Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A Recipe For Starvation

Time magazine’s Bryan Walsh is at it again. In a lengthy essay in the Feb. 15 issue, Walsh suggests that “foodies”—apparently an alliance of vegans and small farm advocates—can re-energize the environmental movement.

Almost comically, Walsh argues that community-supported agriculture, farmers’ markets, green chefs and Michelle Obama’s White House garden are changing the way food is produced in this country. And this, he says, can solve the greenhouse gas problem and lead somehow to an environmental reawakening. (Of course, it also could lead to starvation for third-world populations.)

We guess no one has told Walsh that—because of their comparatively low emissions—modern, concentrated livestock feeding operations are actually part of the solution to greenhouse gases, not the problem. (According to the U.S. EPA, all of American agriculture contributes just 7.2 percent of the greenhouse gases, with livestock-related emissions making up 40 percent of that amount. And by the way, breathing produces a greenhouse gas.)

Walsh’s vision of small-scale, sustainable farming might feed the wealthy residents of New York City, where he lives and works, but not a growing world population. Modern farming techniques are the only way to produce the food we need in a safe, affordable and sustainable manner.

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