It was good to see The Weather Network holding the feet of the Canadian beef industry to the fire in a bid to reduce greenhouses gases and save the planet.
The Weather Network recently caught some heat from the Canadian Cattleman’s Association following a tweet from the Network that said:
“If you really want to help the planet, you could seriously consider limiting the amount of beef you eat.”
Beef producers can complain all they want but you can’t argue with the facts. I cooked a beef pot roast Sunday night and Monday it was about 26C in Calgary and Tuesday it was 30C-plus. Eating beef leads to global warming — at least my part of the globe. Tuesday night I had chicken and today, Wednesday, it is only 22C. What more evidence does a person need? Eating chicken cools the globe. I can only imagine the devastation to follow if I cut open a watermelon, and I’m concerned if I have a popsicle at some point, it could trigger an ice age.
WHAT ABOUT THE OTHER FACTS?
It is great on one hand to see the world, including The Weather Channel, paying more attention to reducing pollution and protecting the environment. The issue has largely been on the lip-service back burner for decades. There seems to be increasing interest and concern, with everyone talking about the environment, during the past 10 years and certainly in the past five. Recent years of weather extremes are really making the general public more aware of changing weather patterns and the possibility the climate may be changing.
No pollution being released into the atmosphere; clean rivers, and pristine lakes and oceans — wouldn’t that be a miraculous achievement? Will we ever get to zero emissions and pollution? Probably not in my lifetime.
The Weather Channel, or anyone can and should advocate for improved environmental standards and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, but their tweet appears to have zeroed in on one small cloud, while ignoring the massive hurricane churning offshore.
THERE ARE PROBLEMS AND THEN THERE ARE REAL PROBLEMS
It takes about five seconds on Google to find numerous pie charts and bar graphs, from trusted sources, that clearly paint the picture of the leading contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. I picked one chart found on the Climate Change Canada website. All of agriculture accounts for about eight per cent of emissions and I’m not really sure what sliver of that eight per cent could be attributed to the beef industry.
If environment advocates really want to make a difference to planet health, significant greenhouse gas emission reductions need to be made starting on the left side of that chart and working their way to the right. If The Weather Channel really wants to save the planet they should have urged readers never to drive their cars again, disconnect from the electrical grid, and never buy any manufactured consumer goods. That would be making progress.
Agriculture isn’t off the hook by any means. It needs to do its part in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing its environmental footprint, which it has done and continues to do.
Probably most critics and consumers won’t take the time, but if they really want to get the facts (or at least another perspective) they just need to spend some time reviewing the Beef Cattle Research Council website at: www.beefresearch.ca for some great information, backed by research, that explains the impact of the beef industry on the environment and the ongoing progress that’s being made to reduce that impact. Even anyone involved with agriculture should review that information, so the next time some foodie zealot or weather network expert makes a claim that agriculture or livestock production is destroying the planet they will have some facts to work with.
In my limited knowledge I believe there are weather patterns and weather cycles, and in the bigger picture the climate changes. It has done so over the past three or four billion years. If human activity is making things worse, then we need to stop that. Meaningful effort needs to be made by the most serious offenders who turn the sky and air hazy with pollution and cause rivers and oceans to be foul, before we start picking on pens full of steers chewing their cud.
Lee Hart is editor of Cattleman’s Corner based in Calgary. Contact him at 403-592-1964 or by email at [email protected]