I made a big mistake. And now a piece of my tooth was missing.
My weekend project was to replace the passenger side motor mount on my car. I found an online tutorial and seemed it easy enough. The one tricky part was that I didn’t have the correct socket to remove the bolt securing the mount to the frame. The engineers designed the bolt with a star-shaped bolt head. I didn’t have a star-shaped socket. The special socket was around $15, so I thought that I could take a shortcut and just use a tight fitting, standard hexagonal shape.
I got under my car with my impact drill, a long extension, found the socket that fit tightly and started to pull the drill’s trigger. I stripped the bolt. Okay, I thought, no problem, I’ll just get a tighter fitting socket. I stripped the bolt even further. None of the star’s arms were left. I was in trouble now. Even if I bought the special star shaped socket, it wouldn’t help me.
I could stop the project now and take it to a shop - they would probably have a way to remove the bolt. No. I wasn’t going to do that. That would be embarrassing. I was a budding engineer. The mechanic would have another hilarious story about a naive engineer not knowing how to change a simple part. No. I was going to get this bolt out. I grabbed a smaller socket and jammed it as hard as I could on the nub that was left of the bolt head. Underneath the car again, I pushed up as hard as I could with my impact drill, trying to get the impact action to break the bolt loose.
I finally gave up. My arms were exhausted from pushing the heavy drill hard against the bolt for so long. I put the drill down, relaxed my arms, and let go of it. Wham! The drill rotated towards me and the hardened steel socket hit me right in the face. It made direct contact with my tooth. I quickly pulled the drill away and I could feel something in my mouth. A hard, small, piece of something.
Not knowing how much of my tooth was missing, I slowly, sadly, headed back to the house. I was completely defeated. My car was now damaged and so was my smile.
I tried to take a shortcut. I thought I could ignore how the bolt was designed. The tutorial said that the bolt wouldn't be very tight and would be easy to remove. I attempted to remove the motor mount in a way that the designer never intended and I paid the price with a broken car and a broken tooth.
Have you ever taken a shortcut and regretted it? Shortcuts always seem great. I get what I want faster, cheaper, easier. How many quick fixes have been advertised to you?
When I look at how the industrial livestock system is set up, I see a similar attempt to shortcut the way that God designed His creation to work.
He designed creation to regenerate. Very little on our planet gets used up, never to be used again. Trees rot. Then they are consumed by fungi, insects, and microorganisms. The product of which is high quality soil that provides the ideal location for a new tree to grow. His creation similarly deals with animal carcasses and animal feces. Creation decomposes the old and makes possible the new. This earth is built on regeneration and He thought it was a good design.
“And God made the beasts of the earth according to their kinds and the livestock according to their kinds, and everything that creeps on the ground according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.” Genesis 1:25
If God were to design a farm to raise animals for us to eat, what would it look like? Would there be any waste? I imagine it would use the systems He already put in place. The animals would be allowed to eat what makes them thrive. Their poop would fertilize the vegetation that the cows graze on. The chickens would be able scratch the ground for bugs and worms to eat. The pigs would nurse their young and enjoy bathing in the outdoor mud.
The industrial thinking is that if we can maximize the efficiency of each segment of the process, we can get more from less. It seems to make sense, given the need to feed a growing population, but there are new requirements in a system like this. The feed has to be grown in one place, which typically uses harmful chemical fertilizers to make the plants grow. The animals are raised in really small spaces, requiring massive waste collection systems that pollute nearby land, water and air and cause localized public health issues such as asthma.
A 2003 study from Penn State found that an egg produced by a pasture raised chicken can have up to 3x more beta-carotene, 2x as much Vitamin E, and 40% more Vitamin A than birds' eggs raised on an industrial diet. Likewise, pasture raised cattle are higher in conjugated linoleum acid (CLA) a main cancer defense, higher Vitamin E, lots of B Vitamins, a higher percentage of Omega-3 fatty acids, and a lower percentage of Omega-6s (Omega 6s levels are typically much too high in the American diet). It also heals the land and can save the farmer money, "A 2013 study in Agricultural Systems showed that compared to conventionally managed farms, regenerative farms could accommodate more cattle per acre, had lower cow and calf mortality, purchased less feed, and used fewer herbicides. Researchers also found that topsoil was deeper, more aerated, and densely covered with plants."
We don't have to choose between protecting the environment and raising livestock. When we choose to raise livestock in appropriate places (cutting down the Amazon to make land for cattle is not okay), it can be done by using a technique that is part of the Regenerative Agriculture system, the tools that God built into our planet.
It seems to me that by using the industrial livestock system we are going to spend a ton of energy shortcutting His design, ending up defeated and broken.
What is Regenerative Agriculture?
If this spoke to you at all and you want to watch a beautifully produced true story about Regenerative Agriculture, made by a former Discovery channel videographer, check out The Biggest Little Farm.