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Which do you think contributes more to global warming” cars or cows?

You might be surprised to learn that cows and other livestock produce more than one-third of the methane released into the atmosphere. That can add up to 189 liters of methane per cow, per day. What’s more alarming is that the amount of methane produced by livestock could increase by 60% in 20 years.

But just how do cows and other livestock release this greenhouse gas? Burps.
That’s right, global warming is caused, in part by cow burps (and to a lesser extent, farts.)

Scientists are trying to sniff out a solution to this stinky problem. (Yes, cow burps smell.) And while some researchers hope to find a diet that’s easier for cattle to digest that will result in less gas, it appears that kangaroos may also hold the key.

Kangaroo gas contains no methane. Special bacteria in kangaroo stomachs eat up all the methane before the gas can be released.
Kangaroo’s stomachs have had thousands of years to adjust to the grass and other foods they eat, so they have become very efficient at digesting their meals. Special bacteria in the kangaroo’s stomach digest the methane, giving kangaroos more energy from the food they eat. Cows, on the other hand, have been imported and exported all over the world. Everywhere they go, they have to get used to new foods- and adjusting to these new foods causes methane filled gas.

More bad news about cows

Cows also release 64% of the atmosphere’s ammonia into the environment, which is a major cause of acid rain.

Consider the land cows need to live on (30% of the Earth’s land surface), and the land used to grow their food (another 30% of all farmland). We’re talking about a BIG impact here. In the Amazon, about 70% of the rainforest has been cut down to provide grazing land for livestock. Not to mention water pollution from animal poop and all the chemicals that are used (hormones, antibiotics, fertilizer for their feed…) Anyone up for a veggie burger?

The excerpt above was discovered in this great book called  ' Save the Earth Science Experiements' by Elizabeth Snoke Harris. If you're kids are showing an interest in Earth matters its worth borrowing it from your local library or even buying it.

Source: Page 36.

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    Genevieve says:

    It's spooky how cevler some ppl are. Thanks!

    8th November 2011 . 12 years ago