Scientists believe lab-grown meat may be more harmful to the environment than farms

February 21, 2019 by  
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Scientists and environmentalists are always looking for ways to make meat consumption more environmentally friendly, but lab-grown meat may not be the solution. Scientists now say that synthetic meat might be more damaging to the environment than traditional cattle farms. Research has shown that cattle farms have played a role in global warming. In fact, scientists estimate that 25 percent of all greenhouse gases can be attributed to agriculture, with beef production leading the way in methane and nitrous oxide production. These alarming statistics have prompted scientists to look for viable alternatives in the meat market. Lab-grown meat has been a promising solution to the problem, though scientists warn that growing meat in a laboratory setting may be more harmful to the environment under certain circumstances. Related: Aleph Farms has created the first lab-grown steak The biggest difference between cattle beef and lab-grown beef is the type of emission that is produced. Cattle farms tend to produce a lot of methane, which contributes greatly to global warming. Manufacturing meat in a lab, meanwhile, releases carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, which is also bad for the environment. The catch is that methane breaks up in around 12 years while carbon dioxide can remain in the atmosphere for thousands of years. “Per tonne emitted, methane has a much larger warming impact than carbon dioxide. However, it only remains in the atmosphere for about 12 years, whereas carbon dioxide persists and accumulates for millennia,” Raymond Pierrehumbert, a professor at Oxford Martin School, explained. That said, growing meat in a lab can be better for the environment if the manufacturing process uses sustainable energy. This would help curb the overall carbon use without releasing the amount of methane of traditional cattle farms. While this would lessen greenhouse gas emissions, there are other factors to consider with lab-grown meat, including water pollution. Until more research is done on the long-term effects of lab-grown meat, scientists are ultimately unable to determine which method is better for the environment. Via BBC Image via Shutterstock

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Scientists believe lab-grown meat may be more harmful to the environment than farms

Fast food industry under pressure to decrease its global footprint stat

February 8, 2019 by  
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Fast food is one of the most popular conveniences of modern society, but it comes at a huge risk to the environment. Amid growing concerns of agriculture and water risks, a group of global investors are putting pressure on the fast food industry to come up with a sustainable model to lower their footprint on the environment. The investors, who manage a combined $6.5 trillion, issued letters to six of the largest fast food chains in the United States. The letters asked the companies to explain their plan to reduce risks associated with meat and dairy products by the spring of 2019. The companies targeted include McDonald’s, Burger King, Domino’s Pizza, Chipotle Mexican Grills, Yum! Brands (Pizza Hut and KFC) and Wendy’s Co. There are over 80 investors who signed on to the initiative, which is also backed by the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR). The ICCR has a long track record of talking with fast food chains about environmental issues, such as water hazards and deforestation. Related: Prosecco production is destroying soil in some Italian vineyards “Every day around 84 million adults consume fast food in the U.S. alone, but the inconvenient truth of convenience food is that the environmental impacts of the sector’s meat and dairy products have hit unsustainable levels,” said Jeremy Coller, the head of Coller Capital, in a statement. One of the biggest issues with fast food restaurants is their dependency on agriculture, specifically the beef industry . With fast food continuing to rise in popularity, the demand for more beef has reached unsustainable levels. Not to mention, the severe impact the dairy industry has on the environment. To help combat the situation, the new initiative hopes to work with companies to reduce water waste and deforestation, as well as improve conditions in animal agriculture all across the board. Working together, companies in the fast food industry can improve the environment and help cut down on greenhouse gas emissions . It is unclear how the fast food companies have reacted to the letter. If they choose not to act and better the environment, experts predict the agricultural industry — which includes dairy and meat production — will account for around 70 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions within the next 30 years. Via Ceres Image via Shutterstock

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Advancing beef sustainability is a full supply chain effort

October 24, 2018 by  
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This article is sponsored by National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the beef checkoff.

