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Courtesy NASA

Courtesy NASA

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Courtesy NASA

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  1. Minus 5 Courtesy NASA …a small solution to a big problem

  2. The Problem


  4. The greenhouse effect happens because of certain naturally occurring substances in the atmosphere. Unfortunately, since the Industrial Revolution, humans have been pouring huge amounts of those substances into the air.

  5. Carbon Dioxide • Methane • CFCs • Ozone • Nitrous Oxide

  6. Methane acts much like carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, absorbing infrared energy and keeping heat energy on Earth. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that methane's concentration in the atmosphere in 2005 was 1,774 parts per billion (ppb) [Source: IPCC]. While there isn't as much methane as carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, methane can absorb and emit twenty times more heat than CO2 [Source: Hopwood, Nick and Cohen, Jordan]. Some scientists even speculate that a large-scale venting of methane into the atmosphere (such as from the release of huge chunks of methane ice locked under the oceans) could have created brief periods of intense global warming that led to some of the mass extinctions in the planet's distant past [Source: Discover Magazine].

  7. Where does the Methane come from? From large herds of livestock (i.e., digestive gases) From the bacteria in rice paddies Decomposition of garbage in landfills

  8. Table 1 U.S. Methane Emissions by Source (TgCO2 Equivalents) According to the US Emissions inventory for 2009, the two largest sources of methane gas are Enteric Fermentation (gas from livestock) and Landfills.

  9. Minus 5

  10. Americans eat an average of 14 billion burgers eaten annually. Based on a population of 304 million Americans, that makes an average number of burgers eaten annually per American of 46.6 . The Minus 5 program proposes a voluntary reduction by 5 to the average number of burgers eaten by Americans from 46.6 to 41.6. What would happen?

  11. A normal steer that weighs 1200 pounds will yield about 350 pounds of meat in steaks, roasts, etc. You could make ground beef out of all of that, or just the trimmings. If you use only the trimmings, then you would get about 75 pounds of ground beef. If each burger weighs 4 ounces, that is 300 burgers. It would be 1200 burgers if you ground up the entire animal as you would lose some weight to de-boning roasts, etc. but for our purposes we will use the entire steer for burgers.

  12. Putting Minus 5 into action means we would require 1,267,333 fewer cattle each year to provide burgers to Americans. = 1 MILLION

  13. 1,267,333 fewer cows = 354,853,240 fewer liters of methane/day into the atmosphere from cow burps The average cow burps 280 liters of methane each day. That means 1,267,333 cattle burp 354,853,240 liters of methane every day. Unfortunately, burped methane floats up into the atmosphere. Why do cows burp so much methane? The answer lies with bacteria. Billions of bacteria work in the cow's rumen (the first of the four chambers in its stomach), breaking down grass and hay in a process known as enteric fermentation. The bacteria — which live symbiotically in the cow's gut — are essential to its digestive process. The anaerobic bacteria produces large quantities of methane as a byproduct, which the cow gets rid of by burping.

  14. 7 lbs. corn=1 lb. cow weight 1200 lb. X 7 lbs X1267333/2000= 5,322,798 fewer tons corn A side benefit besides less methane being put into the atmosphere from the cattle industry would be- Since it takes 7 lbs. of corn feed to add 1 lb. weight to a cow, based on a 1200 lb. steer, America would require 5,322,798 fewer tons of corn- land that could be put into production for additional food crops enabling more biodiversity.

  15. …a small solution to a big problem