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News at Brighter Green

Brighter Green's film What's For Dinner? to be featured in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital 3/21/14

Brighter Green's short film What's For Dinner? was recently selected to appear in the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. It appeared on March 19th at 12PM in the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, along with a discussion partnering with the China Environment Forum.

Associate Sangamithra Iyer Publishes eBook 3/5/14

Brighter Green Associate Sangamithra Iyer publishes an eBook entitled The Lines We Draw distributed by Hen Press, the publishing arm of Our Hen House. The book explores the boundaries — physical, biological, and ethical — evolved out of a conversation with the late Dr. Alfred Prince, a hepatitis researcher, about the use of chimpanzees in medical research, and is expanded into a larger discussion about ethics.

Brighter Green Releases New Policy Paper on Industrialized Dairy in Asia 2/20/14

Brighter Green releases their newest policy paper Beyond the Pail: the Emergence of Industrialized Dairy Systems in Asia exploring the trend toward increased dairy consumption and production in Asia and argues that the growth of industrial systems results in severe consequences for the environment, public health, animal welfare, and rural economies. You may access the paper here.

Brighter Green Presents at the Ivy League Vegan Conference 2/7/14

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald and Associate Sangamithra Iyer present a session entitled "The Global Diet & Sustainability: Multi-country Perspectives" at the Ivy League Vegan Conference at Princeton University. The conference is in its third year and is dedicated to exploring veganism and bioethics.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Launches Chinese Website 1/1/14

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? launches Chinese website. This will increase awareness of the issues raised in What's For Dinner? and allow individuals in China to learn more about the film.

Brighter Green Documentary What's For Dinner? Signs Distribution Deal 12/20/13

Brighter Green documentary What's For Dinner? signs with Icarus Films, a well known
independent film distributor, to help ensure that What's For Dinner? is screened widely.

Brighter Green End-of-Year Newsletter 12/19/13

Take a look at our most recent Brighter Green newsletter where we announce some of our recent accomplishments as well as what we have planned for 2014. You can read the newsletter here.

Executive Director Mia MacDonald on Katerva Awards Panel 12/6/13

Brighter Green Executive Director Mia MacDonald participated on the Food Security Impact panel as a part of the Katerva Awards.

At COP 19, Global Landscapes Forum Calls for Change 11/27/13

COP 19's Global Landscapes Forum, where Brighter Green co-sponsored a side event, released a statement calling for a new approach to tackling climate change, food insecurity, and poverty saying that "fragmentation is our enemy". The statement calls for the need to "work together across landscapes".

Brighter Green Submits Policy Recommendations at Global Landscapes Forum 11/18/13

Brighter Green submits policy recommendations with Global Forest Coalition after the networking panel session "Land, landscapes, livestock, and farms". For more information please read about Brighter Green's involvement in COP 19 here.

Brighter Green in Outreach Magazine at COP 19 11/15/13

Brighter Green publishes an article entitled "Industrial animal agriculture: acknowledging industrial livestock production as a driver of forest loss" in Outreach, a multi-stakeholder magazine on climate change and sustainable development distributed at COP 19. The article is based on a project addressing livestock production as a driver of deforestation between Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition.

Brighter Green Cosponsors a Panel at the Global Landscapes Forum at COP 19 11/14/13

Brighter Green is cosponsoring a panel at the Global Landscapes Forum in Warsaw at COP 19. The forum, with exhibitions and panels, will focus on environmental change and development, linking farming, forestry, and other land uses. Geoffrey Evans from Humane Society International [HSI] will be speaking for Brighter Green, HSI, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals. The forum will take place from November 16-17, 2013 in Warsaw.

Brighter Green Produces Policy Document with Human Society International and the World Society for the Protection of Animals 11/11/13

Brighter Green, Humane Society International, and the World Society for the Protection of Animals, produced a policy document making a case for why the Conference of Parties (COP 19) should address animal agriculture and the global climate crisis. The document will be distributed at the UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 19) in Warsaw, Poland from November 11-22, 2013.

BG and the Global Forest Coalition Expand Biodiversity Laws in Joint Paper 10/28/13

Brighter Green and the Global Forest Coalition expand biodiversity laws on their joint paper: Industrial Agriculture, Livestock Farming, and Climate Change: Global Social, Cultural, Ecological, and Ethical Impacts of an Unsustainable Industry.

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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