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Thoughts on Quaker Simplicity


Thoughts: Quaker Simplicity Quantified No.3, Food
Your contribution to climate change
First published in Quaker Green Action, UK, this exercise been adapted for New Zealand conditions. It is being published in five or six parts one per month. This is No.3, Food.
The Method
Laurie Michaelis has worked out how much damage each 'greenhouse gas' does, and calculated the equivalent of one of them, Carbon Dioxide [CO2] which is needed to do the same amount of damage. Therefore, all our figures can be compared: all calculations are in Carbon dioxide EQUIVALENTS. This exercise is not precise. It may not fit your lifestyle perfectly. Please do be creative but be honest with yourself.
Part 3: Food
These calculations take into account energy use in agriculture, fertilizers, food transport, processing, storage, retail and catering. Also included is methane and nitrous oxide from farm animals, animal waste and agricultural soil; and a notional credit for soil carbon take-up in organic farms.
CO2 Equivalent
(a) A typical New Zealand diet:
For a typical NZ diet (38% animal-based) score 2,000 kg
For serious meat-rich diets (50% animal-based) score 2,250 kg
For a Lacto-vegetarian diet (meat in the typical diet replaced by dairy) score 1,400 kg
For a vegan diet (0% animal-based) score 1,000 kg
(b) Organic diets
If you eat organically produced foods only, subtract 50%
(c) Processed / imported foods
New Zealanders are eating more and more processed (including tinned,frozen and bottled food and drinks) and imported food and drink.
If half your food is processed (include bread, cheese, beer...) or imported (include Australian flour, Equidorian bananas...) add 75 kg
New Zealanders in cities are eating out more and more.
If you hardly ever eat out (work canteens count as eating out) subtract 100 kg
If you eat half your meals in restaurants or canteens, add 100 kg
(d) Add the totals of your answers to (a), (b) and (c) to give your Personal Food Score.
How did you get on?
Judith and I, omnivorous but seldom eating out (unless invited!) scored 1950 kg each, which is, on its own 650 kg more than the average Indian scores for all his or her emissions. Our totals now are at 18,765 (Sections 1+2+3) putting us at 14.4 times more harmful to the atmosphere than than Indians.
[At the Environment Weekend at the settlement over Easter 2006 a dozen of us put ourselves through the full 5 steps and the final summing up. John Gleisner of the Wairarapa took our calculations away to do a summary. He also undertook to produce a booklet with the pages to fill in. Keep an eye out for this tool. ]