By Darrick Johnson
- “Environmental Nutrition” researcher Helen Harwatt and her colleagues have determined that if we all stopped eating beef, and started eating beans instead, we could ‘almost’ meet our CO2 emissions goals, under the Paris accords.
Now, there is a lot of stupid here to unpack, so lets take things one at a time.
First, the Atlantic article notes that the study is rooted in “eco-anxiety” -a new pseudo condition, described as follows:
- … watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations.*
Let me humbly suggest that if this condition affects you, the problem is your belief system, not your diet, or your neighbors’ diets. In fact, you may already be following this dietary plan too well. One of things beef gives us, that plant based proteins, like beans cannot, is Vitamin B12. Here’s partial list of symptoms of B12 deficiency … does it remind you of any leftists, coping with the results of the last election?
- difficulty thinking and reasoning (cognitive difficulties), or memory loss
- paranoia or hallucinations
The study argues that too much of the worlds land is used for producing cattle feed and for cattle grazing. I grew up on a farm in northern Colorado, and my Dad still raises corn, largely for cattle feed, and occasionally, pinto beans. Now, here’s the rub. Not every acre that produces corn will grow pinto beans. The author conveniently omits if this seismic shift in American diets would be to soybeans (tofu), or pinto beans (Taco Bell), but lets assume pinto beans for now. Pinto beans are fragile … Too high a PH in the soil, they die. Untimely hailstorm? They die. Too wet? They die. Corn, by contrast, will grow in fields where we would never attempt pinto beans due to adverse soil and water conditions. Corn will endure more moisture variance, more pH variance, and even weather hailstorms (depending on the severity). Corn yields have exploded in the past 30 years, with extremely good fields capable of producing 300 bushels per acre of corn. Beans, by contrast could give you 50-60 bushels per acre, in optimal circumstances.
Next, lets take grazing lands. I’m really not sure what good it does to stop cattle from grazing. Cattle graze on some pretty rough terrain. (Follow this link to see what real ranches in Wyoming look like.) They are not going to transition into a rain forest, or a field of avocado trees, no matter how long you keep the cattle off, or what the demand for avocado toast is. What will happen, is that the grasses will grow unchecked, and become a fire hazard.
As President Eisenhower wisely said:
Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.
Harwatt and her merry band need to put their pencils down and get a little closer to a field. I’ll bet one of these farmers in flyover country would happily grill them up a nice steak to help with their eco-anxiety.