Nature's One-Tenth Rule

By Dave Hanks

The GRIZZLY is a top-of-the-line predator. For this animal to gain one pound of weight, it would have to eat 10 pounds of SALMON. Those 10 pounds of fish are the result of 100 pounds of FAIRY SHRIMP consumed. Likewise, that much Shrimp had to ingest 1000 pounds of ALGAE.

Matter cannot be destroyed. It will only change its form. Not so with energy which once used is lost. As the above example shows, there is a 9/10ths energy loss at each succeeding level of use. As a former breeder of beef cattle, there were goals I was trying to reach. One goal was feed efficiency. If the ratio of 10 pounds of feed to one pound of weight gain could be shortened, then that was real progress.

Our human species is susceptible to this rule – especially now that the world’s population is growing at such a fast pace. Over seven billion individuals are putting a great strain on the world’s resources. As Americans, we have been lucky to be able to eat at the top of the food chain. In third world countries, their populations are hard-put to be able to eat meat. They have to take a step back on the food chain. When food is scarce, instead of feeding 100 pounds of grain to livestock, it is eaten by the people. To eat meat is a luxury. Eastern Asia is an example of this and the reason they consume so much rice.

As much as we’d like to think we are immune, we are ultimately as subject to the laws of nature as our fellow species.

(Grizzlies “making the rounds”)