Tuesday, February 03, 2009

More Food and Carbon Dioxide

Heard this yesterday and had an additional "a ha!" moment

Mark Bittman: Conscious Eating
Food writer and home cooking guide Mark Bittman is a hero in many American kitchens. His “How to Cook Everything” has put a lot of meals on a lot of family tables.
Now, Bittman is taking up a bigger cause than dinner: The way Americans eat, he says, is killing themselves and the planet. Too much meat. Too much junk food. Too big a footprint.
Just a little change, he says — vegan ‘til 6pm, ‘til dinner — could save our waistlines, our health, and the planet.
On top of my reading of Michael Pollan's books last summer and fall and a friend's posting of this wonderful from Scientific American via Grist,
  • Pound for pound, beef production generates greenhouse gases that contribute more than 13 times as much to global warming as do the gases emitted from producing chicken. For potatoes, the multiplier is 57.
  • Beef consumption is rising rapidly, both as population increases and as people eat more meat.
  • Producing the annual beef diet of the average American emits as much greenhouse gas as a car driven more than 1,800 miles.
These factoids, besides making me want to throw my hands up and say "the hell with it!", reinforce something that has been gnawing at me for a while, probably since I started digging into the roots of the financial crisis last fall; dependence.

We're dependent upon systems and institutions that are starting to show serious cracks:.
  • Factory farming; dependent upon petroleum for fertilizer, mechanization, & delivery
  • Healthcare; dependent upon petroleum for energy, drug manufacturing, R&D, etc.
  • Shelter; dependent upon petroleum for heat, electricity, cooking, etc.
  • Vocations; dependent upon petroleum for commuting, powering the buildings
  • Jobs; dependent upon the energy fueled economy to provide them
How might we change this dependency? What are the tool for addressing our "need" for services that add no value to society and the environment? Is it here (Transition Towns)? Maybe here (The Power of Community)? How 'bout here (SmallMart) or here (BALLE)?

Where do you think it is?

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