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1 week 3 days ago

The impacts of meat consumption on the environment are of great concern as you mention in your article. Nevertheless, they are often overlooked by environmentalists. Hence, I congratulate you for having taken the time to explore this issue.

First, I completely agree that food production takes a large portion of the US land area. As a matter of fact, this is a global problem. Specifically, the livestock production takes 70% of all agricultural land, and 30% of the Earth’s global surface (Ilea, 2). Thus, one of the main causes of global deforestation is animal farming (Ilea 8). Indeed, large areas are necessary for animals to graze, and for the production of their feed (Ilea 8). For example, from 1990 to 2000, the Amazon rainforest lost “an area twice the size of Portugal […], most of it to pasture” (Ilea 8). Similarly, 50% of the global production of corn and 80% of that of soy is intended to feed farm animals (Ilea 8). As you partly noted, meat production can, as a result, cause biodiversity losses, soil erosion, and deforestation (Ilea 8).

However, while reading your second paragraph I did not see how your argument proved your conclusion. Indeed, while you state that the US food production, may it be for meat or for plant, use a large amount of energy and is not sustainable, you conclude that a vegan diet is much more sustainable than a meat-based one. Although your conclusion is reasonable, the statistics you provide do not prove it. Nevertheless, in addition to the other environmental consequences aforementioned, the livestock sector does have a significant impact on global warming. As a matter of fact, the livestock sector is responsible for 18% of the global greenhouse gas emissions, which is more than those of all transport (Ilea 2). More specifically, meat production is responsible for 68% of anthropogenic nitrous oxide emissions, 64% of anthropogenic ammonia emissions, and 35–40% of anthropogenic methane emissions (Ilea 4). While methane and nitrous oxide respectively have a global warming potential 23 and 296, nitrous oxide also contribution to the ozone depletion and ammonia plays a significant role in the acidification of rain (Ilea 4).

Similarly, meat production also consumes much more water than the production of cereal, as you noted. Nevertheless, the statistics you provide do not match those I found. Indeed, you mention that producing 1 kg of animal protein requires 100 times more water than 1 kg of grain. What I found, however, is that the production of 1 kg of meat takes from 2.5 to 20 times more water than the production of 1 kg of grain (Ilea 9). As a result, “diets based on meat from grain-fed cattle may take two times more water than pure vegetarian ones” (Ilea 9). Nonetheless, this is a real problem, especially with increasing water shortages that are expected; in fact, “64% of the world’s population is expected to live in water-stressed sectors by 2025” (Ilea 9). Furthermore, the nutrients from livestock’s manure are important sources of water pollution (Ilea 9).

Finally, the rapid population growth will indeed make all these problems worse if no changes are made. The population of the United States is indeed expected to increase, as the projections are now expecting, to 447,883,000 people in 2100 (United Nations, 28).

Hence, while some suggest that the population growth should be controlled, it is certain that developed countries’ consumption of animal products will need to be decreased (Ilea 12). In fact, if the global trend is not changed, the world livestock will consume as much as 4 billion people by 2050 (Ilea 12).

United Nations. “World Population Prospects.” Department of Economic and Social
Affairs, 2017, https://esa.un.org/unpd/wpp/Publications/Files/WPP2017_KeyFindings.pdf

Ilea, Ramona C. "Intensive Livestock Farming: Global Trends, Increased Environmental
Concerns, and Ethical Solutions." Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, vol. 22, no. 2, 2009, pp. 153-167, Research Library, https://proquest-crc.proxy.ccsr.qc.ca/docview/196572554?accountid=44391, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10806-008-9136-3.

2 months 1 week ago

When a technology is presented as having the capacity to solve, at least partly, such a large and threatening problem as climate change, it is important to criticize it and to shed light on its weaknesses. This is how these technologies will improve and how societies will avoid losing time in implementing ineffective solutions. Hence, I congratulate you for having critically assessed the environmental impacts of Electric Vehicles (EVs), which constitute a promising, yet imperfect, technological solution to climate change.

