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24 bottles of death on the wall

03 Nov 2021 | OP ED Watch

Another piece based on licenced premises, a gag whose origin we have been unable to trace, warns that brewing beer might destroy the planet. It’s in National Geographic’s “Planet Possible” feature “The Big Topic”, and says, “From start to finish, brewing beer is environmentally unfriendly. A single eight-ounce glass of beer takes about 20 gallons of water to produce. The brewing process requires large amounts of electricity – to heat hot water and steam and then for refrigeration. Then there’s glass and aluminum for containers and plastic and cardboard for packaging. But don’t despair.” Which we weren’t going to anyway. We were going to have a beer. Just not one of the dehydrated ones touted in that newsletter.

Nor the one that uses genetically engineered yeast instead of thirsty hops. Even though “As climate change closes in and water becomes scarce, Berkeley Yeast sells now to hundreds of breweries.” Water becomes scarce? Hardly. The United States has just seen widespread flooding. And where we live, it’s barely stopped raining in over a week. Water is anything but scarce. Nor have we consumed so many drinks as to believe that while making beer can destroy the Earth, making it differently can save it. The Earth is not that sort of object. It’s quite large and dynamic.

The idea that dehydrated beer might save the planet isn’t just sillier than thinking putting surplus wine in Prince Charles’s gas tank might. It’s one more sign that the debate has been taken over by people with no grasp of science at all. They don’t just lack advanced statistical training. They have no intuitive understanding of scale.

We would have said the debate was hijacked. But it seems that far too many people who do know better, including the IPCC, handed over the wheel without protest or coercion. If they didn’t blow the whistle on Antonio Guterres’s “code red”, what can they say now that a reputable mass distribution periodical devoted to science proclaims that genetically modified yeast and condensed beer will save us all?

4 comments on “24 bottles of death on the wall”

  1. I read somewhere avocados are bad for environment. Apparently it takes 760 ltr of water to grow each and every one. Restaurants are abandoning them as they are not green (despite their color).
    Possibility is that restaurants are not using them as they are expensive due to their popularity.

  2. And of course those 760 liters never make their way back to the aquifer. They've vanished forever.

    Life is hard, its harder without beer.

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