Nov 11, 2009
Science Scene - How Green Are Our Pets?
Wired Science source of this entry, click here?
By examining the land and resources necessary to produce the meat and grains that compose pet food they discovered something startling: It takes over 90,000 square feet of land (that’s two whole acres) to feed a medium-sized dog and 16,000 square feet of land to feed a cat.
The Humane Society estimates Americans own about 75 million dogs and 88 million cats. We did the math and found that feeding those animals takes about 294 thousand square miles of land. That’s a little bigger than Texas!
The amount of land required to generate electricity for the nation does sound like an awful lot, sometimes. One recent calculation led by Vasilis M. Fthenakis, an environmental engineer at Columbia University’s Center for Life Cycle Analysis, found that it would take covering 16,602 square miles of land in the southwestern desert with solar energy converters like cadmium telluride photovoltaic panels to generate the 3,816,000,000 megawatt-hours of electricity that is used in the U.S. ever year.
While the numbers can be argued with, what I found interesting is that it takes more land to feed our beloved animals than it would take to generate solar electricity.