Democrats & Liberals Archives

Food Carbon Footprints

Technologists and other geeks have been talking about carbon footprints for a long time. Now the rest of us are getting into the act. If we want to reduce global warning it’s up to each of us to calculate our carbon footprint, or how much carbon we are responsible for during a year. A very important part of a person’s carbon footprint is the carbon footprint of each of the foods he buys.

This sounds like a lot of work. However, some companies are eager to help us:

Bon Appétit Management Co. rolls out its new Low Carbon Diet in 400 cafes it runs at university and corporate campuses around the country. Chicken, it turns out, has a lower carbon footprint than beef.

This is a front page article in the L.A. Times. And for the first time that I can remember, on the front page, there is a pictorial sequence - of the carbon footprint of cheese. (On the Internet I could not find this excellent diagram.) Here is the sequence representing the footprint of cheese:

1 - Factories manufacturing fertilizer use a fuel-intensive process that emits CO2

2 - Excess fertilizer applied to fields produces nitrous oxide, which has 296 times the warming potential as CO2

3 - Corn, used for feeding cows, is harvested, processed, trucked and stored, all of which use CO2-emitting equipment

4 - A cow belches annually 145 pounds of methane, which has 23 times the warming potential of CO2

5 - Refrigeration, production and packaging of cheese use CO2-emitting equipment

6 - Transporting the cheese requires refrigeration equpment as well as vehicles that emit CO2

7 - At the supermarket, the cheese is displayed in CO2-emitting containers

8 - Consumers travel to food stores and then go home and store the cheese in a refrigerator, and both activities emit CO2

9 - Cheese that is thrown out gets to a landfill which generates methane and CO2

Bon Appétit Management Co. deserves a lot of credit for determining food carbon footprints and using this information to decide what food to sell. Hamburgers are out, vegetables are in. Imagine the courage it takes to remove hamburgers from the menu. But they are doing it. I hope other companies in the food industry as well as in other industries will follow this example.

Solving global warming can not be accomplished through technology, taxes (regardless of the type), political action or by any other top-down means. These things are necessary, but not sufficient. Global warming can only be solved if we get individual citizens to participate. Calculating carbon footprints is a great way to start.

Posted by Paul Siegel at April 22, 2008 5:43 PM
Comments
Comment #251219

Gee, and I was hoping that the next President would institute Big Block of Cheese Day in the White House:
http://www.mountsutro.org/2008/02/10/404/
so we could finally get the wolves only roadway, and the Peters projection world map would become the standard.

“Andrew Jackson, in the main foyer of his White House had a big block of cheese… The block of cheese was huge —- over two tons. And it was there for any and all who might be hungry.” … Jackson wanted the White House to belong to the people, so from time to time, he opened his doors to those who wished an audience…. It is in the spirit of Andrew Jackson that I, from time to time, ask senior staff to have face-to-face meetings with those people representing organizations who have a difficult time getting our attention. …. I know the more jaded among you, see this as something rather beneath you. But I assure you that listening to the voices of passionate Americans is beneath no one, and surely not the peoples servants.”
TWWS1ep5 TCATW

Posted by: ohrealy at April 22, 2008 6:44 PM
Comment #251223

Paul, I’ll file your piece in the same folder as the fairly recent article I read about using only two sheets of toilet paper to wipe to “save the planet”.

Since nearly all of AlGore’s projections have proven false and many of the world’s leading scientist are now removing their names from U.N. documents on so-called man-made global warming, I think I’ll continue to eat my steak, baked potato with lots of butter and cream cheese, and salad with Roquefort cheese dressing. I’ll provide the website for those scientists if you wish.

Posted by: Jim M at April 22, 2008 7:25 PM
Comment #251225

Jim,

I don’t think you need to worry about global climate change.
With a diet like that I am sure you will soon die of a heart attack, and won’t have to deal with it.

Posted by: Rocky at April 22, 2008 7:33 PM
Comment #251229

Bottled water anyone??

We get our beef straight from a friend who raises them.
He drops his and ours at the butcher on the same trip.
The butcher is between his place and ours.
One round trip to buy enough beef to last us a year.
My carbon footprint for beef has been as small as I can make it for 16 years.

