Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Food Efficiency

Many people will tout the benefits of joining the vegetarian masses. If you ask veggies why they choose to be so some will say health, some to save animals and the latest fad reason is the environment. The environment, you ask? Is there any actual environmental impact from vegetarianism?

This blog by GOOD includes a great chart that shows "the energy cost required to produce different kinds of food and then the efficiency of those foods based on the calories they provide."

To use the much maligned corn as an example...
Energy to produce 1 lb of corn: .43 kWh
Calories per pound of corn: 390
Energy efficiency of corn: 102%

And then beef:
Energy to produce 1 lb of beef: 31.5 kWh
Calories per pound of beef: 1176
Energy efficiency of beef: 4.3%

So we expend much more energy to create 1 pound of beef vs. 1 pound of corn that results in nearly 4 times more calories (which most Americans do not need). The difference in energy efficiency is nearly unbelievable. Granted the blog goes on to say the production of food only accounts for 10% of the first-world energy consumption so there are many other things we can do to reduce our environmental impact.

Food for thought... literally!

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