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The Hopelessness Issue

Beef and Oil

Yes, that thing that looks like Earth’s gaping, bleeding asshole is a half-mile-by-half-mile runoff pool of cow shit and piss. It’s from Mishka’s new series, which consists of mega-high-resolution composite satellite images of cattle farms and oil...

Bar G Feeders, Hereford, Texas—Thirty-five percent of farms in the US are devoted to raising cattle for beef, making this type of farm the most common in the country. 

Brahaney Oil Field, Plains, Texas—One 42-gallon barrel of crude oil yields approximately 19 gallons of gasoline. 

Tascosa Feed Yard, Bushland, Texas—There were about 31 million beef cows in the US as of 2011, and 27 million feeder calves on their way to becoming meat. The country exported 2.78 billion pounds of beef that year, worth a total of $5.04 billion. 


Shamrock Farms, Stanfield, Arizona—Including all the water needed to grow feed and grass for grazing, it takes about 2,500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef—100 times more than what is needed to produce a pound of wheat. 

Kern River Oil Field, Bakersfield, California—In 2011, the US consumed nearly 19 million barrels of oil per day, which accounted for about 22 percent of the world’s petroleum consumption. 

North Ward Estes Oil Field, Wickett, Texas—The US produces somewhere around 5.8 million barrels of oil a day, less than a third of what it consumes. By comparison, the country that produces the most oil is Russia, which churns out around 10 million barrels a day. 

Randall County Feedyard, Amarillo, Texas—One quarter-pound hamburger patty takes more than six pounds of grain, 52 gallons of water, 74 square feet of land, and 1000 BTUs of fossil fuel to produce. 

Wasson Oil and Gas Field, Denver City, Texas—In 2011, the US ranked as the number one consumer of oil in the world, demanding the same volume as China, Japan, and India combined. 

Bring a box of tissues and read more from our Hopelessness Issue:

The Secret Drinker’s Handbook

Don’t Get Caught

The Right to Die Is the Right to Live