Sou-vin-ears – Wine and Listening

I have a pretty good range of books on wine acquired over a lifetime of study, but what you can get out of a book will never compare with what you can learn from listening to winemakers themselves. Most everything I’ve learned about wine has come from talking with winemakers and like pretty much all fields of study, the more you learn, the less you really know.

The subject is vast and continues to evolve as we move back and forth between tried and true traditions, new innovations in viticulture and wine-making and the newest scientific gadget, which tend to be either a real boon or a complete delusion.

But what is always reassuring to me is when the winemakers themselves listen. And to what are they listening? To the unmistakeable clarion voices of the vines themselves. It is those who listen to nature and follow its paradigm who unfailingly make the best wines. It is those who are able to remain open to what is happening around them, to observe and learn from their vines who are the best at giving voice to their wines.

In an earlier post I spoke about wine and humility, pointing out that winemakers who work biodynamically (which would also include many working naturally and organically) show extraordinary humility in the face of nature’s mysteries, whereas conventional farmers tend to think that with the technology they posses, they know it all. This humility among those working with as opposed to against nature engenders openness and a willingness to learn. A willingness to listen.

“Son, you’ll do all right in this world if you just remember that when you talk you are only repeating what you already know—but if you listen you may learn something.” (J. P. McEvoy)

 

La Robe et le Palais (on a Wednesday night)

Whine on

Unfortunate conjuncture (great French term usually referring to economic conditions, but which I intend to use here in the same way we think of stars aligning) with La Robe et le Palais this evening having chosen, deliberately, because it was a dear friend’s birthday, and randomly because Wednesday the sommelier just ain’t about, to dine there. As an opening gambit, when I requested the wine list, the waiter said “just tell me what you like and we’ll find the wine”, a line that I might accept were the person I was speaking with were God. Apparently there exists a clientele willing to surrender their pleasures to someone else’s taste. So when I said, “hang on a minute, you’re going to interpret what I’m about to say into the wine that I might possibly want?”, he suggested I speak with Ariane.

This was a step forward because at least Ariane was able to speak somewhat knowingly about what the non-existent list might offer. (I should point out that all around us were trophies of great wines, the makers of which I’ve had the privilege of meeting and often visiting). Having requested a Burgundy, or ‘un vin d’Italie’ (our birthday babe being Italian and asking if perchance they had a Bellotti Rosso made by my friend Stefano Bellotti, which more or less went unheard) and only offered a Cote Chalonaise, we moved on to the Loire and touched ground with a robust Anjou that was exactly not right for a sipping, not eating opening, though would have been perfect with roasted root vegetables, a richly dense cheese topped potato purée or a thick pea soup…delicious, but much better adapted to being served with food.

So I returned to address the question of a second wine, again inviting some reflection upon the idea of a ‘light’ wine (as fish seemed to be the general inclination, all the while staying with red), which lead us to a Lapalu Beaujolais. On this I did not hesitate, because life in a bottle is better than a bottled life. Great wine and indeed friendly enough to accompany the mirthsome gathering we were. Food by now was beginning to arrive, including a rather unassuming clam tartar served on a piece of slate that was too narrow to properly accommodate it. Our mirth being at a peak, and no longer really concerned about what treasures this respectable wine bar might have (and not willing to have someone read my mind whose own isn’t informed), I opted for another Beaujolais, as we were, after all, celebrating a birthday.

All was going swimmingly with conversation at its peak, everyone sharing amusing stories about their children and their very funny antics (if you’re the parent), when I decided it was time to visit the water closet.

Descending the stairs laden with box upon box of wine, I arrived at the bottom to see a wonderful range of shelf upon shelf of very special and interesting wines with several bottles of Stefano Bellotti’s Rosso staring me in the face.

No wine list, but a cellar that you can visit and choose from any of probably hundreds of wines that no one can actually tell you about.

Moral of the story: If you ever go to La Robe et le Palais and know anything about wine, or would at least like to know the range, take a pee first.

