Bag It Again News and Comment

Some news stories from around the world about the environment and sustainable living.
Tags >> climate change

On March 20, Newt Gingrich joined Alan Weverstad from GM and Francine Colonari from Scholastic in a discussion about "The Business of Going Green".

I found this segment of the discussion provocative. I'll ask you first to put aside whatever thoughts you have regarding Gingrich's politics and ability to speak on science.

Last week, I twice watched inventor Saul Griffith's lecture on "Climate Change Recalculated". For about an hour and a half, Griffith speaks in concise, non-political terms on the amount of energy that is required for us to continue to live at the 'quality of life' that we enjoy today, and how we cannot sustain this existence through the burning of fossil fuels. If we continue on our current course, we'll head dangerously past acceptable limits of carbon in the atmosphere in about 40 years. His talk includes a monologue on the staggering amount of non-carbon emitting energy sources we must manufacture over the next 25 years in order to avoid catastrophic climate change.

Griffith's seminar is a product of his desire to calculate his own personal energy consumption in extreme detail, which he did for the full year of 2007. We see a pie chart that shows how much energy is used to fulfill every aspect of his 2007 life, including the embodied energy in his "stuff", his dietary habits, and his auto and jet travel. Wishing to trim down from an 18,000 to a 2,200 watt (the world average) lifestyle, we see the impact of the 200 or so watts that are used to produce the plastic bottle that holds his 20 ounces of flavored water.

This public service announcement was produced by an organization called "Let's Act Now".  The goal of the clip is to raise awareness of the incredible amount of energy that is used in the process of growing meat.  And yes, the massive volume of greenhouse gases that are emitted by the livestock themselves!  According to a recent report from the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization,  animal farming produces more greenhouse gases than all global transportation combined.

 I just can't give up my occasional burger or steak, but I've reduced my consumption for health, budgetary, and ecological purposes.  So while I'm not fully on board with the meatless diet that Let's Act Now advocates, their PSA is effective, provocative, and worth sharing.

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