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Video on what would happen if the world went vegan (Sorry again to my frequent readers for all the proselytizing)
- “The environmental impacts of the food system are daunting. It’s responsible for about a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. It uses about 70% of all fresh water resources. And it occupies about 40% of the Earth’s land surface.”
- “If everyone went vegan by 2050, we estimated that the world’s greenhouse gas emissions could be reduced by 3/4.”
- “Over 80% of the world’s farmland is used for animal production, but it produces only 18% of the world’s calories.”
- “2/3 of all agriculture land is used as pastures (for grazing farm animals as opposed to crops).” (This is an amount of land equivalent to the size of Africa)
Key Concept: Feed conversion ratio
- Feed conversion ratio is a measurement of how efficiently an animal converts food into meat. Though meat itself is generally more energy dense than plant based foods, the creation of meat is a very energetically inefficient process. This is largely because much of the food that a farm animal consumes will be used to power its metabolism and for other miscellaneous physical processes. Only a small percentage of the input mass actually ends up becoming edible muscle.
- Some feed conversion ratios for the most common farm animals are listed below:
- Beef: 10 pounds of feed required to put on 1 pound of meat
- Pig: 6 pounds of feed required to put on 1 pound of meat
- Chicken: 3 to 4 pounds of feed required to put on 1 pound of meat
- I’ve really been enjoying many of the other videos on The Economist’s YouTube channel. They are well made and very informative. And no, they’re not paying me to say that.
- A nice visualization of how religious faith is distributed by country.
Global religious distributions:
- 32.8% of the world’s population is Christian
- 22.5% is Muslim
- 13.8% is Hindu
- 7.2% is Buddhist
- 11.8% is Atheist/Agnostic
- 11.8% is unidentified
- 0.2% is Jewish
- “Today’s corn crop is mainly used for biofuels (roughly 40 percent of U.S. corn is used for ethanol) and as animal feed (roughly 36 percent of U.S. corn, plus distillers grains left over from ethanol production, is fed to cattle, pigs and chickens).”
- “The average Iowa cornfield has the potential to deliver more than 15 million calories per acre each year (enough to sustain 14 people per acre, with a 3,000 calorie-per-day diet, if we ate all of the corn ourselves), but with the current allocation of corn to ethanol and animal production, we end up with an estimated 3 million calories of food per acre per year, mainly as dairy and meat products, enough to sustain only three people per acre.”
- This article was published in 2013, but as far as I can tell, most of its stats and statements still hold true today.
One of my favorite guitarists: Tommy Emmanuel
Question I love: Are you hunting antelope or field mice?
This question is from a concept popularized by Newt Gingrich. Here it is in his words:
“A lion is fully capable of capturing, killing and eating a field mouse. But it turns out that the energy required to do so exceeds the caloric content of the mouse itself. So a lion that spent its day hunting and eating field mice would slowly starve to death. A lion can’t live on field mice. A lion needs an antelope. Antelope are big animals. They take more speed and strength to capture and kill, and once killed, they provide a feast for the lion and her pride. A lion can live a long and happy life on a diet of antelope. The distinction is important. Are you spending all your time and exhausting all your energy catching field mice? In short term it might give you a nice, rewarding feeling. But in the long run, you’re going to die. So ask yourself at the end of the day, “Did I spend today chasing mice or hunting antelope?”
- The internet is packed with field mice, and I am frequently guilty of hunting them.
- There are so many interesting videos and pieces of information, but if you only spend your time watching them and never actually building something that could be useful/valuable in the future, you’re probably not doing yourself much good.
- I try to ask myself the “antelope vs field mice” question before starting any significant project. I.e, is this project an antelope or a field mouse?
“I think it’s possible for ordinary people to choose to be extraordinary.”
– Elon Musk