California Livestock Produce 1,400 Times More Methane Gas than L.A. Leak

So you may have heard that since the end of October, a storage well that is operated by SoCal Gas in Aliso Canyon, outside of Los Angeles has been leaking methane. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) that so far, 78,000 tons of methane has been released and that number is steadily climbing.

This is bad people. Methane is greenhouse gas that has a global warming potential 86 times greater than that of CO2 on a 20 year time frame. The EDF says that the daily leakage has the same 20-year climate impact as driving 7 million cars a day.

But is this really the worst U.S. environmental disaster since the BP oil spill? What about… livestock?

According to Mother Jones 70,000 pounds of methane is being released every hour which equates to 1.68 million pounds per day.

In the state of California, there are 6.95 million cows. The average cow produces between 250-500 liters of methane every day. The cows residing in California alone are emitting over 193 million pounds of methane every single day.

This means that currently, cattle being raised for meat and dairy are emitting 1,448 times more methane than the Aliso Canyon gas leak!

This methane leak is a terrible disaster that likely won’t be fixed until spring of 2016 and unfortunately is all but out of our hands. So why not help alleviate, or not contribute to even more methane being emitted into our atmosphere, and adopt a vegan diet today?

The Plan to Make California Wet By Bringing Back Beavers

Ending the drought in the West will require rain- not too much rain-and smarter ways to collect and store that water. But something else that can keep things moist? Believe it or not: Beavers.

According to a story in Water Deeply, a group of ecologists have a plan to help repopulate the Central Coast of California with Castor canadensis, the large beavers which once roamed the state in great numbers. (Not to be confused with their ancestors, giant beavers that were seven feet long.) The idea is that beavers are nature’s hydrologists, engineering the way that water travels through the landscape:

“Beavers aren’t actually creating more water, but they are altering how it flows, which creates benefits through the ecosystem,” says Michael Pollock, an ecosystems analyst and beaver specialist at the National Marine Fisheries Service Northwest Science Center.

Beavers were nearly eradicated by humans because they were interfering with our logging and fishing industries. But that’s exactly why beavers need to return. Rivers and streams that have been diverted by humans are designed to remove water quickly from the watershed, destroying local habitats for animals and making it more difficult for an ecosystem to recover from drought. Beavers build infrastructure which help to slow the flow of water, letting it recharge local aquifers, and preventing erosion which helps keep plants alive.

Not everyone is a fan of the Bring Back the Beaver campaign. Ecologists can’t agree where beavers originally lived, for one, so they aren’t sure where they should be reintroduced. And they don’t want to end up with an invasive species, which is what happened in South America. But some scientists aren’t waiting around for a consensus. The Yurok Tribal Fisheries Program is taking matters into its own hands, hiring humans to build their own beaver-like structures to mimic the rodents’ beneficial environmental impact. It sounds like a dam good idea.

[ Water Deeply]

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