‘New science’ questioned following presentation

I recently attended the “Food Security In The Climate Change Era” presentation. Climate change is the pre-eminent issue of our time. In Hawaii, we are particularly vulnerable because most of our food comes to us by boat. With any climate-related disaster where the boats can’t reach us we have only a few days food supply.

I was, however, disappointed by the featured speaker, who proposes to mitigate the effects of climate change with more cattle. Raising animals for food, even organic, grass-fed or free-range, is an assault on the Earth and an inefficient use of resources. Thirteen years ago the Food & Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concluded that animal agriculture contributes more greenhouse gases then all cars, trains, planes and ship combined. Livestock generates 65 percent of human-related nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the global warming potential of CO2 and 64 percent of ammonia, which contributes significantly to acid rain.

After the presentation, a friend of mine and I went up to talk with the speaker about his science. He said the information I have has been replaced with “new science” (alternative facts), and that now grass-fed beef is healthy for humans. Actually, alternative as well as conventional sources of meat are virtually identical in saturated fat and cholesterol content, which are the leading culprits in heart disease and most other causes of premature death.

Stephen Beidner