Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Not that I don´t like a good barbecue - called churrasco in Brasil. Yes, I´m any way a big fan of meat. To make a good churrasco you don´t need more than salt. You fix the whole pice of meat from side to side with a spade or roasting spit and drop salt all around. The good meat has to have some fat, wich gives the best taste. You roll the spade and keep the meat cooking close to the fire on every side. Whenever the meat is roasted, you just slice it a bit to the friends and take it back to the fire. The process means to cook while eating - and drinking, of course. So, where is the secret for a perfect churrasco? It is on the distance from the fire - usually done with coal. That´s all.

It´s a meal wich has its origns in the fazendas (farms) at the South of Brasil. From there it spread to the whole country. Today is the Sunday´s national dish. At Rio de Janeiro it is often done on the streets - a group of friends join in a corner and make their churrasco already there - usually close to a bar for obvious reasons: beer and WC :-)

But my image has another background, wich is the destruction of the rainforest. In Brasil, between 1980 and 2000 about 14% of the rainforest has been destroyed. On its place the area has been cleared to create pasture for grazing cattle. Rainforest land cleared for pasture or farming degrades quickly and is usually abandoned.

But this is not all about environmental consequences of intense cattle´s production. Here´s where the appetite for churrasco is going to play badly in the story:

1.. The destruction of the rainforest by cattle farmers is destroying the lungs of the planet & reducing the worlds capacity to replenish our oxygen supply.

2.. The 1,300,000,000 cattle in the world emit 60,000,000 tons of methane per year (methane is a greenhouse gas & leads to global warming).

3.. Burning of forests, grasslands & agricultural waste associated with animal farming releases 50-100,000,000 tons of methane per year.

4.. Combining these figures, 25% of methane emissions are due to animal farming (not including the billions of sheep, pigs & poultry so the real figure is much higher).

5.. Fertilizer used to grow crops to feed to animals releases nitrous oxide - thought to account for 6% of the greenhouse effect.

6.. Fertilizer, weedkiller & pesticides sprayed on crops enter the atmosphere creating a noxious carcinogenic cocktail .

7.. CFCs are released into the air from refrigeration units used to store decomposing flesh (meat), milk & butter - CFCs are destroy the ozone layer.

8.. Ammonia from animal urine also pollutes the atmosphere.

9.. CO2 is released by burning oil & petrol in lorries, ships, abattoirs, dairies, factories etc. associated with meat & dairy production.

10.. Emissions from large chemical plants which produce fertilizer, weedkiller & other agricultural chemicals are also poisoning our air.

* Dates from '1.. to 10..' are at 101 Reasons to go Vegetarian

Well, this is not a pamphlet against cows and farmers. And even less a speech against meat´s consumption. And for sure you´re not keeping it in mind next time you go to buy meat. You know why? Simple: we´re not vegetarians :-)

This is the first time I´m doing with esa.ucl - ESA Fractal Tree.
Cool. A sort of poetic tool indeed.
My ground is tma.ucl - Painter´s Traps
And the sun is anv.ufm "bills_w0nder"


Blogger Rykk said...

Wow! Those are some astounding - and sobering - numbers, Guido. Imagine: at 1.3 billion cows, thats roughly one 1000lb cow for every six persons. And yet millions starve. I once read an article about the detriments of drinking cows milk and eating dairy products. Don't misunderstand - I, too, like a good steak (churrasco sounds GREAT! I read about it once in our local newspaper) and have been known as a kid to down almost a quart of skim milk with peanut butter/applebutter sandwiches. (undoubtably one of the keys to my present, loafy condition - lol) One of the things the article said, along with facts like you have presented, was that 40% of all the grains grown and harvested in the US goes to feeding cattle and pigs. Along with a large - I forget the number - percentage of the gasoline used every year used in the production. Imagine how much bread, nan and tortilla that much corn and wheat would make. Enough to feed the world and even more....Everything is for the "almighty" dollar, yen, yuan, shekel, peso, etc. Cattle ranches were originally encouraged in the US after the Lousiana Purchase because they were seen in Washington, DC as the best way to quickly "claim" the largest amount of the territory along with the giving away of plots of land for free to any who would emigrate west like the "Sooners", as they were called, of Oklahoma.

And now, I go to grill the steak that my wife has bought us for dinner.....what a hypocrite I feel like! :-)

2/06/2007 8:06 PM

Blogger Rykk said...

BTW - nice image. I especially like the shadow of the tree. Great attention to detail.

2/06/2007 8:31 PM

Blogger Guido Cavalcante said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2/07/2007 6:20 AM

Blogger Guido Cavalcante said...

We are living a time of changes. It´s a decisive moment on mankind history when we realize that have to modify our behaviour before Nature and society. It´s a great time for artists get involved in the transformations and trying to represent them. Artists have been always ahead on representating new visions on facts that have been taken as stablished forever. Art got now a proeminence that have been denayed in favor of entertainement and fair illusion. It´s a great times for artists.
Thank you a lot for the commentary, Rick.

2/07/2007 6:23 AM

Blogger M.Spiegel said...

Rykk, you can find brazilian churrascarias in the US:


But I trust you to only eat salad if you go there. ;-)

Guido, I feel a twinge of pain to think of our scorched pampas when I look at your image, which is otherwise really pretty.

2/07/2007 5:12 PM

Blogger Guido Cavalcante said...

Thank you for the appreciation on my work, M. Spiegel. Let me add for our friends that the "pampas" are equivalent to the American Great Prairies. At the pampas is where the churrasco was first eaten at the early times of colonization on the XVIII century. Once I eat a churrasco in a farm at Argentina when the whole cow was taken on the fire. That was something great to see.

2/08/2007 7:15 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Guido! I like this topic, congratulations 4 the blog too!


greetings from ITALY..

3/13/2007 5:54 AM


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