It seems that anybody who’s concerned about the Earth we are leaving for our kids is now labeled a liberal fear monger who favors big government, higher taxes and economy crushing regulations.
The problem with writing about parenting is that it becomes all-encompassing. Having children changes your perspective about a lot of things, broadens it towards others, makes things important that might not have been before. Sometimes it opens your eyes to things that should have been important all along.
It’s not just funny stories, lessons learned, shared triumphs and disappointments, it’s everything. It’s our country, the world, this planet. Parenting and therefore writing about parenting is also about what we are doing to shape their future not only in the home or community but on a global level.
Today it’s about cow farts.
I’m not going to lecture you about climate change. Chances are you either already believe that it is a real thing and that the United States should stick with the other two hundred countries that signed the Paris Agreement to address it or you agree with the former guy that the scientists are wrong. Pope Francis thinks that “humanity is called to recognize the need for changes of lifestyle, production and consumption in order to combat this warming or at least the human cause” but Michigan Representative Tim Walberg is “confident that if there’s a real problem, God can take care of it.” Illinois Representative John Shimkus, who also serves on the very Congressional committee that deals with energy and its environmental concerns, believes that “The Earth will end only when God decides it’s time to be over. Man will not destroy this Earth.”
I’m not sure how even something like ensuring the survival of our species has become politicized, maybe because Al Gore is at the forefront of the awareness movement, but it seems that anybody who’s concerned about the Earth we are leaving for our kids is now labeled a liberal fear monger who favors big government, higher taxes and economy crushing regulations. Based on several talk radio hosts I’ve heard over the past week and the Facebook posts of my conservative friends the proof that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and the rest of these zany millennials are all nuts is that they keep talking so much about cow farts.
I don’t agree with everything that is included in the Green New Deal, but here’s the problem: it’s true.
For obvious reasons it’s difficult to measure but because of the way their four-chambered stomachs work cows release about 119 metric tons of methane into the air every year. It’s not nearly as much as the carbon dioxide we’re creating but because methane absorbs more of the sun’s energy it’s 50-70 times as damaging. The United Nations estimates that agriculture is responsible for 18% of total greenhouse gases. Five percent of that is burps and farts. There are 1.5 billion cows worldwide and it’s estimated that every two pounds of that beef does as much damage as driving 150 miles.
Some of the plans to combat this seem more reasonable than others. Adding certain seaweeds to the feed seems to dramatically reduce methane emissions. There are machines that can collect and combust the gas to produce energy and the Argentina National Institute of Agricultural Technology has developed a backpack that cows wear to basically bag the farts for future energy use.
The simplest solution, of course, would be to stop eating these meats but anybody that knows me isn’t going to believe I’m turning vegetarian anytime soon. I have made an effort to eat more chicken, fewer burgers and steaks, but can’t bring myself to cut them out completely. If somebody wants to add an extra tax to beef and use that money to develop alternative energy sources or build windmills I’ll gladly pay it.
If this makes me a hypocrite, I’ll own it. I try and do what I can to lower my footprint but know that there is a lot more I could be doing. It’s not great but it’s better than being ignorant. A little bit of research before you mock people can go a long way.
Previously Published on thirstydaddy.com