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Save the Planet, Eat Your Dog 942

Posted by timothy
from the children-too-stringy dept.
R3d M3rcury writes "New Zealand's Dominion Post reports on a new book just released, Time to Eat the Dog: The real guide to sustainable living. In this book, they compare the environmental footprint of our housepets to other things that we own. Like that German Shepherd? It consumes more resources than two Toyota SUVs. Cats are a little less than a Volkswagen Golf. Two hamsters are about the same as a plasma TV. Their suggestions? Chickens, rabbits, and pigs. But only if you eat them."
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Save the Planet, Eat Your Dog

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  • Good grief.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anrego (830717) * on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:18AM (#29869193)

    I think when your ultimate goal is to slaughter and consume .. an animal stops being a "pet". And would sure make an interesting dinner, as your daughter chokes down Fluffy, her pet rabbit.

    I mean.. it's an interesting report.. but I don't think anything realistic has been proposed here. They may as well have proposed we treat our cars as pets..

    Why even bother looking at this stuff.. there's all kinds of other areas that could realistically be addressed. For example phone books! The amount of resources spent printing and distributing something that 70% of the time probably ends up in a land fill untouched is astounding. I saw some documentary where they were taking core samples at junk yards.. there were literally layers of phone books.. they used it to date the segments..

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by JustOK (667959)

      thank goodness I have an unlisted time period.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:44AM (#29869341)

      but I don't think anything realistic has been proposed here

      So little imagination. The "proposal" is implied.

      This gem of enviro-wennie research will rattle around among the cocktail parties of the jet-set ruling class until one of them becomes convinced they can make a big splash by regulating pet ownership in the name of the "environment." Expect this to appear first in San Francisco in the next few years in the form punitive pet taxes. Thereafter limits and outright bans will be created.

      Except for horses. There won't be any meaningful limits on horse owners.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by boaworm (180781)

        Except for horses. There won't be any meaningful limits on horse owners.

        Well, horses are one of the few "pets" we do eat after all.

        • Huge wastage (Score:5, Interesting)

          by TheLink (130905) on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:44AM (#29870143) Journal
          Actually, maybe we should indeed be eating more different sorts of species to help "spread the damage", particularly for nonfarmed animals and plants.

          One of the other things I am very disgusted about is "bycatch" in the fishing industries.

          In simple terms what happens is a shrimp boat goes out to catch shrimp, and then for every 1 pound of shrimp they catch, they throw away 5-20 pounds of other animals (fish etc)- which do not survive (usually dead by that time).

          Then a sardine boat goes out to catch sardines, and if they also catch shrimp or some unwanted fish they throw that away too (even if that species is edible).Then a tuna boat goes out to catch tuna (and throws away other fish). Then a cod boat goes out, etc...

          Tons of perfectly edible fish are wasted and killed. Many of the discarded fishes are sold on the market for decent prices, they just happen to be landed by the "wrong boat".

          That is a HUGE FUCKING WASTE. This practice should be banned!

          If any fisherman can't cut down on bycatch and stay in business, he should be banned from commercial fishing.

          Heck at worst force them to turn their "bycatch" to dogfood, if they can't figure out how to turn it to food for humans.
          • Re:Huge wastage (Score:5, Interesting)

            by twostix (1277166) on Monday October 26, 2009 @07:47AM (#29871183)

            Good grief where to start...

            In EU waters (and most western waters) boats are only allowed to take species that they are licensed to take, and of course there are limits on what they can take and once they reach the limit on one type of fish / crustacean they face hefty fines if they *dont* throw them back - dead or alive.

            I was watching an interesting doco a while ago where the captain of a prawn trawler was almost in tears as they had had two weeks of terrible prawn hauls so the crew were near mutiny (pay is directly related to how much the boat takes on) but were dragging in tonnes and tonnes of prime fish and under EU law had to throw it all back mostly dead, each time every time as to take it back to port risked him losing his boat.

            So laws and regulations written by "well meaning" bureaucrats mandate that in many instance captains MUST take the action that you condemn and ironically you demand more laws and regulations made by the same to make them stop doing what the first set of laws forces them to do in the first place!

            Nothings ever so simple as "they should just make a law". In this case they did, because people like you demanded that what they catch and how much they catch be regulated...and huge waste is largely a (now mandated by law) "unintended" consequence like the captains said it would be.

