Chris Gradwohl Homeworks

Have You Ever Heard Of Panda Cows?

ForUsToBe | Jan 03, 2011 | 1 comment

Ben has few peers, being a calf and one of only 24 of the scarce breed in the world.

At just after 8 a.m. Friday, on a farm east of Campion, Ben entered the world after mother Bella, a lowline Angus cow, spent a zero-degree night in labor in her stall.

Two hours later, still wet and shivering, the tiny calf snuggled against his diminutive mother.

The miniature panda cow is the result of 44 years of genetic manipulation by Richard Gradwohl, a farmer in Covington, Wash., about 20 miles southeast of Seattle.

A white belt encircling the animal’s midsection, and the white face with black ovals around the eyes, give the cow an appearance that is very much panda-like.

“We had a Chinese delegation visit our farm, and they were fascinated,” Gradwohl said in a telephone interview Friday. “They want them in China, so we’re going to be exporting.”

Miniature panda calves sell for as much as $30,000 from Gradwohl’s online clearinghouse for mini-cow aficionados. While Chris Jessen said he’ll likely sell Ben, his price has not been set.

Filed Under: Animal & Plant Life

Tags: calf, cow, featured, panda

Unformatted text preview: Praise for Plan B “Lester Brown tells us how to build a more just world and save the planet . . . in a practical, straightforward way. We should all heed his advice.” —President Bill Clinton “. . . a far-reaching thinker.” —U.S. News & World Report “It’s exciting . . . a masterpiece!” —Ted Turner “[Brown’s] ability to make a complicated subject accessible to the general reader is remarkable. . . ” —Katherine Salant, Washington Post “If the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize had been extended to a third recipient, the logical candidate would have been Lester Brown.” —Edward O. Wilson “Brown is impassioned and convincing when talking about the world’s ills and what he considers the four great goals to restoring civilization’s equilibrium. . . ” —April Streeter, TreeHugger.com “In this impressively researched manifesto for change, Brown bluntly sets out the challenges and offers an achievable road map for solving the climate change crisis.” —The Guardian “In tackling a host of pressing issues in a single book, Plan B 2.0 makes for an eye-opening read.” —Times Higher Education Supplement “The best big-picture summary of our environmental situation—both the problems and the solutions—I’ve ever read.” —Grist “A great book which should wake up humankind!” —Klaus Schwab, World Economic Forum “Lester R. Brown, one of the world’s preeminent eco-economists . . . has a solution for dealing with the threat . . . Plans must be periodically revised and refined, which Brown has done with insight and foresight in this volume.” —Ode continued . . . “. . . a highly readable and authoritative account of the problems we face from global warming to shrinking water resources, fisheries, forests, etc. The picture is very frightening. But the book also provides a way forward.” —Clare Short, British Member of Parliament “Lester R. Brown gives concise, but very informative, summaries of what he regards as the key issues facing civilization as a consequence of the stress we put on our environment. . . . a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate.” —The Ecologist PLAN B 4.0 “An enormous achievement—a comprehensive guide to what’s going wrong with earth’s life support system and how to fix it.” —Grinning Planet “Plan B has three parts: restructuring the global economy, working to eradicate poverty and reversing environmental destruction. Tall orders, to be sure: but Plan B is here thoughtfully laid out to achieve the seeming impossible—and with an understanding of world trends and cultures too.” —The Midwest Book Review “Lester R. Brown . . . offers an attractive 21st-century alternative to the unacceptable business-as-usual path that we have been following with regard to the environment (Plan A), which is leading us to ‘economic decline and collapse.’” — Thomas F. Malone, American Scientist “Brown’s overall action plan is both comprehensive and compelling.” —Caroline Lucas, Resurgence “A great book about ways to improve the environment and sustain economic progress.” —St. Petersburg Times “Plan B 3.0 is a great wealth of information on the environment unequaled in any other source of which I am aware.” —Walter Youngquist, author of GeoDestinies “Beautifully written and unimpeachably well-informed.” —Ross Gelbspan, author of The Heat Is On “The best single volume on saving the earth, period.” —Geoffrey Holland, author of The Hydrogen Age O THER N ORTON B OOKS BY L ESTER R. B ROWN Plan B 3.0: Mobilizing to Save Civilization Plan B 2.0: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble Outgrowing the Earth: The Food Security Challenge in an Age of Falling Water Tables and Rising Temperatures Plan B: Rescuing a Planet Under Stress and a Civilization in Trouble The Earth Policy Reader with Janet Larsen and Bernie Fischlowitz-Roberts Eco-Economy: Building an Economy for the Earth State of the World 1984 through 2001 annual, with others Vital Signs 1992 through 2001 annual, with others Beyond Malthus with Gary Gardner and Brian Halweil The World Watch Reader 1998 editor with Ed Ayres Tough Choices Who Will Feed China? Full House with Hal Kane Saving the Planet with Christopher Flavin and Sandra Postel Building a Sustainable Society Running on Empty