It’s not just the beef and cheese.
There are many things that have supposedly made our lives better/easier that have had a negative effect on the environment.
Anyone here old enough to remember the GLASS bottles that soda came in? I miss those bottled pop machines. They were cool.
We used to pick the bottles up out of the ditch, clean them up, and take them back to the store to buy candy with the deposit money … no plastic bottles and aluminum cans laying on the side of the road.
If you stop and think about it…I’m sure you can come up with a number of things that make a huge footprint.
Everthing we buy is NOT made to last, or disposable, to keep people in jobs.

Posted by: Dawn at April 22, 2008 10:09 PM
Comment #251231

Plastic grocery bags have become some kind of issue here, mostly because they seem to escape and blow around all over the place, and they’re ugly. People are trying to ban them. The grocery stores are selling cloth bags, but you need quite a few if you buy a lot. I bought one cloth bag, mostly because the plastic ones aren’t strong enough for a 2 liter bottle of soda, but you have to remember to bring it with you when you go out, in case you decide to go to the grocery store on the way home from work.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 22, 2008 11:21 PM
Comment #251243

“Solving global warming can not be accomplished through technology, taxes (regardless of the type), political action or by any other top-down means. These things are necessary, but not sufficient. Global warming can only be solved if we get individual citizens to participate. Calculating carbon footprints is a great way to start.”

Essentially, your method is to guilt people into “solving” global warming. To do so, you link it to everything under the sun and then have them calculate their part in it. Brilliant!! Guilt is so encouraging.

I guess you’ll have to excuse me if I think global warming is a distraction from Americans’ top environmental concerns. You’ll have to excuse me again because I also think that sustained $100+/barrel oil will be an effective means of weening most Americans of their energy intense lifestyles without the need for the guilt or the new taxes.

Posted by: Mr. Haney at April 23, 2008 2:54 AM
Comment #251246
I also think that sustained $100+/barrel oil will be an effective means of weening most Americans of their energy intense lifestyles without the need for the guilt or the new taxes.

It will also wean a lot of people in the world from life itself… That should help as well, having our energy source cost so much, so that we can build Dubai City at the expense of the millions of poor people in the world who will die as a result of not being able to get enough food…

That is ignoring the riots and wars that will result over the next decade or two as the poorer countries get tired of starving to death because OPEC wants to make a beautiful city, and the US wants to leave oil in the ground.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 23, 2008 7:34 AM
Comment #251247
Hamburgers are out, vegetables are in. Imagine the courage it takes to remove hamburgers from the menu.

Not to mention how unhealthy it is to a quarter of the people in the United States who require the Almino Acids in the form that can only be acquired in red meat…

Oh, but that’s not the point is it? It is about the environment and the eventual extermination of the main enemy of it, the human race.

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 23, 2008 7:37 AM
Comment #251248

(btw, in case it was unclear, the part about the extermination of the human race was sarcasm/humor…)

Posted by: Rhinehold at April 23, 2008 7:55 AM
Comment #251253


I am suprised that there hasn’t been a massive deflation of the human population due to a lack of amino acids that are only found in red meat, considering the fact that half the people on this planet have never consumed red meat and a majority of the others have only had it on occasion.

We will do something about global warming when we can do it without curtailing mass consumption and without raising taxes. Good luck.

Clinton tried to introduce a energy consumption tax in his first term. He was shot down by his own party in Congress. I think we can keep this debate on global warming going for at least another two decades without many problems except higher energy prices and wars for oil.

An SUV that does 100mph and gets 90mpg is all we need. Well, it is all that Americans need.

Posted by: jlw at April 23, 2008 9:57 AM
Comment #251258

Jim,

I don’t think you need to worry about global climate change.
With a diet like that I am sure you will soon die of a heart attack, and won’t have to deal with it.
Posted by: Rocky at April 22, 2008 07:33 PM

Rocky, just more junk science. My BP is 120/70 and cholesterol measures just fine. You need to read more about the cholesterol madness. Jim

Posted by: Jim M at April 23, 2008 11:15 AM
Comment #251264

Here’s a little story in Fox News with a pertinent quote from ABC concerning Algore’s use of fake footage in his documentary. Interesing, yes, unexpected, no!

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,352204,00.html

Posted by: Jim M at April 23, 2008 11:58 AM
Comment #251275

“An SUV that does 100mph and gets 90mpg is all we need.”

We would have been well on our way to that, if we kept requiring increases in CAFE standards, instead of relaxing them when oil prices went down. Now we are going back to what we should have been doing decades ago, but it’s too late.

