Oceans of Opportunity

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Cowspiracy | a Review

NewLifeSquare2Just when you think the root of the climate change problem is finally recognized, you realize that we’ll be screaming til the cows come home. Fossil fuel consumption, yes, certainly a problem. But what about methane?

My weekly Netflix mind-melting activities caught the attention of the documentary film ‘Cowspiracy‘ which focusses on the apparently taboo subject of methane production from animal agriculture. Principally, cow farts.

While the story of just how destructive this animal agriculture byproduct may be is quite compelling, I haven’t yet cross checked any of the data presented. In my opinion, at the least, this source of methane needs to be investigated and become part of the climate change mitigation equation. What struck me as more problematic on the near term is the gross imbalance of supply and demand for animal agriculture products – namely red meat. I’d say it is reasonable to believe that a juicy hamburger will be reduced from American signature and staple to a special treat in just a few decades.

So, what will replace this American staple?

Out of sheer necessity, I think we will begin seeing more engineered meat alternatives, much like the recently promoted ‘bleeding burger’ invented by Stanford biochemist Patrick Brown. The key for more routine consumption as an alternative to red meat will require a balance of high production with maintaining a perception of quality better than fast food. The psychology of routine fast food consumption, here in the US anyway, seems to have arrived at a consensus that it’s all very bad for you…including the cardboard and soy patties called hamburgers. Change that, and keep people on the go in our fast paced lives with a burger that tastes great and isn’t contributing to sea level rise, and we might just be on to something meaningful at scale.

Such a strange world we live in…at the end of the day (or perhaps even to avoid the end of days), we have to scale back on this agriculture problem – both meat and plant crops. What if it all got wiped out from disease, parasites, natural disaster, and so on? In my opinion, we should all embrace some of the survival skills that are at our roots when humans decided it was a bright idea to raise food rather than hunt it. Planting a home garden, as simple as it sounds, can subsidize the grocery bill, but more importantly it instills a degree of self-confidence and discipline that we can all do it if we really want to – be it just in our backyards, or at a scale that can really turn the world around.