I bet you'd notice 20,000 cars in central london
and you could charge the cows congestion charge too!
A scientific paper written with the aim of highlighting nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions has resulted in a crop of foolish headlines pointing out that the UK's waste of milk creates an environmental burden equivalent to having another 20,000 cars on the roads. To anyone with even a basic grasp on numbers - someone aware, let us …
You'd have far more effect if you banned wheat in all it's forms.
Here's a challenge for those who discount this (do not do this if you have coeliac disease or other gluten intolerance!):
For the next week ensure you eat 6 slices of bread/servings of pasta per day (replacing your normal carb not supplementing it).
Note how gassy and bloated you are and how much you stink.
Then for the following week cut out all wheat - eat fruit veg and meat, even beans and brussels if you like, hell even a vindaloo.
Note how much better it is without wheat.
(Note: I am a coeliac - diagnosed in late 30s, I noticed the difference in my ahem "output" on giving up wheat, more importantly so did the Missus).
Hey if you're going to eat any amount of phytates(such as gluten) it's going to have a negative effect on your gut regardless of any gluten intolerance.
The gas comes from the fermentable starches in the wheat.
beer because that contains nordein - the barley equivalent of gluten.
"...For the next week ensure you eat 6 slices of bread/servings of pasta per day (replacing your normal carb not supplementing it). Note how gassy and bloated you are and how much you stink..."
That's nothing! I happen to like figs and prunes. Every so often I have a binge on them, and you wouldn't want to live downwind of me for the next few days...
But I'm not going to change my eating habits because of this. More importantly, I'm not going to change my eating (or any other) habit because of global warming scares (which are complete lies) or health scares (which are mainly complete lies)....
Icon for obvious reasons...
Just to clarify - I used to work for a supplier of meat that went to the manufacturer of McDonalds burgers in the UK. We provided about 20% of their total intake of beef each year.
None of the meat supplied was mechanically recovered. It was all of two varieties; 75% VL and 85% VL (VL = Visually Lean). This mostly came from the forequarter (flank, neck and upper shin) and was usually in quite large pieces; very few were less than a kg in size. The meat was placed in large containers that were 1 cubic metre, and we shipped 12 - 18 of these, 3 - 4 times a week.
The meat concerned was a really high quality product; it all came from beef animals (no milk cows) that were less than 18 months old at time of slaughter. In all cases, we had access to their complete life history, feed regime, innoculations etc. and even had information of the sire and dam going back 3 generations.
(Of course, I have no way of knowing what they did after...)
"What Dr Reay and his colleagues are actually suggesting here is the old eco-activism line that people should become more vegetarian, as meat and dairy products are deemed to be more carbon-intensive than a hearty diet of veg".
It makes more sense to confront the problem of population growth directly, since it will only get worse every day we go on ignoring it. As for the vegetarians, they should perhaps take a look at John Nicholson's popular and thought-provoking book, "The Meat Fix: How a Lifetime of Healthy Eating Nearly Killed Me". http://tinyurl.com/8xve96z
Or read up on the scientific facts in Gary Taubes' magnificent "The Diet Delusion" (published in the USA as "Good Calories, Bad Calories"). http://tinyurl.com/7un7ey4
They are, and they aren't. The truth is, that as time passes we find better more efficient ways of doing things, and as standards of living increase worldwide, the rate of population increase will decline.
You say "Confront the problem of population growth directly". How? Mandatory contraception? One child policies? Forced sterilisation? Forced food and other resource rationing?
Malthus wasn't right, and I'm not convinced that his intellectual descendants are right either. If we produced food and consumed resources with the same efficiency as in Malthus times, he'd probably have been right, but we don't and he wasn't. That's progress, being able to do more with less.
A Start to Confronting the Problem of Population Growth might be:
NO child benefit after the second child is born.(Medical exemptions for multiple births of course)
That way it's like a tax on children. Those who can afford it will be able to choose weather to absorb the extra financial burden themselves, and those that would otherwise expect the state to pay for their large families will need to revise their thinking and way of life. Who knows, with smaller families, the less well off might find that one or two kids actually prosper a wee bit better that 4 or 5+
And NO state-funded fertility treatment either - it's natures own way of controlling birth rates don't yer know.
