A discussion about responsible meat consumption and what “sustainability” means
Sustainable meat consumption
A couple of readers have expressed skepticism about the discussion of meat in the context of sustainability. I understand their concerns—especially under current conditions of mass production and over-consumption of meat. But I believe there is room for meat at the sustainability discussion table. Meat-eaters need to be encouraged to consume more responsibly.
There is a Valencia-based outfit called Lindner Bison (www.lindnerbison.com) run by a husband-and-wife team that raises bison for food on a ranch in northeastern California. Lindner Bison is “committed to improve the quality of life and educate others about sustainable agriculture and family farming through respectful production of grass-fed and grass-finished bison.” The Lindners practice humane animal husbandry (pasture-raised, grass-fed, grass-finished—no grain or corn ever; no barbed wire; natural parasite control; keeping cattle in family units) and do not give their bison any added hormones or antibiotics.
The Lindners also practice and advocate “nose-to-tail” meat-eating, and abide by the “15% Steak Rule.” On average, only 15 percent of a bison carcass yields steaks. “When we practice sustainable eating,” offer the Lindners on their website, “this means our menu is in proportion to the carcass yield percentages.” The Lindners figure that a person’s annual diet should consist of no more than 55 days of eating steak (at an average portion of 8 ounces), because 15 percent of 365 days equals 55 days.
It’s a start.
What we mean when we say “sustainability”
Last week, I noted that a speaker named Susan Golubock (an educator who has Asperger’s Syndrome) would be speaking at Butte College about issues of better understanding autistic students and integrating them into the college classroom and workforce. What, one might ask, does a talk on autism have to do with sustainability?
It is generally understood that the term “sustainability” or “sustainable development” encompasses three areas of concern—environmental, economic and sociopolitical. The United Nations’ 2005 World Summit referred to these three aspects of sustainability as “interdependent and mutually reinforcing pillars” of global development.
Sociopolitical sustainability deals with issues of social justice and maintaining the welfare of all members of society, including those with autism who, by recent statistics, are growing by leaps and bounds as a segment of our population.
The website of the Autism National Committee (www.autcom.org) speaks directly to this. Below a banner reading “support, inclusion, social justice,” the site announces its mission: “Social Justice for All Citizens with Autism.”
Zeke Lunder, of ZeekoSalvage—maker of the ZeekoBag (see CN&R story, “Ultimate eco-bags,” Aug. 5, 2010)—recently informed me that, in addition to making such creative, useful items as bike bags, purses and water-bottle bags from used fire hose, he is now in the business of recycling and repurposing garden tools. Lunder is looking for old rakes, pitchforks, hoes and shovels, as well as broken handles.
Check out the local, certified-organic, heirloom veggie, grain and herb seeds from Redwood Organic Farm up north in nearby Manton: www.redwoodseeds.net. Also available at Chico Natural Foods and the Saturday downtown Chico Certified Farmers’ Market.