transportation calories

Global Trade = Global Warming:

Sustain, a U.K.-based food and farming alliance, has shown that iceberg lettuce flown from Los Angeles to London requires 127 calories of fuel for every food calorie. Sustain also reports that countries often end up swapping food instead of importing critical items that cannot be produced locally. The U.K., for example, imported 126 million liters of milk and exported 270 million liters in 1997.

Researchers at Iowa State University have found that fruits and vegetables travel an average of 1,500 miles within the U.S., a 22 percent increase since 1981. [...] The transportation sector consumes nearly 60 percent of the world's oil and produces a quarter of all energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions. Oil use by transportation has almost doubled since 1973.


7 Responses:

  1. ivorjawa says:

    Why would anyone want to transport iceberg lettuce?
    It's foul. It's boring. It's the staple of salad bars in midwest supper clubs.

    It's the suburban soccer mom of vegetables.

    Have some fucking self-respect. Eat romaine.

  2. recursive says:

    Seems vaguely unfair to make such a comparison based on something as silly as iceburg lettuce that has about 1/10 Calorie per gram.

  3. rxrfrx says:

    what is a "calorie of fuel?" are we talking about total mechanical energy used in running the engines of planes? i mean, an engine is hundreds of horsepower... that's thousands of calories a second. several times more if you are calculating just based on the heat of combustion or enthalpy of the fuel (which makes sense since it sort of allows for a more efficient use of the fuel). if there's only a few hundred calories in a head of lettuce and a trip across the globe takes thousands of seconds.... that's not really saying much, i think.

  4. And since 50% of americans are over-weight, the logical conclusion is "fat people support terrorism."

  5. One, this argument is the one used to show that we in the 'developed' world will never return to a relativly equal balance of consumption vs. production. In other words, even alternative energy sources eventually fall back to OIL use because we insist on unnecessary fuel consumption.
    They also claim that infinite sources of energy such as solar, wind and tidal also eventually utilise oil...

    Two, it seems to me (as seen in some of the above responses) that we won't do anything about this either. It's too inconvenient, as always. The simplest answer to this dilemma is to try to buy locally. Locally produced products have a variety of benefits for a local consumer, one of which, as I understand, is if you buy locally produced and grown food-stuffs and consume them, the consumer might find themselves less allergic to their surroundings.

    The arguers who've been bringing this up as of late, (one of the arguments I saw was from a forum held in SF by the GNN)
    Have been saying that this is where you can begin to see the mind of an OIL addicted nation and the "pushers" that feed our addictions to it. The current administration has reversed attepts to re-evaluate our ratio of GDP to product importation... it starts to become clear...

    How's your SUV?

  6. otterley says:

    Last I heard, humans can't consume jet fuel.

  7. devpreed says:

    I was listening to NPR (see how intelligent it sounds when you say it?) and there was some professor talking about how water distribution is going to be the next destabilizing force in the world. No brainer, right?

    But what was interesting was that he said water will be transferred and bartered over via the distribution of food. Or rather, when a country like China imports X million tons of grain from the United States, they're really importing water and the ability to use that water... to grow food.