The Cow Gas Effect by Meredith Midgley and Manon Bonnet of Terrascope Youth Radio

December 15, 2010 in Youthcast by Molly Adams

"Cows" by rajthesnapper

We are all very interested in what we and our neighbors are eating these days. From The Omivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, the documentary Food, Inc., and legislation at the state and federal level to regulate safety standards and ingredient quality, healthy food and how we get it are often making front-page news.

Terrascope Youth Radio in Cambridge, Massachusetts specializes in radio stories about science and the environment.  Meredith Midgely and Manon Bonet, who sound like they might be a couple vegetarians themselves, want to base some pro-veggie propaganda in facts. So of course they went to scientist, who tells them that the common model for raising meat really is not that good for the environment.

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Apparently, "The Cow Gas Effect" had a more grown up sound originally. One of the advisors of Terrascope, Ari Epstein, emailed me this behind-the-scenes story about how they got these young producers to act more their age.

One way we suggested doing that was to create pieces that would "make Ari feel a little uncomfortable." The teens decided that one sure way to do that would be to put a fart noise on the air, so they created this piece, which originally said "cow farts" instead of "cow burps," with a farty noise as a sound effect. But the problem is that the greenhouse gases generally come out the other end of the cow. As cows digest their food in their multiple stomachs, they produce methane, which they then burp out. So we had to redo the piece, kind of in a hurry. Fortunately one of our MIT student/mentors has a fraternity brother who can burp well on command.

Music in this episode is by daghoti and was found on the Free Music Archive(.org).