La Robe et le Palais, 13 Rue Lavandières Sainte Opportune, 75001 Paris

Tel: 01 45 08 07 41

 

 

‘Cowspiracy’ – The (disturbing) question of meat

We recently watched a documentary about meat’s impact on global warming with the not very compelling title of ‘Cowspiracy’ that details the deliberate silence of the most influential environmental agencies on the subject. And the fact that none of them seem to want to talk about this would indeed suggest that there is a ‘Cowspiracy’. They are all focussed on the role of fossil fuels in climate change and make no mention, or little, of meat production. But what we learn in this well researched documentary makes a very compelling and urgent argument for vegetarianism.

Vegetarians vs. carnivores (or omnivores)

Vegetarians have long been the brunt of bemused mockery from hard-core meat eaters. Their decisions to abstain from eating meat very often arise from health concerns, a sense of hypocrisy in not being able to kill animals themselves, which therefore makes it inappropriate to eat them, or stem from a profound respect for living creatures whose lives are every bit as valuable in their view as a human’s. A lot of right minded, considerate people in other words, who may just be the future.

The notion (apparently entirely false) that Hitler was a vegetarian is often cited to suggest that vegetarians are probably a little unbalanced. Vegetarians themselves will then counter with Gandhi, Einstein, Pythagoras and Da Vinci. Or Bob Marley, Natalie Portman, Paul McCartney and Mike Tyson. In fact, the list is long and regardless of background or profession, there are lots and lots of famous vegetarians, none of which really means anything in the long run as there are of course, just as many brilliant and celebrated omnivores.

To meat, or not to meat?

The industrialisation of meat has added fuel to the fire (and gas to the atmosphere) as the health risks, perceived and real, have been continually on the rise ever since the industry created mad cow disease. To the traditional complaints of heart disease, obesity and cancer are now added impotence and diabetes. Carnitene, a compound found in red meat, apparently causes atherosclerosis (the hardening or clogging of the arteries); transglutaminase or meat glue can cause food-poisoning as it binds together meats from different sources; E-Coli is often found in meat and because of the high iron content in meat which can collect in the brain, meat can also cause Alzheimers. Add to that the overuse of antibiotics and hormones leading to highly resistant bacteria and endocrine disruption and the picture becomes a gastric horror.

The biggest contributor to global warming, really?

But there’s more. Being aware of the health problems related to eating dead animals raised in an industrial environment that shows a singular lack of concern for either animal or human welfare might well be reason enough to become a vegetarian, but meat production also happens to be the single biggest contributor to global warming. And not by a little, but by a very wide margin. It is estimated in some studies that as much as 51% of the human induced greenhouse gases currently being emitted come from the meat industry, as opposed to only 13% from every conceivable form of transportation.

According to the studies cited in ‘Cowspiracy’ (links below) this is “due to clear-cutting rainforest for grazing, respiration and all the waste animals produce. This makes animal agriculture the number one source of human caused climate change. But not only that, raising animals for food consumes 1/3 of all the planet’s fresh water, occupies up to 45% of the Earth’s land, is responsible for up to 91% of Amazon destruction, is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones and habitat destruction. Yet the world’s largest environmental agencies don’t mention this anywhere.”

The film goes on to try to discover the reasons for this, but comes up short. No one does seem to want to talk about this and so once again, the onus is on the consumer ‘to be the change they want to see’.

This basically means that if we all stopped eating meat tomorrow, we could halt global warming entirely (not to mention world hunger). Never mind riding a bike, recycling, turning off lights and showering instead of taking a bath. All we have to do is boycott McDonalds and replace burgers with butternuts.

