Should We Eat Meat?

Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118278690
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 280
View: 4900
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Meat eating is often a contentious subject, whether consideringthe technical, ethical, environmental, political, or health-relatedaspects of production and consumption. This book is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examinationand critique of meat consumption by humans, throughout theirevolution and around the world. Setting the scene with a chapter onmeat’s role in human evolution and its growing influenceduring the development of agricultural practices, the book goes onto examine modern production systems, their efficiencies, outputs,and impacts. The major global trends of meat consumption aredescribed in order to find out what part its consumption plays inchanging modern diets in countries around the world. The heart ofthe book addresses the consequences of the "massive carnivory" ofwestern diets, looking at the inefficiencies of production and atthe huge impacts on land, water, and the atmosphere. Health impactsare also covered, both positive and negative. In conclusion, theauthor looks forward at his vision of “rational meateating”, where environmental and health impacts are reduced,animals are treated more humanely, and alternative sources ofprotein make a higher contribution. Should We Eat Meat? is not an ideological tract for oragainst carnivorousness but rather a careful evaluation of meat'sroles in human diets and the environmental and health consequencesof its production and consumption. It will be of interest to a widereadership including professionals and academics in food andagricultural production, human health and nutrition, environmentalscience, and regulatory and policy making bodies around theworld.

Should We Eat Meat Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory


Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN: 9781118278727
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 276
View: 5467
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Meat eating is often a contentious subject, whether considering the technical, ethical, environmental, political, or health-related aspects of production and consumption. This book is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examination and critique of meat consumption by humans, throughout their evolution and around the world. Setting the scene with a chapter on meat’s role in human evolution and its growing influence during the development of agricultural practices, the book goes on to examine modern production systems, their efficiencies, outputs, and impacts. The major global trends of meat consumption are described in order to find out what part its consumption plays in changing modern diets in countries around the world. The heart of the book addresses the consequences of the "massive carnivory" of western diets, looking at the inefficiencies of production and at the huge impacts on land, water, and the atmosphere. Health impacts are also covered, both positive and negative. In conclusion, the author looks forward at his vision of “rational meat eating”, where environmental and health impacts are reduced, animals are treated more humanely, and alternative sources of protein make a higher contribution. Should We Eat Meat? is not an ideological tract for or against carnivorousness but rather a careful evaluation of meat's roles in human diets and the environmental and health consequences of its production and consumption. It will be of interest to a wide readership including professionals and academics in food and agricultural production, human health and nutrition, environmental science, and regulatory and policy making bodies around the world.

Should We Eat Meat? Evolution and Consequences of Modern Carnivory


Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
ISBN: 1118278704
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 280
View: 380
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Meat eating is often a contentious subject, whether considering the technical, ethical, environmental, political, or health-related aspects of production and consumption. This book is a wide-ranging and interdisciplinary examination and critique of meat consumption by humans, throughout their evolution and around the world. Setting the scene with a chapter on meat’s role in human evolution and its growing influence during the development of agricultural practices, the book goes on to examine modern production systems, their efficiencies, outputs, and impacts. The major global trends of meat consumption are described in order to find out what part its consumption plays in changing modern diets in countries around the world. The heart of the book addresses the consequences of the "massive carnivory" of western diets, looking at the inefficiencies of production and at the huge impacts on land, water, and the atmosphere. Health impacts are also covered, both positive and negative. In conclusion, the author looks forward at his vision of “rational meat eating”, where environmental and health impacts are reduced, animals are treated more humanely, and alternative sources of protein make a higher contribution. Should We Eat Meat? is not an ideological tract for or against carnivorousness but rather a careful evaluation of meat's roles in human diets and the environmental and health consequences of its production and consumption. It will be of interest to a wide readership including professionals and academics in food and agricultural production, human health and nutrition, environmental science, and regulatory and policy making bodies around the world.

Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization


Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Lulu Press, Inc
ISBN: 136558190X
Category: Science
Page: 1244
View: 2188
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How much further should the affluent world push its material consumption? Does relative dematerialization lead to absolute decline in demand for materials? These and many other questions are discussed and answered in Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization. Over the course of time, the modern world has become dependent on unprecedented flows of materials. Now even the most efficient production processes and the highest practical rates of recycling may not be enough to result in dematerialization rates that would be high enough to negate the rising demand for materials generated by continuing population growth and rising standards of living. This book explores the costs of this dependence and the potential for substantial dematerialization of modern economies. Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization considers the principal materials used throughout history, from wood and stone, through to metals, alloys, plastics and silicon, describing their extraction and production.

