How Bad Are Bananas?

Mike Berners-Lee ★★★★★
The Carbon Footprint of Everything

A really good read, honest about its methodology and emphasizing that the provided figures are estimates.

TLDR: go vegan, avoid buying a car if you can, avoid air travel if you can.

If you can find a way of being happier but with a smaller footprint, you are a leader.

[…] animals are inefficient devices for producing food. They eat plants and then spend their lives wasting most of the energy from them on things such as walking around and keeping warm. It is a far more efficient process for humans to eat plants directly, so that all the plant energy can go directly to us. Beef and lamb are doubly high in carbon because they are belching ruminants. Chicken is a bit better because, to put it bluntly, they don’t live as long, so they don’t get so much opportunity to waste the energy in their feed.

I’m sometimes asked about air freight from developing countries: “Surely it’s good to keep supporting that country by carrying on the trade!” In broad terms, I don’t think so. The argument is a bit like saying that you should keep the arms trade booming so that people can keep their jobs. Economies need to be powered by people doing things that are useful. Anything else is an unsustainable nonsense.

Our species is good at understanding the direct, immediate, and visible consequences of our actions. We are a lot less smart at grasping the consequences when they are dispersed across billions of people whom we will never meet. This might not have mattered when we lived in caves, but it won’t let us live well in a global society.