            Not to mention, who are you to force anyone to do anything? They're supposedly free men who own fishing boats and catch fish. If you don't like it don't buy their fish or pay more for pet food so it doesn't *cost them* money to bring in junk fish just so you can feed your dog. Truly I hate to sound like a libertarian but you throwing around like phrases like "force them to turn their "bycatch" to dogfood," makes you look like an mini fascist. Just because they own a boat and supply something that you rely on doesn't suddenly make them your personal slaves. Tell us what industry you're in so we can start discussing "forcing" you to do various things that cost you huge sums of money just to satisfy our own personal attitudes.

      • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:13AM (#29870001) Journal

        they can make a big splash by regulating pet ownership in the name of the "environment."

        As the owner of two dogs, sign me up. I demand environmental offset credits for the offal that my dogs prevent from going directly into landfills and being converted into methane. Additionally, I want additional credits for the conversion of said otherwise-useless offal and meat byproducts into environmentally useful high-grade fertilizer. And a program for harvesting this valuable resource - maybe funded by a tax on stupid university professors dumb ideas?

        I also want another credit for the carbon offset from being able to turn the heat down at night - because happiness is a warm puppy. Dogs are just as good as an electric blanket. Actually, they're better - they continue to work during power failures.

        Also, I should get an additional carbon credit for every kilometer I do with the dogs dragging me around on either roller blades (summer) or a sled (winter). And both investment credits and a subsidy for the purchase of a dog-drawn cart.

        And for the bonus round, you can always grind up those professors who wrote this piece of trash as a quick way to make a buck; my wolf probably isn't too fussy about who he eats - he chews EVERYTHING, and I'm sure their carbon footprint is larger than his. And, since they're already producing shit, why not cut out the middle man ...

    • Re:Good grief.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kdemetter (965669) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:57AM (#29869393)

      That article makes no sense : an animal doesn't consume more natural resources than a car.
      If you give your dog the left overs from the table , instead of throwing it in the garbage can , i can't see it consume any natural resources . And after digestion , a dog fertilizes the soil , so the resources are giving back the ground . That the cycle of life , and it works much better than how a car works.

      And when your pet dies , you burry it , or maybe burn it , etc , but it's remains also come back to the ground.
      Which will be the same of you eat your pet , but then it takes until you die to be completely returned to the soil.

      • Re:Good grief.. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by wisty (1335733) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:25AM (#29869549)

        Yeah, it seems dodgy. Cost can be used as a first-order estimate of environmental impact. A $50 fuel bill has a the same order-of-magnitude environmental impact to a $50 food bill.

        And don't forget capital and disposal costs. Dogs are pretty cheap to build (since they are self-replicating), and easy to dispose. SUVs are a bit more expensive.

        I think it's safe to say that an SUV costs more to run than a dog. It also costs a lot more to purchase. Ergo, the SUV has a higher footprint.

        • Re:Good grief.. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by macshit (157376) <miles.gnu@org> on Monday October 26, 2009 @04:03AM (#29870213) Homepage
          I'll bet they're only measuring "fuel usage" too -- the environmental cost of making the SUV, and delivering/selling it, and building/maintaining the vast road/parking/etc infrastructure to drive it on, and eventually disposing of it, is probably far, far, far higher than anything related to the dog.
          • Re:Good grief.. (Score:5, Informative)

            by jeffmeden (135043) on Monday October 26, 2009 @08:38AM (#29871637) Homepage Journal

            They calculated the "average dog" consuming a pound of "meat" a day, along with half a pound of "cereal". I don't know about *every* pet owner, but I have two dogs on the smaller side of medium (about 25 lbs each) and between them they don't BOTH consume more than about half a pound of high grade kibble a day, the ingredients of which are split about 50/50 between meat and cereal. The authors of this study clearly are not pet owners.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Benaiah (851593)

        That article makes no sense : an animal doesn't consume more natural resources than a car. If you give your dog the left overs from the table , instead of throwing it in the garbage can , i can't see it consume any natural resources . And after digestion , a dog fertilizes the soil , so the resources are giving back the ground . That the cycle of life , and it works much better than how a car works.

        And when your pet dies , you burry it , or maybe burn it , etc , but it's remains also come back to the ground. Which will be the same of you eat your pet , but then it takes until you die to be completely returned to the soil.

        My car consumes no resources either. I put gas in at the pump, and then burn it and return it to the atmosphere, thus recycling it. When its old it will eventually go to scrap and most of its parts will be directly recycled aswell. The rest will be buried in land fill, thus returning it to the ground from where it came.

      • Re:Good grief.. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Plunky (929104) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:31AM (#29869829)

        If you give your dog the left overs from the table , instead of throwing it in the garbage can , i can't see it consume any natural resources .

