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Is meat sustainable?

Commented on October 24, 2013
Created October 17, 2013 at 5:39 PM

I'm not talking about meat eventually running out. I'm talking about high quality meat being available and sustainable in the long run. I'm thinking about all of the people in the world that eat meat.... Multiplying that times the amount if food that people waste... Costs of transportation and quality for those who don't live near a local farm.... Factory farming for those who can't afford better..... Etc

What do you guys do that is plausible for even the inner city folk? Do you go fishing for fatty fish? Do you eat less meat?

I want opinions. For me, I plan on in eating less meat (fatty cuts), a bit more fat like coconut milk and avocados (I already eat tons) in the future. Tons of veggies as usual....

I hope that my question isn't too ambitious or anything

Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 24, 2013
at 04:56 PM

The Amerind sustainable population in OR/WA was on the order of 100,000. Now there are about 10,000,000 of us. At 1% of current population, and a return to ancient salmon levels, we'd probably sustain. Watch Little Big Man, if for no other reason than to listen to Dan George's wisdom. The sustainable population of the Great Plains Amerinds on bovines (bison) was probably less than the salmon cultures on the coast.

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 24, 2013
at 03:19 PM

What do you figure is an ideal sustainable human population?

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 24, 2013
at 03:08 PM

Yeah plus if Paleo or a similar ideology really caught on and more people "demand" quality meat, then "supply" will face an upward pressure. If fewer demand corn and soy, then supply will drop. That is to say - if price is driven high enough for good food and low enough for bad food, the economics naturally change subsidies or no.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 20, 2013
at 12:50 PM

Except that wheat/corn/soy feeds more cattle than the corresponding acreage in pasture. Though when you take the inputs/labor out of the equation, a lot more land becomes profitable in terms of pasture-based agriculture.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 20, 2013
at 12:49 PM

We really don't know what is more profitable to farm anymore, there's just so many layers of subsidies there.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 20, 2013
at 03:22 AM

@Methodician I don't have the sticks necessary to grill salmon this way, but I do grill and smoke a lot of wild fish over a wood fire. The avatar is steelhead cooking over alder fire at the Quinault 4th of July celebration in Taholah. In order to do this you need to gut the fish without slitting the belly, so that the two fillets remain attached. I suppose a true paleo would use rocks instead of the cinder blocks...

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on October 20, 2013
at 02:12 AM

of course, you would first have to nationalize the land, since a farmer makes a lot more money growing corn. not saying that communism is bad, but try to think it through.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 19, 2013
at 11:45 PM

If you're growing grass on arable land, you're farming wrong.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 19, 2013
at 11:44 PM

Cows can go feral, but they are indeed a highly domesticated animal.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 19, 2013
at 11:09 PM

Interesting read, Jake. Though it reads like many anti-paleo articles. His critics don't think his system works because it's not a universal do A, B, C list. It's a interactive, feedback-oriented system that requires incredible amounts of human planning and input which makes in inherently challenging to "prove". I knew I liked Savoy though, his contempt for the scientific method is right up my alley. :)

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on October 19, 2013
at 02:00 PM

Damn Mac Book Pro, this is the second time a comment gets cut short. I can eat 2 lbs of string beans and feel strong. One lb of tomatoes, I can feel that I am not right.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on October 19, 2013
at 01:58 PM

disagree. I find that string beans give me no problems. I can eat 2 lbs in a sitting,

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 19, 2013
at 02:48 AM

I grew up in a small Oregon coastal town and I really miss it. My brother, father, and sister all went back and have full blown, multi-bedroom HOUSES for 1/3 the cost of my tiny apartment. I'd bet if they adopted Paleo they'd also have an easier time sourcing quality meats. It's tough out here in South OC but meh, I gots me a crappy job I have to keep.

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 19, 2013
at 02:42 AM

BEANS?!?!?! Blasphemy in the Paleo realm! lol...

Seriously though what kind of place is this? Where are you? We'd ALL like to be your friends!