On global warming, we had 30 freeze and thaw cycles this winter in Chicago, and enough rain/sleet/snowfall to keep the Des Plaines River at a very high level all year. Usually, in the fall, it becomes shallow enough for a dog to run across.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 23, 2008 2:30 PM
Comment #251324

Are there people that still refuse to believe that humans are having a negative impact on the world?

Ok. If you concede that point then what, we are having a negative impact that is be irreversible. Species of life are dying off all around the globe. We are interconnected with the life on this planet, whether some will admit it or not. Contrary to popular belief cows are not the only animal humans need to survive.

What does that mean for your children? What does that mean for the human race?

Forget global warming, if you don’t think its real. How about global extinction? Is that something you can wrap your head around? Does it have to be us before people wake up?

Are scientists refuting the fact that one species goes extinct every three hours?

I hope so.

Posted by: Jason Ziegler at April 24, 2008 9:43 AM
Comment #251330

Humans have historically needed fish a lot more than they ever needed cows, and we are having to grow them on little lice infested farms since we have managed to deplete ocean supplies, probably the most amazing thing that the human race has ever done to the planet.

Posted by: ohrealy at April 24, 2008 10:01 AM
Comment #251377

Is the planet warming, yes I believe it is. Is the human race the main cause, no, I don’t think so. Many scientists live off of gov’t grants. In order for them to continue to recieve these grants they feel they must discover something earth shattering so they can continue to receive more grants. Some of you may not remember, but back in the mid 70’s we were informed that we were headed for another ice age. That never happened so now they are going to try for global warming.
Buy all of the carbon credits you can afford, I read somewhere that Al Gore ownes one of the companies that sells the carbon credits. What a good scam he has.
The founder of The Weather Channel said that the global warming scare is the biggest scam of the 21st century. He said he somewhat agrees the earth is warming, but he does not believe that the human race is the main cause.
I read the Fox report that Jim M. lists above. This is just another reason to doubt that humans are the only cause for global warming.
I just purchased a new SUV. At best it will get 18 mph on the highway…..just love it.


Posted by: roger at April 24, 2008 11:03 PM
Comment #251398

Roger

In response to: Earth is warming humans not main cause.

Although the main cause of global warming is an important scientific question, can you really afford to take that kind of hear no evil approach?

Think about this, Is the only reason to buy a fuel efficient car Global Warming? Can you refute the fact that there is an Energy Crisis? Are soldiers dying in the Middle East so that you can drive a gas guzzler?

America has a huge appetite for oil. It must secure oil reserves and axcess to those reserves all over the globe.

Please be a little more mature.

Oh and I bet you have the nerve to put a yellow flag on that SUV.

Posted by: Jason Ziegler at April 25, 2008 9:34 AM
Comment #251407

Jim M,

“Rocky, just more junk science. My BP is 120/70 and cholesterol measures just fine. You need to read more about the cholesterol madness. Jim”

Let me preface my comments by saying I am not a scientist, nor am I a nutritionist, or even a rabid vegan. I have a steak with the trimmings once or twice a month.

I took your advise and googled “cholesterol”.
What I found, however, wasn’t surprising.

Out of a potential 36,000,000 hits I actually looked at 100. Out of those 100 articles 2 were about your “junk science”.

1 was somewhat interesting (back to this one in a minute), and 1 was from a “licenced personal trainer” (surely an expert), from Australia, Anthony Colpo, that was aggressively trying to sell e-books (buy 1 get 1 free).

From the first article, some things made sense. Heart disease is the number one killer of people in this country (OK). That we are living longer, and thus we are now living to an age that heart disease is now a factor also made sense. Railing about corporate America and the mass marketing of cholesterol lowering drugs I can accept in concept.
That said, however, where is the great hew and cry within the scientific community that this is, as you say, a hoax?
Where is Fox News, and The National Enquirer?
Why isn’t this on page one of every news source in the country?

Surely you don’t think that the FDA has suppressed this information at the behest of the drug companies (boy do I love a good conspiracy theory).

Are you so willing to believe these “lone voices in the wilderness” that you would bet your life on what they have to say?

