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News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green Releases Summary on Forthcoming Nature's Rights Paper 10/14/14

Brighter Green released a summary of a forthcoming nature's rights paper entitled Nature's Rights: Rivers, Trees, Whales, and Apes.

Jim Harkness Positively Reviews "What's For Dinner?" 10/6/14

Jim Harkness Senior Advisor on China at the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy positively reviews "What's For Dinner?" and interviews Executive Director Mia MacDonald.

Brighter Green Associate Interviewed by "Eating Animals" Director, Christopher Quinn 9/29/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou was interviewed by Eating Animals director Christopher Quinn. BG also provided Mr. Quinn Chinese contacts, including What's For Dinner? director Jian Yi, for the film.

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou interviewed by Our Hen House 7/23/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou was interviewed by Our Hen House on Brighter Green's What's For Dinner? and China screening tour in June and July 2014.

Brighter Green and Partner Global Forest Coalition Published in "Square Brackets" 7/1/14

Brighter Green and partner Global Forest Coalition published their article "Implementing Aichi Target 3 in the livestock sector" in "Square Brackets: CBD Newsletter for Civil Society".

Brighter Green Releases June 2014 Newsletter 6/27/14

Brighter Green releases its June 2014 newsletter highlighting achievements and events in the first part of 2014. You can view the newsletter here.

Brighter Green Launches "What's For Dinner?" China Screening Tour 6/15/14

Brighter Green launches the China tour of the short documentary film "What's For Dinner?". The film is screened in multiple cities through July 2014 and provinces including Beijing, Shanghai, and Zhejiang province. To learn more please click here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption 6/11/14

Brighter Green Associate Wanqing Zhou presented her paper, "The Triangle: Factory Farming in the U.S., China and Brazil" in Shanghai, China at the Global Research Forum on Production and Consumption.

BG Partner Global Forest Coalition Releases Paraguayan Case Study 5/22/14

Brighter Green partner Global Forest Coalition publishes Paraguayan case study on the environmental and social impacts of unsustainable livestock and soybean production.

Brighter Green and Global Forest Coalition New Report and Briefing Paper 5/22/14

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition announce the release of a new report and briefing paper on redirecting government support for unsustainable livestock production as the key to biodiversity conservation.

Brighter Green Appears in the Scientific American Magazine 5/20/14

The Scientific American article "China's Appetite for Meat Swells, Along with Climate Changing Pollution" references Brighter Green research as well as quotes Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Wanqing Zhou.

What's For Dinner? Page on Icarus Website 5/9/14

Brighter Green's short documentary film What's For Dinner? is now featured on Icarus Films' website, WFD's North American distributor. Visit the website for more information on screening or purchasing the film.

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Ethanol Contributes to Food Price Spikes - But So Does Meat

October 31, 2012 12:13pm
Typical corn based animal feed

Typical corn-based animal feed

The United States’ ethanol policy has been identified as a major contributor to the global spike in food prices in recent years, accounting for 20 to 40 percentof the price surges in 2008. The issue isn’t simply our food supply being used as fuel, instead it is the competition for arable crop land that is contributing to price spikes. Land that could be used to grow corn for animal feed is instead being used to grow corn biofuel.

However, in addition to crop land competition, a diet high in animal products also contributes to price spikes. Nearly all corn exported from the United States is in the form of animal feed, and competition for arable land results in a surge of feed export prices. Higher feed prices then lead farmers to seek alternative forms of feed such as wheat, sorghum, or food corn. This increase in demand then drives up local market staple prices, predominately in developing countries. In other words, animal feed is competing with the human food supply, causing the price of generally affordable grains and pulses to surge. In fact, this competition was responsible for the Mexico tortilla crisis of recent years in which tortilla prices rose by nearly 70 percent.

Global demand for animal feed has increased dramatically in recent years as more countries adopt western diets high in meat, dairy, and eggs. And with a projected increase in meat and dairy consumption of 73 and 58 percent respectively by 2050, the USDA projects the global demand for corn feed will continue to rise steadily in the coming decades.

Decreasing ethanol production will help increase food security for the burgeoning world population. But this is only one aspect of the solution. We must understand the inefficiency of our current food system in order to truly appreciate the problem. For example, it requires about sixteen pounds of feed to produce a single pound of beef, according to research by Diet for a Small Planet author and Brighter Green advisory board member Frances Moore Lappé. One solution to this problem is to modify global eating habits and stop the expansion of an inefficient western diet and western style industrial factory farms.

Decreasing animal product consumption will reduce the demand for corn feed and open crop land for production of high protein, healthy foods for direct human consumption. Not only wil this eliminate commodity spikes by reducing competition for animal feed production but additionally, harvest for direct human crops requires less arable land per caloric intake than do animal-derived foods and animal feed, thereby this will reduce the current crop land competition with biofuel.

Photo courtesy wattpublishing/Flickr