Environmental Cost of Meat

The U.S. could feed 800 million people with grain that livestock consume say Cornell University ecologist researchers. If the grain were exported, it would increase the U.S. trade balance by $80 billion per year.

The American system of feeding livestock grain rather than allowing cattle to feed on pastureland consumes resources far disproportionate to the yield. What’s more it accelerates soil erosion, uses huge amounts of water, and affects world food supply in a negative way.

Grass-fed livestock yields more than the recommended daily allowance (RDA) of meat and dairy protein. While it’s true that the protein yield of beef is greater than that achieved by high-protein plants in the human diet, it is only 1.4 times more nutritious in comparable amounts. And with the quantities the average American eats in a day, the protein yield is more than enough to meet the RDA.

According to animal production data that tracks use of fossil energy from the feed trough to the dinner table, broiler chickens provide the most efficient use of fossil energy—beef the least. Producing chicken meat consumes energy in a 4:1 ratio to protein output, whereas the ratio is 54:1 for beef. Mutton is nearly as inefficient at 50:1.

Animal agriculture is a leading user of water resources in the U.S. For every kilogram of meat produced by grain-fed beef production, 100,000 liters of water are required, Chickens take dramatically less to make a kilogram of meat: 3500 liters of water per kilogram. In contrast, soybean production uses only 2000 liters. Potatoes require 500 liters.

With severe water shortages in the Western and Southern U.S., the situation is rapidly worsening as the growing population needs more and more water to meet its needs—not only urban users, but also farmers and ranchers.


  • Livestock are responsible for much of the soil erosion in the U.S. Soil loss averages 13 tons per hectare annually on lands where grain feed is produced. Pasture lands erode, too, but at half the pace: 6 tons per hectare annually.
  • The 7 billion livestock in the U.S. eat five times as much grain as the entire population.
  • On the average, animal protein production in the U.S. uses 28 kcal for every kcal of protein produced for human consumption. Beef and mutton are the most costly in terms of fossil fuel energy input to protein output (54.1 and 50.1, respectively).
  • U.S. farms and ranches account for 87 percent of all fresh water used each year. While livestock directly consume only 1.3 percent of that water, when the water for forage and grain is included, the water use figure rises dramatically. Every kilogram of beef uses 100,000 liters of water compared with 900 to produce a kilogram of wheat.
  • The U.S. produces almost 7 million tons of animal protein per year, enough to supply every American man, woman, and child with 75 grams per day The RDA of protein for a mixed diet—meat and plant sources combined—is 56 grams per day.
  • If all the grain now fed to livestock in the U.S. were exported and ranchers switched to grass-fed beef, the average American diet would drop from 75 to 29 grams of protein per day. That plus levels of average plant-protein consumption would yield more than the RDA for adults.

Sexual Harassment—What Is It?

With the wide range of media stories about famous men losing their jobs because of sexual harassment, you may ask yourself, “What is sexual harassment, anyhow?” Stories of sexual harassment are everywhere these days, but to date they have been largely confined to men as the perpetrators and females as their victims. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) defines sexual harassment as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, interferes with an individual’s work performance, or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.”

The offense may be hard to identify in its milder forms. If your supervisor says, “You look pretty today!” and the overtures do not escalate, is that borderline harassment? Probably not. But when compliments become more obvious, the incidents are usually preparatory.  Borderline compliments and innuendos are the hallmarks of the sexual harassment in progress.

Slippery Slope

The slippery slope of sexual harassment usually begins with questions such as, “I see you’re wearing a wedding ring.” ”How long have you been married?” “How do you like married life?” Violators also have a tendency to offer personal revelations about themselves that are inappropriate to a work setting.

Many women feel flattered to be offered such private information, little realizing that it’s part of a setup. The next step may be seemingly innocent touches that qualify as borderline violations. Generally, any intimate moves that embarrass or anger women fall into this category. Most men are cautious at first, testing the waters to see how safe it is to proceed.

The next step usually involves touching the woman’s skin or her garments. If permitted, the man may touch her hands, arms or face. He may, seemly by accident, brush against a woman’s breasts. He may jokingly pinch her bottom, acting as though it’s all in fun. If the move makes a woman uncomfortable, embarrassed or angry, the chances are it’s sexual harassment. Ordinarily, people are quite aware of their body language. How many women would brush against a man’s groin by accident? Or pinch his bottom as a joke?

