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eating oil - thoughts on food transportation in the holidays(19 posts)

eating oil - thoughts on food transportation in the holidaysMJ
Dec 11, 2001 3:55 AM
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk_news/story/0,3604,616735,00.html

The sheer wastefulness of a long-distance Christmas dinner

Felicity Lawrence, consumer affairs correspondent
Tuesday December 11, 2001
The Guardian

The ingredients of a traditional Christmas meal bought from asupermarket may have cumulatively travelled 24,000 miles,according to a report, Eating Oil, published today.

Food distribution now accounts for between a third and 40% ofall UK road freight. "The food system has become almostcompletely dependent on crude oil. "This means food supplies are vulnerable, inefficient andunsustainable," said Andy Jones, author of the report for thefood and farming charities Sustain and the Elm Farm ResearchCentre.

Buying the ingredients for Christmas dinner in a Londonsupermarket, the report found that poultry could have beenimported from Thailand and travelled nearly 11,000 miles, runnerbeans came from Zambia (nearly 5,000 miles), carrots fromSpain (1,000 miles), mangetout from Zimbabwe (over 5,000miles), potatoes from Italy (1,500 miles), and sprouts fromBritain, where they were transported around the country before reaching the shop (125 miles). By the time trucking to and from warehouses to stores was added, the total distance the food had moved was over 24,000 miles, or the equivalent of travelling around the world once.

Transporting ingredients such great distances makes foodsupplies vulnerable, the report argues.

The oil supplies that fuel the food system could be exhausted by 2040, and already make Britain dependent on volatile areas ofthe world. Food security can be threatened easily, as the fuel protests last year demonstrated.
People concerned about the environment are turning to organicfood but the report highlights the extent to which these are now imported. One shopping basket of 26 imported organic products from a supermarket could have travelled 160,000 miles and released as much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere as an average four-bedroom household does through cooking meals over eight months. The report shows "the enormous damage done by our currentpetrol-hungry food supply system", said Green MEP CarolineLucas.
That's one of the most absurd things I have ever read....muncher.
Dec 11, 2001 5:18 AM
Who the hell has runner beans and mangetout with Christmas dinner?
That's one of the most absurd things I have ever read....MJ
Dec 11, 2001 6:13 AM
I dunno - but I think we need an equivalent equation/example for all the time and energy/resources one could spend looking for more green/suitable products

having said that I had some German friends who refused to eat things that weren't green in the transport sense - i.e. they refused to eat Kiwi fruit because it had been shipped from NZ etc. - they were hard to cook for and in the end I left it up to them

I don't even know what runner beans are...
Runner beans are...muncher.
Dec 11, 2001 7:27 AM
A special crossed hybrid bread bean rather like a pea still in it's shell, where one eats the shook, in addition to the small beans (seeds) inside, unlike most beans where only the "bean bit" is eaten.

Interestingly, they got their name for an 19C scientist and philanthropist who tried to encourage kids from disadvantaged backgrounds to partake in more sport (particularly running, for cost reasons - no pitch or equipment needed), but found that their poor diet (as identified by ricketts etc) prohibited their success. To that end, he took the then popular Broad bean, and cross bread with a French bean, to produce a new, hardy and disease resistent, variety, which was then distributed as a staple diet element via the then fairly new, State Education System. Hence the name.
Runner beans are...MJ
Dec 11, 2001 7:45 AM
sounds like you just made that up
It's English Social History - you can't make it up - e.g....muncher.
Dec 11, 2001 7:53 AM
The Wellington Boot?

The Sandwich?

The Cardigan?

Need I say more?
Thomas Crapper?MJ
Dec 11, 2001 8:11 AM
it's all a fiction, a rich fiction, but fiction nevertheless
Thomas Crapper?Wicked Worm
Dec 11, 2001 8:19 AM
this is very good isnn't it? I know its just a bit of fun but we are getting off the issue which is the patronising attitude of the so-called philanthropist when what should have happened was fundemental change.

The reason I took up cycling was because of the example of the socilaist cycling clubs that my family belonged to in the past and that tradition of direct action has come down to me.
You a so right, comerade.Beveridge
Dec 11, 2001 8:23 AM
Think how much more change we could have effected if we'd all of CYCLED from Jarrow?
You a so right, comerade.Wicked Worm
Dec 11, 2001 8:27 AM
I have cylced from Jarrow. My brother and i do it every year, and then ride back to Nottingham.
Brings a tear to my eye...muncher.
Dec 11, 2001 8:46 AM
To imagine those coal-stained tweed turn-ups brushing the cotterpins of those Sturmley-Archer Excelsior cranks, as the wicker-basketed bicycle of justice rolls relentlessly down the cobbled boulevard of change towards the cycle rack of equality....
FANTASTIC - nmMJ
Dec 11, 2001 9:42 AM
do you get a socialist mereit badge for that or something?MJ
Dec 11, 2001 8:47 AM
just kidding - no the above article is interesting in that most people don't think when they buy stuff - being green is more than about riding a bike
Lettuce be on our wayMe Dot Org
Dec 11, 2001 12:44 PM
I've heard that if you factor in transportation and harvesting, it actually costs more calories to produce and distribute lettuce than we get by eating it.

I don't have any statistics on this, merely anecdotal.
So are they suggesting we don't eat anything we don't pick?MB1
Dec 11, 2001 2:52 PM
How about not not riding any bicycle we don't build up with parts from the local dump? And never travel anywhere you can't reach under your own power.

Heating the house with wood cut from our own backyard?

Healing ourselves with natural products grown in our own garden?

I won't go on....
So are they suggesting we don't eat anything we don't pick?MJ
Dec 12, 2001 2:06 AM
yeah I know - it's the ''liberals' trap

all the anti-globalisation folks - it's an idea more than a way of life as it's impossible to avoid ending up with stuff produced by child slave labour unless you have a lot of money and live in one of the few metropolitan areas that have facilities to cater to lefties

same thing with food - I guess it's like voting = making the choice about the least harmful candidate, or in this case, runner bean
So are they suggesting we don't eat anything we don't pick?Wicked Worm
Dec 12, 2001 6:11 AM
its not about sturmey Archers, Muncher, it's about working people shaking off the discreddited Thatcher ideas and taking back the gears of power. and the way to do that is you boycott the rich mans pertol and his capitalist trains that should never of been ptivatised.
not very practicalMJ
Dec 12, 2001 6:30 AM
now is it?

your suggestions just aren't possible to implement for most working (and non-working) people - quite obviously most working (and non-working) people have to use trains and cars

leave your Socialist Worker's 1980 student idyll view of the 'perfect' world and come up with some practical suggestions

BTW Thatcher was right to shut down the coal industry - it was a 19th century industry and we're all better off for it now - it was the las vestige of the British Empire and its death knell should have been welcomed by everyone on the left

it is about Sturmey Archers

do we need to think about how we use (all) resources? - yes we do

in the meantime - practical suggestions only please
Yeah - absolutley. Oh hang on...muncher.
Dec 12, 2001 6:43 AM
Thatchers gears of power would only be, at best, 7 speed, and useless for this day and age. We need the new, fashist, Campagnolo 10 speed model - that means a Europe wide uprising - we'll have to pay extra for that though...

petrol and capitalist trains? They are all diesel and/or electric aren't they?....