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F* That: Buy Local

by Rob Friesel

Via the Wrangle: Vegetarian is the New Prius on The Huffington Post. *ahem* Let’s quote:

They noted that feeding animals for meat, dairy, and egg production requires growing some ten times as much crops as we’d need if we just ate pasta primavera, faux chicken nuggets, and other plant foods. On top of that, we have to transport the animals to slaughterhouses, slaughter them, refrigerate their carcasses, and distribute their flesh all across the country. Producing a calorie of meat protein means burning more than ten times as much fossil fuels–and spewing more than ten times as much heat-trapping carbon dioxide–as does a calorie of plant protein. The researchers found that, when it’s all added up, the average American does more to reduce global warming emissions by going vegetarian than by switching to a Prius.

This is bullshit.  Anytime I’ve seen figures like the ones that they mention above, those figures are always in reference to the large-scale commercial livestock industry.

Just like the Prius argument is riddled with its own set of special problems (e.g., you still need regular oil changes, still contribute to road congestion problems as a driver, your tires are still petrol-based, etc.), saying that “vegetarian is the new Prius” is not an environmental argument — it’s an anti-meat argument.  On its own, “switching” to vegetarianism doesn’t solve the problem.  Much of the same arguments raised here (e.g., the harvesting & distribution questions) can just as easily be applied to your out-of-season fresh fruit and vegetables.  The only real solution to that question is to go macrobiotic and buy local (if you buy at all).

I’m certainly no saint in this regard but I also don’t think that you have any business making an anti-meat argument like this if you’re not prepared to go all the way.

About Rob Friesel

Software engineer by day, science fiction writer by night. Author of The PhantomJS Cookbook and a short story in Please Do Not Remove. View all posts by Rob Friesel →

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