If the man’s intentions haven’t been thwarted to this point, what may follow are concrete suggestions such as, “Would you like to go out for a drink after work?” If the man has a private office with a closed door, he may move in for greater intimacy, offering seductive comments like, “Ever since I met you, I think about you all the time.” Shouldn’t the woman be complimented? The hints about future sexual activity may still be subtle.

Initial overtures that appear innocent slowly graduate to more obvious moves. It may all start with good-humored comments about a woman’s attractive appearance. Next, a man may comment on her cleavage. If she objects, the man is likely to say, “Can’t you take a joke?”

Stopping Aggression

The only way to stop development of a slippery slope aggression is confrontation, frank and blunt. The woman who has rejected a man’s attention openly is likely to discourage further transgressions.

Women are asking for trouble if they try to sidestep the perpetrator’s overtures smilingly or subtly, even though they feel exposed and embarrassed. Boundary violations must be confronted for what they are. Humor or good-naturedness have no place in these scenarios. Women’s words and body language should convey outright rejection.

A woman’s comments should be forthright from the start. “I don’t think questions like that are appropriate here.” Unless the man has the hide of a rhinoceros, his response is likely to be feigned innocence under the pretense that anything he has said or done was in the spirit of good fun and friendship.

A man fingering the garment of a prospective victim is most likely to be discouraged by a firm, “Don’t touch me.” He will deny any malicious intent, but both parties know he’s play-acting. Entreating the man to stop by the use of feminine wiles is only likely to aggravate the problem. After all, dominance is the name of the game in sexual aggression. Acting helpless makes the man feel powerful and usually causes the problem to worsen. It’s perfectly appropriate to say,“If you touch me one more time, I’ll report you for sexual harassment.” These days, men know what that means.

Extreme Boundary Violations

Occasionally, the harassment  starts in more extreme forms. Usually, it’s not the first time for the perpetrator. The man who finds himself alone with a victim may use physical measures on the woman to dominate her—kissing her without permission, holding her, fondling her breasts or other body parts. At this point and beyond, his acts qualify as overt sexual assault.

Boundary violations have the purpose of establishing the dominance and superiority of the violator and make the victim feel submissive. They are harmful or potentially harmful to the victim’s welfare and feeling of autonomy.

Other Boundary Violations

Boundary violations can be financial—lending or giving money to a female co-worker, especially if she hasn’t requested it. Male supervisors should not engage in dual relationships with female employees in which there is a risk of exploitation or potential harm. A supervisor enters into a dual relationship when he acts as an advisor about one’s personal life, hires a woman to do “outside” work, or attempts to become a personal friend, teacher, or intimate partner.

Sequence of Moves

Psychologists Gabbard and Simon have pointed out a common sequence of sexual harassment. First, it involves a transition from last-name to first-name basis. The personal disclosures interrupt the business at  hand.  This is followed by some body contact—pats on the shoulder, massages, hugs. Trips outside the work setting are likely to follow: lunch dates, sometimes with alcoholic beverages, then dinner. This may be followed by attendance at the movies or other social events. The culminating event is sexual intercourse.


Sexual misconduct usually begins with relatively minor boundary violations, which, if not stopped, show a crescendo pattern of increasing intrusion into the victim’s space that culminates in sexual contact. A direct shift from talking to intercourse is quite rare; the “slippery slope” is the characteristic scenario.

Overpopulation—A Personal Problem?

A friend sharing personal information at a party recently told me that he has seven children—ages 50 to 65. What reaction was he expecting? Certainly not the one I was experiencing. My husband and I would have liked more, but even then—back in the sixties—we were aware of overpopulation and decided to stop at two.

My friend says, “With our income, we could take care of them.” And, in fact, he did. All his children received cars on their 16th birthdays. All had fine wardrobes. All went to expensive colleges. What right have I to lift my eyebrows about the number of children they chose to have?

There are solutions to this problem, but only at the price of massive attitude shifts in our country’s people and their government.

