Math time!

It’s been a while since we’ve done a little number crunching so let’s have a little fun.

When it comes to food choices we need octopus arms to count them and then some. In fact, I am convinced that two-third of all Americans secretly have 6 extra arms pasted against their chest which magically bust through their shirts at the all-you-can-eat buffet when the other third of Americans aren’t watching. How else would more than two-thirds (68.8 %) of adults be considered overweight or obese and then half of those actually be obese (35.7 % of all adults)? (see the data )

OK. Maybe Roger Moore didn’t really father a fleet of octopus that set their lofty sights on North America in 1983 which Robert Wagner mutated in 1997 along with a bunch of Sea Bass to attack and infect the American population with parasitic tentacles, but life did originate from the ocean and the ocean is still the key to life on Earth.

And what a bountiful life this has been…until now. Clearly, the abundance of choice that we have has acted in such a way as to confuse rather than to enlighten or we would be following the polka-dot path to sustainability without question. Or would we?

So let us examine our options.

According to a detailed study performed by Richard Oppenlander, the detrimental effect the munchies have on our planet are causing global depletion. Here’s a good 12 minute video that puts the power back in your mind for your fork to follow.

In 2012 according to USDA data as reported here, 3 billion farm-raised animals for which statistics are kept were slaughtered. The breakdown is as follows:

  • 10.505 million cattle
  • 2.8346 billion chickens
  • 8.258 million ducks
  • 37.235 million hogs
  • 0.727 million sheep and lambs
  • 78.823 million turkeys

Where are the 70 billion animals accounted for in Richard Oppenlander’s book then?

Well the USDA numbers do not include rabbits, goats, bison, quail, or whatever other meat you can find in the grocery store. They do not include numbers from other countries.They also do not include fish, shellfish, and mollusks. Billions more animals are slaughtered from our oceans. Sea creatures are animals too. The numbers are simply staggering.

If we look at consumption figures, the story is different because some animals slaughtered nationally are exported and other animals slaughtered internationally are imported, so these figures are in pounds per capita per year as opposed to individual counts. That kind of approach to our carnivore accountability is also more palatable because we don’t see the big picture— the whole animal as a fellow earthling.

Every single adult, child, and infant in the US consumes (figures for Canada are lower but still high):

15 pounds of seafood (reference here)
264.4 pounds of meat (reference here)

= 279.4 pounds per year or 11.85 ounces of animal flesh per day.

Now let’s get some real math going.

The full impact on the environment in the form of fossil fuel use, synthetic fertilizers, water, antibiotics, poisons like arsenic (yes, you heard me…how about some of that nice factory-farmed chicken…yum), poops and poofs, waste water that kills entire ocean ecosystems,… includes all forms of animal protein for food not just the flesh. We therefore must add those individuals pumping out the eggs and dairy that we feast on.

Every single adult, child, and infant in the US consumes (again figures for Canada are lower but still high):

558.36 pounds per year = 1.53 pounds per day of dairy (reference here)
247.7 eggs per year = 0.679 eggs per day (reference here)

So we have a total animal “protein” intake of approximately 2.3 pounds per day.

Whoa! 2.3 pounds of animal protein per day on average for every adult, child, and infant!

What are we? Surely sitting on our butts in front of a computer or a television does not required 2.3 pounds of ANY protein let alone animal protein per day. Even a professional athlete doesn’t need that much protein.

As a mother, I can safely say that a child does not eat 2.3 pounds of animal protein per day, which means that there are many people out there who eat MORE than that in animal protein alone.

But hang a sec. There’s more!

What would a good environmental infomercial be without the extra bonus at the end?

Let’s not forget the number of animals that are kept in breeding pens where they can’t even turn around and are artificially inseminated to live out an inhumane existence as “food” incubators.

Go grab a tissue and come back because this is the part your eyes must be able to see clearly…a solution.

Become a vegan or at the very least a once or twice a week LAND animal protein eater…one or two handfuls are enough. You can still get your meat and dairy fix so your brain doesn’t explode (although I suggest you get off dairy ASAP for health reasons. Ancient man likely did not snuggle up to lactating bison during a hunt to suckle a bit before spearing them. Just a hunch.) and then once you’ve developed that habit, are reaping the health benefits, and feel you want to take it to the next level, ride ’em cowgirl! (don’t eat ’em)

Why stick to land animals? That is the subject of a post later this week.

I would love to hear your ideas for solutions with high impact and quick turnarounds as well. Please comment away.