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Podcast: The Guardian, How to feed the world without destroying it.



  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Better things to do with my evening than listen to monbiot, thanks anyway.

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,364 ✭✭✭✭Say my name

    You first.

    Eating fertiliser.

    He dismisses animal farming on perennial pastures. But gets wet about perennial rice production which if practical would already be a thing already. Doesn't mention that rice production is hugely damaging to the planet with soil methane production and water hungry.

    Soil carbon under perennial pasture you'd be talking up to 5 times as much more than arable farming. Purely down to the perennial plant and grazing and manure production and not tilling that soil.

    He's blinkered. And biased against. But if anyone wants to eat fertiliser that's their perogative.

    We were told in the not too distant past that plant fats were good and animal fats bad.. Marathons were even sponsored by such.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,697 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    Europe could manage in a fashion without artificial fertilizer.

    We have the soil and climate.

    Most of Africa north of Uganda could not, most of Asia could not.

    They use fertilizer at rates that no European farmer could imagine possible or that the soil could take.

    They have to, the nature of their soil, the monsoon rains etc ensure that they have no choice.

    In a world without artificial fertilizer, western Europe will still be a global food powerhouse.

    Asia will be doing well to feed a 1/3 of its population and that is with every possible aid given.

    Monbiot never spells out that fact.

    Soil matters.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,328 ✭✭✭Banana Republic 1

    Ya I dunno I just heard the podcast as the guardian is on my follow list. His point was crops could be grown lab and the whatever it was wouldn’t need fertilisers just hydrogen and carbon I think, I don’t know how far of the tech is.

    The thing about perennial crops was you wouldn’t be tilling the land. As I understand it, not a farmer but ag engineer, perennial pasture isn’t the problem it’s the animals eating it are the issue. Still dairy/ beef is a fundamental part of the way of life here which is why biodiversity needs to be tackled.

    Soil does matter yes but that exactly what he was saying. And we know, well I know, that soil degradation is a significant problem even in Europe

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    Animals aren't a problem. The management surrounding them can be, it depends.

    People will eat all kinds of sh1t so I've no doubt that they'll eat lab grown food too. It's ironic in the extreme those who claim to be ardently on natures side want food grown in vats. There is another agenda at work there.

    I would disagree with Danzy on fertiliser.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,424 ✭✭✭Waffletraktor

    I wouldnt worry much about moonbat he's made a career preaching half truths to the masses that want to believe him. There's alot of land not suited to crops and even less suited to veg. One example is a grower sending Marris piper to O'sheas in Piltown getting back 1/4+ of the crop as its going out through a 75mm web before it see's a pick off table and isn't big enough for the designer market people have come expect and is sold for cattle feed at E50 a ton.

    As in most issues with sustainability it aint farming that's doing the damage but the modern current western lifestyle and over population in other parts of the world.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,614 ✭✭✭jaymla627

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,454 ✭✭✭J.O. Farmer

    I struggle to see how lab grown food is

    1. Going to feed any number of people, consider the amount of land used for food production. Even if labs were hypothetically10 times as efficient you'd need 10% of the area currently used.

    2. What's the long term implications of this lab grown food. Will we find its carcinogenic or some other long term side effects.

    3. If inflation is bad now wait until you're paying lab's to produce food. I can guarantee yoh costs will be higher.

  • Registered Users Posts: 849 ✭✭✭Easten

    Not much point in growing carbs like grains in a lab as it's going to be cheaper and more practical to use farmland. It's the high protein foods that is the target at the moment. Cultured meat and dairy in particular, this is where the money is being pumped into.

    Once moved from the lab to the factory then don't worry about the price as it will drop with scale and with time history has proved this many times.

    . The cultured meat is still a few years away, it's costing nearly 100k/kilo to produce at the moment so we are safe for another while. The milk on the other hand is at a point where it can go from the lab to the factory in the US. But it is meeting mighty resistance from "lobby" groups and the FDA have not yet approved it in any form yet so this could be 10 years away too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,454 ✭✭✭J.O. Farmer

    Whatever about milk the culturing of animal cells (meat) along with the inevitable regulatory requirements will keep costs high.

    Now the likes of quorn or insect protein could be viable.

    The concern I'd still have is the health impact long term. What needs to go in to factory milk.

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,737 Mod ✭✭✭✭Siamsa Sessions

    If you say it enough times, people will believe you.

    We might be able to see thru some of the BS being spouted about plant-based saving the world, but I'm guessing many consumers just believe whatever they hear on the radio or read on Facebook.

    I heard two women in their 40s (at a young lads match) last week talking about vegan dog food. One of them had "heard something on the radio about it." No mention of who this latest radio expert was, or what his qualifications/credibility might be. But he was claiming dogs should be eating vegan food now.

    I knew by the talk of these two, they just assumed he was a scientist and he was telling the truth.

