Cows share the blame for global warming
I am sitting in front of the computer mindlessly clicking when I come upon a story about how cow flatulence is a major contributor to global warming.
Having just experienced a presidential election and Thanksgiving with family and friends, a story dealing with air quality is obviously going to attract my attention.
But climate-threatening cows?
You tell me sneaky dogs are a major contributor to global warming …
Or red-meat eaters are a major contributor to global warming …
Or beer drinkers are a major contributor to global warming …
And I’m not raising an eyebrow.
But cows, cattle and sheep?
Well, as it turns out, livestock burps and booty belches account for 5 percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions.
Apparently, efforts have been underway for some time aimed at curbing the noxious outflow from our hoofed friends. The most promising approaches involve altering their feed. In Australia, scientists have been able to reduce sheep emissions up to 80 percent by adding a type of seaweed to their diet.
(Just a thought, but what would it take to incorporate a seaweed dish into the Thanksgiving menu?)
In the United States, which is home to some 88 million cows, a few less conventional methods are also being explored. One involves inserting tubes into the cow’s stomach and sucking methane into a backpack the animal would wear.
(Is it just me, or does 88 million cows wearing backpacks sound just a tad unwieldy?)
Another technique calls for placing something called a methane digester on dairy farms and in animal processing plants to capture the gases and convert them into energy.
(Has anyone considered also putting methane digesters in the halls of Congress?)
On a cultural level perhaps some type of behavioral modification could take place within herds. Maybe cows could be trained to be more circumspect, to see their casual emitting as a societal faux pas and cause for embarrassment.
Maybe those whacky uncle cows could be discouraged from going around to unsuspecting calves and enticing them to, “Here, pull my hoof.” Or maybe a page could be stolen from the frat house playbook and particularly sophomoric cows could be taught to use cigarette lighters.
It is, of course, unfair to explore the matter of flatulence without including humans.
So, 10 things:
The average person contributes to global warming 14 times a day, of which 99 percent are odor free.
Women and men lift a cheek at the same rate, although women don’t seem to take as much pride in it.
An Indian tribe in South America called the Yanomami exchange mutual toots as a greeting. (I’m assuming they do not also hug.)
A scuba diver cannot cut the cheese below 33 feet, which for some reason seems like a good thing to know.
Flatulence is flammable. (Hence the term flaming …?)
One may continue to expel gas three hours after dying, which I believe was the subject of a poem by John Donne, “Death Be Not Proud.”
In China you can actually get a job as a professional emission smeller. (But is there room for advancement?)
A sulfur-rich diet — and not a silent delivery — is mainly responsible for backdrafts capable of peeling paint off the wall.
Under the control of a skilled expeller, emissions can be produced in respect to volume, base and treble, and include musical genres ranging from opera, to classic rock, to yodeling.
Finally, broken wind has been clocked at speeds of up to 10 feet per second, which begs the questions:
Who does the measuring?
And is it possible this was always someone’s dream job?
Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist who believes the keys to life include the avoidance of physical labor and I-95. He can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @jimboshea.