First, as you rightfully pointed out, the batteries of EVs are composed of rare metal. These metals are often extracted via environmentally destructive processes. Accordingly, as compared to gasoline vehicles, EVs have a larger environmental footprint during their production. Moreover, the Global Warming Potential (GWP) involved in the production of an electric vehicle is 2 times higher than that of an Internal Combustion Engine Vehicle (ICEV).

Next, you raised an important point by mentioning that the origin of the electricity powering EVs is essential in determining the environmental and health impacts of these vehicles. You mentioned that the environmental and health impacts of EVs whose energy originates from coal-fired plants is 80% higher than those of car powered by natural gases, and 3.5 times higher than those of EVs powered by wind or solar energy. While these data are reasonable, such comparisons are often matter of contention between different studies. For instance, while some studies claim that EVs powered by coal electricity pollute more than ICEVs, others claim that, even when they are powered by coal electricity, EVs still emit less than ICEVs. The divergence between these conclusions is notably explained by differences of what each study includes or does not include in its calculations. What is certain, however, is that EVs are way less green when powered by coal electricity that when they are powered by wind or solar. Likewise, a study analyzed the life-cycle GWP of EVs versus that of ICEVs. As a result, it has shown that the GWP of the former is 20%-24% less than that of the latter. However, it assumes that the electricity comes from the average European electricity sources, and it assumes that EVs have a very long lifespan. These assumptions are often not present in reality.

Another point that you did not consider, but that is nevertheless worth exploring is the disposal of the batteries at the end of their lives. These batteries contain toxic metals that can pollute the environment, and endanger ecosystems. Fortunately, these batteries will not end up in landfills, since regulations are already starting to hold EVs companies accountable for the disposal of the batteries they produce. As a result, some companies, helped by governments, are developing ways to recycle the components of these batteries, such as lithium. Nonetheless, the recycling of these components is still really uneconomic; for instance, it is 5 times more costly to recycle lithium than to produce it. Therefore, instead of recycling, some companies are suggesting to re-use the batteries for home energy storage or to store the energy of wind and solar plants.

Finally, the solutions to reduce the GHGs emissions of EVs include, as you mentioned, the conversion of coal sites into renewable energy sites. Indeed, in regions powered by renewable energies, such as Quebec, the environmental advantages of EVs are undeniable. Accordingly, to counter the low costs of coal energy, a tax on carbon might help. Furthermore, since the environmental impacts of EVs depend notably on local energy sources, regional policies might be more effective to encourage green transportation than national ones. In conclusion, EVs might not be perfect, but they have potential, are developing quickly and, while they might not solve the environmental consequences of our extractive lifestyles, they can give us more time to change. Public transportation should neither be neglected, according to me.

Works Cited

Biello, David. “Electric Cars Are Not Necessarily Clean.” Scientific American,
May 11,2016, https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/electric-cars-are-not-necessa.... Accessed September 30, 2017.

Brousseau-Pouliot, Vincent. « Voiture électrique : Le Dilemme
Environnemental. » La Presse, 26 August 2017, http://plus.lapresse.ca/screens/d96d0895-21c5-49c9-b9b0-f5a78276ab84%7CK.... Accessed September 30,2017.

Gardiner, Joey. “The Rise of Electric Cars Could Leave us With a big Battery
Waste Problem.” The Guardian, 10 August 2017, https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/2017/aug/10/electric-ca.... Accessed September 30, 2017.

Lambilliotte, Louis. “How Green are Electric Cars?” 11 June 2015,
http://large.stanford.edu/courses/2014/ph240/lambilliotte2/. Accessed September 30, 2017.

Wade, Lizzie. “Tesla’s Electric Cars Aren’t as Green as You Might Think”
Wired, 3 March 2016, https://www.wired.com/2016/03/teslas-electric-cars-might-not-green-think/. Accessed September 30,2017.