Feeding the World

A Challenge for the Twenty-First Century
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262692717
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 360
View: 2019
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A realistic yet encouraging look at how society can change in ways that will allow us to feed an expanding global population. This book addresses the question of how we can best feed the ten billion or so people who will likely inhabit the Earth by the middle of the twenty-first century. He asks whether human ingenuity can produce enough food to support healthy and vigorous lives for all these people without irreparably damaging the integrity of the biosphere. What makes this book different from other books on the world food situation is its consideration of the complete food cycle, from agriculture to post-harvest losses and processing to eating and discarding. Taking a scientific approach, Smil espouses neither the catastrophic view that widespread starvation is imminent nor the cornucopian view that welcomes large population increases as the source of endless human inventiveness. He shows how we can make more effective use of current resources and suggests that if we increase farming efficiency, reduce waste, and transform our diets, future needs may not be as great as we anticipate. Smil's message is that the prospects may not be as bright as we would like, but the outlook is hardly disheartening. Although inaction, late action, or misplaced emphasis may bring future troubles, we have the tools to steer a more efficient course. There are no insurmountable biophysical reasons we cannot feed humanity in the decades to come while easing the burden that modern agriculture puts on the biosphere.

Japan's Dietary Transition and Its Impacts


Author: Vaclav Smil,Kazuhiko Kobayashi
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262017822
Category: History
Page: 229
View: 2596
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In a little more than a century, the Japanese diet has undergone a dramatic transformation. This book points out that the gains in the quality of Japans diet have exacted a price in terms of land use changes, water requirements, & marine resource depletion; & because Japan imports so much food, this price is paid globally as well as domestically.

Harvesting the Biosphere

What We Have Taken from Nature
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 026201856X
Category: Nature
Page: 307
View: 1719
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An interdisciplinary and quantitative account of human claims on the biosphere's stores of living matter, from prehistoric hunting to modern energy production. The biosphere--the Earth's thin layer of life--dates from nearly four billion years ago, when the first simple organisms appeared. Many species have exerted enormous influence on the biosphere's character and productivity, but none has transformed the Earth in so many ways and on such a scale as Homo sapiens. In Harvesting the Biosphere, Vaclav Smil offers an interdisciplinary and quantitative account of human claims on the biosphere's stores of living matter, from prehistory to the present day. Smil examines all harvests--from prehistoric man's hunting of megafauna to modern crop production--and all uses of harvested biomass, including energy, food, and raw materials. Without harvesting of the biomass, Smil points out, there would be no story of human evolution and advancing civilization; but at the same time, the increasing extent and intensity of present-day biomass harvests are changing the very foundations of civilization's well-being. In his detailed and comprehensive account, Smil presents the best possible quantifications of past and current global losses in order to assess the evolution and extent of biomass harvests. Drawing on the latest work in disciplines ranging from anthropology to environmental science, Smil offers a valuable long-term, planet-wide perspective on human-caused environmental change.

Why America Is Not a New Rome


Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 026228829X
Category: History
Page: 240
View: 5319
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America's post--Cold War strategic dominance and its pre-recession affluence inspired pundits to make celebratory comparisons to ancient Rome at its most powerful. Now, with America no longer perceived as invulnerable, engaged in protracted fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, and suffering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, comparisons are to the bloated, decadent, ineffectual later Empire. In Why America Is Not a New Rome, Vaclav Smil looks at these comparisons in detail, going deeper than the facile analogy-making of talk shows and glossy magazine articles. He finds profound differences.Smil, a scientist and a lifelong student of Roman history, focuses on several fundamental concerns: the very meaning of empire; the actual extent and nature of Roman and American power; the role of knowledge and innovation; and demographic and economic basics--population dynamics, illness, death, wealth, and misery. America is not a latter-day Rome, Smil finds, and we need to understand this in order to look ahead without the burden of counterproductive analogies. Superficial similarities do not imply long-term political, demographic, or economic outcomes identical to Rome's.