(careful what you say)

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on October 19, 2013
at 02:11 AM

It is interesting to see what people appreciate. I also give away vegetables, and the top appreciation is for garlic, bones come in second though, well ahead of tomatoes. People do have some sense of what is good for them. Too bad they prefer tomatoes to zucchini, beans, and lettuce, all healthier foods IMHO.

Medium avatar

(238)

on October 18, 2013
at 10:37 PM

It is pretty depressing going to OR or WA coastal towns as they just don't compare to east coast towns. I like the pace of the west coast but everything is pretty drab.

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 18, 2013
at 10:10 PM

Ever tried cooking salmon like in your avatar?

Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 18, 2013
at 10:07 PM

WA coast, but it'd probably be the same all the way down to Fort Bragg. A lot of the coastal towns are pretty rundown, and it's even more empty if you go inland 20-30 miles. Old timber country.

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 18, 2013
at 09:34 PM

Where do you live?

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 18, 2013
at 09:29 PM

haha awesome. Anywho, while population growth seems to slow with improved quality of life and education, it doesn't go in reverse as far as I know. People will have to voluntarily (or otherwise) limit their reproduction to max of two children per couple. Since not all couples have kids, and some will just have one, this would reverse population growth, which is needed. I hate to sound malthusian.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 18, 2013
at 08:47 PM

Once we're gone so are the cows. Wheat too. We've hybridized and selectively bred both to the point that they can't survive without being farmed.

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on October 18, 2013
at 04:42 PM

Savory's results have never been replicated by anyone else at his scale, not to mention at larger scales. (1) (2)

Medium avatar

(238)

on October 18, 2013
at 01:46 AM

Where are you and can I be your friend? LOL

Medium avatar

(238)

on October 18, 2013
at 12:29 AM

Meat is already pretty expensive and prices a lot of people from frequent consumption. GF beef is considerably more from what I've seen so it isn't going to go mainstream anytime soon. Loose lips sink ships.

If I could only figure out how to breed a lobster with a cow then I could just pull a claw off every so often and it would regrow, also would be awesome flavor I think.

2eb1b3e896624be5506029e3fec3e9e2

(10)

on October 18, 2013
at 12:06 AM

we need to let mother nature take over again. it's not a good idea to let the population grow uncontrollably if it means a reduction in the quality of life due to the increasing need for veg*n diets.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:48 PM

i dont think so, i would imagine depopulation will come about because of reduced reproduction rates.(which seem to decrease as a function of wealth/technology)

and ofcourse once androids become viable all human reproduction grinds to a halt.

(cite futurama)

http://theinfosphere.org/images/a/a0/Promo_3ACV15.jpg

img

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:28 PM

haha yeah. Frankly I don't worry much about who's going to plan the inevitable because it's inevitable. I'm pretty sure there will be a HUGE die off of the human population within the next 30-100 years.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:25 PM

the only viable options would put us in the middle of a conspiracy theorists wet dream, i think i would rather die! :D

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:17 PM

Thanks @wtfgod

I agree. Beyond a huge killoff of the human population, most sustainability efforts would involve giving up many of the creature comforts in industrial society. Maybe if we all live underground and use the land above our homes to raise our own organic produce, and give up our strip malls, parks, etc... for pasture... and learn to live with less electicity, less plastic, less glass, less of everything...

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:11 PM

great post,

i think the question is so focused it seems ambiguous, almost counter intuitive but theres so many ways something can be sustainable, and theres so many things to do this with.

pretty much nothing industrial humans do is sustainable. hopefully science will fix this, i dont really concern myself about sustainability; if the sustainability was fixed grass roots up it would pretty much cripple everything we hold dear.

Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:04 PM

Many similar questions have been asked before:

http://paleohacks.com/search.html?f=&type=question&redirect=search%2Fsearch&sort=relevance&q=sustainable#axzz2hvqN8sYp

  • 52ad7ee5eef0d7339d0977bd7a2ceb8a

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9 Answers

0
A2e8d31afecec9931738667a27b6cdf3

on October 23, 2013
at 08:02 PM

For the current human population? No.