        Eh? It consumes approximately the same amount of natural resources as if you didn't prepare too much food and throw it away and instead spent that saving on food more suited to the dogs digestive system.. In fact you might even make a saving because dog food is often based on discarded cuts of meat, intestines, eyeballs, ground up bone, offal etc that was unsaleable as human food..

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SerpentMage (13390)

        This article is crap... Notice the following:
        >>Professor Vale says the title of the book is meant to shock, but the couple, who do not have a cat or dog, believe the reintroduction of non-carnivorous pets into urban areas would help slow down global warming.

        Ah yes, "the I don't have this and thus nobody else should have this green peace tree hugging idiot" crowd. I get annoyed by these people because they are hypocrites. They will be all nice, green and free love, UNTIL you touch something they happe

    • by Burning1 (204959) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:02AM (#29869425) Homepage

      I've owned a dog and a Porsche.

      With the amount of time I spent driving, fueling, polishing, and lovingly caressing that car... Yeah, I kind of did treat it like a pet.

      Of course, the car was too big for my current apartment, so I had to buy a pair of motorcycles. I'm having a hard time training them to stay off the couch.

    • Re:Good grief.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:59AM (#29869941) Journal

      For example phone books!

      What's a "phone book?"

      Seriously, the Internet is finally killing off phone books, especially the Yellow Pages. Advertisers have learned that it's more cost-effective to take out the smallest yellow pages ad possible, and just put their web site url in it. AND not to bother with the overpriced "portal" offers.

      Also, the White Pages phone books are becoming obsolete, since so many people have cell phones nowadays.

      Your comment has prompted me to send the following email to Yellow Pages Group [mailto]:

      Hi:

      I always end up throwing the telephone directories (Yellow Pages and White Pages) in the recycling bin because I don't use them. For me, the Internet has rendered both products redundant. In fact, in a quick informal survey of friends and family, everyone else does the same thing.

      Do you have any programs in place where municipalities can have a general "opt-out" for phone book distribution, and only people who actively want a copy can opt in, so we can help reduce the cost to municipalities of processing this waste?

      Thank you.

      I get enough junk mail as is ... at least SOME of the junk mail is useful ... but neither the Yellow Pages nor the White Pages gets looked at any more. They're a total waste of time, energy, and resources, and as outmoded as buggy whips. Next step - lobbying my municipality to add a "recycling surtax" on junk mail over a certain weight (this would survive a court challenge, since it's not an outright ban on all junk mail). I don't have a fireplace, so why would I want a phone book?

    • I think my daughter ought to accept where food comes from and not be bothered by it. There is also a disection opportunity here, helping her to learn about the organs found in a typical mammal.

      The rabbit is also excellent eating. For bonus points, make a fur hat or some ear warmers.

    • Re:Good grief.. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @03:31AM (#29870083) Homepage Journal

      Why even bother looking at this stuff.. there's all kinds of other areas that could realistically be addressed.

      All I can figure is that they are doing it for the shock value. Reasonable ways of reducing one's carbon footprint just don't get the kind of attention this husband and wife team seems to crave.

      Brenda and Robert Vale are architects, and with the economy being as it is, it does make sense for them to look outside their profession for ways to make some money during these slack times. However they have made one of the classic mistakes of persons who are highly trained but poorly educated: they thought they could impose the logic they know upon realms where they don't have a clue, and somehow astound and impress, and get a lot of press and sell a lot of books. But they instead are going to end up as laughingstocks, and to such a degree that it is going to affect their career as architects. For who is going to trust the designs of idiots who don't do their homework before publishing?

      Their numbers are way off base. I own a 110 lb German Shepherd: he is a very large dog. He consumes 260 kg per year (almost 2 lb per day between his one meal and 2 to 4 dog biscuits).

      Brenda and Robert are talking about a "medium size dog", which would be like a standard collie or one of the common spaniel breeds weighing in around 30 - 40 lb. But these two are architects and seemingly not dog people, so maybe they actually mean something like a large Doberman or a big Labrador, weighing 50 lb. They really expect even this larger dog to eat as much (259 kg/yr) as my very large 110 lb German Shepherd? Well, maybe that accounts for some of the waddling woofers I see around town. But using the morbidly obese as representatives of a species doesn't work. They need to develop some truthier statistics.

      Brenda and Robert also have their numbers reversed: a healthy diet for a pet dog is one third meat and meat byproducts and two thirds cereals and veggies. They have got it the other way around. Maybe they mistook the diet that a working sled dog needs in the middle of the Arctic winter for a pet's diet.