with Colin Norman and Christopher Flavin The Twenty-Ninth Day In the Human Interest PLAN B 4.0 Mobilizing to Save Civilization Lester R. Brown EARTH POLICY INSTITUTE Earth Policy Institute® is a nonprofit environmental research organization providing a plan for building a sustainable future. In addition to the Plan B series, the Institute issues four-page Plan B Updates that assess progress in implementing Plan B. All of these plus additional data and graphs can be downloaded at no charge from the EPI Web site. Web site: www.earthpolicy.org W • W • NORTON & COMPANY NEW YORK LONDON Contents Preface xi 3 4 9 14 18 23 1. Selling Our Future Food: The Weak Link The Emerging Politics of Food Scarcity Our Global Ponzi Economy Mounting Stresses, Failing States Plan B—A Plan to Save Civilization I. THE CHALLENGES Copyright © 2009 by Earth Policy Institute All rights reserved Printed in the United States of America First Edition The EARTH POLICY INSTITUTE trademark is registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The views expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the Earth Policy Institute; of its directors, officers, or staff; or of any funders. The text of this book is composed in Sabon. Composition by Elizabeth Doherty; manufacturing by Courier Westford. 2. Population Pressure: Land and Water Civilization’s Foundation Eroding Water Tables Falling Farmers Losing Water to Cities Land and Water Conflicts Cars and People Compete for Grain The Rising Tide of Environmental Refugees 31 32 38 41 44 48 51 55 56 61 66 69 71 75 3. Climate Change and the Energy Transition ISBN 978-0-393-07103-0 (cloth) 978-0-393-33719-8 (pbk) W. W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, N.Y. 10110 www.wwnorton.com W. W. Norton & Company, Ltd., Castle House, 75/76 Wells Street, London W1T 3QT 1234567890 Rising Temperature and Its Effects Melting Ice, Rising Seas Melting Glaciers, Shrinking Harvests Rising Temperatures, Falling Yields The Decline of Oil and Coal A Challenge Without Precedent II. THE RESPONSE 4. Stabilizing Climate: An Energy Efficiency Revolution 79 A Revolution in Lighting Technology Energy-Efficient Appliances Zero-Carbon Buildings 81 84 87 This book is printed on recycled paper. viii Electrifying the Transport System A New Materials Economy Smarter Grids, Appliances, and Consumers The Energy Savings Potential Contents 91 96 103 106 109 113 117 125 128 132 135 143 145 147 151 154 158 160 162 168 171 174 181 185 188 192 193 198 202 206 209 211 216 217 222 226 Contents The Localization of Agriculture Strategic Reductions in Demand Action on Many Fronts III. THE GREAT MOBILIZATION ix 230 233 236 5. Stabilizing Climate: Shifting to Renewable Energy Turning to the Wind Solar Cells and Thermal Collectors Energy from the Earth Plant-Based Sources of Energy Hydropower: Rivers, Tides, and Waves The World Energy Economy of 2020 10. Can We Mobilize Fast Enough? Shifting Taxes and Subsidies Coal: The Beginning of the End Stabilizing Climate Three Models of Social Change A Wartime Mobilization Mobilizing to Save Civilization What You and I Can Do 6. Designing Cities for People The Ecology of Cities Redesigning Urban Transport The Return of Bicycles Reducing Urban Water Use Farming in the City Upgrading Squatter Settlements Cities for People 241 244 249 253 256 259 261 266 269 341 363 369 Notes Index Acknowledgments About the Author 7. Eradicating Poverty and Stabilizing Population Educating Everyone Toward a Healthy Future Stabilizing Population Rescuing Failing States A Poverty Eradication Agenda and Budget 8. Restoring the Earth Protecting and Restoring Forests Planting Trees to Sequester Carbon Conserving and Rebuilding Soils Regenerating Fisheries Protecting Plant and Animal Diversity The Earth Restoration Budget 9. Feeding Eight Billion People Well Raising Land Productivity Raising Water Productivity Producing Protein More Efficiently Preface Several months ago I was reading an article in Newsweek on climate and energy when a line jumped off the page: “Business as usual has started to read like the end of the world.” Although this conclusion may surprise many, it will not surprise the scientists who track global environmental trends such as deforestation, soil erosion, falling water tables, and rising temperature. For some time they have been saying that if these trends continue we will be in trouble. What was not clear was what form the trouble would take. It looks now as though food is the weak link, just as it was for many earlier civilizations. We are entering a new food era, one marked by higher food prices, rapidly growing numbers of hungry people, and an intensifying competition for land and water resources that has now crossed national boundaries as food-importing countries try to buy or lease vast tracts of land in other countries. Unlike earlier grain price hikes that were caused by singular events—a drought in the Soviet Union or a monsoon failure in India—and were typically remedied by the next harvest, this recent rise is trend-driven. Among the trends responsible are population growth, falling water tables, rising temperature, ice melting, and the use of grain to produce fuel for cars. In decades past, when grain prices climbed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture simply returned some cropland idled under farm programs to production, but now that land is all in use. Suddenly, food security has become a highly complex