Politics, Foreign Policy, Current Events and Occasional Outbursts Lacking Couth

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Save the Earth: Stop Walking

What's worse than using a combustion engine to deliver yourself to the local market? Walking:

"Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.

Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.

The sums were done by Chris Goodall, campaigning author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, based on the greenhouse gases created by intensive beef production. “Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg [2lb] of CO2 to the atmosphere,” he said, a calculation based on the Government’s official fuel emission figures. “If you walked instead, it would use about 180 calories. You’d need about 100g of beef to replace those calories, resulting in 3.6kg of emissions, or four times as much as driving.

“The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better.”

The whole global warming, climactic change, call it what you will movement is getting a tad tedious. For all the "fact" proclamations out there it appears a lot of uncertainty exists not only regarding the cause but now on how to stave off the plague that human kind is certain to exact upon our fair planet. To drive or not to drive seemed a slam dunk case until this new bit of science reared it's arrogant head. Sort of pokes some holes in the scientific consensus being good as gold bit doesn't it? One wonders just how close some aspects of science lean toward abject fundamentalism.


Ymarsakar said...

The Nigerian scams had to branch out somewhere. Might as well.

Pat said...

this is apparently only true if you eat beef exclusively. does he take into account how much CO2 was emitted making the car, or just driving it? how much is emitted yearly in repairing cars, manufacturing car parts, building roads, making the concrete and other materials used to build roads, etc etc...

so whats your point here; that industries other than the automobile industry are bad for the environment? the overal problem still needs addressing, thats what the "fact proclamations" and scientific consensus are about, not which industry in particular is the worst offender. that problem isnt even worth talking about in the grand scheme of things since we need a long term fix, not a short term one.

no aspects of science lean towards abject fundamentalism. scientists themselves may borrow aspects of fundamentalism, but they cease to become good scientists when they do so.

Adrian said...

I feel no guilt as I eat my left-over fried rice for lunch, with locally-grown onions, peppers and eggs (hooray for a farmer's market 20 feet from my apartment).

Also, somebody who ate exclusively beef and milk would probably have more immediate problems than global warming. A slightly dishonest headline, in my opinion.

Anonymous said...

Given that the driver is also likely to eat a high protein diet, probably more so, this idea doesn't really work. How many SUV drivers do you know on a strictly vegetarian diet?

Unknown said...

Done. It's brilliant really, think about it. If you can't walk, you can't get to places (including your car), eventually you will need something, but since you can't walk anywhere to get it (like food), you die. Hence, your carbon footprint goes down to zero, and once you're fertilizer, it increases thereafter. :)

Jay@Soob said...


You had a rich uncle in Nigeria too?!


my point here is to illustrate just how painfully tedious the massive Global Climate Project has and is becoming. The Guy That Invented the Internet assures us that we need to walk and bike more and now this "expert" is telling us Uncle Al and his band of carbon emitting superstars have got it wrong.

adrian, are you a vegetarian? An interesting aside, the Mongol diet consisted of nearly only meat and milk.

peter, I agree. It's pure nonsense.

ny, Lol! A brilliant conspiracy to end human kinds vile degradation of mother earth!