      So they got neither the total amount right, nor the proportion right. But those are small errors, compared to the big one:

      A pet's diet has a negligible carbon footprint no matter how much Butterball gets to eat. First, none of the pet's food is coming directly from petrochemicals; the carbon involved is already in the biosphere, just cycling through as part of dog for a while. This of course is not the case for the SUV. Second, the animal portion of pet food is derived from meat scraps and byproducts that would otherwise go directly into the waste stream. The cereal portion is often from lots that do not meet human food quality standards for one reason or another (too many bugs per cubic foot, too much evidence of rodent droppings, etc). Pets actually reduce the environmental impact of slaughterhouses, chicken ranches, and grain handlers by providing an alternative use path for stuff that isn't fit for human consumption.

      Now if Brenda and Robert wanted to do a fair comparison of the environmental impacts of SUVs and of pets, they could compare the amount of diesel each consumes over its lifetime.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:19AM (#29869199)

    It sounds like the time for a modest proposal ;-)

  • OMG (Score:5, Funny)

    by symbolset (646467) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:19AM (#29869201) Journal

    My offspring and their offspring probably have the eco-footprint of a coal-fired electric plant.

    What to do...

    • Re:OMG (Score:5, Funny)

      by brad3378 (155304) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:25AM (#29869233)

      My offspring and their offspring probably have the eco-footprint of a coal-fired electric plant.

      What to do...

      Well......
      They say that it's a dog eat dog world.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by wizardforce (1005805)

      Teach them to be frugal individuals. Reduce what you buy, re-use what you have and recycle any cans and bottles that you can. REcycling your cans can make you a decent amount of change that you can save for later. Bottles often have a few cents that can be recovered by recycling them. Turn off your lights when you're not using them, replace incandescent bulbs for high efficiency bulbs to save money on your electric bill. It won't eliminate your carbon footprint by any stretch but every last bit helps b

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by aws4y (648874)
      For those of you who don't read good he is referring to A Modest Proposal [wikipedia.org]
  • by Maimun (631984) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:21AM (#29869209)
    This new environmentalist religion is going too far!
    • by pete6677 (681676) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:29AM (#29869247)

      Many of the far-left environmental whackos seem more interested in destroying quality of life for humans than they do in meaningful environmental improvements.

      • by wizardforce (1005805) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:07AM (#29869457) Journal

        You know, I consider myself to be somewhat of an environmentalist and sadly I'd have to agree with you. The left environmental movement seems to be using environmental concerns as a means to bash Capitalism rather than meaningfully protect the environment. I remember back in college talking to the local environmental group on campus and there was frankly, very little talk of actually protecting the environment and more talk about subsidies for "green jobs" and such. I left with a sense that the environmental movement as a whole was going down the wrong road. Instead of embracing the frugality of the economic right as a means to discourage waste, the movement has encouraged subsidies and general corporate welfare as the means. I don't believe that their strategy will improve environmental or economic conditions.

  • Another suggestion (Score:3, Interesting)

    by davmoo (63521) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:23AM (#29869217)

    My suggestion is they can fuck off. I care more about my dogs (and cats, cockatiel, and tank of fish) than I do the rest of humanity.

    And no, this isn't sarcasm.

  • by linumax (910946) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:29AM (#29869253)
    Take away the pets and see if energy consumption in fact goes down.

    With no pets, instead of spending time playing with them, I'll turn on the TV, get in the car and drive around mostly to waste time, etc.

    These results might be sound on paper, but I highly doubt real world would approve of them.
  • by MisterBuggie (924728) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:31AM (#29869261)

    Okay, they compare them by how much land/energy it takes to produce the food/fuel. I would be interested how they came upon their figures for fossil fuels. But my main concern is that they never mention emissions. The main concern with cars isn't so much how much fuel they use, but how much pollution they put out...
    Also, it seems they didn't factor in producing the vehicles, which also uses a lot of energy and puts out a lot of pollution. Factor those in and I'm sure pets will turn out much cleaner by orders of magnitude...
    Oh, and did I mention pets are "biodegradable", unlike cars ?

  • Hello neighbour! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by not_surt (1293182) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:33AM (#29869271)
    I'm sure the average neighbor consumes far more resources than most pets do. Also, I expect most people have a much larger supply of neighbors than they do pets, making neighbors the more sustainable alternative.
  • Stupid comparisons (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jeeeb (1141117) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:34AM (#29869281)
    From TFA: "In a study published in New Scientist, they calculated a medium dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95kg of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to produce 1kg of chicken a year. This means it takes 0.84 hectares to feed Fido."

