It’s not enough for the media to try to brainwash the public the Earth is in peril due to global warming. Now they’re telling you what to eat.
This is something you might expect to hear at a PETA rally, but instead it was ABC’s May 13 “World News with Charles Gibson” telling you to curb your beef consumption to lower greenhouse gas emissions.
“You are staring into the face of one thing scientists say you can do to fight climate change,” ABC correspondent Dan Harris said as the face of a cow filled the screen. “Leave this cow alone and eat less beef. According to the United Nations, 18 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from sending beef and dairy products to your kitchen table.”
The beef industry is a huge part of U.S. agriculture. According to Dan Otto and John D. Lawrence, two professors at Iowa State University, the beef industry represents $188.4 billion of direct and indirect economic activity throughout the U.S. economy. However, Harris rationalized that all this economic activity is a threat to the environment.
“Here’s why – cows are fed corn and soy, which are grown using fertilizers made from fossil fuels,” Harris said. “The food then has to be transported to the cows, which requires loads of fuel. And those cows, um, pass a lot of gas, which may sound funny, but the methane they release is 23 times more harmful than carbon dioxide. And, then there’s even more fossil fuel burned while slaughtering the cows, which involves heavy machinery and getting the food to the supermarket and then to you.”
Harris didn’t include the perspective of anyone in the beef industry or even someone who liked cheeseburgers. Instead, he interviewed Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food,” who was not there to defend the industry.
“It’s a very high-energy process,” Pollan said. “The basic problem is we have turned the modern dairy and beef cow into a fossil fuel guzzler.”
Pollan has been on somewhat of a crusade against beef consumption and now is using global warming as a reason to cut back. The opening line of his book, “In Defense of Food,” tells readers: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”
“I don’t know about you, but for me the most upsetting moment in ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ came long after Al Gore scared the hell out of me, constructing an utterly convincing case that the very survival of life on earth as we know it is threatened by climate change.”
ABC’s Harris also made some frightening, one-sided declarations of his own about global warming: “This is such an enormous problem that it’s going to require that governments all over the world attack it.”
Making individual changes wouldn’t be enough, then, but would still be necessary, he said: “In fact, this problem is so big, we may all have to make many real changes.”
Harris told viewers they didn’t have to give up all their beef consumption, just some of it.
“You don’t have to give up your cheeseburgers, but if we all reduced our meat consumption by just 20 percent, it would be as if we all switched from regular cars to hybrids. It would also be good for our health,” Harris added.
But it’s hard to imagine the job losses and the subsequent economic impact throughout the country if Americans cut back their beef consumption by as much as 20 percent. According to Otto and Lawrence, jobs related to the beef industry are a huge part of the American work force.
“Direct and indirect employment in or related to the production and processing of beef supports over 1.4 million full-time-equivalent jobs in the U.S. as well,” Otto and Lawrence wrote in a paper posted on the National Cattlemen’s Association’s Web site. “Cattle are produced in all 50 states and their economic impact contributes to nearly every county in the nation and they are a significant economic driver in rural communities.”