issue. xii Preface Preface xiii Energy policy may affect future food security more than agricultural policy. Eradicating hunger may depend more on the success of family planners than that of farmers. Raising water productivity may contribute more to future food security than expanding the irrigation water supply would. In his book The Collapse of Complex Societies, Joseph Tainter observes that civilizations become progressively more complex as they evolve until eventually they cannot manage the complexity. I was reminded of this as I watched Congress wrestling with the climate bill, whittling away at its goals as this book was going to press. International institutions are also wrestling with complexity. At this writing, all eyes are on the upcoming Copenhagen climate conference in early December. From my vantage point, internationally negotiated climate agreements are fast becoming obsolete for two reasons. First, since no government wants to concede too much compared with other governments, the negotiated goals for cutting carbon emissions will almost certainly be minimalist, not remotely approaching the bold cuts that are needed. And second, since it takes years to negotiate and ratify these agreements, we may simply run out of time. This is not to say that we should not participate in the negotiations and work hard to get the best possible result. But we should not rely on these agreements to save civilization. Some of the most impressive climate stabilization advances, such as the powerful U.S. grassroots movement that has led to a de facto moratorium on new coal-fired power plants, had little to do with international negotiations. At no point did the leaders of this movement say that they wanted to ban new coal-fired power plants only if Europe does, if China does, or if the rest of the world does. They moved ahead unilaterally knowing that if the United States does not quickly cut carbon emissions, the world will be in trouble. We are in a race between political tipping points and natural tipping points. Can we cut carbon emissions fast enough to save the Greenland ice sheet and avoid the resulting rise in sea level? Can we close coal-fired power plants fast enough to save the glaciers in the Himalayas and on the Tibetan Plateau, the ice melt of which sustains the major rivers and irrigation systems of Asia during the dry season? Can we stabilize population by reducing fertility before nature takes over and stabilizes our numbers by raising mortality? On the climate front, everything seems to be moving faster. Only a few years ago summer sea ice in the Arctic Sea was shrinking, but it was projected to last for several decades. The most recent reports indicate that it could disappear in a matter of years. Only a few years have passed since the most recent report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), but already the rise in carbon dioxide emissions, the rise in temperature, and the rise in sea level are all moving faster than even the IPCC’s worst-case scenario. The good news is that the shift to renewable energy is occurring at a rate and on a scale that we could not imagine even two years ago. Consider what is happening in Texas. The 8,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity in operation, the 1,000 megawatts under construction, and a huge amount in development will give it over 50,000 megawatts of wind generating capacity (think 50 coal-fired power plants). This will more than satisfy the residential needs of the state’s 24 million people. China, with its Wind Base program, is working on six wind farm mega-complexes with a total generating capacity of 105,000 megawatts. And this is in addition to the many smaller wind farms already in operation and under construction. Most recently, a consortium of European corporations and investment banks has announced a proposal to develop a massive amount of solar thermal generating capacity in North Africa, much of it for export to Europe. In total, it could easily exceed 300,000 megawatts—roughly three times the electrical generating capacity of France. And we could cite many more examples. The energy transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy is moving much faster than most people realize. In the United States, for example, generating capacity for wind increased by 8,400 megawatts in 2008, while that from coal increased by only 1,400 megawatts. The question we face is not what we need to do, because that seems rather clear to those who are analyzing the global situation. The challenge is how to do it in the time available. Unfor- xiv Preface tunately we don’t know how much time remains. Nature is the timekeeper but we cannot see the clock. Plan B is ambitious simply because this is what it is going to take to turn things around. Will it be difficult? No question. Are the stakes high? No question. The thinking that got us into this mess is not likely to get us out. We need a new mindset. Let me paraphrase a comment by environmentalist Paul Hawken in a 2009 college commencement address. In recognizing the enormity of the challenge facing us, he said: First we need to decide what needs to be done. Then we do it. And then we ask if it is possible. Lester R. Brown July 2009 Earth Policy Institute 1350 Connecticut Ave. NW Suite 403 Washington, DC 20036 Phone: (202) 496-9290 Fax: (202) 496-9325 E-mail: [email protected]

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