The first time I heard that cow farts could be responsible for destroying the world I laughed. And laughed. And laughed.
I waited for the punch line.
There wasn’t one.
The person who passed this juicy tidbit on to my husband was as serious as a heart-attack. But maybe I shouldn’t say that because my big brother actually had a heart attack a few years ago.
My smarter-than-me phone came in handy to research this scandalous flatulence. There is valid concern about methane and green house gases, but really? Blame it ALL on cows’ farts? That ambition is a serious bovine emission mission.
I was born in North Dakota and have lived the majority of my life in the good ‘ol farm country of the upper Midwest, so feel the need to defend the cows who apparently are guilty of SBDs. In fart lexicon that is Silent But Deadly.
See? I judged livestock for Future Farmers of America. Add the fact that I love steaks and dairy products and it practically makes me an expert on the subject of cows.
My intense research proved how serious people are about this cow farts thing. Really, really, really serious. I know writers shouldn’t use a lot of adverbs, but I have to emphasize the level of concern about this methane emission condition.
They know America has always been filled with animals, right? Before the European settlers began raising their nasty farting cows, there were 10,000,000 elk. Now there are only 1,000,000. There were 45,000,000 deer, Now there’s 33,500,000. About 60,000,000 bison roamed around , today there’s about 50,000. Bison generate about the same amount of methane as beef cattle. I could continue offering my expertise gained by searching the Internet for almost an entire hour, but we’ll stop here.
We must take methane seriously. It’s one of the most potent greenhouse gases. But, there are more methane producers than my dearly beloved cows.
My research confirmed that the top contributing human sources of methane are livestock and dumps. OOPS. Didn’t know that? Fargo, North Dakota does. They capture methane from decaying matter and turn it into electricity.
But, I was still stuck on the cow fart thing. We can’t cork their bottoms, they would explode. What if we considered the methane in cow farts as an untapped source of energy?
I created a design to capture all these cow farts and use it for electricity. It took me a few days of deep thought and a few minutes watching a YouTube drawing tutorial to finalize my design.
It features an environmentally-friendly diaper placed over the cow’s bottom, leaving the trail free to swish away flies. A tube captures the methane and fills a canister.
I was sure I’d solved the methane issue, until I went on a walk. Everywhere were piles of dog-doo. Piles. Yes, our city has a regulation about bagging dog-doo, but people don’t always do that. It is a common gripe on our city’s Facebook group.
There were four piles within a half a block of my driveway. The rest of my journey was well-marked by bad-dog-owner-boulders. I spared you the pictures of the rest. You’re welcome.
This is at the end of the driveway, just a few feet away from the piles. But, that’s for another blog post. Let’s get back to the methane and poo issue. LIGHTBULB! Oh, you haven’t seen Despicable Me? After my walk I had to research dog-doo, because inquiring minds have to know.
Being the internet junkie that I am, I
looked up if dogs are bad for the environment researched the environmental impact of dogs. (Don’t I sound more intelligent in the edited version?)
Bingo! Why, yes, my suspicions were right. I found a great op ed written by Judith Lewis Mernit, a dog-owning environmentalist, which, she admits, can be an oxymoron.
Mernit quoted Stephan Budiansky from his book, The Truth About Dogs, that dogs “serve as reservoirs for 65 diseases that can be transmitted to humans. A dog, per pound of body weight, produces 10 times the fecal coliform of a cow.”
She also mentions the controversial 2009 book Time to Eat the Dog?
by Brenda and Robert Vales, who “claim a dog’s ecological footprint is twice that of the average SUV. ” Why yes, dog-doo gives off methane, too.
America isn’t the only country facing the poo problem. Hubby and I had a chance to visit Paris last year. We found it to be a filthy, unhealthy city. Why? Besides litter, there were piles and piles of dog-doo. Everywhere. Paris cleans up around 12 tons of dog-doo off of city streets every day. And apparently, they still miss some, as evidenced by our shoes. We missed some beautiful sites by constantly watching the ground or because we were cleaning our shoes when we forgot to look.
I’m not anti-dog, I have two lovable granddogs, Maia and Zeus, who snuggle and slobber their way into my hearts every time I see them. Maia loved visiting Gwamma in Montana, can you tell?
So, what do we do with the cow farts and dog-doo?
The answer isn’t to deprive the 800,000 beef producers in the US of their livelihood. As if you could pry the steak from the forks of approximately 92% of US residents who live by the slogan “Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner.”
And the answer isn’t to deprive 43,346,000 American households of their face-licking stress-relieving dogs.
What’s the answer? Consider methane and poo as energy sources. If I were a kid I would say, “DUH” but since I am aged and experienced I’ll say, “It’s the only reasonable answer.” We need to give farting-cow owners and pooping-dog owners a solution, not just break wind about the problem.
My serious research skills helped me discover that genius people are way ahead of me.
Fast Company featured Geneva-based designer Océane Izard in the article Don’t Throw Out Your Dog’s Poop: It’s Now A Valuable Natural Resource for his invention of a household appliance “Poo Poo Power” that creates electricity.
Psychology Today’s article, Dog Poop and the Environment: Art and Power by Stanley Coren PhD., DSc, FRSC. , features Matthew Mazzotta, an artist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who invented the “Park Spark.” Dog owners deposit their lovely bags of doo-doo and it creates an eternal flame in a street lamp.
The Lord Jesus created this beautiful world with His Father. John 1:2-3, “He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made.” As stewards of the earth, we should take care of the world created for us.
You can’t just toot about cow farts, also known as bovine flatulence, you need to create and support wise practices for our homes and communities. Methane doesn’t have to destroy our world, it can be used to make it better.
We need to save the environment, without giving up our steaks and our dogs.
If you’re interested in buying the rights to my Cow Fart Capturing Contraption, pull my finger.