Friday, April 18, 2008

food for thought


My lovely brother Alan sent me a fascinating e-mail yesterday (in some ways, related to my recent Matthew Taylor blog). It contained lots of thought-provoking stuff (he's been doing lots of reading again!), so I thought I’d post an extract from it here. Hope that’s ok with you Bruv!:
“To reduce burning of fossil fuels, I thought making biofuels was a good alternative, but people are dying/continuing to die because of a global food shortage and food prices have risen 57% in the last year. Grain stocks are at a 25 year low - despite last year’s record grain harvest - 2.1 billion tons. The problem is that only 1.0 billion tons will be used for people’s food; an increasing amount (this year 100 million tons) is being diverted to make biofuels. Amazingly it takes 232 kg of grain to 'fill' a 50 litre car tank with ethanol - enough to feed a child for a year.
However, 760 million tons of grain will be used to feed animals. It’s an inefficient method of food production - it takes 8kg of grain to produce 1kg of beef...2kg to produce 1kg chicken, but consumption of animal flesh - certainly in China, India and the developing world - is seen as a mark of affluence and 'we' are now eating 50% more meat than 50 years ago.
The world cancer research has concluded that animal flesh occupies too big a place in our diet and contributes to cancer and heart disease. Cutting back on meat-eating may have environmental benefits also - the UK's 10 million cows produce more greenhouse gas per day than the average 4x4 on a 33 mile journey (who calculates these things!).
Conclusion? For all the right reasons, reduce your intake of meat. We don't eat that much ourselves...and certainly I'm content to structure our menu for a greater number of vegetarian meals...and perhaps we should go back to the 'old days' of hearty meals with little meat and filling our bellies with more the carbohydrates - Irish stew/Lancashire hotpot etc”.
“food for thought”. “feed the world”, “save the planet”. SPREAD THE WORD.
I’d go along with much of this, especially on health grounds (but there are so many other influencing factors aren’t there!). For us, on environmental grounds, I think it also comes down to trying to shop locally for locally-produced goods (even though it's more expensive) whenever possible.
Alan for Mayor of Birmingham, I say!

1 comment:

alice said...

good on you alan! x