Energy

A Beginner's Guide
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
ISBN: 1786071347
Category: Science
Page: 240
View: 538
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With his famous equation, E=mc2, Einstein showed us that all matter can be described as energy. It is everywhere; it is everything. In this engaging introduction, renowned author and scientist Vaclav Smil covers a wide range of topics, from the inner workings of the human body to the race for more efficient and eco-friendly fuels. Shedding light on the science behind global warming and efforts to prevent it, and how our daily decisions affect energy consumption, this book highlights the importance of energy in both past and present societies. Whether you're after insight or dinner table conversation, Energy: A Beginner's Guide will amaze and inform, uncovering the science behind one of the most important concepts in our universe.

Environment and Food


Author: Colin Sage
Publisher: Routledge
ISBN: 1134229011
Category: Science
Page: 320
View: 9663
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This timely book provides a thorough introduction to the inter-relationship of food and the environment. Its primary purpose is to bring to our attention the multiplicity of linkages and interconnections between what we eat and how this impacts on the earth’s resources. Having a better idea of the consequences of our food choices might encourage us to develop more sustainable practices of production and consumption in the decades ahead. Although human societies have, over time, brought under control a large proportion of the earth’s resources for the purpose of food production, we remain subject to the effective functioning of global ecosystem services. The author highlights the vital importance of these services and explains why we should be concerned about the depletion of freshwater resources, soil fertility decline and loss of biological diversity. The book also tackles some of the enormous challenges of our era: climate change – to which the agri-food system is both a major contributor and a vulnerable sector – and the prospect of significantly higher energy prices, arising from the peaking of oil and gas supplies which will reveal how dependent the food system has become upon cheap fossil fuels. Such challenges are likely to have significant implications for the long-term functioning of global supply chains and raise profound questions regarding the nutritional security of the world’s population. Taken together the book argues that a re-examination of the assumptions and practices underpinning the contemporary food system is urgently required. Environment and Food is a highly original, inter-disciplinary and accessible text that will be of interest to students and the wider public genuinely interested in and concerned by the state of the world’s food provisioning system. It is richly illustrated with figures and makes extensive use of boxes to highlight relevant examples.

Energy Myths and Realities

Bringing Science to the Energy Policy Debate
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: Government Institutes
ISBN: 9780844743455
Category: Science
Page: 232
View: 4693
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There are many misconceptions about the future of global energy often presented as fact by the media, politicians, business leaders, activists, and even scientists_wasting time and money and hampering the development of progressive energy policies. Energy Myths and Realities debunks the most common fallacies to make way for a constructive, scientific approach to the global energy challenge.

Meathooked

The History and Science of Our 2.5-Million-Year Obsession with Meat
Author: Marta Zaraska
Publisher: Basic Books
ISBN: 046509872X
Category: Cooking
Page: 272
View: 9660
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A few years ago, Marta Zaraska's mother decided to go vegetarian after stumbling upon an article on the health risks of eating meat. Her resolve lasted about a fortnight before the juicy hams and the creamy pâtés began creeping back into her refrigerator. Prodded to explain her lapse, she replied, “I like meat, I eat it, end of story.” Many of us have had a similar experience. What makes us crave animal protein, and what makes it so hard to give up? And if all the studies are correct, and consuming meat is truly unhealthy for us, why didn't evolution turn us all into vegetarians in the first place? In Meathooked, Zaraska explores what she calls the “meat puzzle”: our love of meat, despite its harmful effects. Scientific journals overflow with reports of red meat raising the risk of certain cancers; each hamburger contributes as much to global warming as does driving a car 320 miles; and the horrors of industrial meat production are now well-known. None of these facts have prompted us to give up our hamburgers and steaks. On the contrary, meat consumption has only increased over the past decades. Taking the reader to India's unusual steakhouses, animal sacrifices at temples in Benin, and labs in Pennsylvania where meat is being grown in petri dishes, Zaraska examines the history and future of meat and meat-eating, showing that while our increasing consumption of meat can be attributed in part to the power of the meat industry and the policies of our governments, the main “hooks” that keep us addicted to meat are much older: genes and culture. An original and thought-provoking exploration of carnivorousness, Meathooked explains one of the most enduring features of human civilization—and why meat-eating will continue to shape our bodies and our world into the foreseeable future.

