“Meat Week” Brings Agriculture to the Forefront

“Meat Week” Brings Agriculture to the Forefront

Typical grocery store meat section

This week is “Meat Week” on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition program. They have a short interview each day that focuses on some aspect of meat (from analyzing the paleo diet to looking at the environmental effects of modern meat production). They also created this entertaining “cookbook” that pokes fun at human history and eating habits.

On Wednesday’s program, NPR food correspondents Allison Aubrey and Dan Charles described the resources required to produce just a single hamburger patty (great images here). Charles also touched on the meat and soybean industries’ role in deforestation in Brazil (more about this topic in our Brazil paper):

“The basic problem is how just much land and how much crops it takes to produce all the meat. When you add it up, the total impact on the planet is quite huge.”

Aubrey expands on the impacts of water use and the problem with conservation efforts being focused on personal home usage instead of the much larger agricultural sector:

“About two thirds of the water used on this planet is used in agriculture.”

She also comes up with a good way to visualize what a tonne of water looks like (since water statistics are often described in tonnes). Aubrey states that a tonne of water is the equivalent of filling up your bathtub 140,000 times! Certainly an eye-opener when you consider that it takes that much water to produce the equivalent weight of beef in the U.S.

Curious to see what meat “flavor” will come up on tomorrow’s show. See NPR’s food blog, The Salt for articles and links to programming. Is it possible that “Meat Week” will actually inspire people to eat less of it? Cross your forks.

Photo courtesy of Divine Harvester/Flickr