Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Best Way to Impede Climate Change: Eat Eco-Friendly

Changing one's diet to local, organic, vegetarian, and/or vegan are by far the most effective ways for an individual to lessen their eco-footprint, more so than driving hybrid cars, carrying reusable grocery bags, or purchasing energy-saver light bulbs (although everything helps of course).

This is particularly clear when one notes that, per year, a typical American puts 4.4 tones of CO2 in the air with their motor vehicle, while they put a whopping 60 tones of CO2 into the atmosphere with their food consumption.

However, a food's eco-friendliness appears ever-more complex. That is, it turns out based on a comprehensive study by the US Food & Drug Administration, it may be better for one to buy food from a little farther away if the production of that food is more carbon-neutral than your local offering. This is because 83% of the CO2 put out by food consumption is not how far it travels, which is about 11%, it is what it takes from start to finish to grow/raise it.

Let us play devil's advocate here. Say
you are trying to lead a green life and yet you know your local farmers use crude oil to run every instrument and aspect of their farming facility while they don't recycle at all, and the next closest farm which uses biofuels and recycles much of its waste is too far away to make it environmentally sensible. What do you do? suggests
a solution in its article, "Must I Throw Out the Whole Hog?"

To wit:

"A relatively small dietary shift can accomplish about the same greenhouse gas reduction as eating locally. Replacing red meat and dairy with chicken, fish, or eggs for one day per week reduces emissions equal to 760 miles per year of driving. And switching to vegetables one day per week cuts the equivalent of driving 1160 miles per year."

Deciding if and how to eat ecologically can be considerably confusing and frustrating, but this post and these few tips may make it somewhat easier to swallow changing your diet for our planet. Bonappetit!

More info on eco-eating:
"Food Footprint: Minimizing Greenhouse Gases"

Source:"Do Food Miles Matter"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

those hindu really got it right, red meat is just not good to eat (even though it is delish!)