Of course this would open a debate as to weather couples who choose not to have children should be rewarded in some small way ?
The overall savings on the government purse might not be that large, but, for example, the reduction in class sizes is there to benefit all.
Just thinking about efficiency savings, austerity and living within our means etc.
There would be less milk wastage as well.
"No child benefit after second child - that way it's like a tax on children."
Errm, children are FUCKING expensive anyway, they do not need to be taxed. Couples who choose not to have children are rewarded not only 'in some way' but ENORMOUSLY due to - guess what - not having to pay for children (xkcd 946).
If you were correct in your cause and effect wealthier people would have more children than poorer people, and that isn't what happens. Making the poorest poorer will not stop them having more children. Looking after children properly, educating them properly and making them productive members of society is what we need to focus on.
Remember your 'reduction in class sizes', even if it were to happen, is a reduction in the number of people who will be able to pay for you - pension, healthcare etc - when you are older.
I don't want to have loads of disadvantaged, poorly educated, children running about the place paying (somehow) for my state pension and healthcare thanks very much. I want to be able to do that for myself thank you. I want all children to get better educational opportunities and to have those from disadvantaged backgrounds better able to get themselves out of said disadvantaged predicament. Education certainly is a very key factor in reducing world population rates - e.g. by dint of allowing female children an opportunity to rid themselves of cultural and religious straight jackets that otherwise see them repeating the birthing machine lifestyles that their mothers and grandmothers suffered.
It matters little if wealthier folk have more children or not. What matters is having a stable, sustainable population which can do more for ITSELF and not burden the state / tax payers. Who need the money to fund their private healthcare and private pensions etc.
You want to "pay for" your state pension and healthcare yourself - only because you haven't thought about what "paying for them" means.
It's not about the money you put aside now, it's about who's actually going to do the work. When you're in a nursing home and you fall out of bed in the middle of the night and press your alarm button, you can be as rich as you like but it won't help if there's *nobody to monitor the alarm*.
More mundanely, if you go down the pub to enjoy a nice game of dominoes with your fellow retirees, you'd probably like the pub to be able to sell you a pint of beer. That means somebody has to be still working, making and distributing beer.
That's why you're going to be dependent on the younger generation, no matter how much you "pay for" your own retirement.
Yes, there is a reduction in the number of people to pay for us when we're older. If you don't deal with it now by cutting population, you're just making a bigger problem for the future.
And I'm puzzled by the argument that we shouldn't cut child benefit because people have children regardless. Government taxes an awful lot of things to reduce consumption. Either fiscal penalties on behaviour work, or they don't. If they work, then cutting child benefit will reduce the number of children people have. If they don't, then we can scrap those 'sin taxes' as ineffective in altering behaviour.
Efficiency improvements don't eliminate the problem. They just delay the inevitable. Doing more with less is all very well, but agriculture will never become more than 100% efficient.
Can the planet support a larger population with anything like the living standards that people reasonably aspire to? Probably not, and since there is no advantage in finding out, why bother? Soil erosion is likely to increase with population and reduce the potential for food production. The availability of fresh water is another concern. In the end, over-population is a problem that solves itself, but it won't be pretty.
Steve Crook wrote :- "The truth is, that as time passes we find better more efficient ways of doing things, and as standards of living increase worldwide, the rate of population increase will decline."
That needs framing as a fine example of a pious hope. Having lots of kids is, in some cultures, enshrined as something to be proud of. Better standards of living would merely enable even more kids. Osama bin Laden's father did not have 56 (or whatever) kids because he was hard-up.
Finding (if we can) more efficient ways of doing things does not necessarily even keep up with the population increase.
For example, copper is running short. There is not enough to go round the population (esp as it is also dumped in landfill as time goes on), so as the population increases aluminium is increasingly used for electrical conductors. Aluminium has greater electrical resistance than copper - so less efficiency there.
You say "Confront the problem of population growth directly". How? Mandatory contraception? One child policies? Forced sterilisation?" As time goes on, such measures may be the only alternative to mass extinction.
you say - " That needs framing as a fine example of a pious hope. Having lots of kids is, in some cultures, enshrined as something to be proud of.