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Advancing beef sustainability is a full supply chain effort

These fish and meat options are the most environmentally costly

June 12, 2018 by  
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Farmed seafood, wild-caught fish , or livestock : which one is the most environmentally costly to produce? A University of Washington -led study probed that question by scrutinizing 148 life-cycle assessments for animal protein production. Lead author Ray Hilborn, School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences professor, said in a statement , “If you’re an environmentalist, what you eat makes a difference. We found there are obvious good choices, and really obvious bad choices.” (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = ‘https://connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v3.0’; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); The environmental costs of producing meat, seafood Which food type is more environmentally costly to produce — livestock, farmed seafood, or wild-caught fish? New research from the University of Washington takes a comprehensive look at the environmental impacts of different types of animal protein production. Read more: http://www.washington.edu/news/2018/06/11/choice-matters-the-environmental-costs-of-producing-meat-seafood/ Posted by University of Washington News on Monday, June 11, 2018 Scientists drew on four metrics to compare environmental impacts of different animal proteins: greenhouse gas emissions , energy use, potential to add excess nutrients like fertilizer into the environment, and potential to emit substances that help cause  acid rain . They used 40 grams of protein — around the size of an average burger patty — as their standard amount . Related: Vegan diets deliver more environmental benefits than sustainable dairy or meat Industrial beef production and farmed catfish were the most environmentally costly in general, according to the university. Farmed mollusks such as scallops, oysters, or mussels and small wild-caught fish were the least environmentally costly. The university said capture fish choices like pollock, the cod family, and hake also have relatively low impact, and farmed salmon performed well. But there were differences across animal proteins — for example, the researchers said livestock production consumed less power than most seafood aquaculture as continual water circulation uses up electricity. Farmed tilapia, shrimp, and catfish used the most energy. Beef and catfish aquaculture generated around 20 times more greenhouse gases than chicken , farmed salmon, farmed mollusks, and small capture fisheries. “When compared to other studies of vegetarian and vegan diets, a selective diet of aquaculture and wild capture fisheries has a lower environmental impact than either of the plant-based diets,” according to the university. The journal Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment published the study this week. Four University of Washington scientists and one scientist from company Avalerion Capital contributed. + University of Washington + Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment Images via

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New study suggests that plastic waste may be transformed into usable energy

June 12, 2018 by  
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A new study from the Earth Engineering Center (EEC|CCNY) at the Grove School of Engineering of the City College of New York suggests that plastic waste can effectively be converted into usable fuel and energy rather than being dumped in a landfill or polluting the ocean. Researchers found that the addition of non-recycled plastics (NRPs) to a chemical recycling process known as gasification results in the production of crude oil -based fuel. It also reduces pollution, both plastic and emissions, in contrast to traditional methods of disposing of plastic waste, such as incineration or dumping. Plastic is a product derived from crude oil and, as such, contains significant latent energy that can be harnessed using the right technology and technique. “This study demonstrates that because carbon- and hydrogen -rich plastics have high energy content, there is tremendous potential to use technologies like gasification to convert these materials into fuels, chemicals and other products,” study co-author Marco J. Castaldi told Phys.org . As concerns rise over plastic pollution, scientists are looking to reframe plastic as a resource rather than waste . “Plastics have an end-of-life use that will be turning waste into energy, which is something we all need and use,” study co-author Demetra Tsiamis told Phys.org. Related: UN releases first “state of plastics” report on World Environment Day Gasification uses air or steam to heat plastic waste. This results in the creation of industrial gas mixtures called synthesis gas, or syngas. This syngas can either be converted into diesel and petrol or burned directly to generate electricity . This process is preferable to incineration of plastic waste because it allows for the storage of potentially usable energy that otherwise would be wasted through incineration. Gasification is also better for air quality, producing much lower levels of sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions. + Earth Engineering Center Via Phys.org Images via Depositphotos (1, 2)

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20% of US population produces 46% of food-based emissions

