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January 29, 2006

Greening Your Diet Beats Greening Your Car Environment

According to research published in the New Scientist, switching to a vegan diet reduces greenhouse gas emissions more than switching to a hybrid car:

Thinking of helping the planet by buying an eco-friendly car? You could do more by going vegan, say Gidon Eshel and Pamela Martin of the University of Chicago.

They compared the amount of fossil fuel needed to cultivate and process various foods, including running agricultural machinery, providing food for livestock and irrigating crops. They also factored in emissions of methane and nitrous oxide produced by cows, sheep and manure treatment.

The typical US diet, about 28 per cent of which comes from animal sources, generates the equivalent of nearly 1.5 tonnes more carbon dioxide per person per year than a vegan diet with the same number of calories, say the researchers, who presented their results at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco last week.

By comparison, the difference in annual emissions between driving a typical saloon car and a hybrid car, which runs off a rechargeable battery and gasoline, is just over 1 tonne. If you don't want to go vegan, choosing less-processed animal products and poultry instead of red meat can help reduce the greenhouse load. [Emphasis added]

As it happens, I ordered a new Prius a few weeks ago (April delivery). Guess I won't be driving it to Burger King (not that I would anyway).

Posted by Jonathan at January 29, 2006 03:11 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb


Congrats on the new car. So when are you going vegan?

Posted by: Charyn at January 29, 2006 03:48 PM

I've been eating 99% vegan since early November. It feels good, food costs are down, and weight is down. The car is an Echo (38/28 mpg) which is pretty fuel-efficient for going to farmers markets for more fresh fruits and vegetables (only during the summer, sadly).

Posted by: Dave Moorman at January 29, 2006 09:10 PM

Okay, I won't be going vegan anytime soon, but I will be tripling my garden space this year. During the spring and summer, that's where we're hoping to get at least half of our food.

Hope to see you at one of Dane County's many Farmer's markets this year, Jonathan. But don't drive the hybrid--ride your bike!

Here's how we do it:


Posted by: Michael at January 30, 2006 08:45 AM