    Isn't most of the food we give to dogs .etc. the remains of stuff that we produce but don't eat? Chicken necks, .etc. Seems like a very shallow method of calculation. Also I do hope in their book they go into a lot more detail about where they got those statistics!

    hey compared this with the footprint of a Toyota Land Cruiser, driven 10,000km a year, which uses 55.1 gigajoules (the energy used to build and fuel it). One hectare of land can produce 135 gigajoules a year, which means the vehicle's eco-footprint is 0.41ha – less than half of the dog's.

    What a load of bullshit. We fuel SUVs using fossil fuels which adds to the carbon cycle, hence contributing to global warming. Now, if we were powering our pets of fossil fuels as well then we could easily compare them.
    • by ScentCone (795499) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:43AM (#29869335)
      Now, if we were powering our pets of fossil fuels as well then we could easily compare them.

      The food the pets eat (including the entire production cycle involving plant and animal ingredients, the transporation to your store, your transporting of it home, the packaging it's in, all of the overhead involved, and so on), the vet care they receive, the products you buy to make them clean, healthy, comfortable - all of those activities burn fuel. Lots of it. Unless your pet eats only stuff that you kill out in the back yard, your servicing of them is a huge resource burner.

      Of course, it's not as bad as the combined effects of Soccer, Kayaking, and Rock Climbing. If people would just stop doing those things, we'd avoid all sorts of carbon emissions. Oh, and going to bars to drink. Seriously. What a waste of resources.
    • by phantomfive (622387) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:03AM (#29869433) Journal
      Don't know, sounds like a really useful statistic to quote to Prius-driving dog owners. Mainly to confuse them. "You think you're saving the environment....Bwahaha"
  • 10,000km per year? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by whoever57 (658626) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:35AM (#29869285) Journal

    How typical is an SUV that is driven for only 10000km per year? That's what, less than 7k miles? Average mileage (in the USA is 12k miles or more).

    This is just another "study" where the numbers have been "stretched" to make a point.

  • by hyades1 (1149581) <hyades1@hotmail.com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:36AM (#29869289)

    "Two Hundred Interesting Ways to Wok Your Dog"

  • by itedo (845220) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:36AM (#29869291) Journal

    This is ridiculous. Since I guess the human beings are the problem for the (broken) ecology, why not eat some to save the planet? There are over six billions of them, I guess China may start exporting some "human delicacy" (irony) :P

    Theoretically they may be right, every higher developed creature has a thing called "basal metabolic rate" but that's the wrong model for determine effects of global warming. It's just stupid nonsense, although funny to read.

  • Cats (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FranTaylor (164577) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:38AM (#29869299)

    They protect your food from vermin, and they decrease the demand for the poisons used to kill vermin.

    I lived in an old rented house and cats were the only way to keep the mice out of our kitchen.

  • Not my dog (Score:5, Insightful)

    by willoughby (1367773) on Monday October 26, 2009 @12:41AM (#29869317)
    My dog could land the Space Shuttle. My neighbors dog, however, is worthless. That's a dog who should be sacrificed for the environment.
  • by Cochonou (576531) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:07AM (#29869455) Homepage
    Actually, I'm surprised the authors stopped so early in their quest of comparing apples to oranges (with meaningless criteria, as it has been pointed out by others slashdot users). The next logical step would have been to put into perspective the energy footprint of children. Think of the children - and of how many 4WD vehicles you could drive for the same energetic price ! Well, they probably saved this metric for their next scientific article.
  • by syousef (465911) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:10AM (#29869471) Journal

    I'm fucking fed up with people absolutely losing their minds whenever the word "environment" is mentioned. Suddenly they're willing to buy stupid shit that makes no sense. People lose all objectivity, all ability to add up total cost of ownership and conversion and turn into sock puppets for large corps who are selling them fairytales about being green.

    Shit like this wouldn't fly with a sane rationed well educated public:

    1) Compulsory replacement of lightbulbs with more expensive technology "for the environment" (no it's not just because there's a huge profit to be made selling new technology at 20x the price, honest it's not). Never mind that LED technology has much more potential.

    2) Creation of flimsy plastic bags that fucking fall apart so that you need twice as many to carry the same groceries followed by the removal of plastic bags with studier but still flawed and breakable "green" "enviro" bags which are now sold at large profit instead of being given away. Lets nickel and dime our customers to death in the name of the environment - but we couldn't possibly stop filling their mailboxes with dead tree junk mail. Fucking hypocrites!

