Carbon Footprint: An issue for Food Industries?

How does global warming concern Food Industries? How negligible is the carbon footprint of food processing industries compared to Refining Industries, Metallurgy and transportation systems? Is the number even significant? These are few questions we have assumed and answered ourselves. It’s time to check out how our beliefs and thoughts stand right and sync with facts and statistics.

“Eat animals to be strong and healthy”, “Animals are complete protein”, “Eat more animals to stay fit and live long”, “God wants us to eat meat”, “What about B12?” These are the most common questions you are asked if you are vegetarian or a vegan. While on the other hand industrialising the production of animals is rising the population by folds. When human overpopulation of a fraction has become a matter of concern, the rate at which the animal production is rising is in multiples.

Environmental Aspect:

Methane warms the planet 86 times more as compared to CO2. When CO2 warms the atmosphere for a century, methane warms the atmosphere at much higher rate initially for a decade or two before it converts to CO2 and continues the warming process. It is hence said to be 23 times more harmful than CO2.

How is this related to Food Industry?

A cow usually releases 70-120kg of methane per year. This number is equivalent to 2300 kg of CO2 per annum (Nearly same number as burning 1000 litres of Petrol). World-wide, there are about 1.5 billion cows and bulls which number is constantly rising with the increasing demand. All ruminants on the world emit about two billion metric tons of CO2 equivalents per year.

A Japanese study showed that producing a kilogram of beef leads to the emission of greenhouse gases with a GWP equivalent to 36.4 kilograms of carbon dioxide (CO2). It also releases fertilising compounds equivalent to 340 grams of sulphur dioxide and 59 grams of phosphate, and consumes 169 megajoules of energy

1 kg of meat from
produces kg CO2 emission
 beef 34.6
 lamb 17.4
 pork 6.35
 chicken 4.57

Revised calculations of methane produced per head of cattle show that global livestock emissions in 2011 were 11% higher than estimates based on data from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC).

After energy production, livestock is the second highest producer of global warming gases i.e. 18% of total green house gases. US nearly kill 10 billion animals every year.

70 percent of agricultural land on Earth, 30 percent of earth’s land surface is directly or indirectly devoted to raising animals we eat. It is predicted to be double in next 40 years, or may be less if the rate of increase in animal consumption keep coming the way they are today.

Experts who are serious about disease reduction recommend that adults eat just over half a pound of meat per week, but our daily consumption is half a pound.

Can farm-raised “organic” salmon be organic when its feed has nothing to do with it’s natural diet, when they’re packed in pens swimming in their own filth, when they’re from a distant region, packed in styrofoam, and trucked to the destination miles away dumping large amount of carbon di oxide in atmosphere. This may be organic in “letter” but not in “spirit.”

Some countries have strong cultural or religious traditions that promote vegetarianism, such as in India, while in other countries secular ethical concerns dominate, including animal rights and environmental protection, along with health concerns.The lowest animal consuming population is in India, which is as high as 60 percent of its total population. No other country has nearly as much as 30 percent of vegeterian or vegan population also.

An average tree produces nearly 120 kg of Oxygen per year. Two trees can easily make up total oxygen for a family of four. The benefit is in the consumption of plant, not the ingredient of plant, but in the plant as whole. A single plant works as a source of food for years, where as an animal, for once.

A source for food, a solution for global warming.

3 thoughts on “Carbon Footprint: An issue for Food Industries?

  1. Pingback: Meet Meatless Meat, Beyond Meat – Nirzar Doshi

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