Friday, February 20, 2015

BIZARRE: Government Panel Says Consider Planet Before You Eat

Demonstrating a fundamental cluelessness about waste, a  joint panel of the Department of Health and Human Services and  the Agriculture Department is recommending for the first time that Americans consider the impact on the environment when they are choosing what to eat.

The panel’s findings, issued Thursday in the form of a 571-page report, recommended that Americans be "kinder" to the environment by eating more foods derived from plants and fewer foods that come from animals, reports WaPo.. Red meat is deemed particularly harmful because of, among other things, the amount of land and feed required in its production.

“Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact than is the current average U.S. diet,” the report says.

Says WaPo, "The environmental recommendations are part of a report meant to provide the scientific basis for the next version of the Dietary Guidelines, the federal government’s publication on what to eat."

This perspective completely misunderstands the nature of waste. Waste is simply a negative good, for which there is a cost of disposal. It is a byproduct of the creation of a positive good, that is, a good that has value. If the cost of disposal is greater than the value of the positive good, a person will not act in a manner to create that type of good (and the associated waste.). If on the other hand, say, the land required to dump waste has little in the way of alternative uses and is cheap enough so that the creation of a good and its negative good, waste, is such that the cost of disposal is less then the value of the created positive good, then, on a free market, the good will be created.

The panel recommendation suggests no understanding of this cost-value relationship and simply adopts the idea that all waste is somehow evil without taking into consideration the value of the positive good created when a given amount of waste is created as a byproduct.

That individuals choose to eat red meat and deal with the associated waste, indicates that the cost of disposal of  the related waste, that is created when consuming red meat, is less than the value gained by those who eat the red meat.



  1. They're probably referring to phantom "positive externalities," like CO2 emissions, under the auspices that the market cannot calculate the cost. But oh, their central planning board can! Just give them a few decades and a trillion dollars.

    You don't have to look hard to find pictures of environmentalists holding up signs that say people who eat meat are destroying the planet. It is a recurring theme.

    Of course, they neglect to mention all the USDA subsidies that go to dwarf wheat and Roundup resistant corn and soy. And the antibiotics given to the animals that they've poisoned.

    Pasture raising multiple types of animals together allows them to effectively clean up after each other, reducing their "pollution" and land required, much like rotating crops. But we peons aren't supposed to know that.

    These people aren't clueless. They're up to something.

  2. I'm not sure they misunderstand the nature of waste so much as they are taking a central planner approach which replaces the valuation made by the community or the market with the valuation made by the elitists. They presuppose that human impact on the environment is bad, so the more they can reduce that impact, the better.

    Also stems from the misunderstanding that humans and the impact on the environment by humans is unnatural. We evolved to mold our environment to suit us. First by producing tools from what we found around us and eventually to rearranging resources and managing what plants grow where to best suit our nourishment. This is our place in nature as we evolved to do so.

  3. Environmental considerations obviously have nothing to due with dietary considerations. Obviously a nod for the Big Green lobby.

  4. Why don't the greens ever attack the seemingly sacrosanct American military who are reportedly the planets biggest polluters?

  5. Here is a TED Talk by Allan Savory "How to fight desertification and reverse climate change", that strongly contradicts the government panel.

    Alex Z