    3) Solar hot water systems that cost more environmentally and financially to produce, install, run maintain than their conventional counterparts, often require that they be supplemented/boosted by a conventional heater (so net negative gain in terms of production). Honest it's not about selling shit people don't need!

    4) Water conservation and rationing. What a fucking joke. It's got nothing to do with environmental impact of building more dams and desalination plants and everything to do with the dollars it takes to do so. Water is not scarce on this planet. It recycles well if you don't abuse it badly with extremely noxious chemicals. The system is build to deal with the shit and piss of every creature on the planet. Anything short of sewage and noxious chemicals often can be reused if we weren't so skitish about grey water. Water as a scarce resource, and kids no longer being able to play in their back yards with a hose has nothing to do with environment and everything to do with politicians lining their pockets with taxes that should be spent on infrastructure.

    Want to know what you can do to stop fucking the environment? No you don't need to fucking eat Fido. Don't have more than 2 kids in your lifetime. Want to be really good? Have just one. Not into kids? Don't let your birth control regime slip. The one reason we're fucking up there environment is that there's about 6.5 BILLION people and growing. That many of a species that without modern technology and medicine should by rights number in the tens or hundreds of thousands just isn't going to be sustainable. Yet we breed like we're insects and look for ways to live longer and longer (even if it means our quality of life is ass in old age).

    • by Melibeus (94008) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:39AM (#29869603)

      In reply to your points,

      1) On CFLs. You have this one right. It's a ery obvious case of greenwash.

      2) Getting plastic bags out of our waste would be a very good thing. I've seen how many end up in the ocean and affect sea life. I agree though that the
      supermarkets cynical approach is to sell us plastic bags that should be cheaper to make. Today I bought a 'biodegradeable' bag made from corn starch or some such thing for 15c. I can't see how cornstarch is more expensive than using oil to make plastic. Someone is profiteering, supermarkets or bag makers?

      3) I don't see your point with solar hot water systems. My parents had one since the mid 1960's. It was replaced once and has given them hot water for four decades. They don't take much in the way of materials to make. Its only a metal and glass panel on the roof and a tank. The booster uses much less energy since on a cool day it's only usually having to heat the water from 30 or 40 degrees C. Most of the time the problem was that the water would come out TOO hot.

      4) Water scarcity. You obviously don't live in marginal land. The current round of drought in Australia is getting critical. I do agree though that de-salination is not the way to go. Here in Australia we should be pouring less water into cattle, cotton and rice and growing more water efficient crops. Also it's mostly a distribution problem.

      Your conclusion is spot on. Exponential growth in a finite world will lead to catastrophe. As far as I can see there's not a politician on the planet other than the Chinese communist government that have made any attempt to really address that issue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by turing_m (1030530)

      Want to know what you can do to stop fucking the environment? No you don't need to fucking eat Fido. Don't have more than 2 kids in your lifetime. Want to be really good? Have just one.

      Choosing to be the lone martyr is as effective as being the lone yeast cell in the bottle of sugary water that doesn't reproduce. Individually deciding not to have kids won't work. Population control needs enforcement from government. No way I'm taking one for the team while the free riding asshole over the road has 17 kids

    • by MosesJones (55544) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:53AM (#29869669) Homepage

      Lets break down your "mentalism". I'm not going to argue global warming as I'm sure you think its an evil hoax, so lets just do basic science and economics

      1) Compulsory replacement of lightbulbs with more expensive technology "for the environment" (no it's not just because there's a huge profit to be made selling new technology at 20x the price, honest it's not). Never mind that LED technology has much more potential.

      Lots of parts of the US, California for instance, and parts of Europe (UK) have or will have issues with electricity supply. Light bulbs are quite a part of that consumption this makes electricity a scare resource (excluding its environmental impact) by having things like energy standards against TVs, cookers and indeed lightbulbs you ensure that this scarce resource isn't wasted. So yes LED technology might be better but the point is that the old technology was certainly worse. Thus by making people use energy efficient devices (including lightbulbs) you actually stop things like rolling brown outs etc.

      2) Creation of flimsy plastic bags that fucking fall apart so that you need twice as many to carry the same groceries followed by the removal of plastic bags with studier but still flawed and breakable "green" "enviro" bags which are now sold at large profit instead of being given away. Lets nickel and dime our customers to death in the name of the environment - but we couldn't possibly stop filling their mailboxes with dead tree junk mail. Fucking hypocrites!

      Now again putting away the dead dolphins and concentrating on the costs of landfill and the belief that you don't want to live in a socialist country this switch again makes sense. What you are given a choice between is a poor product for free (socialism) or paying a market price for something that lasts longer and has more value (capitalism). So its not enviromental nutters its just plain old capitalism at work.

