The 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP27, is the 27th United Nations Climate Change conference and is being held from 6 November until 18 November 2022 in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.
The summit presented an opportunity for nutritionist and healthy food advocate Diana Rogers to offer an alternative to the false narrative so prevalent today regarding beef, global warming, and nutrition.
The false narrative states that methane released by raising cattle is a major contributor to global warming and meat is unhealthy. This narrative diverts attention from the real source of global warming, fossil fuels. Importantly this narrative ignores the importance of meat consumption for human health as well the importance of ruminant grazing for soil regeneration as well as economic and food stability for many poor people. Lastly it ignores the contribution of properly raised cattle, lamb and other animal food sources to carbon sequestration.
By most estimates, the number of ruminants roaming our plains and forests before the industrial era was equal to the number of wild and domestic ruminants in the US today.
Global warming was not a problem before industrialization. This simple fact should belie the false narrative.
Diana Rogers has been a champion for honest science in this debate. She is the only nutritionist to present information at the conference. She has recently posted on twitter the slides presented at the global COP27.
Here are some of her slides that speak for themselves.
Well managed cattle when raised in an integrative fashion with crops in a process called regenerative agriculture:
- sequester carbon
- regenerate soils
- provide high quality nutrition to an increasingly diseased and nutrient deficient population
- Reduce the need for fossil fuels and fossil-based fertilizer, providing natural fertizlizer
Mono-agriculture, which predominates US farmland (90%)
- destroys soil, killing essential microbes and converting soil to dirt
- converts cropland to desert contributing to air pollution (dust storms), soil erosion and floods
- releases carbon into the atmosphere during tillage
- utilizes Roundup-ready crops that are sprayed with roundup before harvest (carcinogenic, endocrine disruptor which contaminates our food and water)
- consumes large amounts of fossil fuel and fossil-based fertilizer creating a large carbon footprint.
- Kills more innocent bystander animals directly (during tillage, planting, and harvest) and indirectly (habitat destruction), then the number of animals slaughtered for human consumption (are cattle more worthy of protection than rabbits, squirrels, mice, birds, snakes etc., all of which are killed by mono-agriculture practices?)
- Depletes our soil, and therefore our food, of nutrients, reducing the nutrient content of vegetables and fruits. (example: 8 oranges today have the same nutrients as 1 orange 100 years ago)
Malnutrition is rampant throughout the world.
This affects health, brain development and educational achievement.
Livestock contribute to food security.
It is time for the narrative about eating and raising animal sources of protein to change. We need to produce rather than destroy soil, enhance rather than degrade the nutrient value of crops, sequester rather than release carbon, utilize ruminant waste for fertilizer instead of fossil based fertilizer, and provide our children and adults with nutrient dense healthy food that includes animal sources of protein.
The cow-methane narrative ignores much of science and diverts our attention from the source of global warming, the burning of fossil fuels.
To learn more about this topic visit the Global Food Justice Alliance
The Global Food Justice Alliance advocates for the right of all people to choose nutrient-dense foods such as meat, milk, and eggs, which are critical for nutritious, environmentally sustainable, and equitable food systems that can sustain both human life and the planet.
Here are some of the bullet points from Diana Rogers’ presentation at COP27
- Many are claiming meat is unhealthy, unsustainable, unnecessary and unethical, but are these claims justified? Are we looking at livestock agriculture in a holistic way? What strong evidence do we have to prove this?
- Or are policymakers and others pushing for the removal or dramatic reduction in livestock suffering from “carbon tunnel vision”? Are they failing to account for the value meat plays to human health, rural economies, and overall ecosystem function?
- Worldwide, 1 in 2 children and 2 in 3 women have at least one micronutrient deficiency, wreaking havoc on immune systems, hindering growth and development, and limiting human potential.
- These deficiencies are not limited to low- and middle-income countries. Iron deficiency alone impacts 1 in 5 women in the US, where we’re told to eat less meat, which is the best source of iron.
- The leading micronutrient deficiencies are: iron, zinc, folate, vitamin A, vitamin D, and B12. As many as 40% of children and 70% of women have multiple deficiencies at the same time. Animal-sourced foods are the only or best source of all those above except folate (which is found in liver, but plant-based foods like lentils are also a good source).
