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Vegetarianism is not better for the environment

Last week, as the global Savory Hub Network gathered at Paicines Ranch, this article was printed in the San Mateo Journal. It states that:

“Climate change and global warming are usually associated with burning fossil fuels, but, according to the Guardian, “the global livestock industry produces more greenhouse gas emissions than all cars, planes, trains and ships combined.”

Every pound of meat produces over 33 pounds of carbon dioxide, whereas plants produce merely three. Many environmental restoration plans preach the reduction of transportation emissions and an end to deforestation, but fail to acknowledge that the main contributor to global warming is meat production.”

Regenerative agriculture is the solution

As suggested by my fellow Savory hubbers, I wrote a response to this article to the San Mateo County Journal. Here is my response:

Last week I was in the Bay Area for the Savory Institute‘s Artisans of the Grasslands Conference. My husband and I work to advance holistic management in Northern California and Nevada and serve the region with a holistic management learning site and demonstration ranch in Modoc County, California. While we celebrate diversity in the environment, lifestyles and cultures, as it is the foundation for health, we do not support the claim that vegetarianism is better for the environment, as stated by Karan Nevatia in his Student News column titled Another View of Vegetarianism published in the Oct. 3 -4, 2015 issue of the Weekend Journal.

Livestock play a vital role in a healthy ecosystem. Most vegetables are produced on industrial farms (organic or otherwise) that rely on machines, fertilizers and other agents that destroy precious top soil. It is important to grow top soil because it stores carbon otherwise emitted into the atmosphere. Properly managed livestock roaming over grasslands are far better for the environment than farmed fields where top soil is exposed, plowed and depleted. Most statistics quoted in the student’s column referred to conventionally produced livestock in confinement animal feeding operations.

Grasslands, because of their sheer size – 40% of Earth’s land surface – and their inherent ability to store more carbon in their soils than any other environment, are our best opportunity for carbon sequestration. For each 1% increase in soil organic matter achieved on the world’s 5 billion hectares of grasslands, 64 ppm of carbon dioxide would be removed from atmospheric circulation.

Proper management of grazers on the grasslands of the world is key to restoring healthy grassland soils. In one study we have seen a 400% increase in permanent soil carbon on land under Holistic Planned Grazing, relative to the neighboring land managed conventionally.

 

The solution is regenerative agriculture not vegetarianism, specifically. To understand regenerative agriculture, please watch this 3 minute and 56 second video by Kiss the Ground: http://thesoilstory.com/

Sallie Calhoun, Paicines Ranch, pasture cropping, holistic management

Sallie Calhoun explains how Paicines Ranch will convert farmland to pasture cropping using holistic management.

organic, industrial farming, Paicines Ranch, holistic management

Industrial farming by Earthbound Organic on Paicines Ranch. Even though this land is organic, the top soil is being depleted by conventional farming practices. The owners and managers at Paicnines will slowly change this according to their holistic context.