HuffPo Reports: The Power of Sustainable Protein

By PSU EcoMerge Capstone - 8:59 PM

Is someone at the Huffington Post a fan of EcoMerge? Website contributor and president of Burcon NutraScience Corporation Johann Tergesen wrote up an article today titled The Power of Sustainable Protein in the 21st Century, which could easily be considered a mission statement for EcoMerge's goals. In his article, Tergesen succintly summarizes the problems faced by Ecomerge and by future generations in maintaining adquate protein consumption while also supporting environmental sustainable methods of production.

In brief, the problem is simple: the world has a lot of people, and is getting more of them every day. All of those people need an adequate supply of protein to live full and healthy lives, and many of those who do -- especially in developed nations -- will derive quite a bit of that protein from cows: beef, milk, and cheese are some of the most popular sources of protein known to the West, and unfortunately the cows who provide them are extremely taxing on the environment. From greenhouse grass emissions to fields being cleared for cattle to graze, cows are expensive creatures.

The other sources of animal protein have their problems as well. The seafood industry is removing fish from the sea at a higher rate than the fish can replace themselves at; animals which don't enjoy the lavish conditions that harm the environment produce lower-quality meat that can be harmful to the consumer; the animals themselves, as stated by Tergesen,  are not efficient converters, pound for pound, of the proteins they consume

Sadly for meat eaters, Tergesen doesn't seem to hold much hope for the future of protein. He strongly advocates a transition to soy and other vegetable proteins as part of abandoning protein production methods which are more harmful to the environment. While the future may not hold as dramatic a change as he suggests (other animals, like goats, require less environmental maintenance than cows do), one thing is for certain: with a rapidly rising global population, a more efficient system of producing foods rich in protein must be perfected and implemented in order for both the planet and the people to thrive.






Johann Tergesen. The Power of Sustainable Protein in the 21st Century. Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-02-28 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/johann-tergesen/the-power-of-sustainable-_b_1305121.html

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