For the ideal sustainable human population? Absolutely.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 24, 2013
at 04:56 PM

The Amerind sustainable population in OR/WA was on the order of 100,000. Now there are about 10,000,000 of us. At 1% of current population, and a return to ancient salmon levels, we'd probably sustain. Watch Little Big Man, if for no other reason than to listen to Dan George's wisdom. The sustainable population of the Great Plains Amerinds on bovines (bison) was probably less than the salmon cultures on the coast.

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 24, 2013
at 03:19 PM

What do you figure is an ideal sustainable human population?

0
6bce08b072e3cea49b292658b9d5d197

on October 20, 2013
at 12:13 AM

Allison, I actually just posted an article about this almost exact topic earlier this week.

http://brooksrembert.com/2013/10/14/more-meat-for-all/

I believe meat is sustainable so long as we give up some wheat/corn/soybean land to allow for raising cattle and other animals.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 20, 2013
at 12:50 PM

Except that wheat/corn/soy feeds more cattle than the corresponding acreage in pasture. Though when you take the inputs/labor out of the equation, a lot more land becomes profitable in terms of pasture-based agriculture.

56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on October 20, 2013
at 02:12 AM

of course, you would first have to nationalize the land, since a farmer makes a lot more money growing corn. not saying that communism is bad, but try to think it through.

0
Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 18, 2013
at 08:51 PM

No. But where I live there used to be a lot of humans. They left for lack of jobs. So here you could live full-out on wild food if you worked at it.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 18, 2013
at 10:07 PM

WA coast, but it'd probably be the same all the way down to Fort Bragg. A lot of the coastal towns are pretty rundown, and it's even more empty if you go inland 20-30 miles. Old timber country.

Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 20, 2013
at 03:22 AM

@Methodician I don't have the sticks necessary to grill salmon this way, but I do grill and smoke a lot of wild fish over a wood fire. The avatar is steelhead cooking over alder fire at the Quinault 4th of July celebration in Taholah. In order to do this you need to gut the fish without slitting the belly, so that the two fillets remain attached. I suppose a true paleo would use rocks instead of the cinder blocks...

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 18, 2013
at 09:34 PM

Where do you live?

0
Ce41c230e8c2a4295db31aec3ef4b2ab

(32564)

on October 18, 2013
at 01:53 AM

Check out

http://www.savoryinstitute.com/

00cd3b6f51530a6832fcda1712edbec3

(2411)

on October 18, 2013
at 04:42 PM

Savory's results have never been replicated by anyone else at his scale, not to mention at larger scales. (1) (2)

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on October 18, 2013
at 01:22 AM

Oops, I quoted the typical weight of half a carcass. sorry. but the idea remains. I think GF is not expensive, if you have a freezer. The meat is about $5/lb, the offal bones and backfat are free. We have soup every night, but there are still too many bones. We give bones to friends, and everyone appreciates 20 lbs of bones!

Medium avatar

(238)

on October 18, 2013
at 01:46 AM

Where are you and can I be your friend? LOL

0
56c28e3654d4dd8a8abdb2c1f525202e

(1822)

on October 17, 2013
at 11:48 PM

No, it is not. I buy a steer every year (split with other families). Each steer needs 2 acres for 2 years. The carcass is often 650-700lbs, and the meat 2/3 of that. Add the offal, we are looking at 500 lbs of meat. That same land over the same time, if it is fertile bottomland, will give 11 tons of wheat (49 times the mass, about 100 times the calories). If paleo ever goes mainstream, a lot of posters here will be priced out of it, proselytizers beware. I myself discuss it only with family and close friends. At the current population density, people HAVE to eat grains.The only animal food that is sustainable is insects.

2eb1b3e896624be5506029e3fec3e9e2

(10)

on October 18, 2013
at 12:06 AM

we need to let mother nature take over again. it's not a good idea to let the population grow uncontrollably if it means a reduction in the quality of life due to the increasing need for veg*n diets.

Medium avatar

(238)

on October 18, 2013
at 12:29 AM

Meat is already pretty expensive and prices a lot of people from frequent consumption. GF beef is considerably more from what I've seen so it isn't going to go mainstream anytime soon. Loose lips sink ships.

