Toledo Talk

Eating Less Meat And Junk Food Could Cut Fossil Energy Fuel Use Almost In Half

Typical scientific bullshit....

Study finds a healthier diet and a return to traditional farming can help reduce energy consumption in US food system by 50 percent.

An estimated 19 percent of total energy used in the USA is taken up in the production and supply of food. Currently, this mostly comes from non-renewable energy sources which are in short supply. It is therefore of paramount importance that ways of reducing this significant fuel consumption in the US food system are found.

David Pimentel and his colleagues at Cornell University in New York set out a number of strategies which could potentially cut fossil energy fuel use in the food system by as much as 50 percent.

The first, and very astute suggestion they put forward is that individuals eat less, especially considering that the average American consumes an estimated 3,747 calories a day, a staggering 1200-1500 calories over recommendations. Traditional American diets are high in animal products, and junk and processed foods in particular, which by their nature use more energy than that used to produce staple foods such as potatoes, rice, fruits and vegetables. By just reducing junk food intake and converting to diets lower in meat, the average American could have a massive impact on fuel consumption as well as improving his or her health.

Further savings are possible in the food production industry. The authors suggest that moving towards more traditional, organic farming methods would help because conventional meat and dairy production is extremely energy intensive. Similarly, in crop production, reduced pesticide use, increased use of manure, cover crops and crop rotations improve energy efficiency.

Finally, changes to methods of food processing, packaging and distribution could also help to reduce fuel consumption. Although well-established energy-saving considerations in lighting, heating and packaging materials all have their part to play, the authors again highlight individual responsibility as having the biggest impact. They contend that the most dramatic reduction in energy used for food processing would come about if consumers reduced their demand for highly processed foods. This would also help cut down food miles and its related fuel cost as US food travels an average of 2,400 km before it is consumed.

This study argues strongly that the consumer is in the strongest position to contribute to a reduction in energy use. As individuals embrace a ‘greener’ lifestyle, an awareness of the influence their food choices have on energy resources might be added encouragement for them to buy good, local produce and avoid highly processed, heavily packaged and nutritionally inferior food. As well as leading to a cleaner environment, this would also lead to better health.

created by charlatan on Jul 24, 2008 at 11:22:02 pm     Comments: 12

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Comments ... #

Did Al Gore write this?

posted by Darkseid on Jul 25, 2008 at 07:00:54 am     #  

Posting from a year ago with several links to stories about this idea: Vegetarianism: The most effective tool against global warming.

posted by jr on Jul 25, 2008 at 07:59:35 am     #  

Yes, but how does the healthy diet/ increased flatulence impact global warming? Since moose and cows are tracked for the flatulence issue, shouldn't humans?

I wish they could monitor my wife's output.

posted by Postal on Jul 25, 2008 at 11:10:39 am     #  

Sure, eating less meat, more healthy food may make me live longer.

Trouble is, I won't WANT to live longer.

Kinda like the old joke about why more husband die before their wives. Cause they WANT to!

posted by JeepMaker on Jul 25, 2008 at 12:25:10 pm     #  

To sum it up:

(1) eating beef kills cattle that produce methane - a greenhouse gas.
(2) eating vegetables kill plants that take in CO2 (a greenhouse gas) and produce Oxygen

For the good of the planet, QUIT EATING VEGETABLES!

posted by GraphicsGuy on Jul 25, 2008 at 01:19:23 pm     #  

Our fruit trees on the property are now producing ... a staggering amount, I must say. Even the apricots have arrived. The Black Walnut tree is finally producing. Yahooooo!

So once each day I go out and pluck a few of the yellow plums ... wondering still why next to nobody around me shows any indication of raising ANY of their own food. Keeping a fruit- or nut-producing tree isn't a hardship.

Of course, people hate trees in general, and are steadily letting the stock of older trees die off without replacement, or they're replacing them with those stupid, silly little weepy "trees" that are just glorified bushes. Food-producing trees are not wanted since ALL trees are not wanted by this insane "clean yard" culture we've developed. Nobody wants to rake leaves ... so they certainly don't want to deal with fallen fruit or nuts.

posted by GuestZero on Jul 25, 2008 at 03:53:36 pm     #  

Walnuts!? I would love to have a walnut tree in the yard. Is it big? Where would I find one?

posted by jhostetler on Jul 25, 2008 at 05:30:43 pm     #  

Like many of our producing trees, the BW tree is a graft. It is a BW top on an unknown but strong root system of another type of tree. You can tell these things by noticing the abrupt difference in bark at the graft point, usually about 1 foot up from the bottom. Hence, this tree must have been purchased from a nursery, perhaps Black Diamond, etc.

If you want to come to another SwampBubbles or ToledoTalk gathering, remind me and I could bring you a few of the walnuts ... but those don't reproduce the root stock for obvious reasons.

I found a young BW tree growing under the parent, but thanks to the damned squirrels and all the rain in the last month, it died in the pot I moved it to. Drat! Into the compost tub it went.

You can learn more about why grafting is often used with fruit trees here:

posted by GuestZero on Jul 25, 2008 at 10:37:20 pm     #  

He hee!

What bothers me is that all this "cloning" of trees to achieve a superior genome is fallacious, in that any genome that dominates a population will have individual details that create a weakness -- in effect, any exploitable characteristic for a predatory vector. We should NOT just be propagating a select few strains of trees, since some beetle or fungus or virus can come along and wipe it out (like happened naturally to the American Chestnut when exposed to some European vector, and is happening to the Ash trees now by exposure to an insect vector). Even if the wipeout doesn't happen, the sheer population dominance of the target plant makes it too easy for the vector to continue traveling.

Somewhere along the way, people should be taking chances with wild strains of plants. We have plenty of open country, so it's not like we're lacking cultivation space for uncontrolled plant genetics.

posted by GuestZero on Jul 26, 2008 at 09:45:25 am     #  

The answer to why people don't use their yards beyond high maintenance aesthetics is marketing or herding the mentality.

I wish there were a good book on manufactured tastes, but I'd have to write it.

posted by charlatan on Jul 26, 2008 at 04:43:42 pm     #  

"To sum it up:

(1) eating beef kills cattle that produce methane - a greenhouse gas.
(2) eating vegetables kill plants that take in CO2 (a greenhouse gas) and produce Oxygen

For the good of the planet, QUIT EATING VEGETABLES!"

The sad thing is people take facetious things like this serious. Cattle and fowl eat vegetables to fatten up and generally when you pick tomatoes, peppers, apples, etc. you're not killing the plant in the process.

But at least the ass cancer industry likes the meat and cheese lifestyle. Not too mention all the other complications from eating from the tumor circus.

posted by charlatan on Jul 27, 2008 at 08:55:53 am     #