China, India, and Third World Countries

In some Asian countries, family size is effectively limited by tax disincentives, employment restrictions, and other forms of discouragement. In 1979, China—recognizing its huge overpopulation problem—implemented a one-family-one-child program. China is considered a pioneer in contraceptive methods, having developed the “no-scalpel” vasectomy technique and vacuum aspiration abortion. The country is recognized globally as a leader in the introduction of contraceptive vaccines and reversible sterilization. India has established effective contraceptive and sterilization clinics across the country to deal with its overpopulation problem.

Public policies in countries likes Bangladesh, Singapore, and Thailand have given incentives to small families by making birth control available and empowering women. The quality of education, housing, and health have improved as a result.

Overpopulation is not just about food shortages and human suffering. Severe declines in biodiversity are also linked to the problem. China, Mexico and Brazil have experienced extreme cases of species loss. Other consequences of overpopulation include global warming, ozone depletion, world hunger, and increasing water shortages.


In the mid-20th century, Israel was still home to an amazing collection of mammals, birds and reptiles. At the time approximately 1 million people lived in Israel, compared with 8 million today. Currently about one third of Israel’s 115 indigenous mammal species are critically endangered, and the amphibian population has been almost entirely wiped out. Now, Israel is able to produce only 45% of the food required to sustain its population.

United States

In January 2018, the U.S. population was over 326 million.  It has been growing by over 2 million people per year. According to data collected by the Global Footprint Network, the U.S. can sustain a population of only 150 million at a reduced consumption level similar to Europeans. The U.S. population is using renewable resources such as water twice as fast as they can be replaced.

Each additional American requires about one acre of built land and highways, meaning less land for growing food.

If everyone on Earth lived like an average American, we would need over four Planet Earths to absorb the wastes produced by the population and to produce the necessary renewable resources. When will the U.S. recognize its own contribution to world overpopulation? When will individual families acknowledge their part in this national problem? Probably not until the government steps in with disincentive programs. And with the country’s current conservative political position and exaggerated view of individual rights, corrective measures are unlikely anytime soon.

#MeToo Holiday Inn Rape

On December 23, 1999, I was raped by a Holiday Inn security guard in St. Augustine Beach, Florida.

My first awareness of the rape occurred after midnight, when I awakened in my room in the early morning hours dimly aware that something awful had happened the night before.  I had stopped in the hotel bar for a nightcap following an afternoon of Christmas shopping in St. Augustine. After a couple of gin and tonics I asked the bartender for my check. Moments later, a security guard brought me a drink—“on the house,” he said. After I’d finished it, I retired to my room and went to bed. The next thing I knew, I awoke around sunrise with a throbbing headache and very little memory of going to bed. I vaguely realized that something bad had happened. It took me a while to piece the fragments together.

As bits of memory began to surface, I recalled hearing the click of a key card in my door hours earlier. My bed lamp still on, I saw the security guard from the hotel bar advance toward the bed. He removed his clothes quickly but silently, pulled up my nightgown and climbed on top of me. In less than a minute it was over. I had not moved, feeling distant and paralyzed. After he slipped out of the room, I fell back asleep.

When I came to, I felt I had to get out of that room. So I slipped into some clothes and went out to the beach. As I walked along the sand, details began coming back. I realized I’d been raped.  What should I do next?

What I actually did was one of the biggest mistakes of my life. I went to the hotel desk and reported the rape to the manager of the Holiday Inn. I was greeted with disbelief even though, when the manager checked the hotel’s computers, they registered an entry from the guard’s master key card the night before. As a lawyer later informed me, going to Holiday Inn management was a big mistake. I should have gone straight to the police. All I accomplished was to give the hotel advance notice and time to put a story together implicating me in alleged consensual sex.

When I finally made contact with the police the week after Christmas, I was basically told that I was a week too late. They could no longer collect evidence. A visit to the State Attorney’s office was equally unproductive. A civil case was my only recourse, I was informed, and juries seldom rule for the plaintiff when the accused perpetrator falsely claims that sex was consensual, which, of course, he did in my case.