But I need my protein and it tastes so good

It is clear that the appetite for meat is profound and culturally rooted and that isn’t going to happen (or could it?). It is considered by many to be an essential and irreplaceable form of protein and part of a ‘balanced diet’. It is the focus of most western meals and increasingly of meals in developing countries. Meat is the honorary cornerstone of every momentous occasion, traditional holiday celebration, anniversary, banquet or feast and a symbol of wealth and standing. It is the champion of campfire cooking, barbecues and flaming grills, at the very heart of our relationship with fire. Its fats, proteins and amino acids induce near ecstatic states of rapture in some because of the release of dopamine. What, give up meat? Not bloody likely…

What about organic, grass-fed, small-scale farming?

Though the differences in sustainability first glance may be significant and one might think the quantities of wastes contributing to greenhouse gasses much less, were we to apply the urgent requirements of CO2 reduction to this sector, it too would not qualify as sustainable. It may be considerably better in terms of health, ethics and quality, but if you are still going to indulge (for feasting or flavouring), read on, as the figures are not so good.

“If you add up the numbers on land use and population…and use the Markegard model for raising animals which requires 4,500 acres (1,800 hectares) to produce 80,000 pounds of meat (36,285 kilos), the average American eats 209 pounds (95 kilos) of meat per year. If that was all grass-fed beef, only 382 people could be fed on that land. That equates to 11.7 acres per person times 314 million people in the USA, which equals 3.7 billion acres of grazing land. Unfortunately, there are only 1.9 billion acres in the United States. Currently, nearly half of all United States land is already devoted to animal agriculture. If we were to switch over to grass-fed beef, it would require clearing every square inch of the United States, up into Canada, all of Central America and well into South America, and this is just to feed the United States’ demand.”

“It takes 23 months for a grass-fed animal to come to slaughter, whereas it takes 13 months for a grain fed animal. That’s 8 months more of land use, feed, waste and in terms of a carbon footprint, it’s a huge difference. So due to land use, grass-fed beef is even more unsustainable than factory farming.”

Meat, meat and more meat

OK, so you’re hooked on meat and even those arguments aren’t enough. Food traditions are hard to relinquish and what would Christmas be without turkey, Easter without lamb, or a summer barbecue without the unmistakeable smell of charred flesh?

Fine, traditional feasting is one of the most meaningful of social interactions, but meat with every meal, every day? We didn’t always eat like this. Global consumption of meat has been on a steady rise for the past 30 years, making a lot of people think such excess is normal. Families used to eat meat once or twice a week or limit it to feasting and flavouring. Now people eat it every day and often at every meal. But as we all know, too much of a good thing becomes a bad thing and the prognoses are in. Obesity, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, hormone imbalance, E-Coli, Alzheimers and a host of other ailments are all ascribed to the over-consumption of meat.

And if your life depended on it?

But let’s put our own health, our concerns for our personal welfare aside a moment. This sustained, growing and profoundly rooted relationship to meat is part of a much bigger system of industrial globalisation that is leading to planetary destruction, eco-system collapse, and need we say it again, global warming. And it all begins with how we are taught to consume. In other words, we’re being encouraged in very overt ways to over-consume and meat is emblematic of that system.

Perhaps we’re personally reluctant to admit the health risks of consuming meat, or just don’t want to know. But knowing now as we do that by consuming meat we are destroying our own life-support system and killing not just our children’s futures, but every other species’ future on the planet as well, shouldn’t we stop? Our lives, all the species we depend upon, the entire balance of nature is threatened by the industrialisation of meat. This is serious. Shouldn’t we be made to stop? Economic forces and lobbies being what they are, the answer to that is obvious. But you, we, all of us can make a difference. It’s a question of will, and quite possibly, a matter of life and death.

So you want to make a difference?

What can I do to make a difference and does it really mean giving up meat? Here are some quotes taken directly from the film: “One quarter pound hamburger requires 660 gallons (2500 litres) of water to produce. Home water use represents 5%, whereas animal agriculture represents 55% of water use, because it takes upwards of 2500 gallons of water to produce 1 pound of beef”.

