The Carbon Footprint of our Diets

February 10, 2012

Does it make a difference what we buy and what we eat? YES! Time Magazine did an amazing collection of photographs of families from around the world gathered around their dinner tables (or blankets) with a collection of all the things they eat. People’s choices make a difference. Here in US, on an average, we generate 22 tons of Carbon Dioxide per person per year! Of that, 8.1 metric tons of greenhouse gases are generated by food consumption choices.

Check out this interesting presentation with lots more data.

The carbon footprint factors this presentation lists is almost a perfect match for our Cost of Chicken map categories:

  • how far did the food travel to reach you? (transportation accounts for 11% of the total green house gas emissions from food)
  • how was your food produced? (food production and harvesting accounts for 83% of the total green house gas emissions from food if done in a conventional, big agriculture business way)
  • what kind of food did you get? (delivery from the producer to the store accounts for 4% of the total green house gas emissions from food)

So here’s a break down:

  1. Red Meat is the number one source of greenhouse gases from food and is responsible of 30% of the total.
  2. Milk and other dairy products come in at number two at 18% of the total.
  3. Cereals and Carbs at 11% of the total; as are fruits and vegetable — 11%.
  4. Chicken, fish, and eggs are responsible for 10% of the total.
  5. Beverages are 6%; and so are sweets and condiments — 6%.
  6. All the other food stuffs make up the rest — 9%.

By looking at the data coming in from the Cost of Chicken crowd map, we can see how much green gas we are generating.

We believe if people knew that their food choices make a difference to the environment, they would choose more wisely.

Check out this data (and see the whole presentation):

Food Carbon Footprint Analysis

And check out this video — “Cheeseburger Footprint: from Six Degrees” by Jamais Cascio

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