Happy Earth Day! The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970; 43 years later, we are still celebrating our planet and discussing ways to better care for it. According to Kathleen Rogers, a blogger at the Earth Day Network, “More than 100 million schoolchildren around the world will learn about the importance of clean air and water; thousands of federal, state, and local governments will issue reports about their environmental achievements and records and make pledges to improve their environmental performance and invest in green technology; and tens of thousands of clergy members will give sermons about the importance of protecting God's creation.”
While environmental stewardship is old hat to ranchers, something that we do each and every day, today is a good day to talk with the masses about the things we do at home on our operations. So, join the conversation and post some positive stories online about how ranchers care for the land and keep it sustainable for future generations.
If you haven’t seen my column in the April issue of BEEF magazine yet, I urge you to read it and share it with friends and family. The column is titled, “Ranchers Were ‘Green’ Before Green Was Cool.” Here is an excerpt:
“Beef production in the U.S. today is more efficient and earth-friendly that at any time in history. Peer-reviewed research by Washington State University’s Jude Capper, for instance, illustrates that without productivity-enhancing technologies used by U.S. beef producers, producing the same amount of beef as in 1970 would require:
- 10 million more beef cattle,
- 17 million more acres of land for grazing and growing feed,
- 81 million more tons of cattle feed, and 138 billion more gals. of water.
“The result would be that, in the U.S. alone, 18 million more metric tons of CO2 equivalent would be released into the atmosphere, and 16.9 million acres of forests would need to be destroyed in other countries to maintain global beef production, as U.S beef supply would decrease 17%.
“While Americans observe and refocus their environmental conscience on April 22, most will be largely unaware that Earth Day is a 365-day observance for a rancher. We are the true stewards of the land, and we were 'green' way before green was cool. And we need to make our fellow Americans aware of that.”
In addition, our BEEF magazine Earth Day page offers some great resources for talking about environmental stewardship with the masses. Check out all the great information here.
For a more visual picture of how farmers and ranchers are environmental stewards, check out this photo gallery by Jamie Purfeerst, with photos provided by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's Environmental Stewardship Award Program: “Ranching Operations Personify Environmental Stewardship.”
How are you celebrating Earth Day today? What are the most common misconceptions you think consumers have about today’s modern agriculture? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.