Can eating meat save the planet? This is this weeks controversy. A man called Allan Savory thinks you can have your cake and eat it, or meat and and eat it. He has developed a theory of “holistic grazing”. Savory suggests that putting cattle onto marginal desert land so they intensively graze it makes the land surface broken up. This and the manure they produce encourages growth of grass which fixes carbon helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He also suggests this is because bare soil will otherwise grow algae. He also suggests that soil treated in such a way will hold more moisture.
It sounds great doesn’t it. Reducing my guilt over meat eating. There are a number of problems though. First I don’t live in the USA, but I really see algae growing on bare soil. Second, only part of the problem with eating meat is to with what the cattle eat, its the methane they produce and the energy required for feed/transport etc. Third, it seems surprising to me that putting cattle on marginal desert land does not do such land great damage. I would expect cattle and goats to strip everything and leave nothing to grow after they have moved on. Needless to say experts who have looked at his methods are not impressed. Can eating meat save the planet. Unfortunately it seems not. We need to reduce our meat and dairy consumption for energy and climate reasons. I will be returning to this subject soon from a different angle in the near future.
PS Sorry about any lack of posts, we have a problem with our broadband.