    Trading as Sullivan’s Farm on YouTube

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,601 ✭✭✭White Clover

    The problem is that the average person is very gullible.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,723 ✭✭✭Lime Tree Farm

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,080 ✭✭✭emaherx

    Just needs Hydrogen? seems like hydrogen could be the solution to all of our problems, its a pity 95% is produced from fossil fuels and the other 5% requires lots of electricity which is a long way off being carbon neutral yet.

    As for lab grown meat, hard to see how it will be scaled up without using large amounts of antibiotics, well beyond animal agriculture not to mention copious use of growth promoters similar to what is already banned in animal agriculture in the EU. Greenhouse emissions are likely to be far higher due to massive energy requirements unlikely to be met by renewable power any time soon and claims of lower water requirements are total BS when they try to attribute every drop of rain that falls on a green field as part of the water requirement of raising livestock.

  • Registered Users Posts: 849 ✭✭✭Easten

    I don't know what they use as a culture for the milk, but it's the Bacterial enzymes that they use would be my concern. The amount of Serendipity in this sector is astonishing and sooner rather than later the luck will run out. You'd think that the enzymes used would be pulled of a cow at some stage but this does not seem to be the case. Wouldn't surprise me if it came from the gut of a lab rat

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,328 ✭✭✭Banana Republic 1

    Currently most hydrogen is derived from fossil fuel but that will change.

    Who says the use antibiotics in lab grown meat?

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,328 ✭✭✭Banana Republic 1

    Did the podcast mention milk I don’t think so !

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,080 ✭✭✭emaherx

    Currently yes, and where is the extra energy required coming from to derive hydrogen using electricity? It seems we are a very long way from producing our current electricity from clean renewable sources yet the solution to farming emissions is to use even more? And on mega scale? Eventually is a long way off.

    As for antibiotics? Common sense, it's one thing to produce lab grown meat antibiotic free, it will be an entirely different story to do the same on large factory scale. Bacterial contamination will be a problem. .

    A mass-produced cultured meat facility would be free of actual animals as well as the slaughtering process. This would reduce the likelihood of contamination, said many cultured meat company representatives.

    Not so fast, said Dr. Alison Van Eenennaam, an expert of animal biotechnology at University of California at Davis. She is skeptical of these claims, but is cautiously optimistic for the future of cell-cultured meat.

    Cellular meat production would have to change dramatically from its current process to meet the demands of a retail market.

    There would be “big old vats filled with soupy goos of animal cells and biotic culture,” she said. “If you are a bacteria, this is a party.”

    Claimed reasons why lab grown meat is will might could be better:

    • It takes 15,000L of water to produce 1KG of Beef! (What they forget to mention is 98% is the water used to grow the feed, ie the rain that will still fall on the same land regardless of meat production. In contrast the cultured meat will have a much bigger requirement for treated water,
    • It "will" have a lower carbon foot print (Seems very unlikely anytime soon given the current energy crisis and the massive energy requirement of this type of production.)
    • Cattle are routinely fed antibiotics and growth promoters (Certainly not true in the EU and much more likely to be a true of the lab grown meat)

    Post edited by emaherx on

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,454 ✭✭✭J.O. Farmer

    It might be possible to grow factory grown meat without antibiotics in a similar way to manufacturing pharmaceuticals but the cost would be high.

    Also the risk of microorganisms multiplying rapidly would be higher in the growth media than your average pharmaceutical.

    The risk of contamination of factory grown meat wouldn't be from animals but rather the people making it. In pharmaceuticals people are the biggest source of contamination.

    The culture of mammalian cells also requires specific growth factors. There would need to be plenty of controls to ensure something like CJD doesn't arise in years to come.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,080 ✭✭✭emaherx

    The risk of contamination of factory grown meat wouldn't be from animals but rather the people making it. In pharmaceuticals people are the biggest source of contamination.

    Doubt the factory workers in such a meat factory would be highly skilled or compensated which will in itself lead to higher risk of contamination. (except "maybe" in some pilot show factory built purely as a vanity exercise of some billionaire backer)

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  • Registered Users Posts: 11,364 ✭✭✭✭Say my name

    The purpose of Monbiots book was Sales and income first and second to attack livestock farming. The useful idiots now on the Internet feel emboldened that livestock farming, all livestock farming is "bad". Before the farmer view that soil is healthy and carbon rich and has methane eating bacteria under livestock farming got some hearing.

    But now that Moonbot ate one bacteria morsel the idiots take his word on hydrogen as food, he mentions it needs minerals (fert) but in his hushed tone after Hydrogen. Star trekky stuff that was lapped up which he also mentions needs funding.

    Job done. We've the idiots who before could see an environmental benefit from livestock farming. Now going on the attack. Job done Moonbot. Job done.