In response to K.E. Grubbs Jr. (Jan. 2 commentary “Dominion and Smithfield unite for renewable energy”), the technique of capturing methane from farm-animal waste and using it as an energy source is brilliant. This methane would naturally decay eventually into CO2 but would spend a long time as methane doing that. By using this energy, which is begging to be used, we also convert the super-greenhouse methane to less-potent CO2 sooner.
Hog-waste lagoons have been known to breach and flood some very nasty things into waterways. Hopefully the covers will make the horrible smells less obtrusive. We may not love these lagoons, but we love this technique of utilizing them.
Grubbs states that the economic and dietary consequences of reducing the quantity of meat that we eat are too dire to contemplate. Not so. In World War II we were asked to voluntarily halve our meat consumption. Health records from that period show that our health improved. Farm animals consume many times the vegetable food than the meat they provide. So the dire consequences of reducing meat consumption are better health and lower food costs.
Yes, we should capture the energy from hog farms, and I applaud Align’s initiative, but let’s not let this beautiful little contribution divert our attention from the bigger picture of what needs to be done.