I saw a photo online the other day of some packaged fruit that was sold in the US . It was picked in Argentina, and packaged in Thailand before being shipped back to the US. Have a look how far that is on a map
Considering I can’t eat nuts and beef is one of the safest and most nutritious foods I can have, getting it locally actually is a good idea in this case. It depends on your needs, food is far more complex than a lot of people would like to believe.
I also won’t suffer supply chain issues, I can go see the cow I’m going to eat before it’s killed, I know exactly where my food comes from.
Shipping is also pretty awful, though technically speaking one of the more environmentally friendly forms of cargo transport due to shear volume.
Buying loca also isn’t restricted to food, and there are potentially many other benefits which can have an environmental impact by buying locally.
The land use change bit of those charts happened mostly hundreds of years ago in this country. Still a massive problem in Brazil and similar rain forest areas though. So I would say where food comes from does have a big impact. We aren’t generally chopping down forests for farmland any more in the UK
I think the biggest thing I have done is move to within walking distance of work. I still use my car for other stuff, but it doesn’t get used every day now. As an added benefit not having to join in the morning traffic is great
Land use related to meat is largely the food that feeds livestock which in the case of the UK is largely imported. So yes land use change is appropriate within a UK context. You simply can’t sustainably feed a global population on meat because it is so incredibly inefficient, this is clear just from the calorie and protein conversation rates.
Despite this fact western populations seem to think we are entitled to inflict climate change on the global poor while simultaneously denying them the lifestyles responsible for that for the simple reason that we got there first.
I also love how after pointing out in the clearest possible terms how irrelevant food miles are people will cling to it so they can avoid making any significant lifestyle changes.
Heaven forbid an avocado produce a few grams of CO2 in shipping, but we can bring 100kg of soy from Brazil to produce 1 steak, as long as the cow that eats it is 50 miles from our house.
Bear in mind nuts aren’t that great environmentally, yes they are maybe 100X better than beef in some regards, but they are still bad compared to other protein sources so you aren’t really missing out. Nuts use a lot of water and often in parts of the world were water is at a big premium (e.g. California) - not all water use is equal.
Ok and to be fair I think soy is more pork and beef, but my point was just if the feed is travelling a long way the food miles story is a bit of a weird one. As has been demonstrated above food miles are basically irrelevant, in fact imported feed is probably better where they have greater yields.
I mean it’s better than just livestock yes, but it’s patently worse than pure crop rotation.
That’s reasonable, but I don’t think there’s much of a trade off, it’s not like chocolate, bacon and cheese are top of the environmental charts. For most people taste is the #1 priority (let’s be honest we are mostly selfish) and health + the environment distant seconds.
Not strictly. Crop only farming has its own issues that include problems like soil destabilisation and soil errorison, potential issues with water table contamination etc. Rotating in livestock pretty much solves these issues.
Ah I think your right. The issue with food from my perspective is that people don’t know where they even get their food from.
The fact that you can know the local farm where you get your food means you can also know how your food is produced, if it’s livestock, how it’s fed, and how it’s looked after and processed. This becomes all but impossible with imported food.
That’s not to say there aren’t some foods which can be better to import, but you’re less likely to know what’s going on.
That however is the same for a lot of things and not just food.
There are some nice ideas here, but getting caught in the weeds a bit.
From David MacKay’s excellent Sustainable Energy Without The Hot Air “All the energy saved in switching off your [phone] charger for one day, is used up in one second of car-driving.” I really recommend this book for getting a better perspective.
If you have to drive for one extra minute to pick up your bamboo toothbrush, it will not be worth it.
I once saw an advert for a bamboo alarm clock, touting that it was eco-friendly. Well sure, but are you going to throw out your old alarm clock to buy the new? I doubt the energy efficiency of the bamboo alarm clock factory matches that of the plastic alarm clock one.
Check out this video, particularly interesting for us as investors is the segment from 2m22s, about the carbon footprint of our investments.
What’s the best thing you can do for the environment? Vote! Not just in elections, but every time you spend money you are effectively voting for how you want the world to be. Vote with your investments.
You don’t drive an extra minute because it’s bamboo, you need to get a toothbrush regardless of what it’s made from, usually combined with your regular shopping anyway. I don’t think you were meaning that in regards to toothbrushes specifically though? But thought it worth adding since it’s one of those not always simple things.
I agree on the alarm clock, you’re going to keep your alarm clock for decades (assuming you didn’t buy cheap Chinese made junk) so it’s material isn’t as big a consideration when you consider the longevity of the device, but a plastic toothbrush your throwing out every 3 months or so materials can play a bigger role in the decision.
Good point about throwing out perfectly usable devices as well.
I think there should be an additional “r” - redesign. Once we fall into habits, those patterns of behaviour are very difficult to change, we should design products with minimal impact on the environment in the first place. I think this is starting to happen. As noted above, I think the best way to influence this is with your wallet and ballot paper.
To take the example of nappies - the vast majority of parents with babies are simply not going to switch from disposable nappies to reusable nappies. Instead design a product that has minimal environmental impact in the first place.
Nappies still very much a feature in the Sleepy household…