March 22, 2018 by  
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A monumental new study demonstrates that one-fifth of the American population is responsible for nearly half of all food-based emissions. Popsci reports that people who eat a lot of animal protein, especially beef, account for a larger share of greenhouse gas emissions — although, author Sara Chodosh also illustrates the extreme complexity behind the study’s potentially groundbreaking conclusions. Read on for a closer look. Published in Environmental Research Letters specifically sought to understand how diet and associated emissions varies among the American population. Martin Heller, an engineer at the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Systems and study contributor, told Popsci it was surprising to realize just how varied they are. “I don’t think any of us really had a strong sense of how distributed the greenhouse gas emissions would be,” he says. “That was perhaps the most striking result.” Getting to the meat of the matter (sorry, I couldn’t resist) involved consulting several different databases and picking apart the life-cycle analysis of every morsel. Chodosh writes : “The NHANES survey results can tell you what a broad spectrum of American plates look like on any given day, but tells you nothing about the environmental impact of those foods. To do that, you have to go to the Food Commodities Intake Database, run by the EPA, and figure out how much meat might be in that meat lasagna, or how many tomatoes are in a generic salad. From there, you have to link the quantities of each type of food to the emissions associated with producing it.” Related: Garlic may be the key to slashing methane emissions from cows When evaluating the emissions of a single tomato, it was necessary to know how much fertilizer was used in its production, and then how much fuel was used to transport that tomato. With poultry, the researchers had to also consider feed production, and when analyzing the greenhouse gas emissions associated with eating beef, they had to calculate the amount of methane released by cow burps. I urge you to head over to Popsci to read the full details , because this short synthesis doesn’t do their reporting justice, but here’s the bottom line that we found so interesting: What next? Now that we know one-fifth of the American population is producing nearly half of food-based emissions — which in their turn are helping to melt glaciers and unleash devastating wildfires, not to mention the numerous adverse health hazards attributed to climate change — what do we do with that information? Heller tells Popsci, “Clearly we’ve not been very good at encouraging people to shift their diets for their own health. Relative to what our recommended healthy diet is, Americans do pretty poorly,” he says, “But I’ve started to try to think about it as the secondhand smoke of diet choice.” Fascinating. If you understood that your dietary choices directly hurt your neighbor, would you make a switch? + Environmental Research Letters Via Popsci Images via DepositPhotos 1 , 2

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‘World’s smallest computer’ could be manufactured for under 10 cents

March 22, 2018 by  
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Need a computer that’s smaller than a single grain of salt ? IBM has got you covered. Mashable reported the company unveiled what they’re calling the world’s smallest computer, that, according to IBM , “packs several hundred thousand transistors into a footprint barely visible to the human eye.” The world’s smallest computer is one-by-one millimeter in size, according to The Verge . IBM says it can have as many as one million transistors and will cost under 10 cents to create. Features include an LED communications unit and photo-detector, static random-access memory (SRAM), and an integrated photovoltaic cell. The photo above is actually a set of 64 motherboards, according to The Verge, each of which contain two of the world’s smallest computers. Below is a solo computer on salt to give you an idea of its small size: Related: IBM creates first-ever artificial neurons that behave like the real thing The miniscule computer is among the IBM Research team’s 5 in 5 technology predictions, which they “believe will fundamentally reshape business and society in the next five years,” according to a blog post from IBM Research head Arvind Krishna. Krishna called the computer a cryptographic anchor, or crypto-anchor — defined in an IBM video as “tamper-proof digital-fingerprints” to be embedded into products to ensure authenticity and detect counterfeit items. The company is showing off their 5 in 5 at the IBM Think 2018 conference. Mashable said testing of the first prototype is still underway, so there’s no word yet on when exactly the world’s smallest computer will be available, although Krishna said cryptographic anchors “will be embedded in everyday objects and devices” in around five years. + Changing the Way the World Works: IBM Research’s “5 in 5” + IBM 5 in 5: Crypto-anchors and blockchain Via Mashable and The Verge Images via IBM and IBM

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‘World’s smallest computer’ could be manufactured for under 10 cents

