Climate change: Let’s consider our food miles
He’s absolutely right that we all need to think about food miles when buying food. However, there is a great difference in the carbon footprint of food that comes by sea like bananas and, I think, melons, and food that is flown in. A government DEFRA study concluded that two tonnes of freight carried for 5,000km by a small container ship creates 150kg of CO2 compared to 6,605kg of CO2 if the freight is carried by plane for the same distance. Large boats seem to do rather less well but still much better than air.
There is a great little book by Mike Berners-Lee, son of the famous worldwide web creator, Tim Berners-Lee, entitled How Bad are Bananas? – The Carbon Footprint of Everything, which concludes they actually score well in these terms.
I must put up my hand as being guilty of organising the smoothie bike at Earth Day, with the aim of injecting some fun into the event while gently promoting cycling. The local supermarkets, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s, were very generous in donating fruit, some of which might otherwise have gone to food waste.
I think it’s fair to say we’re all waking up to the fact that eliminating food waste as nearly as possible, from supermarkets, their supply chains and our homes, is one of the battles we need to fight in addressing our climate emergency and we’re making a fair start. I personally woke up quite late to the high carbon footprint of meat,especially beef and lamb, and dairy. Mike Berners-Lee estimates a 4oz cheeseburger as having the carbon footprint of 30 bananas.
KLimate Concern (King’s Lynn Climate Concern)