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Going Back to College for a 24-Minute Lecture on Livestock and the Environment

Written by: Sarah Novak   |   June 3, 2021

Environmental footprint, Online learning

We have all seen the headlines and had the conversations at our children’s sports games, the county fair or church regarding agriculture and saving the planet.

“Sarah, you work in agriculture, right? I was thinking about eating less meat to save the planet – what do you think?”

Usually, the person is concerned with water overuse, greenhouse gases, air quality or why we grow “so much corn or soybeans” for poultry and livestock, instead of growing more food for people. When I went to college (many years ago), there certainly weren’t any classes or discussions on climate and agriculture. Today, my children, who are in elementary, middle and high school, are already talking about it (there are no plastic straws in our house anymore!).

About a month ago, Frank Mitloehner, Ph.D., of the University of California at Davis, interviewed with the “What I’ve Learned” YouTube channel on the very topic of climate and animal agriculture. The video has over 2 million views already! While this video is a bit long (24-minutes – but you’ll never notice because it’s so engaging), it covers all the hot-button issues surrounding animal agriculture – its use of water and land, how water use is measured, the nutritional benefits of meat and its contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Mitloehner has a great way of explaining the science behind the issues – I suspect this is why he’s not only a good researcher but an even better professor. If you want to take a 24-minute class on livestock and the environment, I’d highly recommend finding the time! I’ve watched it a couple of times now and walked away with new information each time (maybe I’m a slow learner). But after each time, I feel more and more comfortable answering the questions from my friends and family.

What other questions do you have about animal agriculture? Feel free to share your questions or comments in the comments section below.

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