Global Catastrophes and Trends

The Next 50 Years
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262195860
Category: Science
Page: 307
View: 6751
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Fundamental change occurs most often in one of two ways: as a "fatal discontinuity," a sudden catastrophic event that is potentially world changing, or as a persistent, gradual trend. Global catastrophes include volcanic eruptions, viral pandemics, wars, and large-scale terrorist attacks; trends are demographic, environmental, economic, and political shifts that unfold over time. In this provocative book, scientist Vaclav Smil takes a wide-ranging, interdisciplinary look at the catastrophes and trends the next fifty years may bring. Smil first looks at rare but cataclysmic events, both natural and human-produced, then at trends of global importance, including the transition from fossil fuels to other energy sources and growing economic and social inequality. He also considers environmental change -- in some ways an amalgam of sudden discontinuities and gradual change -- and assesses the often misunderstood complexities of global warming. Global Catastrophes and Trends does not come down on the side of either doom-and-gloom scenarios or techno-euphoria. Instead, Smil argues that understanding change will help us reverse negative trends and minimize the risk of catastrophe.

Enriching the Earth

Fritz Haber, Carl Bosch, and the Transformation of World Food Production
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 9780262693134
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 338
View: 6291
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The compelling history of the long-sought discovery of ammonia synthesis and its vital role in the modern industrial world.

Made in the USA

The Rise and Retreat of American Manufacturing
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262019388
Category: Business & Economics
Page: 263
View: 6653
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An argument that America's economy needs a strong and innovative manufacturing sector and the jobs it creates.

Energy and Civilization

A History
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262338319
Category: Science
Page: 568
View: 4749
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"I wait for new Smil books the way some people wait for the next 'Star Wars' movie. In his latest book, Energy and Civilization: A History, he goes deep and broad to explain how innovations in humans' ability to turn energy into heat, light, and motion have been a driving force behind our cultural and economic progress over the past 10,000 years. -- Bill Gates, Gates Notes, Best Books of the Year Energy is the only universal currency; it is necessary for getting anything done. The conversion of energy on Earth ranges from terra-forming forces of plate tectonics to cumulative erosive effects of raindrops. Life on Earth depends on the photosynthetic conversion of solar energy into plant biomass. Humans have come to rely on many more energy flows -- ranging from fossil fuels to photovoltaic generation of electricity -- for their civilized existence. In this monumental history, Vaclav Smil provides a comprehensive account of how energy has shaped society, from pre-agricultural foraging societies through today's fossil fuel--driven civilization. Humans are the only species that can systematically harness energies outside their bodies, using the power of their intellect and an enormous variety of artifacts -- from the simplest tools to internal combustion engines and nuclear reactors. The epochal transition to fossil fuels affected everything: agriculture, industry, transportation, weapons, communication, economics, urbanization, quality of life, politics, and the environment. Smil describes humanity's energy eras in panoramic and interdisciplinary fashion, offering readers a magisterial overview. This book is an extensively updated and expanded version of Smil's Energy in World History (1994). Smil has incorporated an enormous amount of new material, reflecting the dramatic developments in energy studies over the last two decades and his own research over that time.

Liberating Learning

Technology, Politics, and the Future of American Education
Author: Terry M. Moe,John E. Chubb
Publisher: John Wiley and Sons
ISBN: 9780470568095
Category: Education
Page: 223
View: 4915
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Praise for Liberating Learning "Moe and Chubb have delivered a truly stunning book, rich with the prospect of how technology is already revolutionizing learning in communities from Midland, Pennsylvania to Gurgaon, India. At the same time, this is a sobering telling of the realpolitik of education, a battle in which the status quo is well defended. But most of all, this book is a call to action, a call to unleash the power of technological innovation to create an education system worthy of our aspirations and our childrens' dreams." —Ted Mitchell, CEO of the New Schools Venture Fund "As long as we continue to educate students without regard for the way the real world works, we will continue to limit their choices. In Liberating Learning, Terry Moe and John Chubb push us to ask the questions we should be asking, to have the hard conversations about how far technology can go to advance student achievement in this country." —Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of Education for the Washington, D.C. schools "A brilliant analysis of how technology is destined to transform America's schools for the better: not simply by generating new ways of learning, but also—and surprisingly—by unleashing forces that weaken its political opponents and open up the political process to educational change. A provocative, entirely novel vision of the future of American education." —Rick Hanushek, the Paul and Jean Hanna Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University "Terry Moe and John Chubb, two long-time, astute observers of educational reform, see technology as the way to reverse decades of failed efforts. Technology will facilitate significantly more individualized student learning—and perhaps most importantly, technology will make it harder and harder for the entrenched adult interests to block the reforms that are right for our kids. This is a provocative, informative and, ultimately, optimistic read, something we badly need in public education." —Joel Klein, Chancellor of the New York City schools

