question!  Animal husbandry is often blamed for all of planet earth’s woe’s these days.  But in my opinion, Large corporate “Grain” farms are the biggest culprit to world sustainability, and are the number one reason why we need so many health supplements, when it comes to healthier foods to eat.

Today in North America, Animal Husbandry has been reduced to a form of mechanical crop growing, and feedlots. This means that marginal land has no value whatsoever.  And the best land is being used for buildings for animal shelter, silos for feed storage, and manure handling mechanisms.  Annual crops such as corn and wheat, are grown for human AND animal Feedlot consumption.  Perennial crops are almost totally ignored. AND THERE LIES EARTH’S PROBLEMS!

And a note for vegetarians, if you eat a lot of “Annual” vegetables, in terms of earth’s sustainability, You Lose Too, because of soil erosion problems.  However there are ways, very highly recommended by Organic and Ecological farm organizations, involving “Catch Crops” which can be planted before winter, for the purpose of rooting in and creating fiber, so as to hold the soil during spring run-off conditions. So essentially be sure to buy organic/ecological.

By ploughing land each and every year, we lose the millions of tonnes of soil, and hence the sustainability of life of all forms.  And the Answer is in Perennial Crops and Trees!.  The Marginal land I mentioned above, is ideal for Grass Grazing of Ruminant Animals, like Cattle, Goats, Sheep, Giraffes, Yaks, Deer, Camels, Llamas, & Antelope on a rotation, and even a blend of types of animals, as some like cattle, “Rip” grass a few inches (or centimeters) off the ground, while others will “nibble” the short.  Also it’s extremely important that it be managed properly, and NEVER OVER-GRAZED.

I could go on in much more detail here, but essentially:

    • We should refuse to eat feedlot fed animals, which are fed a high percentage of grain.  Ruminants are by nature “Grazers” and therefore need leafy PERENNIAL grasses.  Corn is a grass and can be fed as such, but the land is still being turned over, and exposed to weather and other elements, resulting in soil erosion
    • Among perennials, not only (technically speaking!)  Grasses, but also “Leguminous” Crops like Clovers, Birdsfoot Trefoil, and Alfalfa (Luzerne), all of which absorb free Nitrogen from the air (air contains about 78% Nitrogen!) and fix it with the aid of some very neat little bacterium, into to soil.  This NEVER happens with corn, wheat, barley, etc!
    • Grow (or purchase) Perennials, such as Asparagus, Bunching Onions, Chicory, Garlic, Horse Radish, Kale, & Rhubarb (Checkout Good Housekeeping)

So after all this, essentially I’m saying Perennial Sources of Food Are Much More Sustainable, and will save the world in the long run.  So let’s get with it, and get ‘er done!

John