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How Farting Cows Can Help Your Homework Blues!

When your pet dog or cat 'passes wind' (but we're all friends here, so lets just call them farts!), apart from being extremely smelly, it probably never crossed your mind that as well as having an impact on your nose, they also have a big impact on the environment? Yes, this is absolutely true. Animal farts are now a major discussion point worldwide. This is more serious than you think!

In particular, cow and sheep 'emissions' are ruining our environment. Burps and farts are pockets of a gas called methane (CH4) that build up in your stomach and are released in the easiest possible way, by either burping or passing wind. Methane is one of the gases which are causing global warming.

Sheep and cows don't necessarily stand around producing huge amounts of toxic gas, but because of the amount of them, they produce more gas than you would think. Still, the average dairy cow will excrete around 90kg of methane per year, that's equivalent of the amount of greenhouse gas produced by 120 litres of petrol used in your car!

New Zealand's 45 million sheep and 8 million cows alone will account for 90% of the country's methane!

The problem with all of this is that the methane, being a greenhouse gas, rises up to our ozone layer where it becomes trapped under the surface. Gradually the gas builds up. As it thickens, more and more of the suns rays are trapped in our atmosphere, heating our planet.

Scientists are now working towards coming up with a solution towards this. Some remedies have been proven to reduce emissions such as feeding livestock more grains and higher quality grasses. Researchers have also found that adding linseed oil to the animals diet can reduce emissions by up to 40%! That's nearly half the methane from cows removed prevented from entering the atmosphere just by changing their diet!

In New Zealand, there are trials being done to genetically modify sheep so they will become less windy....pity we can't test this on our dog!

So is there anything we can do? Well, we can't personally stop cows from farting, but if we reduce the amount of meat we eat, then we won't need so many cows and sheep in the world. Many environmental agencies say that keeping so many cattle in Australia is killing our land because they cause erosion (wearing away the ground) through eating the grasses which keep the dry soil from blowing away. Scientists also believe that a diet with less meat is much healthier for us. So, what are you waiting for...grab a cookery book and find a recipe for a meal without meat at least twice per week.

Send your favourite recipe to: and we'll publish it.

Here's one of our favourites:

Planet Patrol 'It's a Wrap'!
1 packet of tortilla wraps (from supermarkets)
grated cheese
tub of homous or tzatsiki dip
grated carrot
chopped spring onions
thinly sliced capsicums
sliced cucumber
baby spinach leaves

Spread dip on wrap, throw a bit of everything on, roll-up and eat!

The best thing about this meal is that you can put whatever you want on. Try spreading with sate sauce and topping with peanuts and grated carrot and some fried noodles, or how about Hoisin sauce with snow pea shoots, water chestnuts and pinenuts...yum! Even better is that there's no cooking involved so less global warming and no messy saucepans to wash up.

Are you ever in trouble with your parents for not doing your homework - then get out of trouble AND impress by offering to organise an environmentally friendly dinner for everyone - easy!

Story by Alastair Wadlow