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2008 11:10 AM
Comment #251413

“America has a huge appetite for oil. It must secure oil reserves and axcess to those reserves all over the globe.”
Posted by: Jason Ziegler at April 25, 2008 09:34 AM

Jason, America and nearly all of the rest of the world has that same huge appetite. Fortunately for the U.S. we have huge untapped reserves of oil, gas and coal beneath our soil, enough to last for many decades while we perfect new energy technology. Unfortunately, we are forbidden to use our own resources by those who mistakenly believe we can’t use those resources without spoiling the planet.

And, many of these same folks forbid using nuclear power, wind power and more as they refuse to recognize reasonable trade-offs in the interest of all humanity.

Posted by: Jim M at April 25, 2008 11:46 AM
Comment #251416

“Are you so willing to believe these “lone voices in the wilderness” that you would bet your life on what they have to say?”
Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2008 11:10 AM

Rocky, do a “Cholesterol Scam” search and you will find thousands of good articles by respected sources such as the one below from the Lancet.

http://www.laleva.org/eng/2007/01/cholesterol_guidelines_not_based_on_evidence.html

New studies reported in many major newspapers suggest that vytorin, zetia and zocor, known as statins, are being prescribed to millions of men and women with no beneficial results. In fact, many nasty side-effects have been reported.

A few years ago after suffering a bout of pneumonia it seemed that my heart was missing a beat every so often. My physician arranged an appointment for me with a cardiologist. After a sonogram and many other tests there was nothing found to be wrong and the cardiologist explained that my heart was actually adding a beat now and then due to being stressed from the pneumonia. He told me his best advice was to take non-prescription coQ10 which I did. Problem solved at very little expense. Look up COQ10 and see its many benefits.

Posted by: Jim M at April 25, 2008 12:12 PM
Comment #251422

Jim,

Again you missed the point.

If you want to call this “mass marketing” of cholesterol lowering drugs a scam you will get no argument from me. I feel the marketing of any drug to an uneducated public is a scam. America is the most medicated society on the planet.

My point was that no one can expect to live on a diet of “steak, baked potato with lots of butter and cream cheese, and salad with Roquefort cheese dressing” (those were your words right?), and expect the consequences not to be an eventual heart attack.
Do you deny that there is an epidemic of obesity in this country (which is a known cause of diabetes, and heart disease)?
Do you deny that in combination with the high stress lifestyle Americans live, the crappy food we eat places even more stress on our bodies?

In our “all or nothing” society we wouldn’t know moderation if it bit us on our collective ass.

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2008 1:00 PM
Comment #251424

Good Grief Rocky, get a grip. Of course I don’t eat that way every day for every meal. I also have my bacon and eggs, pork chops, chicken, fish, seafood, veggies, and a good smoke afterwards.

Since when did steak and potatoes and salad become “crappy food”? I don’t eat any fast food and very little sweets. My height to weight is great and I have very, very little stress in my life…on purpose I might add. I am blessed with a high rate of metabolism and my body is very inefficient in using the food I consume consequently I can eat what I want and still weigh what I did as a senior in high school. I get lots of exercise working on our little ten-acre ranch and am in love with God and life.

Have a good steak and bottle of beer and sit on the back porch with your wife or best friend Rocky and count your blessing too.

Posted by: Jim M at April 25, 2008 1:37 PM
Comment #251425

Jim,

I am a moderate guy, I also enjoy “good” food, but I enjoy it in moderation, and I said so.

Your original post didn’t intimate moderation, and further posts of yours went off on a tangential rant attacking cholesterol drugs.

So what’s a guy to think?

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2008 1:45 PM
Comment #251428

“Jim, I don’t think you need to worry about global climate change.
With a diet like that I am sure you will soon die of a heart attack, and won’t have to deal with it.
Posted by: Rocky at April 22, 2008 07:33 PM

RANT, YOU SAY, hardly, I was responding to your prediction of my early death due to high cholesterol intake with my occasional diet of steak, etc.

Be careful of getting wound too tight Rocky, that’s bad for your health.

By the way, did you read the link to the report by ABC news that Algore used footage of a movie using styrofoam for glaciers in his fictional inconvenient truth movie. I understand that Hollywood is considering melting down his Oscar and recasting it as Mickey Mouse.

Posted by: Jim M at April 25, 2008 2:05 PM
Comment #251435

Jim,

Do I need to put a little smiley face after every attempt at humor?

It was a joke.

Now who’s wrapped too tight.

Yep I saw the report, and I didn’t care to see the movie.

