Carbon Neutral? You gotta be kidding.
A “carbon neutral” restaurant opened recently in Berlin. It is slick with a diverse menu consisting primarily of animal products, meat, eggs, and dairy. The owners pay $3,000 a year for “carbon certificates” for a wind park in India.
I have no definitive information regarding how Foodorama is carbon neutral. It makes no sense that the restaurant helps to pay for clean energy to counteract the CO2 and CO2 equivalents created in the production and transport of the foods they use. Does Foodorama account for the nitrous oxide produced in the decomposition of animal wastes or the methane from the belches and flatulence that respectively produce 25 and 298 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide (CO2)?
If Foodorama served a principally vegan menu, they could still send $3,000 to the wind park – reducing carbon use – creating a “carbon negative” business. Consider the impact of a vegan menu – based on the average American diet – an unbelievable 3,740 calories a day – the impact is huge. Fully 72% of the calories for the average diet are from plant sources with the remainder from animals generating a global warming potential (CO2 and CO2 equivalents) of 2.4 tons per person per year. This is “average.” Many Americans eat a diet where calories are more equally divided between animals and plants for more than 7 tons of CO2/CO2 equivalents.
Vegetarian diets that include dairy and eggs generate only 2,690 pounds of CO2/CO2 equivalents, while a vegan, whole food diet even at 3,740 calories per day produces only 419 pounds of CO2/CO2 equivalent per year! To put this amount in perspective, the average American diet produces 13 ¼ pounds of CO2/CO2 equivalent per day versus 1 1/8 pound for a vegan diet.
The single most effective action any single human can undertake to enhance the environment and to move toward sustainability is to eat a whole food, plant based diet.
For many people preparing food without the use of animal products is difficult. It is worth the effort. For New Years, give a gift to the planet – eat vegan.
Happy New Year!