“To feed a person on an all vegan diet for a year requires just 1/6th of an acre (.06 of a hectare) of land. To feed that same person on a vegetarian diet that includes eggs and dairy requires 3 times as much land. To feed the average US citizen’s high consumption diet of meat, dairy and eggs requires 18 times as much land (2.88 acres or 1.08 hectares). This is because you can produce 37,000 pounds (16780 kilos) of vegetables on 1.5 acres, but only 375 pounds of meat (170 kilos) on that same plot of land.”

The comparison doesn’t end with land use:

“A vegan diet produces half as much CO2 as an American omnivore; uses 1/11th the amount of fossil fuels; 1/13th the amount of water and 1/18th the amount of land.”

“After adding this all up, (by not eating meat) you have the choice of saving over 1100 gallons of water (4160 litres), 45 pounds of grain (20 kilos), 30 square feet of forested land (2.8 square metres), the equivalent of 20 pounds of CO2 (9 kilos) and one animal’s life, every single day.”

So, what would happen if we all became vegan?

“If as a society, we did all go vegan, and we moved away from eating animal foods to a plant-based diet, well what would happen? If we didn’t kill all these cows to eat them, then we wouldn’t have to breed all these cows, because we’re breeding cows and chickens and pigs and fish; we’re breeding them over and over again relentlessly. So if we didn’t breed them, we wouldn’t have to feed them. If we didn’t have to feed them, we wouldn’t have to devote all this land to growing grains and legumes and so forth to feed them. So then the forests could come back, wildlife could come back, the oceans would come back, the rivers would run clean again, the air would come back and our health would return.”

This ideal world is not a dream. All we have to do is all stop eating meat.

“We can do it, but we have to choose to do it”.

COMPLETE LIST OF REFERENCES USED IN THE FILM

‘Cowspiracy’ – Full Documentary https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HE7E8H_V4No&feature=youtu.be

Livestock and their byproducts account for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, or 51% of all worldwide greenhouse gas emissions.

Goodland, R Anhang, J. “Livestock and Climate Change: What if the key actors in climate change were pigs, chickens and cows?”

WorldWatch, November/December 2009. Worldwatch Institute, Washington, DC, USA. Pp. 10–19.

http://www.worldwatch.org/node/6294

Methane is 25-100 times more destructive than CO2.

“Improved Attribution of Climate Forcing to Emissions.” Science Magazine.

http://www.sciencemag.org/content/326/5953/716.figures-only

Methane has a global warming power 86 times that of CO2.

NASA. “Methane: Its Role as a Greenhouse Gas.” Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/education/pdfs/podest_ghg.pdf

IPCC. “Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.” Working Group I.

Please note the following PDF is very large and may take a while to load:

http://www.climatechange2013.org/images/report/WG1AR5_ALL_FINAL.pdf

Livestock is responsible for 65% of all emissions of nitrous oxide – a greenhouse gas 296x more destructive than carbon dioxide and which stays in the atmosphere for 150 years.

“Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2006.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm

Fracking (hydraulic fracturing) water use ranges from 70-140 billion gallons annually.

“Draft Plan to Study the Potential Impacts of Hydraulic Fracturing on Drinking Water Resources.” EPA Office of Research and Development. United States Environmental Protection Agency, 2011.

http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/HFStudyPlanDraft_SAB_020711.pdf

Animal agriculture use ranges from 34-76 trillion gallons of water annually. [ii]

Pimentel, David, et al. “Water Resources: Agricultural And Environmental Issues.” BioScience 54, no. 10 (2004): 909-18.

http://bioscience.oxfordjournals.org/content/54/10/909.full

Barber, N.L., “Summary of estimated water use in the United States in 2005: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2009–3098.”

http://pubs.usgs.gov/fs/2009/3098/

Agriculture is responsible for 80-90% of US water consumption.

“USDA ERS – Irrigation & Water Use.” United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. 2013.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/farm-practices-management/irrigation-water-use/background.aspx

Growing feed crops for livestock consumes 56% of water in the US.

Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment.
Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.

http://www.cspinet.org/EatingGreen/pdf/arguments4.pdf

One hamburger requires 660 gallons of water to produce – the equivalent of 2 months’ worth of showers. [iii]

Catanese, Christina. “Virtual Water, Real Impacts.” Greenversations: Official Blog of the U.S. EPA. 2012.

http://blog.epa.gov/healthywaters/2012/03/virtual-water-real-impacts-world-water-day-2012/

“50 Ways to Save Your River.” Friends of the River.

http://www.friendsoftheriver.org/site/PageServer?pagename=50ways

2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef.

Robbins, John. “2,500 Gallons, All Wet?” EarthSave

http://www.earthsave.org/environment/water.htm

Meateater’s Guide to Climate Change & Health.” Environmental Working Group.

http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/interactive-graphic/water/

“Water Footprint Assessment.” University of Twente, the Netherlands.

http://www.waterfootprint.org

Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street, 2013. Print

477 gallons of water are required to produce 1 pound of eggs; 900 gallons of water are needed for cheese.

“Meateater’s Guide to Climate Change & Health.” Environmental Working Group.

http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/interactive-graphic/water/

1,000 gallons of water are required to produce 1 gallon of milk.

“Water trivia facts.” United States Environmental Protection Agency.

http://water.epa.gov/learn/kids/drinkingwater/water_trivia_facts.cfm#_edn11

5% of water consumed in the US is by private homes.
55% of water consumed in the US is for animal agriculture.

Jacobson, Michael F. “More and Cleaner Water.” In Six Arguments for a Greener Diet: How a More Plant-based Diet Could save Your Health and the Environment. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2006.

http://www.cspinet.org/EatingGreen/pdf/arguments4.pdf

Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

The meat and dairy industries combined use nearly 1/3 (29%) of all the fresh water in the world today.

“Freshwater Abuse and Loss: Where Is It All Going?” Forks Over Knives.

http://www.forksoverknives.com/freshwater-abuse-and-loss-where-is-it-all-go

Livestock covers 45% of the earth’s total land.

Thornton, Phillip, Mario Herrero, and Polly Ericksen. “Livestock and Climate Change.” Livestock Exchange, no. 3 (2011).

https://cgspace.cgiar.org/bitstream/handle/10568/10601/IssueBrief3.pdf

Animal agriculture is the leading cause of species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution [iv], and habitat destruction.

Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. . Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

“What’s the Problem?” United States Environmental Protection Agency.

http://www.epa.gov/region9/animalwaste/problem.html

“Livestock’s Long Shadow: Environmental Issues and Options.” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. 2006.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/010/a0701e/a0701e00.htm

“Fire Up the Grill for a Mouthwatering Red, White, and Green July 4th.” Worldwatch Institute.

http://www.worldwatch.org/fire-grill-mouthwatering-red-white-and-green-july-4th

Oppenlander, Richard A. “Biodiversity and Food Choice: A Clarification.” Comfortably Unaware. 2012

http://comfortablyunaware.com/blog/biodiversity-and-food-choice-a-clarification/

“Risk Assessment Evaluation for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Office of Research and Development. 2004.

http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPURL.cgi?Dockey=901V0100.txt

Every minute, 7 million pounds of excrement are produced by animals raised for food in the US. This doesn’t include the animals raised outside of USDA jurisdiction or in backyards, or the billions of fish raised in aquaculture settings in the US. [v]

“What’s the Problem?” United States Environmental Protection Agency.

http://www.epa.gov/region9/animalwaste/problem.html

“How To Manage Manure.” Healthy Landscapes.

http://www.uri.edu/ce/healthylandscapes/livestock/how_manure_overall.htm

335 million tons of “dry matter” is produced annually by livestock in the US.

“FY-2005 Annual Report Manure and Byproduct Utilization National Program 206.”
USDA Agricultural Research Service. 2008.

http://www.ars.usda.gov/research/programs/programs.htm?np_code=206&docid=13337

A farm with 2,500 dairy cows produces the same amount of waste as a city of 411,000 people. [vi]

“Risk Assessment Evaluation for Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency – Office of Research and Development. 2004.

http://nepis.epa.gov/Exe/ZyPURL.cgi?Dockey=901V0100.txt

3/4 of the world’s fisheries are exploited.

