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The Boston Globe

Ideas

How to solve climate change with cows (maybe)

Could better grazing patterns be the answer? A sweeping new theory divides the environmental world

In the United States, there is famously little consensus on the topic of climate change. But among the community most concerned about it, certain convictions are widely shared: Fossil fuel emissions deserve nearly all the blame for warming our planet. Meat—especially from flatulent cattle—is an environmental scourge. The Koch brothers, with their campaigns against solar power and cap-and-trade legislation, are (to avoid a less printable word) jerks. And we are probably all doomed.

But over the past few years, a new strain of environmental thinking has begun to challenge nearly all of these tenets. This growing movement includes climate activists, scientists, and also farmers, who play a key role. Many of them would agree with mainstream environmentalists about the Koch brothers. But they argue that the way we’ve been thinking about climate has been, if not all wrong, at least woefully incomplete.

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