The case eventually went to mediation, where I met with a lawyer I had hired and two lawyers from the Holiday Inn’s corporate offices. I was instructed to offer only short answers to their questions, which included: “What were you wearing to bed?”; “Is it true that you accepted a drink from the accused at the bar that evening?”; ”Why were you staying at the hotel alone?”; and “Were you attracted to the guard because he was black?” When the mediation session ended, the Holiday Inn lawyers offered me a modest settlement if I would agree to drop my complaint and keep the negotiations confidential.

Classic Holiday Inn Rapes

Apparently, such incidents are common at Holiday Inns. An  internet search for “Holiday Inn rapes” yields many examples. Here are a few.

Holiday Inn, Bakersfield, CA

Lawyers representing the Holiday Inn in Bakersfield, CA, requested dismissal of a lawsuit by a rape victim who was assaulted after the desk receptionist gave the woman’s room key to a convicted rapist. Security footage showed the perpetrator first propositioning the receptionist for sex in exchange for $100, then requesting a replacement key for what he claimed was his room. The receptionist gave him the key without questioning him. The perpetrator was later caught on surveillance footage entering the room, then leaving it with his pants around his ankles. The Holiday Inn stated that it was not at fault because the rape was “unforeseeable.”

Holiday Inn Northshore, Skokie, IL

A woman who obtained a nightcap at the Holiday Inn hotel bar in Skokie IL was later raped by a security guard who entered her room without her consent and assaulted her while she was apparently under the influence of a narcotic drug.  She woke up the next day with a dim recollection of events, and the security guard was implicated by a “rape kit match.” Although a suit was brought against the hotel owners and their management company, they failed to respond to subpoenas and no criminal charges were filed.

Holiday Inn, Lake Charles, LA

A guest at the Lake Charles Holiday Inn reported that she was raped by a security guard in her room during a sound sleep. She awoke in a haze during the night with a black male on top of her. Surveillance footage from the Holiday Inn showed the perpetrator entering the victim’s room several times throughout the night. The series of break-ins began when the guard used his master room key to assist with entry into the room.  On one occasion during the night he used an unknown tool to get in. Although the man was arrested and a $250,000 bond assigned, there was no record of legal proceedings against the Holiday Inn.


I rest my case.




#MeToo (in a hospital)

On September 13, 1995, I was sexually abused by a medical student at Shands Teaching Hospital, University of Florida. I was 62, receiving radiation treatments for breast cancer.

On the morning of September 13, I was put in a clinic room to await a doctor for a follow-up visit. I was given a hospital gown. When I had changed into the gown, a medical student entered the exam room and explained that he would do a preliminary exam. He instructed me to lie down on the exam table, then stood next to my right arm as he opened my hospital gown. When he palpated my abdomen, I could feel him leaning against my arm.

As soon as his body touched my arm, I was sure I felt a penile erection. I was confused and shocked. However, there was no other explanation. The student rubbed his erection against me while I was lying on a table with my abdomen and breasts exposed. I felt too paralyzed and confused to do anything. However, when he left the room and reentered with a staff physician (the head of Radiation Oncology), I asked her for a private interview. I explained what happened but she didn’t believe me. (Was I sure that wasn’t a banana in his pocket?!).

Here’s the letter I wrote to the Director of Radiation Oncology the day after the incident.


14 September 1995

Nancy P. Mendenhall, M.D.
Director, Department of Radiation Oncology
University of Florida Shands Cancer Center
Gainesville FL 32610

Dear Dr. Mendenhall:

I’ve reflected on the incident of sexual misbehavior of your medical student, Mr. K—- T——, which I reported to you yesterday. I find that I can’t just shrug off this abuse. If I am correct, it has probably happened to other women examined by Mr. T—— in the past. It will probably happen again unless the problem is addressed.

To document yesterday’s episode, I had breast surgery and radiation therapy last year and have been reporting for follow-up visits to Radiation Oncology since then. When I reported for my regular checkup. I was initially seen by a medical student, Mr. T——, who is on rotation at Shands but is attending medical school in Miami.