      3) Solar hot water systems that cost more environmentally and financially to produce, install, run maintain than their conventional counterparts, often require that they be supplemented/boosted by a conventional heater (so net negative gain in terms of production). Honest it's not about selling shit people don't need!
      Now the Solar hot water systems I know about (for instance the ones that I've seen down here in Australia) are definately nothing like this and are for large parts of the year totally self sustaining. Some of them are pretty damn technically simple (black pipes on the roof) with very little cost of production. If you aren't forced to use these however what is your problem? Its capitalism at work again, the latest Ferrari is a ruddy expensive car, has rubbish amounts of space and sits only two people, why on earth would people pay over the odds when they could just get a truck? The majority of solar water systems sold in the right markets (i.e. hot countries) and geothermal systems in the right countries (e.g. Iceland) are much cheaper to run than conventional systems, sure some people put the system in the wrong place (e.g. a solar system in Ireland) but those things happen all the time. Still I could generously give you that some environmental people are a bit silly (David Cameron and his windmill springs to mind).

      4) Water conservation and rationing. What a fucking joke. It's got nothing to do with environmental impact of building more dams and desalination plants and everything to do with the dollars it takes to do so. Water is not scarce on this planet. It recycles well if you don't abuse it badly with extremely noxious chemicals. The system is build to deal with the shit and piss of every creature on the planet. Anything short of sewage and noxious chemicals often can be reused if we weren't so skitish about grey water. Water as a scarce resource, and kids no longer being able to play in their back yards with a hose has nothing to do with environment and everything to do with politicians lining their pockets with taxes that should be spent on infr

    • by pkphilip (6861) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:53AM (#29869929)

      The myth that it is the population which is causing all the problems is an old one.

      The problem is not the population - but the fact that people are very wasteful.

      Example: Do you really need a couple of TVs in your house? Three cars? One way to reduce pollution is for us curtail our purchases - we must purchase less of EVERYTHING. Also, we should try and repair broken things before we head out to buy a replacement.

      Also, You are right in that this CFL madness going on is a scam. The bulbs are far more expensive and also much more difficult to recycle because of the mercury content.

      Also, what about the latest craze for hybrids and electrics? All electrics and any sort of high-end energy efficient solar panel requires rare earth minerals and these are very, very expensive in terms of energy to mine. But yet, we consider these as good ways of saving energy. The better way to reduce automobile emissions would have been to allow individuals to purchase far more efficient engine replacements for their cars or reconditioning the existing engines and cars without requiring them to completely junk the car to purchase a new one.

  • A couple of points (Score:3, Informative)

    by laron (102608) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:21AM (#29869523)

    - If you are worried about the eco footprint of your dog, just reduce your own meat consumption accordingly.

    - And as others have already pointed out, dog/cat food grade meat has not the same carbon foodprint as meat for human consumption.

    - The comparison of eco footprints between pets and cars is flawed, as long as most cars run on fossil fuels. Pets need arable land, cars consume fossil fuels and add CO2 to the biosphere.

    - Their math may be a bit off. http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiesel/ [wikipedia.org] gives the example of 445.5 m2 of land for 47.4l Biodiesel. Scale that up to one hectar (10,000m2) and you get 10,652 Liters of Biodiesel. You either need a very efficient car to go 10,000km with that (1l/100km or 235 miles per gallon) or a vastly more efficient energy plant than rapeseed. (Apologies if I made a mistake, corrections are welcome)

  • by misanthrope101 (253915) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:23AM (#29869539)

    I'm not saying that eating pets is viable or necessary, but I find the responses interesting. When people say "we might as well eat neighbors|kids|whoever" they are pretty much putting the lives of animals on the level, value-wise, with the lives of humans. I'm a shameless speciesist (or is it species chauvinist?) and I'm always jarred by people treating animals as if they're as valuable, as humans. I know people who would rather use prisoners for medical research than animals. Seriously.

    This thing goes pretty deep, and always amazes me. I used to work in an ER, and I had to sew up a child's face after she was bitten by a dog. After she was discharged , I was criticizing the family for having a 100lb carnivore that was bred for aggression living in the house with their 4 year old child. One of my co-workers got really angry at me, saying "we don't know that that child did to provoke the dog! Did you even ask that?" She blamed the kid and sided with the dog. I was dumbfounded. It fascinates me that people can work alongside one another and have profoundly divergent value systems. I'd have been less shocked to find that an otherwise amicable co-worker belonged to the Aryan Nation than to hear her side with the dog over a mauled child.