Energy Transitions: Global and National Perspectives, 2nd Edition


Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: ABC-CLIO
ISBN: 1440853258
Category: Science
Page: 282
View: 738
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This book provides a detailed, global examination of energy transitions, supplying a long-term historical perspective, an up-to-date assessment of recent and near-term advances in energy production technology and implementation, and an explanation of why efforts to limit global warming and to shift away from fossil fuels have been gradual. • Presents historical coverage of energy production, energy use, and key technical and economic factors that affect the currently unfolding transitions • Offers insightful analysis of energy transitions on both the national and global scale to explain the possibilities and limitations of the process • Supplies a critical appraisal of new renewable conversions that makes clear their advantages and potential benefits as well as their inherent unavoidable limitations • Enables general readers to gain an in-depth understanding of energy transitions from the perspective of an acclaimed scientist with expertise in the fields of energy, environmental and population change, technical innovation, and public policy

New Aspects of Meat Quality

From Genes to Ethics
Author: Peter P. Purslow
Publisher: Woodhead Publishing
ISBN: 0081006004
Category: Technology & Engineering
Page: 744
View: 1993
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New Aspects of Meat Quality: From Genes to Ethics provides a reference source that covers what constitutes meat quality in the minds of consumers, marketers, and producers in the 21st century, using the same scientific authority as texts on traditional meat quality values. Traditional measures in meat quality, such as texture, waterholding, color, flavor/aroma, safety/microbiology, and processing characteristics are still important, however, additional quality attributes now have huge importance in the purchasing intentions of consumers in many countries. These include, amongst others, animal welfare, the impacts of meat on human health, quality assurance schemes, organic/free range, ethical meat production, and the desirability of genetically modified organisms. The book is divided into three main sections, with the first section covering the developments in our understanding of how muscle structure affects the eating qualities of cooked meat. The second section highlights recently developed techniques for measuring, predicting, and producing meat quality, and how these new techniques help us minimize variability in eating quality and/or maximize value. The final section identifies the current qualities of consumer and public perceptions, and what is sustainable, ethical, desirable, and healthy in meat production and consumption. Brings together top researchers in the field to provide a comprehensive overview of the new elements of meat quality Provides a reference source that covers the new aspects of meat quality with the same scientific authority as texts on traditional meat quality values“/li> Edited by an extremely well respected expert in the field who is an Associate Editor of the journal Meat Science (published by Elsevier), the largest global journal within this area

Power Density

A Key to Understanding Energy Sources and Uses
Author: Vaclav Smil
Publisher: MIT Press
ISBN: 0262326930
Category: Science
Page: 320
View: 4310
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"There's no author whose books I look forward to more than Vaclav Smil." -- Bill GatesIn this book, Vaclav Smil argues that power density is a key determinant of the nature and dynamics of energy systems. Any understanding of complex energy systems must rely on quantitative measures of many fundamental variables. Power density -- the rate of energy flux per unit of area -- is an important but largely overlooked measure. Smil provides the first systematic, quantitative appraisal of power density, offering detailed reviews of the power densities of renewable energy flows, fossil fuels, thermal electricity generation, and all common energy uses.Smil shows that careful quantification, critical appraisals, and revealing comparisons of power densities make possible a deeper understanding of the ways we harness, convert, and use energies. Conscientious assessment of power densities, he argues, proves particularly revealing when contrasting the fossil fuel--based energy system with renewable energy conversions. Smil explains that modern civilization has evolved as a direct expression of the high power densities of fossil fuel extraction. He argues that our inevitable (and desirable) move to new energy arrangements involving conversions of lower-density renewable energy sources will require our society -- currently dominated by megacities and concentrated industrial production -- to undergo a profound spatial restructuring of its energy system.