Fuel for Your Body Counts Too

So the debate over envir­on­mental costs for trans­port­a­tion is often lim­ited to the sort of fuel a vehicle would use. A passing remark by Mark Post  which I high­lighted in a pre­vi­ous art­icle made me search for actual math­em­at­ics regard­ing fuel input for travelling.

Lo and behold, here’s a site to change your way of think­ing about the food you con­sume, and the asso­ci­ated envir­on­mental cost.

Essen­tially the view of the food you eat as fuel for travel also counts as an envir­on­mental cost. Con­sider it is what powers your muscles while you cycle, and by corol­lary, what you are con­sum­ing as fuel while you walk, and the logical con­clu­sion, what your cells burn while you are alive.

You are an organic machine with bil­lions of engines inside you burn­ing food for energy.

The entire art­icle is well worth the time to explore, if you want to call your­self an envir­on­ment­al­ist. Besides, if you want some­thing to be done about cli­mate change, you need to know the num­bers. What? You think other people and other gov­ern­ments should be the ones respons­ible for ini­ti­at­ing solu­tions to stop cli­mate change?

Here are some inter­est­ing quotes:

Pimen­tel cal­cu­lated that if the entire world ate the way the U.S. does, the planet’s entire pet­ro­leum reserves would be exhausted in 13 years.  The typ­ical Amer­ican could save more gas by going vegan than by giv­ing up driv­ing two days a week.

Or you can use pub­lic trans­port on top of being vegan and reduce your car­bon foot­print even more substantially.

As the Organic Con­sumers put it, “It’s how food is pro­duced, not how far it is trans­por­ted, that mat­ters most for global warm­ing, accord­ing to new research pub­lished in ES&T.”  The authors of that study say, “Shift­ing less than one day per week’s worth of cal­or­ies from red meat and dairy products … achieves more GHG reduc­tion than buy­ing all loc­ally sourced food.”

In other words, ship­ping vegan soya milk from Thai­l­and is much less pol­lut­ing than eat­ing my neighbour’s cow (except they don’t own cows any more).

So what will it be? Con­tinue eat­ing anim­als because they just taste too good, while being a hypo­crite whenever ques­tion­ing why gov­ern­ments aren’t work­ing to solve the issue of cli­mate change? Or will you become part of the solu­tion today and just stop eat­ing animals?