Founding father Benjamin Franklin was many things: inventor, a diplomat and a publisher.
One of his lesser known titles, though? Public farting advocate, as noted by his essay on the subject, “Fart Proudly”:
“He that dines on stale Flesh, especially with much Addition of Onions, shall be able to afford a Stink that no Company can tolerate; while he that has lived for some Time on Vegetables only, shall have that Breath so pure as to be insensible to the most delicate Noses; and if he can manage so as to avoid the Report, he may any where give Vent to his Griefs, unnoticed.”
Franklin would be delighted (and perhaps relieved) to learn that his findings were somewhat correct, at least as far as the environment is concerned. That’s because a new study from Loma Linda University found that a population that eats meat produces far more noxious gases — thereby causing far more environmental strain — than a population sustaining itself on a bean-focused vegetarian diet does. Why? Becuase legumes require far less land to produce at mass and create no emissions other than those you toot out on your own.
Yes, beans make you gassy, a fact Franklin would love. But beans are also far less harmful on the earth. Human populations have grown so large — and become so dependent on meat — that raising cattle takes up 42 percent of American cropland, an area more than 1.6 times the size of California. Not only that, each cow produces more methane a day than a single car.
If we switched to a more bean-focused diet, we’d cut our greenhouse emissions by 50-70 percent. And think of what it would do for our public health — red meat also leads to heart disease and cancer.
Insert that into your next limerick.