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food glorious food
You can download and print the information below in the form as a beuatifull illustrated A5 Flyer: Guide pages
What we eat is usually the single biggest contributor to our carbon footprint, so it’s worth thinking about. It’s really important to check where your food’s coming from and cut down your ‘food miles’. When Peak Oil hits you’ll be glad you kept your local farmer in business.
Buying half your bodyweight in air freighted mange tout and blueberries every year is likely to offset any other virtuous behaviour you may be undertaking.
Try and keep your fruit and veg purchases seasonal, the artificial climates created to give you strawberries in November are really wasteful.
Organic agriculture reduces CO2 emissions by not relying on the production and import of artificial herbicides and nitrogen based fertilisers (which release another very potent greenhouse gas- nitrous oxide)
Organic can be more expensive, because it employs more people. But it can be cheeper than ‘ordinary’ food if you cut out the supermarket and get a veggie box direct from your local farm. Or better still, grow your own.
Not eating animal products can also have a big impact on your carbon footprint. Some people find meat and dairy a hard habit to break completely, but they could still eat less of it, and when they do only buy local and organic produce. Most bicycologists find it more inspiring to be vegan, this is why-
The Trouble With Cows…
While Bob and the gang were strumming against famine for Live Aid in ‘84, Ethiopia was exporting food crops to supply the European animal feed market. In 1900 just over 10% of global grain was for animal feed. By the late ‘90s it was 45% and increasing…
An area of Brazilian Rainforest the size of Wales is bulldozed every year to make way for the soya plantations that feed British chickens and cows. The crops are increasingly genetically engineered varieties- animal feed is the anonymous backdoor sustaining the biotech industry.
Resources are wasted because it takes a lot of energy for animals to live while they’re growing. 70% of Europe’s animal feed protein is imported. The transporting and processing require a lot of fossil fuel.
Energy- One unit of energy used to make corn creates 5 units of food energy. But one unit of beef uses up 3 times the energy it yields in food energy.
Water- Beef requires 36 times as much water per calorie as wheat.
Land- A typical European diet requires 5 times the land required for a vegan diet. The UK imports the equivalent of over 4.1 million hectares of other peoples land this way.
To add insult to injury cow farts send up lots of methane- a gas 21 times more effective at global warming than CO2. Bovine bottom burps are the main source of human-induced methane emissions.
The slightly complicated bit is that for centuries sustainable agriculture in the UK has been based on animal poo. There are vegan fertilizers, but these haven’t yet been tried on a large scale. Any transition could take a while to implement, but wouldn’t be unprecedented- in Japan for example they dealt with their own shit, literally. ‘ Nightsoil’ was collected from peoples homes to make compost.
Aside from all this, industrial farming is pretty nasty. Even if you’re vegetarian you’re still responsible for bad stuff happening to fluffy things; Cows are made pregnant every year to ensure the milk supply. Their calves are taken away from them at one day old, and the males are disposed of. Females are exhausted by the high outputs extracted from them, and killed at 5 years old. Their normal lifespan would be 25 years.
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