Researching the Obvious

When the news item from Cornell University found its way to my computer, I was hesitant to share it with you. The press release told of a study that offered yet another solution to reduce fossil energy use -- this time by controlling what we ate, where the food came from, and how it was processed. I thought that was obvious.

At least one reader seems to agree, albeit a bit more dramatically. He/She was compelled to share the following with our staff:

In regard to your item about the “Cornell Study: Old Food System Used Less Energy

"If everyone would just STOP EATING, pretty soon the Earth’s energy usage would undergo a dramatic decline. It would not take very long at all – probably only a couple of months for our energy use to drop to almost zero! Voila, Global Warming is stopped dead in its tracks! I guess that you never realized how easy it would be."

I don't want to stop eating. Do you? If we all did that, we might have an impact on global warming -- or not; but we surely would be a lot skinnier, maybe even dead. I'm not sure that is the goal here.

Would you consider eating less meat/dairy and processed and junk food? Would you consider eating only local foods? Do you think that if we all did these things, that we would make a significant difference in global warming? I don't know.

According to an online carbon calculator, my lifestyle (driving to work, owning a 2,200-square-foot home, and eating processed foods) could only be sustained if we had 3.3 planets, not just the one. I would like to change this, but I think it is a hard thing to do.

How about a raising a goat in the backyard (there's room if my dog will share) and my own fruits and vegetables? Early efforts with zucchini failed miserably. I'd like to visit the farmers' market every Saturday and spend most of the weekend in the kitchen preparing food for the week for my family. We could dry it or freeze it. I would still need to have beans and nuts for protein. Wait a minute, this wouldn't work in my local market as it is now -- I would still need to import special flours -- sorghum, tapioca, and potato-- for my family members who can't ingest gluten.

But perhaps I can do some of these things. Would that help lower U.S. dependency on fossil energy?

L.K. Williams

Posted by L.K. Williams, EPonline on Sep 03, 2008