Finding (if we can) more efficient ways of doing things does not necessarily even keep up with the population increase. For example, copper is running short. There is not enough to go round the population (esp as it is also dumped in landfill as time goes on), so as the population increases aluminium is increasingly used for electrical conductors. Aluminium has greater electrical resistance than copper - so less efficiency there...."
Um. The drop in childbirth rate is so well documented as to hardly need further comment. Implying that it just won't happen is hardly a debating point.
And implying that we are running out of raw materials was completely disproven way back in the 1960s, with the famous Simon-Ehrlich wager. You know why aluminium is used for pylon cables - lower in weight for equivalent performance to copper, and much lower in cost.
All in all, you sound like a 1970s environmental activist trying to restart the 'Population Bomb' meme and make money out of the resultant panic. The world has moved on....
Well, bribing people to remain child-free would be a reasonable start.
If you wait long enough, people tend to die all by themselves. You just have to make that sure new ones aren't being born at the same rate as the old ones are dying, and the population decreases all by itself.
"As for the vegetarians..."
Unfortunately, whilst I frequently agree with Lewis on the environment, he does not apparently know what a vegetarian is. Vegans are the ones who don't drink milk. Vegetarians don't eat meat. Vegans are a stricter sub-set of vegetarians.
As to your link, statistically vegetarians are slimmer and healthier when you adjust for all other factors. Someone wrote a book saying his Irritable Bowel Syndrom cleared up when he stopped being vegetarian. Oddly enough, there are millions of vegetarians who don't have such conditions and whose health is fine. Science - I don't think your link is it...
"...statistically vegetarians are slimmer and healthier when you adjust for all other factors".
Er, says who? I notice a startling lack of evidence in your assertion. Although, logically, strict vegetarians are likely to be very thin because it's hard to get enough calories from such a diet. The lack of other nutrients will not make itself known so quickly.
"Science - I don't think your link is it..."
Actually, "The Diet Delusion" is exactly that. It is nothing more nor less than an objective survey of the scientific research done on the subject of nutrition and obesity since the early 19th century. Turns out that recently a lot of senior scientists have been telling us more or less the opposite of what their own research proved - not a very good recommendation for the scientific method, or rather a demonstration that wishful thinking and self-interest beat regard for truth hands down most of the time.
At least a part of the problem is caused by EuroMilk™.
Britain has a quota on how much milk it is permitted to produce. That quota is set artificially low in order to ensure that France, the Netherlands and other exporters of milk have a guaranteed market to export to. The UK is about 48% self-sufficient in milk, down from 100% in 1971.
Cows are not machines. It doesn't work like "insert nKg of fodder and o litres of water to produce %FIXED_VOLUME of milk". Some days, you get more milk, some days you get less. In the spring, you usually get more. In the winter, a little less.
If you routinely produce less mil;k than you have quota for, DEFRA will take your quota away. If you ever produce more milk than you have quota for, DEFRA will fine you for each extra litre. It is imperative that the British public continue to buy foreign milk, so you can see why they do this (?).
Thus, you keep enough cattle to maintain your quota in the winter. So that you don't lose it. In the spring, you throw milk away in order to avoid paying DEFRA's fines.
If you want to stop wasting milk, withdraw from the Common Agricultural Policy.
The CAP is a truly insane little treaty, with a great many examples of this kind of stupid waste.
It really does need to be completely abandoned, as although there probably are some good parts, they're lost in the mire.
It's what happens when you put a load of politicians together and tell them to solve the problem of food production - they invent a bureaucracy and give it the most complex rules they can come up with, forcing farmers to game the system in order to make a living.
Then as soon as they do that, the rules are changed to stop that particular way of gaming it, some farmers go bust and the rest have to find another way.
Exactly 100% more, excepting antibiotics which cannot be administered to cattle currently being milked in the UK.
However, if we consider US standards to be 100% and UK standard to be 0%, you'll find that Denmark, Germany and the Netherlands sit at around 35-40%.
Meaning you drink that stuff anyway.
Sorry about that.
You're not. You're making sure that your milk is bottled/packaged in the UK. It is illegal to advertize milk by producing nation, provided that nation is an EU member.
So unless you buy it from a farmer - and I think that's now also illegal - your milk is exactly the same as everyone else's.
"You're not. You're making sure that your milk is bottled/packaged in the UK. It is illegal to advertize milk by producing nation, provided that nation is an EU member."
