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2 From Phil

by on December 5, 2013

On climate and food

http://shrinkthatfootprint.com/food-carbon-footprint-diet

http://www.forbes.com/sites/michellemaisto/2012/04/28/eating-less-meat-is-worlds-best-chance-for-timely-climate-change-say-experts/

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3 Comments
  1. With regards to the first article, it is no surprise that vegetarians and vegans withhold the lowest foodprint out of all of the common American diets, especially after reading Eating Animals and watching Food Inc. Compared to an average American diet that consists of all foods, including beef, and features a food print of roughly 2.5 t CO2e per person each year, a vegetarians foodprint is about two thirds of the average American and less than half of a meat lover, which is a diet that includes excess consumption of meat. In the average diet, animal products make up 60% of emissions while only accounting for just a quarter of food energy, and the meat lover diet causes almost half of emissions from just a tenth of food energy. Much like our reactions to Eating Animals and Food Inc, this article forces us to reconsider our daily appetites. Eating animals clearly has a negative effect on the environment, but several people fail to understand the carbon emissions that come with meals like a delicious steak dinner or a juicy cheeseburger. This unit on food has increased my capacity to think about the relationship between the environment and the society, and I fully intend on thinking twice about the food choices I make, even with beef.

  2. The second article posed an interesting claim about the relationship between climate change and an average person’s diet. While shifting the world’s reliance on fossil fuels to renewable energy sources is important, this article argues that it would be more significant to adopt a diet that features less meat. With efforts to make us feel even worse about eating meat, a study revealed that 18% of worldwide greenhouse gas emissions were attributable to cattle, buffalo, sheep, goats, camels, pigs, and poultry. As this was done in 2006, a more recent study actually revealed that the number is closer to 51%. Also providing another interesting perspective on climate change and food, the article mentions that due to the theory that the human population is expected to grow by 35% between 2006 and 2050, the livestock numbers are expected to double during the same period. What this does is increase greenhouse gas emissions in the future directly as a result from animals, and creates pressure in searching for alternatives rather than substitute one meat product for another that has somewhat of a lower carbon footprint. While this article reiterates the fact that there is a causal relationship between climate change and human’s diets, it attempts to emphasize the fact that in the future, we cant just eat less meat. In the direction we are going with food consumption and climate change, we might not be able to eat animals at all in forthcoming generations.

  3. Colleen Ahern permalink

    This article examines the carbon footprint produced by different diets. Its interesting to see how food choices affect the environment. The largest carbon footprint comes from meat production, so the diets that cause the most carbon emissions are: 1) meat eaters, 2) average meat eaters, 3) no beef eaters, 4) vegetarians, and last is 5) vegans. One really interesting fact is how much emissions is cut from simply no beef, only chicken… chicken instead of beef cuts 1/4 of emissions. The most shocking fact in my opinion is that 3/5 of every diet is identical. The implications of this means mass production of certain crops or foods (beside meat). This article makes me reexamine what I choose to eat and how those food contribute to the carbon emission. Next time I have to decide between a cheeseburger and a salad, this article definitely reminds me to choose an environmentally friendly salad.

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