If I could only figure out how to breed a lobster with a cow then I could just pull a claw off every so often and it would regrow, also would be awesome flavor I think.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on October 19, 2013
at 11:45 PM

If you're growing grass on arable land, you're farming wrong.

0
Medium avatar

(238)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:24 PM

The real question is "are people sustainable" or will we blow ourselves up or create a mass biological destructive weapon that kills us all? I think we go before the cows!

Medium avatar

(10601)

on October 18, 2013
at 08:47 PM

Once we're gone so are the cows. Wheat too. We've hybridized and selectively bred both to the point that they can't survive without being farmed.

0
Medium avatar

on October 17, 2013
at 06:00 PM

Oh, and what do I do personally? Like you, I don't eat much meat. I eat just enough for protein and get most of my calories from butter and processed oils, and lots of vitamins/minerals from fruits and veggies. I feel like I would be much more healthy if I could manage to get 30-50% of my calories from very fatty cuts and offal of grass-fed ruminants, and another 15-30% from fatty, toxin-free sea creatures, filling the rest with organic produce.... but I'm not a millionaire.

0
Medium avatar

on October 17, 2013
at 05:58 PM

Short answer: Definitely not.

With lots of justification: kinda... MAYBE... with sacrifice.

I don't believe we could reasonably sustain our current population on agriculture alone if we give a damn about the environment. With population growth looming, the idea of everyone eating quality, safe meat is kind of ridiculous.

That said, factory farming methods certainly can produce a lot of meat. It takes lots of land to grow the feed to grow the cows, but that feed is not suitable for human consumption so, in a way, we're feeding them waste products.

Also, we are using a lot of land that could be used for raising grass-fed, happily pastured ruminants for less-productive uses. My grandmother brought up a similar concern while I was explaining my love of good meat and I looked out her window in the Palm Springs area (Indian Wells actually) and pointed out that we were putting lots of resources into maintaining a healthy lawn for that golf course (not to mention her yard) and then putting more resources into trimming, fertilizing, and otherwise caring for that vast lawn. They even intentionally kill off said lawn each year so they can turn and re-fertilize the land for another healthy lawn the following season. It's weird what humans do.

Right now, economic forces dictate the use of our resources. This will probably never change as entrepreneurs rule the world. The owners of that land are quite certain (rightly so) that they will earn more money by keeping it pristine for golfers than by raising happy cows or organic veggies. If economic forces shift enough, those entrepreneurs might suddenly view their happy grass land as an excellent opportunity to make happy cows/lamb/goat/chicken/whatever... or even organic fruit and veggies.

This assumes that consumers are soooo eager to eat good meat/plants that the price of quality meat/plant food is driven up even beyond the current, maddening levels. I don't exclusively eat grass fed meat because it's expensive. I rarely buy organic produce because it's not usually any better for the price. If I were willing/able to put 20-30% of my paycheck into grass fed meat, and half the population of California felt the same, we might start to see some golf courses being converted to pasture. Alternatively, the government could subsidize the crap out of healthy food the way they do for toxic food today.

So, it's quite possible that humans could engineer enough of the arable surface of our planet to support meats and healthy plant foods, but we'd be pushing even more of what we call "nature" aside to fulfill our own needs. At this point, the depressing matter of fact is that we have too many humans. We are a pest, the worst the planet has ever seen.

7904c7276d7e48f1be887fabd263bfd9

(300)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:11 PM

great post,

i think the question is so focused it seems ambiguous, almost counter intuitive but theres so many ways something can be sustainable, and theres so many things to do this with.

pretty much nothing industrial humans do is sustainable. hopefully science will fix this, i dont really concern myself about sustainability; if the sustainability was fixed grass roots up it would pretty much cripple everything we hold dear.

Medium avatar

(624)

on October 17, 2013
at 06:17 PM

Thanks @wtfgod

I agree. Beyond a huge killoff of the human population, most sustainability efforts would involve giving up many of the creature comforts in industrial society. Maybe if we all live underground and use the land above our homes to raise our own organic produce, and give up our strip malls, parks, etc... for pasture... and learn to live with less electicity, less plastic, less glass, less of everything...

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