If you’re serious about reducing your carbon emissions, you might want to check out a recent TimesOnline article before completely changing your lifestyle. Chris Goodall, member of UK’s Green Party and author of the book “How to Live a Low-Carbon Life,” made some calculations that reveal some environmental “facts” to be false. For example:
Walking contributes more CO2 than driving. Driving a car puts 0.9 kg of CO2 into the atmosphere. Walking uses 180 calories, which would require 100g of beef (3.6 kg CO2) or 420 mL of milk (1.2 kg CO2). Apparently organic beef is even worse, because those cattle emit more methane (same with organic milk).
Cloth diapers are just as bad as disposable, because of the energy, water, and detergent necessary to clean them.
There are many more examples given, some more surprising than others. I’m not sure how I feel about the car example – for instance, did he take into account all of the energy that goes into producing a car? The article doesn’t say. Also, these calculations are based on UK numbers…but I would imagine they apply to the US as well.
Additionally, there is an Economist article that confronts the “buy local” myth (perhaps not necessarily a myth, but should be viewed with a dose of skepticism). It seems obvious to most people that if you buy local produce, those veggies don’t have to travel as far on the roads, less fuel is needed for transport, thus less CO2 in our atmosphere, right? Wrong:
“It turns out to be better for the environment to truck in tomatoes from Spain during the winter, for example, than to grow them in heated greenhouses in Britain. And it transpires that half the food-vehicle miles associated with British food are traveled by cars driving to and from the shops. Each trip is short, but there are millions of them every day. Another surprising finding was that a shift towards a local food system, and away from a supermarket-based food system, with its central distribution depots, lean supply chains and big, full trucks, might actually increase the number of food-vehicle miles being traveled locally, because things would move around in a larger number of smaller, less efficiently packed vehicles.”
So much confusion, what’s an environmentally-conscious person to do? I know…I’ll just become a hermit – then I’m not driving or walking anywhere. Ha! Take that, global warming!