June 27, 2008

An Aside about food

We care about food, & the earth. If we had some land, we would like to maybe plant a garden, as Michael Chabon Crichton Graves Pollan recommends. However, local-food-ism, as a way of (imagining we are) doing something about global warming is not something I (B) have much patience for, since "food miles" are not any kind of real proxy for carbon emissions.

By contrast, here's a concrete way to shrink the footprint: cut down on red meat by about 1/4.
As a thought experiment, the authors examine how an “all local” diet — i.e., a diet that has zero emissions between producer and eater — compares to shifts in diet in terms of greenhouse emissions. Since that is nearly impossible to achieve, they found that one could achieve equivalent reductions through the following changes:

  • Reduce red meat expenditures by 24% and spend the savings on chicken
  • Reduce red meat expenditures by 21% and spend the savings on a nondairy vegetarian diet
  • Reduce red meat and dairy expenditures by 13% and spend the savings on a nondairy vegetarian diet


Beck said...

It REALLY depends where you live. Here, meat is one of the only easily farmed foods - and so a local diet is made up quite heavily of red meat. And my dad is a beef farmer, so we get our meat from him - grassfed, freerange beef. Eating vegetarian here, however, requires shipped-in foods for the msot part.

Kate said...

Michael Pollan methinks.

Although that should, in no way shape or form, keep anyone from reading Kavalier and Clay.

allaboutattitude said...

actually vegetarian food is expensive too