Zorba the Hutt (zorbathut) wrote,
Zorba the Hutt

There's a rather popular pro-vegetarian meme that I've seen a few times recently. It goes something like this:

The Cost Of Beef
1 pound of beef uses:
* 24 square feet of rainforest
* 16 pounds of grain
* 2500 gallons of water

I find this seriously questionable.

For one thing, are they counting the water used to create that grain? (Who honestly believes they aren't?) Because if they are, they're doublecounting.

For another thing, what's with the rainforest statistic? It's not like we *have* to use rainforest. We could measure it in clubbed baby seals if we wanted, that doesn't mean every pound of beef involves several hundred trappers decimating the seal population. (I have no idea whether we do use rainforest or not - if we do, I rather doubt rainforest's sole use is creating beef, and therefore we should probably find a more fundamental solution.)

Another problem here is that it seems to be indicating these things are destroyed. I don't know about you, but I find it extremely unlikely that all that water is utterly consumed - for one thing, that would be about 20 tons of water used in 1 pound of beef, and there's some serious conservation of mass issues here. Sure, the water is no longer in drinkable state, but the *real* thing to measure would be how much it would cost in other resources (electricity, perhaps) to generate the water on-site, or generate it off-site and ship it.

Of course, it wouldn't look quite the same.

The Cost Of Beef
1 pound of beef uses:
* 94 square-foot-years of sunlight
* 2 grams of iron (lost due to friction in machines)
* 129 kilowatt/hours of electricity

Nope. Doesn't look the same at all. (Numbers are pulled out of a hat. If they're accurate I'm surprised.)

Which segues me nicely into the whole hydrogen-power rant, as well as a good True Costs rant, but I'll leave those for another day.
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