In considering the continuing but now sadly neglected problem of ozone-layer depletion, we at the Myles na Gopaleen Jr. Think Tank (MJTT) were influenced, indeed inspired, by the theory, positively confirmed by the EPA, of the causal relation between the belching of bovine ruminants and the alarming growth of methane in the atmosphere. Plainly put, methane emissions from livestock such as cattle, water buffalo, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, and caribou now account for upwards of fifteen percent (15%) of the annual anthropogenic methane emissions. This fact, of course, has profound implications for the global environment. Other think tanks have been pondering this problem; one of them has concluded that the rational and necessary solution would be to declare all livestock, beginning with the ordinary cow, as mad, then do the reasonable thing and simply slaughter them—except, of course, for the caribou of Alaska, whose breeding and calving grounds are considered sacred by various tribes of the environmentalist persuasion. It cannot be denied that there are political problems with this solution. India, with its veneration of the cow, comes to mind. But this political quandary might possibly be solved, in the view of the MJTT, by a trade-off allowing the caribou of India to be declared “mad” and the cows of Alaska to be viewed as merely “potentially hazardous to the future of the planet.”
But the MJTT is not an advocacy group. We are resolute in our determination to stand above the fray, to discover the truth by constructing theories and, where possible, checking them out but, where not possible, suggesting ways in which other non-advocacy groups (NAGs) might confirm or disconfirm our hypotheses. Only then do we make suggestions for fixing the world for future generations of rocks, vegetables, and animals, including humans.
The theory of livestock methane emissions, now firmly established, stands, as I said, as the inspiration and source for our hypothesis. Frankly stated, we are now in the position of opining that the hole in the ozone layer above the continent of Antarctica is caused, primarily if not totally, by the excessive droppings of the penguins in and around the McMurdo Station located on or near the Ross Ice Shelf.
Our reasoning begins with the logical argument that, if the belching of cows and other ruminating creatures possessing as many as four stomachs can cause upwards of 15% of all anthropogenic methane emissions, thus causing irreversible damage to the global environment, what is to prevent the conclusion that the droppings of penguins causes the irreversible depletion of the ozone layer on which the planet’s future depends? Simple reflection on this proposition leads to the twin questions: (1) where within human ken is the ozone layer in the most dangerous process of irreversible depletion? And (2) what species dominates the landscape of that place? To our knowledge, there are only two answers: (1) Antarctica and (2) the penguin.