The Effect of Dietary & Transportation Choices on Climate Change

Download Download as PDF (Size:197KB)  HTML   XML  PP. 482-485  
DOI: 10.4236/fns.2011.25069    4,630 Downloads   8,422 Views   Citations

ABSTRACT

Goals: Many health organizations encourage people to use human-powered transportation “because it is better for your health and the environment”. However, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions produced to iso-calorically replace the energy expended in human transportation could make this potential environmental benefit untrue; our study tests this truism. Methods: Holding other (e.g., electricity consumption, consumer goods, household size) sources of GHGs constant, we varied transportation mode (walking, biking, or driving) and diet type (to reflect differing % of calories from meat, as calories from meat require higher GHG production). Principle Results: The pounds of carbon dioxide emitted per mile by vegan vs carnivorous bicyclists, walkers, and car drivers are: vegan bicyclist 0.1 lbs/mile, vegan walker 0.3 lbs/mile, carnivorous bicyclist 0.4 lbs/mile, car driver 1.1 lbs/mile, carnivorous walker 1.3 lbs/mile. Major Conclusions: Our data suggest that if you eat a very high meat diet, walking may be worse for the environment than driving. Since eating less meat is healthier, and walking and biking are also clearly typically better for an indi-vidual’s health than is driving, we encourage people to make it more likely that walking and bicycling are also better for plane- tary health, by eating less meat and then using human-powered transportation.

Cite this paper

N. Frank-White, R. Burns-Kirkness and E. Frank, "The Effect of Dietary & Transportation Choices on Climate Change," Food and Nutrition Sciences, Vol. 2 No. 5, 2011, pp. 482-485. doi: 10.4236/fns.2011.25069.

References

[1] R. Black, Shun Meat, Says UN Climate Chief, BBC News, 24 May 2011. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7600005.stm
[2] E. Hertwich, E. van der Voet, S. Suh, A. Tukker, et al., “Assessing the Environmental Impacts of Consumption and Production: Priority Products and Materials: A Report of the Working Group on the Environmental Impacts of Products and Materials to the International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management,” United Nations Environment Programme, New York, 2010.
[3] L. D. Frank, M. J. Greenwald, S. Winkelman, J. Chapman and S. Kavage, “Carbonless Footprints: Promoting Health and Climate Stabilization through Active Transportation,” Preventive Medicine, Vol. 50, Suppl. 1, 2010, pp. S99-S105. doi:10.1016/j.ypmed.2009.09.025
[4] L. D. Frank, J. F. Sallis, T. L. Conway, J. E. Chapman, B. E. Saelens, W. Bachman, “Many Pathways from Land Use to Health: Associations between Neighborhood Walkability and Active Transportation, Body Mass Index, and Air Quality,” Journal of the American Planning Association, Vol. 72, No. 1, 2006, pp. 75-87. doi:10.1080/01944360608976725
[5] J. Hiskes, “Tailpipe Fumes Are Five Times Worse for Bikers Than for Drivers, Study Finds,” Grist, Accessed 24 May 2011. http://www.grist.org/article/2010-06-08-tailpipe-fumes-are-five-times-worse-for-bikers-than-drivers/
[6] Statistics Canada, “CANSIM Summary Tables,” Statistics Canada, 2009.
[7] N. Fiala, “How Meat Contributes to Global Warming,” Scientific American, Vol. 300, No. 3, 2009, pp. 72-75. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0209-72
[8] The Nature Conservancy. “Carbon Footprint Calculator—What’s My Carbon Footprint?” Nature Conservancy, Accessed 24 May 2011 http://www.nature.org/initiatives/climatechange/calculator/
[9] World Wildlife Fund, “Footprint Calculator,” World Wildlife Fund, 24 May 2011. http://www.footprint.wwf.org.uk/
[10] University of California Berkeley, “Cool Climate Calculator,” Cool Climate Network, 24 May 2011. http://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/home
[11] M. Sivak and O. Tsimhoni, “Fuel Efficiency of Vehicles on U.S. Roads: 1923-2006,” Energy Policy, Vol. 37, 2009, pp. 3168-3170.
[12] S. E. Gebhardt, R. G. Thomas, “Nutritive Value of Foods,” U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, 2002.
[13] American Heart Association, “Physical Activity Calorie Use Chart,” American Heart Association, 24 May 2011. http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=756
[14] T. Plate, “Tofu’s Carbon Footprint,” 24 May 2011. http://tofuscarbonfootprint.weebly.com/carbon-calculations.html
[15] H. Steinfeld, P. Gerber, T. D. Wassenaar, V. Castel, C. deHaan, “Livestock’s Long Shadow; Environmental Issues and Options,” Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Geneva, 2006.
[16] C. Foster, K. Green, M. Bleda, et al., “Environmental Impacts of Food Production and Consumption: A Research Report Completed for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs,” Manchester Business School, London, 2006.
[17] UNEP/GRID-Arendal, “The Main Greenhouse Gases,” United Nations Environment Program, 24 May 2011. http://www.grida.no/publications/vg/climate/page/3060.aspx
[18] C. L. Weber, H. S. Matthews, “Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States,” Environmental Science and Technology, Vol. 50, 2008, pp. 3508-3513. doi:10.1021/es702969f

  
comments powered by Disqus

Copyright © 2017 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.