Monday, February 16, 2009

Herd-culling, the carbon hoofprint and the virtues of progressive impoverishment

The news the other day was that 75,000 dairy cows were culled recently to support milk prices as the markets for cheese and milk diminish. If we're killing cows to support dairy prices, we're also reducing bovine flatulence and thus GHG emissions. This is a trivial number, admittedly, compared with 50 million beef and dairy cows in the US, but it's a good start so maybe if this goes on for a bit we can tack diminished cud chewing next to decreased miles driven in the plus column for sustainability.

Similarly, a study in the Times showing that average calories in Joy of Cooking recipes were up ca 35% from 30s edition to today shows that our obesity problem is tied to societal wealth. Again, this indicates that we might be able to impoverish ourselves into some benefits down the road. But we'll probably have to lose a fair amount of aggregate income before people feel too poor to go to McDonalds, which has done well recently.

Certainly, we may hope to see an increased appreciation for and appreciation for food.

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