    • by Legion303 (97901) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:43AM (#29869623) Homepage

      I notice your co-worker's response did nothing to refute your comment. It doesn't matter what the kid did to provoke the dog.

    • by FlyingSquidStudios (1031284) on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:48AM (#29869637) Homepage
      It may seem odd, but I think a lot of pet owners here, myself included, if they had a choice between rescuing their pets from a fire or a total stranger would go for the pets. That doesn't exactly mean they are the same value as humans, but they have more personal value than humans that I don't know. My two dogs really are like children to me. I have had one of them for 14 years, got her the week I moved out of my parents' house. I empathize with her when she feels joy, I share her pain when she is hurt or sick. I will be as devastated when she dies as I would if I lost any other member of my immediate family. That's how important pets can be.

      By the way, one of the reasons the black plague spread so quickly in the middle ages was that people blamed cats and dogs and started culling them. Guess what was keeping the rat population at bay? I'd say that alone is good enough reason to keep our pets around. If you want to lower your carbon footprint, stop eating all that unsustainable fast food.
  • by ProteusQ (665382) <dontbother@[ ]here.com ['now' in gap]> on Monday October 26, 2009 @01:44AM (#29869629) Journal

    How about I eat an environmentalist?

  • by Amiralul (1164423) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:07AM (#29869729) Homepage
    How about calculating the environmental damage done by printing this stupid book?
  • by tomhudson (43916) <barbara.hudson@NOSpAM.barbara-hudson.com> on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:18AM (#29869783) Journal

    In a study published in New Scientist, they calculated a medium dog eats 164 kilograms of meat and 95kg of cereals every year. It takes 43.3 square metres of land to produce 1kg of chicken a year. This means it takes 0.84 hectares to feed Fido.

    Sorry, but that "meat" is animal byproducts that would otherwise end up in a landfill. Nobody but the family dog or cat is going to eat beef lips, eyelids, rendered gristle, etc.

    Also, they leave out the cost of manufacture. How much does it cost to manufacture a car, and also to build and maintain the related infrastructure (roads, snow clearing, etc) compared to the cost of producing a dog?

    Then throw in the environmental impact of consumables. Gallons of toxic antifreeze, tens or hundreds of gallons of windshield washer literally sprayed all over the environment, contaminated waste engine oil and transmission fluid, etc., asbestos from brake dust and clutch linings, - toxic waste, compared to the organic fertilizer Fido produces from what would otherwise be scrap food.

    Contrary to the "study", Fido does NOT eat prime chicken - he gets the left-overs off the carcass, the table scraps, etc., that would otherwise just add up to more organic waste. As such, Fido also reduces the rat problem at landfills, as well as converting waste food into fertilizer if you have a compost heap.

    Also, when you need a new car, you have to fork out big bucks. Need a new dog? They can make their own replacements, and you can get pretty much any "pure-bred" for free. I've gotten 2 Newfoundlanders for free (one from a local dog rescue, one as a reward for keeping a lost mutt for two months until the original owners were found, and a St. Bernard for $125 (she was less than a buck a pound, if you're into pricing meat) at the local dog pound. And a wolf, again for free.

    You can eat my dogs when you pry their leash from my cold dead hands. But make it a fair fight - both of you naked, armed with nothing but your teeth and claws. My money's on the dogs.

  • hm (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Arimus (198136) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:47AM (#29869897)

    1. Hop on green bandwagon
    2. Use unsubstantiated/flawed maths
    3. ????
    4. Profit

  • by goodmanj (234846) on Monday October 26, 2009 @02:51AM (#29869923)

    I tried feeding my dog gasoline, and I tried putting Purina in my gas tank. Now I've got to go see both the mechanic and the vet, but I'm not sure who should see which patient... This is a classic case of apples and oranges. You can't freely exchange food energy and fuel energy in today's society, so it's meaningless to compare their energy costs.

    When you look at the calculation in detail, they work out the amount of farmland per dog (0.83 hectares), then convert the amount of energy used by an SUV into acres of land, by using THE INTENSITY OF SUNLIGHT on that land surface. So yeah, if we had solar-powered cars that worked at 100% efficiency, their calculation makes sense. Otherwise, it's rubbish.

    Here's a better calculation: The U.S. has 1.5 hectares of farmland per capita. If every family of 4 owned one big dog, we'd be devoting 15% of our farmland to feeding pets. It's a noticeable chunk of our food resource, but it's not an SUV.

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