Banning Beef

Data for Progress co-founder Sean McElwee, whose liberal group has helped shape the Green New Deal, says he’d love to rein in the immense economic and cultural power of America’s “meatriarchy.” But his polling has found there’s literally nothing less popular than banning meat.

“It’s up there with giving VA benefits to ISIS,” McElwee says. “That’s the tension the left has to struggle with; Democrats eat meat, too. But even minor improvements could create massive gains for public health and the environment.”

The above was excerpted from an article in Politico. Read it here: Inside the Race to Build the Burger of the Future.

Later in the article...

The [beef] industry’s climate message is that it can be part of the solution—not only by increasing yields through more intensive production, but by storing more carbon in its pastures and cutting emissions from its operations. For example, one of Project Drawdown’s top 10 proposals for fixing the climate was “silvopasture,” planting more carbon-storing trees on grazing lands. Bill Gates recently touted the potential of “regenerative agriculture,” which uses cover crops and no-till farming to keep more carbon in the soil, to grow animal feed with fewer emissions. And some ranchers use climate-friendly “rotational grazing” to mimic the patterns of migratory buffalo herds; cattle are clustered in one area to devour the grass and fertilize the soil with their manure, then moved to another area so the grass can regrow. General Mills is encouraging its suppliers to embrace these practices; Jerry Lynch, the company’s chief sustainability officer, says one Georgia rancher who provides beef for its EPIC Meat Snacks is sequestering so much carbon his overall emissions are approaching zero.

Right now, there are huge tracts of grassland turning to desert because there are no grazing animals on those lands (grasslands without grazing animals become unhealthy). Meanwhile, in other places, huge tracts of land are used for growing soybeans and corn to feed cattle. Those lands turning to desert are releasing their CO2 into the atmosphere. It's tragic. The need for beef to eat and the need for returning those lands back into thriving ecosystems need to come together on a massive scale. This should be the central theme when discussing the ecological impact of eating beef.

Grasslands are the largest ecosystem on land. And 70 percent of it is desertifying. The issue is urgent.

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