When people think about the cost of something they are usually thinking in monetary terms. When the cost of item goes up it is usually do to something like the increased cost of manufacture, shortages or rarity.There is new kind of cost that we have seldom thought about – if at all. It is carbon cost.Carbon cost is how much carbon dioxide, the primary greenhouse gas, is released into the atmosphere during the production, manufacture, transportation and use of a given product.
An example of this is, say, whole pineapples produced in Hawaii and transported to the Gulf Coast. In growing this food product the soil has to be prepared using fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides used. All these items use oil in some direct or indirect way releasing CO2 in their production or application.
Pineapples are harvested and transported by cargo ships and sometimes flow to the mainland. Once they reach the West Coast they are usually trucked to their final destination. All this transportation uses fossil fuels in some form and all release CO2. If pineapples were grown along the Gulf Coast there would be a significant reduction in their carbon cost because transportation of the product would be greatly reduced. A carbon cost is associated with all agricultural and manufactured products and can be calculated.Thinking just about food products, there is a grassroots movement underway nation-wide to use only locally grown produce, chicken and beef. This movement is called ˜eating ethically”. To eat ethically is to eat only locally produced food that is grown or raised in a manner that in general is the least harmful to the environment and contains the fewest possible contaminants. Book called the ˜100-Mile Diet: A Year of Eating Locally” has been the inspiration for hundreds of markets and restaurants across the country. If this concept was put into action across the nation the fossil fuel savings would be huge and our national carbon footprint significantly reduced.Looking at the seafood industry, importing shrimp from South America or Vietnam, is not eating locally and uses up a lot of fossil fuel. So, if you use only local seafood you are helping the environment by reducing CO2 “ interesting concept”.It is a given that all areas of our nation cannot produce all the food they need. What places? It would be a tough job for Arizona or New Mexico to produce all the food needed to feed their millions. And, have you ever been to Los Angeles?If we all did what we could, where we could, it would help in reducing the carbon cost of the food we eat and help to reduce global warming. The link http://eatkind.net/, will give you a starting point to learn more about eating ethically movement.
Think Global – Act Local!