“Overfishing: A Threat to Marine Biodiversity.” UN News Center.

http://www.un.org/events/tenstories/06/story.asp?storyid=800

“General Situation of World Fish Stocks.” United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

http://www.fao.org/newsroom/common/ecg/1000505/en/stocks.pdf

90 million tons of fish are pulled from our oceans each year. [vii]

“World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture.” UNITED NATIONS FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO). 2012.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e01.pdf

For every 1 pound of fish caught, an average of 5 pounds of unintended marine species are caught and discarded as by-kill. [viii]

“Discards and Bycatch in Shrimp Trawl Fisheries.”
UNITED NATIONS FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO).

http://www.fao.org/docrep/W6602E/w6602E09.htm

As many as 40% (63 billion pounds) of fish caught globally every year are discarded.

Goldenberg, Suzanne. “America’s Nine Most Wasteful Fisheries Named.” The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/20/americas-nine-most-wasteful-fisheries-named

Scientists estimate as many as 650,000 whales, dolphins and seals are killed every year by fishing vessels.

Goldenberg, Suzanne. “America’s Nine Most Wasteful Fisheries Named.” The Guardian.

http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/mar/20/americas-nine-most-wasteful-fisheries-named

100 million tons of fish are caught annually.

Montaigne, fen. “Still waters: The global fish crisis.” National Geographic.

http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com/ocean/global-fish-crisis-article/

Fish catch peaks at 85 million tons.

“World Review of Fisheries and Aquaculture.” UNITED NATIONS FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION (FAO). 2012.

http://www.fao.org/docrep/016/i2727e/i2727e01.pdf

Animal agriculture is responsible for 91% of Amazon destruction.

Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. . Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

Margulis, Sergio. Causes of Deforestation of the Brazilian Rainforest. Washington: World Bank Publications, 2003.

https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/15060

1-2 acres of rainforest are cleared every second.

“Avoiding Unsustainable Rainforest Wood.” Rainforest Relief.

http://www.rainforestrelief.org/What_to_Avoid_and_Alternatives/Rainforest_Wood.html

Facts about the rainforest.

http://www.savetherainforest.org/savetherainforest_007.htm

Rainforest facts.

http://www.rain-tree.com/facts.htm

The leading causes of rainforest destruction are livestock and feedcrops.

“Livestock impacts on the environment.” Food and agriculture organization of the United Nations (fao). 2006.

http://www.fao.org/ag/magazine/0612sp1.htm

110 plant, animal and insect species are lost every day due to rainforest destruction.

“Rainforest statistics and facts.” Save the amazon.

http://www.savetheamazon.org/rainforeststats.htm

Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

26 million rainforest acres have been cleared for palm oil production. [ix]

“Indonesia: palm oil expansion unaffected by forest moratorium.” USDA Foreign Agricultural Service. 2013.

http://www.pecad.fas.usda.gov/highlights/2013/06/indonesia/

136 million rainforest acres cleared for animal agriculture.

“AMAZON DESTRUCTION.” MONGA BAY.

http://rainforests.mongabay.com/amazon/amazon_destruction.html

1,100 activists have been killed in Brazil in the past 20 years. [x]

Batty, David. “Brazilian faces retrial over murder of environmental activist nun in Amazon.” The Guardian. 2009.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2009/apr/08/brazilian-murder-dorothy-stang

Cows produce 150 billion gallons of methane per day. [xi]

Ross, Philip. “Cow farts have ‘larger greenhouse gas impact’ than previously thought; methane pushes climate change.” International Business Times. 2013.

http://www.ibtimes.com/cow-farts-have-larger-greenhouse-gas-impact-previously-thought-methane-pushes-climate-change-1487502

130 times more animal waste than human waste is produced in the US – 1.4 billion tons from the meat industry annually. 5 tons of animal waste is produced for every person. [xii]

Animal agriculture: waste management practices. United States General Accounting Office.

http://www.gao.gov/archive/1999/rc99205.pdf

2-5 acres of land are used per cow.

