Tuesday, June 10, 2008

It's not always obvious....

A pair of wire articles on where carbon consumption happens in our daily lives. A central premise of the "Locavore" movement is that the transport of food contributes to carbon footprint more than production. Recent research by Carnegie Mellon scientist Christopher Weber reveals that eating less red meat and dairy is still the most effective way to reduce your food related footprint.

A relatively small dietary shift can accomplish about the same greenhouse gas reduction as eating locally, Weber adds. Replacing red meat and dairy with chicken, fish, or eggs for one day per week reduces emissions equal to 760 miles per year of driving. And switching to vegetables one day per week cuts the equivalent of driving 1160 miles per year.

That salad is looking healthier in more ways than one. Cattle is an incredibly grain intensive form of protein, and most of the feed grain relies on fertilizer. But you can't stop thinking about transport either, this statistic is telling:

"It's still useful to think about transport," says David Pimentel of Cornell University, an ecologist who has conducted life-cycle analyses of food's energy use. He recently calculated that if a typical American drives home with a 1 pound can of corn, 311 calories of fossil fuel energy are used to transport the 375-calorie corn in the can

One way to alleviate that count is to consider alternative means of transport to obtain your food. One of the joys of living in the city is that the many green grocers allow you to pick up your food daily, and carry it along your walk. I'm increasingly walking to my local Mercado or riding my bike to my grocery. There are even panniers that mimic the size a standard grocery bag.

No we move on from food to play. This next link may not last since it's not a permalink. A recent Australian consumer agency study found that video game consoles and plasma flat panel displays are major electricity guzzlers even when left on standby. The main offender was the power hungry Playstation 3.

"Our tests found that leaving a Playstation 3 on while not in use would cost almost... five times more than it would take to run a refrigerator for the same yearly period," said the study which was published on Choice's website www.choice.com.au.

This is not surprising given the computing power of the Playstation 3, it's actually been used in clusters as supercomputers.

So what can one do to reduce the impact of our playthings.

The report advised consumers to switch off their electronic devices at the source, rather than just from the remote control, which puts them on power-consuming stand-by mode. "This saves on money, not to mention carbon emissions," it added.


At 11:15 AM , Anonymous cycling supplies said...

I don't get this. "A central premise of the "Locavore" movement is that the transport of food contributes to carbon footprint more than production." Could you please enlighten me on this? I keep following all your posts hope you can regularly post more. I get very useful information here. Thanks for having this.

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