So why does my bottle of "Duchy Originals from Waitrose" milk say "Produced by a small group of West Country farmers in Devon, Dorset and Somerset, chosen for their high standards of animal welfare"??
"Eating less meat and wasting less food can play a big part in helping to keep a lid on greenhouse gas emissions as the world's population increases," asserts Reay.
Here's the thing; for a very large proportion (about 40% to 50%) of the world's population, there is little choice - meat is just too expensive to eat and the people rely upon grains or pulses for their diet. Those same people won't throw ANY food away, because even if it is totally rotten, it will still be better than the alternative (which for the hard of thinking is starvation).
Those of us in the Western World have the option to buy whatever we want, at any time of year, as we have access to food at a reasonable cost through supermarkets that encourage us to buy large quantities, and obscene amounts of this then end up in landfill. I've said this before, but I am sometimes embarrassed at the amount of food produced that is wasted compared to what some people in the third world actually get to eat.
On one occasion when I was on holiday abroad in a third world country , I spent some time haggling with a shop keeper (spent quite a bit of money but really tied him down on price). Afterwards, he invited me to his house eat with his family; I couldn't refuse as this would have been an insult in that culture.
His wife was delightful, and his children were incredible; the food was really well prepared, but it was a basic salad with some rice, and the amount each had was reduced because I was their guest. Each plate had about two thirds the amount of a normal plateful full that I would have prepared. I felt awful as I was literally taking food out of the mouths of the children. (I went back the next day with some bags of sweets which I gave to the shop keeper as a thank you for the children).
I have no issue with people eating well; i just think that people in the west don't realise just how damn lucky we are. As the world's population increases, we may one day find that we are in a position where we simply cannot afford to buy meat.
I grew up in the period just after the war, and even if rationing had ended, there was still a culture of being careful about what you ate and especially what you threw away. Perhaps we should return to being a little more sensible about what we eat.
I would not feel too bad about partaking in that meal as the money you had spent with the father ensured the survival of the whole family.
Contrast that with the story my mother told me of growing up in rural Ireland in the 40s, in a large family. Everyone used to dread the priest turning up because he always did so for Sunday dinner and got the best of the food and usually seconds too. After he left, the children got to eat whatever was left.
"Everyone used to dread the priest turning up because he always did so for Sunday dinner and got the best of the food and usually seconds too. After he left, the children got to eat whatever was left."
A simple "feck off" would seem to be in order there.
I am intrigued as to why people felt obliged or chose to provide for the priest ahead of their families and not have the courage to say "no" and tell him how it is.
I can only guess it was some existential threat like excommunication, hell and damnation, or misplaced peer pressure (and threat of being outcast) from everyone who was equally in the same boat but decided if they had to it so did everyone else.
...I always think the same thing, civilisations come and go, so do species.
When it's our time, it's our time!.
All this wishful thinking about man being able to halt an ice age reminds me of King Canute trying to hold back the tide, pointless and above all arrogant.
Whereas it makes me think we just need to hurry up and get off this rock.
In ancient times we used caves as natural shelter because we couldn't build houses. Now we live in houses but use the atmosphere and magnetosphere of one convenient planet as a natural shelter because we can't build habitats off-world.
reminds me of King Canute trying to hold back the tide, pointless and above all arrogant.
Except that Canute most likely did it to prove a point (that he did not have the power to command the tides), and not out of arrogance or power-drunk madness. From the wiki page:
It is believed that, on this site, Cnut tried to command the tide of the river to prove to his courtiers that they were fools to think that he could command the waves.
Couple of years ago, euro-diary-producers were storming the barricades and in protest actions were spilling milk all over the place, demanding a "fair price" (i.e. a price increase) for a good that is subsidized, resulting in "social" prices (i.e. a price reduction) at the point to delivery and overproduction because there are too many producers, not to mention bad allocation of sparse resources like trucks, fuel, time and land.
And people are talking about MILK WASTAGE?
The same argument can be made for anything. "breathing makes more CO2!!!"
Sadly, it's not a helpful one. People need to look at being less wasteful in general. Then looking to cut out obvious waste (this helps a business etc monetarily as well).
Not that we do, or do not, have a reason to reduce CO2 emissions. But usually, if you are, you're also reduction your power bill.