- If we are to discuss a “climate friendly diet”, we need to consider not just “emissions” but the nutritional value of the food per serving (not per calorie), because a further shift away from meat will do more harm, especially to women and children.
- The evidence against meat for health reasons is based on shaky science. There are no experimental studies showing meat causes harm, only associations, but we know typical meat eaters also tend to partake in other unhealthy behaviors like smoking and drinking. When accounting for these factors, red meat has not been found to cause ill health.
- When it comes to processed meat, the science is also not significant. Your overall risk of getting colon cancer is 5.6% and eating 5 slices of bacon every single day for your whole life would raise your risk to 6.6%. This is not statistically significant. However, the media reports this as a 20% increase, which is misleading to consumers.
- We only have one experimental study looking at meat vs. less meat, which was done in Kenyan school children. It proved that adding meat increased their academic scores, their physical ability, and their behavior.
- Because livestock can “up-cycle” nutrient poor food (food scraps, waste from the plant-protein industry, and grains) into protein, iron, B12, and other critical nutrients, they are a net win for our food system.
- Livestock are less susceptible to drought or extreme weather.
- 12% of the world’s population rely solely on livestock for their livelihood.
- Women in ½ the countries worldwide are unable to own land, but in many cases, they can own livestock, improving gender equality and household nutrition.
- Plus, most of our agricultural land is too dry, brittle, or rocky to crop, but livestock thrive on this marginal land.
- Food choice is a privilege. Those with the means to push away nutritious food like meat should not be creating policies limiting access to nutrients in meat, which is also a culturally appropriate food to most. This is moral and cultural imperialism.
- We need a lot more recognition that livestock can provide critical ecosystem function and micronutrients.
Check out the work of Diana Rogers
In the context of the COVID 19 pandemic I will close with the usual summary.
- Avoid alcohol consumption (alcohol wreaks havoc with your immunity)
- Get plenty of sleep (without adequate sleep your immune system does not work well )
- Follow good sleep habits
- Exercise, especially out of doors in a green space, supports the immune system
- Get some sunshine and make sure you have adequate Vitamin D levels. Supplement with Vitamin D3 to get your levels above 30 ng/ml, >40ng/ml arguably better.
- Eat an anti-inflammatory diet rich in micronutrients.
- Practice stress reduction like meditation and yoga which improves the immune system
- Eliminate sugar-added foods and beverages from your diet. These increase inflammation, cause metabolic dysfunction, and suppress immunity.
- Eliminate refined-inflammatory “vegetable oils” from your diet, instead eat healthy fat.
- Clean up your home environment and minimize your family’s exposure to environmental toxins by following recommendations at EWG.org with regards to household products, personal care products, and organic foods. (https://www.ewg.org/)
- Drink water filtered through a high quality system that eliminates most environmental toxins. (Such as a Berkey or reverse osmosis filter)
- HEPA filters or the home-made version (Corsi-Rosenthal box) used in your home or workplace can reduce circulating viral load by 80%. This works for any respiratory virus transmitted by aerosol and this winter we have the triple threat of RSV, Influenza, and SARS-CoV-2. It also decreases indoor air pollution.
- If you are eligible for vaccination, consider protecting yourself and your neighbor with a few jabs. Age > 50 and/or risk factors (Diabetes, pre-diabetes, insulin resistance, hypertension, obesity, heart disease, COPD, asthma, cancer treatment, immune suppression) suggests benefit from a booster. Risk for complications of boosters in adolescents, especially males, without risk factors, may equal benefit. Previous infection with Covid can be considered as protective as a booster. Discuss risk vs benefits with your doctor.
THIS WEBSITE PROVIDES INFORMATION FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. CONSULT YOUR HEALTH CARE PROVIDER FOR MEDICAL ADVICE.
Eat clean, drink filtered water, love, laugh, exercise outdoors in a greenspace, get some morning sunlight, block the blue light before bed, engage in meaningful work, find a sense of purpose, spend time with those you love, AND sleep well tonight.