Oppenlander, Richard A. Food Choice and Sustainability: Why Buying Local, Eating Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. 

Minneapolis, MN: Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

The average American consumes 209 pounds of meat per year.

Haney, Shaun. “How much do we eat?” Real agriculture. 2012. (276 lbs)

How Much Meat Do We Eat?

“US meat, poultry production & consumption” American Meat Institute. 2009. (233.9 lbs)

http://www.meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/48781

Bernard, Neal. “Do we eat too much?” Huffington Post. (200 lbs)

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neal-barnard-md/american-diet-do-we-eat-too-much_b_805980.html

Nearly half of the contiguous US is devoted to animal agriculture. [xiii] 30% of the Earth’s entire land surface is used by the livestock sector.

Versterby, Marlow; Krupa, Kenneth. “Major uses of land in the United States.” Updated 2012. USDA Economic Research Service.

http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/sb-statistical-bulletin/sb-973.aspx#.VAoXcl7E8dt

“Rearing cattle produces more greenhouse gases than driving cars, UN report warns.”

UN News Centre, 2006.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?newsID=20772

1/3 of the planet is desertified, with livestock as the leading driver.

“UN launches international year of deserts and desertification.”

UN news centre, 2006.

http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=17076#.VAodM17E8ds

Oppenlander, Richard A. Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

World population in 1812: 1 billion; 1912: 1.5 billion; 2012: 7 billion.

“Human numbers through time.” Nova science programming.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/worldbalance/numb-nf.html

70 billion farmed animals are reared annually worldwide. More than 6 million animals are killed for food every hour.

A well-fed world. factory farms.

Factory Farms

Oppenlander, Richard A. Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

Throughout the world, humans drink 5.2 billion gallons of water and eat 21 billion pounds of food each day.

Based on rough averages of 0.75 gallons of water and 3 lbs of food per day.

Worldwide, cows drink 45 billion gallons of water and eat 135 billion pounds of food each day.

Based on rough average of 30 gallons of water and 90 lbs of feed per day.

Land required to feed 1 person for 1 year:
Vegan: 1/6th acre
Vegetarian: 3x as much as a vegan
Meat Eater: 18x as much as a vegan

“Our food our future.” Earthsave.

http://www.earthsave.org/pdf/ofof2006.pdf

1.5 acres can produce 37,000 pounds of plant-based food.
1.5 acres can produce 375 pounds of meat.

Oppenlander, Richard A. Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

A person who follows a vegan diet PRODUCES 50% less carbon dioxide, 1/11th oil, 1/13th water, and 1/18th land compared to a meat-eater for their food.

CO2: “Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK.” Climactic change, 2014.

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-014-1169-1/fulltext.html

Oil, water: “Sustainability of meat-based and plant-based diets and the environment.”
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2003.

http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/78/3/660S.full

Land: “Our food our future.” Earthsave.

http://www.earthsave.org/pdf/ofof2006.pdf

Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life. [xiv]

“Water Footprint Assessment.” University of Twente, the Netherlands.

http://www.waterfootprint.org

Oppenlander, Richard A. Less Meat, and Taking Baby Steps Won’t Work. Minneapolis, MN : Langdon Street, 2013. Print.

“Measuring the daily destruction of the world’s rainforests.” Scientific American, 2009.

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/earth-talks-daily-destruction/

“Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK.” Climactic change, 2014.

http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs10584-014-1169-1/fulltext.html

“Meat eater’s guide to climate change and health.” The Environmental Working Group.

http://static.ewg.org/reports/2011/meateaters/pdf/methodology_ewg_meat_eaters_guide_to_health_and_climate_2011.pdf