News Brief by Kip Hansen
From the NY Times’ seemingly unlimited stockpile of odd activist efforts on behalf of “The Climate” — we have a new entry that landed in my email box today [it could land in yours too if you subscribe to the newsletter, Climate Fwd:] —
By Jillian Mock
Jillian Mock writes a glowing report of how much land would be freed up and how many tons of reduced CO2 emissions would result if everyone just ate a bit less meat. She references a study from Scientific Reports section of Nature titled, in the modern way, “Environmentally Optimal, Nutritionally Sound, Protein and Energy Conserving Plant Based Alternatives to U.S. Meat”.
The cited study does not concern itself with partial replacement of meat in American diets, but only with total meat replacement (either replacing red meats or all meats). I could guess that the data about partial replacement of meat in diets comes from the date coincident (released 8 August 2019) IPCC Special Report “Climate Change and Land”.
The brief of the new studies meatless diet for Americans is this:
Diet composition, nutrient delivery, and share of resource use
In daily per capita mass, buckwheat, soy, pears, and kidney beans dominate the all meat replacement, while green pepper, soy, asparagus, and squash dominate the beef only replacement …… Because these lists partly reflect the list of plant items we use and the upper mass bounds we impose …, they are unlikely to be the globally optimal plant replacements to the two meat masses and types (that is, more nutritious or environmentally sound alternatives may exist using items not included here). They also take no note of tastes, cuisines or palates, and may thus prove suboptimally deployable.
Please raise your hands if you would be willing to give up all meat in your diet and predominately replace it with “buckwheat, soy, pears, and kidney beans”.
Thank you, hands down.
Now, hands up, those willing to replace only the beef eating predominately green pepper, soy, asparagus, and squash.
Thank you, hands down.
Now farmers only, please: Assuming that we could raise the buckwheat (replacing other grains already cultivated) and already may raise enough soy (if we quit feeding it to animals to make meat), hands up if you think we could shift to raise sufficient pears, green peppers, asparagus and kidney beans to replace the total protein requirement of all the humans in the United States? Hands up for “yes”.
Thank you, I notice there were no hands up.
There is a mostly critical article in Scientific American on the paper.
This is yet another popular science meme to push less- and no-meat diets — mostly by people that have had more-than-adequate diet choices all their lives. Speaking from personal experience among the poor in the Caribbean and South America, people who have been forced by poverty and circumstance to survive on diets lacking meat protein would not have raised their hands to the propositions above.
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Author’s Comment Policy:
My family and I ascribe to a diet that already calls for eating meat sparingly, thus meat is often a side-dish or added for flavor and texture to what is primarily a grain and vegetable based diet. Thus, this is not a personal issue for me.
The issue for me is yet another pie-in-the-sky, totally impossible to implement, bubble-headed plan to save the planet from climate change by imposing bizarre restrictions on the free-will choices of the people of this (and other) countries.
I wouldn’t object so much if the proposals made any type of pragmatic, real-world sense at all.
Let me know which proposals you raised your hand to.
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