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Posts tagged sustainability
Sustainable agriculture: methane to the rescue?
Among all agriculture by-products, methane is one of the most dangerous for the environment. Yet it is also a useful gas that, if managed properly, can even become socially and environmentally sustainable. Here’s how.
If agriculture takes such a toll on the environment, it is mainly because of its greenhouse gas emissions. Or, to be more precise, the emissions caused by ruminants. There are microorganisms in every cow’s digestive system called anaerobic organisms, which “digest” organic matter and transform it into a gas that is released into the atmosphere through belching, flatulence and manure: methane. Methane is widely used around the world as a fuel (it is actually the main component of natural gas, which is used every day in our homes to cook or heat), but it is also a very powerful greenhouse gas: 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide, in fact. A cow produces 250 litres of methane per day. This is comparable to the amount of daily pollution produced by a car. There are over 1.5 billion cows in the world, and this number is growing. As the world’s population increases, more and more cows are needed to produce milk and meat. Managing cows’ methane emissions is therefore a crucial challenge for sustainable farming. Luckily, there are ways to reduce these emissions, and there are also ways to put this gas to good use. Danone has been exploring two of these options for the past few years.