After a brief interview (with no one else present), Mr. T—— had me lie down on the examining table.  After opening my hospital gown, he began to palpate my lower abdomen. At the same time, he moved his pelvis against my right arm, which was extended at my side. I felt what seemed to be an obvious erection against my upper arm, although at first I sought an alternative explanation. My initial reaction was, “This can’t be. It’s too weird. He must have something in his front pocket.” I felt sort of paralyzed but then thought, “Well, after I get off the table, I’ll look and see.”

Mr. T—— didn’t have his coat buttoned and I could see, extending from his groin down alongside his right thigh, a mound that looked like a healthy erection to me. I’ve had enough experience as a heterosexual woman to know one when I see one.

At that point, I was left alone in the room to await you and the medical student together. I decided that when the two of you came in the room I’d ask to see you alone. I did, and you reacted with disbelief.

I’ve talked to a couple of women friends about this episode for purposes of reality-testing. One said, “What was a medical student doing in a room alone with you doing an exam that included palpation of the lower abdomen and breasts? All the doctors I’ve ever gone to have had a nurse in attendance.” Another said, when I told her that he was otherwise acting normal and friendly, “Of course he was! That’s part of the sexual abuse scenario … a way to confuse the female and prevent her from acting.” Sexual behavior would be especially disconcerting, she pointed out, in a physician’s office where the trust level of patients is generally high.

This is the first grievance I have ever reported to Shands or any other medical center. I hope you will follow up on it.

Sincerely yours,

Barbara G. Cox, Ed.S.


As far as I know, Mr. K—- T——  (now Dr T——) may be out there still molesting women because my complaint was never investigated. I’ve no doubt that he’s done this more than once. According to information on the Internet, the young man, now a doctor, is currently on the staff of a Florida hospital in the Tampa Bay area.

Donald Trump’s Gift to American Women

Donald Trump’s history has been invigorating for many white males, but daunting for females. I thought for sure everything was going downhill as for American girls and women until I began to watch, read about, and listen to women who have been emboldened by Trump’s sociopathy. Men, too. Late night comedians have been pretty explicit about Donald’s sexism.

A female correspondent for US News wrote, “I can’t but feel gratitude for one unintended consequence of his rise to the top of the Republican ticket: It has sparked a national conversation about sexual violence that includes some genuine feminist perspectives.”

Not long ago, the terms “rape culture” and “toxic masculinity” were found only in social science textbooks and on women’s blogs. Today, they’ve reached the pages of the New York Times and other popular publications. Late shows feature parodies of Trump’s misogyny. On “Late Night, Seth Meyers responded to skeptics who question why the women Trump kissed and groped didn’t speak up sooner. He said, “When people ask why women don’t come forward about sexual assault, that’s why. Because instead of believing them, you question their motives.”

Personal Story

I’ve been a victim of sexual assault more than once. It started when I was five. A friend of my grandfather’s came into my bedroom to wish me goodnight. He sat on my bed, looked in my eyes, said something reassuring, and then reached under my nightie. Over the years, I was either groped or attacked by a few other men.

When I was 68 years old, I was raped by a security guard at the Holiday Inn in St. Augustine Beach, Florida. He slipped his key card into my door slot, woke me up from a sound sleep, and climbed on top of me. The night was warm and muggy, so I was sleeping in the buff. I was so shocked and overwhelmed that I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t even fight. After it was over, I put in my clothes and walked on the beach for hours. When the sun came up, I decided to report him to the hotel manager. Big mistake. The boys from the Holiday Inn’s corporate legal staff descended on a lawyer I hired after several days of PTSD. By that time, I was back home in bed vomiting with a nonstop migraine.

I can tell you that the physical rape paled compared to what the hotel’s lawyers put me through in mediation sessions. “Why was I naked?” “Wasn’t it true that I’d invited the man into my room?” Their argument, of course, was that I had been waiting for the handsome Holiday Inn security guard to join me for consensual sex. I visited the Florida State Attorney General’s office to consult one of their female legal staff. She was sympathetic and believed my story, but she said that my case had about a zero chance of winning, given the arguments of the Holiday Inn lawyers. My option, she said, was to take my grievance to a civil court. I had no courage left for it.

By this time, the Holiday Inn had spirited the perpetrator off to a distant location where he couldn’t be reached.

Why don’t we women report sexual assaults more often? You figure it out.