Amazing video shows 3 stranded cows rescued after New Zealand’s M7.8 quake

November 17, 2016 by  
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A magnitude 7.8 earthquake shook New Zealand early Monday near Canterbury, causing landslides that left thousands of residents stranded. Some of those residents are of the bovine variety, making them particularly vulnerable and uniquely in need of assistance. They received it Monday when rescuers successfully recovered three cows left stranded on a small plateau of land created by landslides on the coast north of Kaikoura. After the quake killed two people and caused thousands of destructive aftershocks, the bovine rescue offers hope to those still looking for missing loved ones. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Yoik3MmKgI Local reports say rescuing the stranded cows was not an easy task. Their owner reported that the rescue was delayed due to multiple aftershocks and the difficulty in reaching the cows’ location, due to soft soil. “We dug a track with a number of people; the soil was quite soft because it had all been tipped over and bumbled around, we managed to get a track in and bring them out,” the unnamed farmer told New Zealand’s Newshub . “They desperately needed water, cows don’t like living without water so that was the first requirement, and I think one or two had lost calves in the earthquake so they were a bit distressed.” Related: How seaweed-eating super cows will save the world The 7.8 earthquake hit near the small tourist town of Kaikoura just after midnight on Monday. The town, with a population of just 3,500 residents, is now isolated from the rest of the country due to as many as 100,000 landslides . Flooding and additional aftershocks continue to plague the area as rescue and recovery efforts are underway, despite dangerous conditions. In addition to the three cows rescued in the video above, the farmer reported that 14 other cows were also rescued after the earthquake. He said some livestock had been killed during the disaster, though the numbers were small. The stranded cows belong to a herd raised for beef, so the life-saving efforts of their rescuers will not ensure them a long and happy life, but instead return them to their original fate. Via CNN Images via Pexels and USGS

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Amazing video shows 3 stranded cows rescued after New Zealand’s M7.8 quake

The food we eat isn’t what we think it is, new book shows

August 3, 2016 by  
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Inaccurate food labeling is a rampant problem in America. That Kobe steak you ordered? Unless you’re at one of three U.S. restaurants to whom Japan sells the rare beef, it’s probably a cheaper cut. That white tuna sushi you crave? It could actually be escolar, otherwise known as “Ex-Lax fish.” Journalist Larry Olmsted shows just how prolifically the food industry lies in his new book released this month, Real Food/Fake Food: Why You Don’t Know What You’re Eating and What You Can Do about It . To research for Real Food/Fake Food , Olmsted traveled around the world, hitting up Alaska, Italy, and Japan (to name a few countries) in a quest for the truth about what we’re eating. He found items as common as honey, rice, and coffee as well as more exotic items like Kobe beef are often either cut with other ingredients or, in some cases, substituted with cheaper food items pretending to be the real thing. Related: Michael Moss Investigates How Junk Food Is Engineered to Be Addictive Let’s take the example of extra-virgin olive oil . Often other oils like soybean oil or peanut oil are added to olive oil, but they’re not listed under the ingredients. And if the bottle says “pure” on it, it’s probably not a good buy; that misleading label actually means the olive oil is the lowest grade it can be. The mislabeling issue doesn’t end with the food industry. According to Olmsted, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) knows about some of the mislabeling. He wrote, “They’re not clueless. They know…They say they don’t have the budget.” We can’t exactly swear off eating food, so Olmsted offered tips of what to look for in his book. In the case of olive oil, there are a few more trustworthy labels. The California Olive Oil Council’s “COOC – Certified Extra Virgin” label can be trusted, as can UNAPROL and EVA labels, said Olmsted. Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), and Alaska Seafood: Wild, Natural, Sustainable logos can help you find quality seafood. Olmsted wrote, “The good news is that there is plenty of healthful and delicious Real Food. You just have to know where to look.” + Real Food Fake Food Via the New York Post Images via PublicDomainPictures.net and Pixabay

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Closing the Carbon Cycle

March 3, 2016 by  
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Fossil fuel companies and the beef industry have the potential to slow climate change – if they collaborate, and realize the waste of oil is the manna of soil, argues filmmaker Peter Byck during a talk in Phoenix at GreenBiz 16.

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Closing the Carbon Cycle

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