9 months 1 week ago

Considering I have a general knowledge on this topic, I can agree with your arguments raised. Feminism and humanism are indeed different in relation to their ideologies and motives. Although, they are similar in a sense that they both encourage human evolution in the best of ways. It is considered to be a controversial topic because many people have opposing views on the comparison of these two worldviews. I for one agree that both have different concentrations because one is dealing with just woman and the other focuses on self improvement as a whole.

9 months 1 week ago

Considering I have a general knowledge on this topic, I can agree with your arguments raised. Feminism and humanism are indeed different in relation to their ideologies and motives. Although, they are similar in a sense that they both encourage human evolution in the best of ways. It is considered to be a controversial topic because many people have opposing views on the comparison of these two worldviews. I for one agree that both have different concentrations because one is dealing with just woman and the other focuses on self improvement as a whole.

9 months 1 week ago

I agree with your statements and I was drawn to your post because human rights are a big deal to me as well as millions of others living as minorities in todays day in age. Whether it concerns gender, age or ethnicity, the motive of human rights is to support equality among each and every person. Unfortunately, certain countries such as Syria, Sudan and Pakistan do not have that privilege but it is crazy to think that my neighbouring country is being led by someone who is threatening something that other countries would die to have. Its unfortunate that it can be taken advantage of.

9 months 1 week ago

I was drawn to your post because I am also aware of gender inequality and its disappointing that this social issue occurs worldwide. As a barista myself, working at a coffee shop is not always as nice as it seems. Yes, the environment is mostly calm and people for the most part are quite friendly. Although, as a woman taking occasional orders from men clients, I am not always treated with the respect that I deserve. Its strange to think that people think they are entitled to a morning coffee; as if I owe them something. This made me realize that most people often treat others in ways that are not always respectful because they feel superior. Unfortunately, woman in most societies are targeted as the inferior group but we need to put our foot down and stand up for ourselves if found in any degrading situation. Its a shame that there is such inequalities in todays society. I read upon the Woman's March on Washington and I am glad to know that there is a movement focusing on this issue.

10 months 2 days ago

Very good and interesting article choice, your summary is also well-written. Although, you could add more content to your summary since it is very brief. It is important to care about the fake news phenomenon, because it is the only way we can get informed, but you and the writer are right saying that people are skeptical regarding news nowadays. I'm pretty sure you are alarmed, just like me, regarding the media's content. Another article that might interest you is "CNN, The 'Trump Dossier' and 'Fake News'" published by the Huffington post, it is also about the president Trump, his administration and The Cable News Network.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/cnn-trump-dossier-fake-news_us_58a07...

10 months 3 days ago

I appreciated reading your article and I do agree with your opinion that the laws of bill 101 should be loosened and that the relationship among English and French speaking individuals should become better. As a person living in Quebec who speaks both English and French I can say that there are people who judge my friends and I for speaking in English. I’ve personally had people come up to me and tell me that we are in Quebec and that in Quebec we only speak French when I spoke to someone in English. I’ve also had teachers judge my family and I when we were trying to speak in French saying it was not good enough because we spoke with an accent. I believe that people should be able to speak whatever language they would like and we should not be judged for doing so. Being bilingual should not be seen as a horrible thing it should be seen as an advantage.

10 months 1 week ago

Your article about food waste being a problem in Canada was really well said, you were able to explain the underlying issue of food waste and show proof of how Canada has been wasting 31$ billion dollars’ worth of food each year. I do think that it would be good if you elaborated on how other countries like France are decreasing food waste. In the article "French Law Forbids Food Waste by Supermarkets" written by Angelique Chrisafis for the Guardian, France is lowering food waste by having supermarkets donate a substantial amount of food to homeless shelters and are forcing supermarkets to sign documents with homeless shelters to donate food.

Source:
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/feb/04/french-law-forbids-food-wa...

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