The Mess is All Right, the Trouble with Livestock

The New York Times carries a heartening article on the benefits of messiness. It features a quote from Einstein: "“If a cluttered desk is a sign of a cluttered mind, of what, then, is an empty desk?” There are also some interesting data such as the fact that one in 12 people split up with a partner due to disagreements about messiness. A final shot across the bow of cleanliness comes in the form of data showing that messy people make more money than neat people. The article links neat desks to people making less that 35 K a year.

Another article in the Times points out that 30 percent of the land surface on the planet houses livestock. These animals are responsible for 18 percent of the global warming effect, more than that for transportation. The data in the article is pulled from a report called "Livestock's Long Shadow." The report states that 8 percent of human water use is tied up with livestock, and that by 2025 64 percent of the world's population will live in "water-stressed" basins.

In the US 55 percent of erosion is livestock related. 37 percent of pesticide use is related to livestock, as is 33 percents of the nitrogen and phosphorus that gets dumped into freshwater resources such as a rivers and lakes. Since it is a major cause of deforestation, livestock is also a major contributor to the decline in biodiversity. The report states that species loss is running at somewhere better 50 and 500 times the rate found in older fossil records.

Livestock production is expected to double over the next 45 years, from 229 million metric tons to 465 million metric tons. Milk will go from 580 million metric tons to just over 1.043 million metric tons.

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