Climate Change: The Rooster in the Agricultural industry

Hello everyone! My name is Sophia Hien Ly and I am currently majoring in Environmental Science, focusing on addressing climate change and bettering our home for future generations. My major has taught me to appreciate both the biological and abiotic factors within our world that shapes our flesh and blood. Within Vietnamese culture, the rooster, my chinese zodiac animal, is a symbol for the calling of the sun: a rising of light, going hand in hand with the mythical dragon who symbolizes water, appearing as the rain and sea. Both animals work together to bring prosperity to crops that feed our people. 

A glance at Vietnamese folk painting! | Stay in Saigon (SaigonStay.com.vn)

 

Within modern society, the Rooster can be seen as a sign of prosperity, and literally, a crucial food source: stretching across humanity’s history throughout the globe, providing us with strength, protein, and nutrients. Poultry itself is an important part of our society, prevalent in most cuisines and countries while also being an important fertilizer for plants and crops, as their manure further provides nutrients to plants and agriculture. 

 

However, the agricultural industry has been contributing to recent climate challenges through humanity's pursuit, leading to an interference within the natural system. Whether or not you believe global warming is real or not, it is known for sure that the atmospheric concentration of various gasses have been increasing at a rapid pace. 

These gasses such as carbon, methane, and nitrous oxide are known as “greenhouse gasses” which absorb sunlight that normally would have been reflected off the earth’s atmosphere, therefore increasing the temperature of our planet as a whole, causing climate change, which is the change in weather and temperature patterns that define the Earth’s climates. 

Here is a video on the greenhouse effect:

What Is the Greenhouse Effect?

 

The rooster is part of the agricultural industry, which is a huge contributor to the emission of greenhouse gasses, especially with the production of cattle. This is because methane, a significant greenhouse gas that is more than 28 times more potent that CO2 in trapping heat, is emitted through the decomposition of livestock because carbon compounds break down under anaerobic conditions, for example, fermentation through the cows’ gut releasing manure and burps, and breakdown of livestock waste. The FAO report within Livestock’s Long Shadow, estimates that, “livestock production is responsible for 18% of all anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions in the world”. And with this chart below, you can see that dairy cattle are significantly more potent than the two other livestock production being swine and poultry.

 

This is due to the fact that cattle are both larger and contain a four compartment stomach made for fermenting and digesting, therefore releasing much more greenhouse gasses. As a result, poultry are much more sustainable due to the reduction of emissions. However, studies also show that the maintenance of poultry relies heavily on the usage of electricity and water to maintain temperature and environment for the birds, resulting in most of the greenhouse emissions and fossil fuel usage being within maintenance. If the industry were to invest in insulation and energy conserving generators, poultry farming would hugely benefit the environment, and ourselves if farming practices and sustainable management were considered. Our home is essentially a reflection of us, therefore to take care of it means to take care of our own self and body. 

Therefore we should consider all sorts of animals such as the rooster and how they can affect various aspects within our lives. 

References:

https://www.globalchange.gov/indicators/atmospheric-carbon-dioxide#:~:text=There%20is%20an%20overall%20upward,than%2020%25%20in%2044%20years.

https://www.nrdc.org/stories/global-warming-101#causes

https://climate.nasa.gov/what-is-climate-change/

https://www.poultryworld.net/poultry/poultry-production-and-climate-change/

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