meat beats miles

May 28, 2008 at 3:21 am Leave a comment

What you eat matters more than how many miles your Arugula has travelled. Several reports and one here say the same thing. Mindful consumption is getting simpler while it’s getting more complex. Talked about here and here. Resilience Science’s Gary Peterson asks whether intensive nature of a country’s agriculture changes the equation. The takeaway is transportation represents only 11% – on average, it depends on the food – of the total life-cycle GHG emissions of U.S. food (there’s little reason to expect a dramatically different result in Canada).

The results of this analysis show, Simon Donner points out, that for the average American household, “buying local” could achieve, at maximum, around a 4-5% reduction in GHG emissions due to large sources of both CO2 and non-CO2 emissions in the production of food. Shifting less than 1 day per week’s (i.e., 1/7 of total calories) consumption of red meat and/or dairy to other protein sources or a vegetable-based diet could have the same climate impact as buying all household food from local providers.

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Entry filed under: biocomplexity. Tags: .

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