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2008 2:52 PM
Comment #251438

Jim,

Just because I don’t subscribe to Al Gore’s rhetoric doesn’t mean I don’t believe that there isn’t a case for climate change.
Whether or not humans are responsible, I still think we are an extremely wasteful society, and we could go a long ways toward taking better care of our environment.

Asking other countries to get their act together without having our own ducks in a row is ludicrous.

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2008 3:11 PM
Comment #251442

Rocky, we agree about most of the developed countries being overly wasteful. We probably shovel enough food into our nation’s garbage cans to feed a few starting millions. And yes, we waste energy as well. Why do our cities insist on being so brightly lit at night? I watch our evening weather reports which usually show a satellite photo and the large metro areas are lit up like a firefly.

I believe we could save a considerable amount of energy by turning off many of the lights not needed for safety. A few degrees up or down on our home and office thermostats would also help as would reducing unnecessary driving and more car pooling.

There are many ways we, the people, can accomplish energy conservation without government regulations and additional taxes on carbon. But we need science and government to be truthful with us and not use fear mongering and falsified reports which just piss most people off and result in no action at all.

And we don’t need government restricting the use of our own natural resources at the expense of mollifying the extreme environmental movement. AS you observed with regard to food consumption, moderation is the key.

Millions of American’s from both political parties are moderates and want reasonable answers and objectives without disrupting their lives. Unfortunately, the extreme wings of both parties are leading the discussion and really missing the point.

Rocky, sorry I missed your humor. It’s a rare commodity on these blogs.

Posted by: Jim M at April 25, 2008 3:47 PM
Comment #251463

So, these two cannibals were eating a clown. One of them looked to the other and said, “does this taste funny to you?”.

Posted by: Rocky at April 25, 2008 9:27 PM
Comment #251492

Thanks Rocky. Jim

Posted by: Jim M at April 26, 2008 12:43 PM
Comment #251518

Jim, you’re quite welcome.

Posted by: Rocky at April 26, 2008 9:10 PM
Comment #251976

Since I have started taking two tablespoons a day of milled flax seed, I too, have become a major source of methane (like the cows). Please don’t hurt me.

However my cholesterol came in, flax seed and diet change (more fruit and vegetables in your diet) can change your life.

Your post sounds like a way to try and force vegetarianism on people to “save the animals”. And old game the old vegetarians play.

Today I had one hamburger and two hot dogs at a local event. On the third dog I skipped the buns because I had hit my starch limit for lunch. I then went home and has some vegetables and fruit to round out the meal. Protein (and fat), starch, fruit, vegetables…a complete meal.

Vegi burgers are a staple in my house but so is meat. If god didn’t want man to eat cows he wouldn’t have invented the gas grill.

Posted by: StephenL at May 2, 2008 11:33 PM
Comment #251986

Oh Lord, I meant on the second dog. Three hotdogs and one burger for lunch? no way. Although the burger was actually a very thin patty.

So we should all become vegetarians to save the planet? No thanks.

Posted by: stephenL` at May 3, 2008 12:41 AM
Comment #375183

Who will listen to a concert, North Face Jackets Outlet, of Wang Jie, Longchamp Paris, and Yu tears, of nostalgia trip, will be a blessing for, Gucci Outlet, the hot summer and ecstatic, Coach Factory Online, once for friends, Burberry Outlet, and sentimental romance, Ralph Lauren UK, will be for a long-awaited, Coach Outlet, reunion does not drunk return, Polo Outlet Online, how much passion, Michael Kors Outlet, and difficult moments, Canada Goose Outlet, his own covered with mill edges, Coach Purses Outlet Online, lost his best, North Clearance, those who have been ignored, http://www.guccivshoesfactory.com/, by the vulgar, Polo Lauren Ralph, reality of youth ah, MCM リュック, those pure idealism and vision ah, Gucci Shoes Outlet, I do not know, Marc Jacobs Outlet Online, when to actually be, Coach Factory Outlet Online, covered with dust into years, Coach Purses Outlet, of ruthless thin bookmarks, for a long time, Michael Kors Outlet Online, has forgotten to open, Cheap Hollister UK Online, this is a forgotten era, UGG Boots Sale, subject look back, Coach Outlet Online, adrift.

Posted by: coachbag at December 20, 2013 12:44 AM
Post a comment