I have started reading "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" by Barbara Kingsolver, which is a story about her families journey to eat as locally as possible, including growing their own food and raising their own meat.
The book is delicious. Her writing is beautiful and there are some great facts scattered throughout. I read this one and about had a heart attack:
"Americans put almost as much fossil fuel into our refrigerators as our cars. We're consuming about 400 gallons of oil a year per citizen...a close second to vehicular use."
She cites mass production aids such as synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides which use oil and natural gas as their starting materials, but the bulk of where that oil comes from is travel time. Each food item in a typical U.S. meal has traveled an average of 1,500 miles.
And if those figures aren't startling enough, how about this one?
"If every U.S. citizen ate just one meal a week (any meal) composed of locally and organically raised meats and produce, we would reduce our country's oil consumption by over 1.1 million barrels of oil EVERY WEEK."
1.1M BARRELS. One meal.
I know when I think about the planet, it's daunting to imagine overhauling my entire life to make any kind of impact. And what kind of impact would I make?
But this is easy. One meal. Impact made. Interesting food for thought.