As to other gas productions, anything to reduce things to a closed system is helpful.
Ummm, *respiration* creates CO2, breathing is merely the physical process of shifting gases into and out of the lungs.
To be fair to the (uni) guy meat is more energy expensive than veg - you're doing energy conversion and so it's inevitable. I'm not saying don't eat meat. Far from it. We're built to take advantage of both meat and veg (altho two of my friends disagree on the veg part). There's nothing wrong with reducing meat intake - it tends to be a dietary improvement for many ppl in the UK.
The milk argument is a bit of a joke tho - as has been covered already it's a CAP problem. plain and simple. It's the same with all farming issues to be honest. If you punish ppl for overproduction they're going to bin the excess.
The only realistic solution I can think of (and it's not necessarily legitimate) is to process the excess milk on-site (things like butter, cheese etc). You're not selling *milk*, so hopefully you'd avoid the DEFRA hammer.
"Just stop breathing for a moment, I am sure the respiration will continue as normal from there on. ;)"
1. You know when they do a lung transplant and the recipient doesn't die?
2. You know when someone ingests CN and they *do* die?
That's the difference. You can respire sans breathing. You can't do jack without respiring. It's an important distinction. If you're on bbc.co.uk you can probably get away with it. On a tech site like El Reg you can't really complain when the distinction is made :)
So the author here is basically saying 'its such a little amount, what's the point?'. What if every factory said that about their emissions? Or every country? What if every person said that about leaving a light bulb on?
Arguing that it is a tiny number and therefore doesn't matter is, to be honest, crass stupidity.
The average modern bulb tops out at 11w. Probably one of the most efficient items in your house. And light is somewhat necessary.
Devices on standby rarely take more than a couple of watts, yet they're portrayed as the spawn of the devil.
OTOH the TV - drawing 150-200w, is on for 12 hours a day, and is never mentioned.
Of course the people telling you how bad standby is and how evil lightbulbs are? TV advertising execs. The *last* people that would want you to turn the TV off.
I think I'd be a lot more receptive to environmental campaigners if their pamphlets advocated switching the TV off for a few hours in the evening and going down the pub.
They could even include helpful bullet points. By going to the pub you are reducing you carbon footprint by:
- Congregating in a moodily lit rooms, thus reducing the amount of electricity required for lighting.
- Staying in a reasonably close proximity to other people, sharing body heat and overall reducing the amount of energy used per person on heating.
- Vastly reducing the number of TV's required per person (if the boozer even has one at all).
- Consuming an energy rich liquid, thus reducing the need to farm less energy efficient foodstuffs.
Ah, the old "every little counts" theory.
Unfortunately, every little only counts if you concentrate that little in once place, so if everyone gave me a pound, then I would be fabulously wealthy. But at the end of the day, my fabulous wealth is still *nothing* compared to the world's economy.
localzuk said: "What if every factory said that about their emissions? Or every country? What if every person said that about leaving a light bulb on?" Well, it depends what you are measuring. I take it you are referring to CO2, in which case, probably nothing. Other, genuinely dangerous, pollutants might increase. Smog might return. Rooms would get slightly warmer. The utility bill payer would get proportionately poorer. Insects might be attracted to the lights. Burglars might be deterred.
How far do you want to go with this?
Actually, if your 12 feet underground, it might help sequence some of the carbon.
Don't worry though, if you look at it in what you eat, most carbon is in a closed system. You eat it, it goes back into the air, the plants soak it back up for you to eat again. It's the other bits like farming, transport etc that use the most fuel, cost and resources.
Coat, because mine would be the one with the goat for my own milk on tap. :P
Since human beings can't digest fossil fuels, every carbon atom in breath originally came from a plant or animal (which in turn got it from an animal or a plant); and every carbon atom in plants came from the atmosphere, by photosynthesis. Therefore, respiration is carbon-neutral: you are merely returning CO2 whence it originally came.
I can't follow the thread of the article enough to work out what percentage of milk is wasted. At a guess,a low one, as milk is probably turned to butter, cheese and yoghurt before it is thrown away.
Now, 25% of water is wasted on the way to consumers. I believe and hope that the figure for petroleum fuels is considerably lower, in the ppm range. Which one should I compare the percentage milk loss to?
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