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Ask the EcoGeek: Walking Worse than Drivng? NO!


I just saw a kinda disturbing article on fark.com and wondered what you would think of it. Could walking really be worse of the environment than driving?

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article2195538.ece

Seulswalker

Seulswalker,
When I read your question, I assumed that there was no way the link for you viagra online buy article had any credibility... that it was written by an angsty high school student who was sick of www.markwellgroup.com.au people telling him what to do. But I was wrong, and that is scary.

Someone took the results of a scientific study on how inefficient our food production system is, did some really bad math, and then found themselves a glorious headline that would send shock waves throughout the blogosphere. You could call it sensationalism...I just call it evil.

Here's the "scientific" basis for their thesis:
"Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg of CO2 to the atmosphere ... If you walked instead, it would use about 180 calories. You'd need about 100g of beef to replace those calories, resulting in 3.6kg of emissions, or four times as much as driving."

Now I hope we can all see some gaping holes here, but maybe not all of them at first glance. So let's go through the five I came up with one by one.

Most obviously, this assumes that 100% of the calories we use to walk come from beef. Actually roughly 75% of the calories most people burn come from plants (usually in the form of carbohydrates.) Plant calories are much less energy intensive to create. This leaves out Atkins dieters...but I hope they're offset by vegetarians.  
Second, We need to canada viagra online pick our battles in this war. As both driving and eating inevitably add to the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, these are both issues that we should be working on. But if we go 100% I'dl rather remove cars than exercise from my lifestyle. Not because it's better for the earth, but because it's better for me.

Third, we have the cheapest 50mg generic viagra supposed correspondence between exercise and consuming food. Yes, if you exercise, you'll have to eat food to replace those calories, but the obesity epidemic is a testament to the fact that, frankly, most people eat because they want to, not because they need to.

Forth is probably the least obvious hole...but it might turn out to be the most important. Walkers don't travel thirty miles to go to the grocery store, but drivers do. Walkers opt for the corner grocer over the Wal-Mart. Driving doesn't encourage waste because just because it's inefficient. It also exponentially increases the amount of ground we can cover, creating sprawling cities and destroying local economies. Even if walking produced four times more CO2 emissions per mile than driving, walking reduces the number of miles traveled for most errands by ten to forty times.

Fifth, and this really is a huge omission, the study counts every piece of generic cialis effective CO2 produced in the creation of the cow, but it only counts the levitra headaches carbon produced by burning the gasoline for the car. That'd be like only counting the CO2 that we exhale while walking. The hidden carbon costs of automobile travel are gigantic, more than double the final emissions for the car. They include the cost of mining and smelting the steel, pumping the oil, shipping the cngnewengland.com oil, refining the gasoline, shipping the gasoline, creation and maintenance of roads, construction of the car, etc etc. To leave out these costs while counting every drop of fertilizer sprinkled on a cow's pasture is extremely foolish and, frankly, disappointing.

So, in short, walking is better for you and the world than driving is. Biking, being even more energy efficient than walking, however, is indeed better for the Earth. However, the point of the original study rings true. Our food production system is foolishly inefficient and viagra no prescription online india unhealthy. It must be reformed in order for this to become a healthy and www.tedxamsterdamed.nl sustainable world. And for more on that, I suggest Bill McKibben's Deep Economy.
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Comments (24)Add Comment
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On the money
written by Greenbang, August 10, 2007
Good job Hank, that's exactly right. We did a slightly less detailed set of reasons about why this story is a load of buy prescription viagra without rubbish--and as far as I can tell, you only omit one, our crucial 5th point: what a pile of smelly dribble ;-)

http://tinyurl.com/2ma4p7
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written by Alanna, August 10, 2007
I think that the (only) good thing about this article is that it draws attention to buying viagra in the santo domingo the glaring problem of animal agriculture as an environmental hazard. No, not 100% of the average persons calories come from beef (or any other animal) but those that do result from a system that is wasteful, toxic, cruel, and far from sustainable, among other things. Yes, of course walking is better than driving, just like a plant-based diet is better than an omnivorous one, for the health of the planet and the individual.
PV
An Ash, A Lawn
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written by pip, August 10, 2007
I despise people like Goodall -- attention-seeking, 3rd rate authors who want to sell their little book, and will throw the entire environmental movement under the bus with "bucking conventional wisdom" memes that only feed right-wing, anti-environmental rhetoric.
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written by Jamie, August 10, 2007
Also, how many calories does a person burn while driving a car? I assume not zero.
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written by andrea, August 10, 2007
at the end of the article there says some things that are supposed "green myths" some of them i agree with. however, the last one says that planting trees is actually bad since it has found that they produce methane too... what do you think about that?
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written by GC, August 10, 2007
Sounds like the cialis daily uk author of that article is encouraging couch potatoes to continue to become couch potatoes. Wondering whether he's just looking for excuses to not exercising. ;D
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written by pip, August 10, 2007
at the end of the article there says some things that are supposed "green myths" some of them i agree with. however, the last one says that planting trees is actually bad since it has found that they produce methane too... what do you think about that?

I think Rupert Murdoch thrives on sensationalism and bashing anything progressive. Good thing this "Green" candidate is willing to be a useful idiot for that kind of viagra next day delivery agenda.
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written by Chris, August 10, 2007
You don't even have to calculate anything to prove that the author of that article is completely wrong. Just take a look at some of the worlds most polluted cities. Where does a large percentage of the pollution come from??? Cars.
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written by Carlos, August 10, 2007
Well, maybe the original author wants people to buy generic ultram online remain couch potatoes for now. And then write another book about exercising and the dangers of a sedentary life to profit on the same audience again.
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Statistics 101
written by Laura H. Drapac, August 10, 2007
Articles like this one remind me of the sociological theory that ice cream causes murder... We all know this isn't directly true, but the way people(particularly the press) have learned to twist words and statistics simply for the fear factor is getting to be obscene.

"Organic dairy cows are worse for the climate. They produce less milk so their methane emissions per litre are higher"

Did that segment catch anyone else's attention? Was it just me, or was the http://sws-bl.com/levitra-10mg writer implying that organic dairy cows cut the cheese(produce more methane gasses) more than non-organic dairy cows? One word: HA!
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written by Albert, August 10, 2007
You've got to factor in all the calories you burn getting worked up and yelling at those morons driving all the other cars on the road. :P
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Figures can't lie...
written by Christopher, August 10, 2007
Laura, re-read the woman and cialis sentence you quoted from the article. Nowhere does he say that organic cows produce more methane than regular cows. He says that they produce more methane per litre. This shouldn't be surprising, as most organic farming yields less produce compared with the inputs - the benefits are measured elsewhere.

I think most of the readers of the article missed the most important point. It's not that the author actually thinks that walking is bad. What you should take away from this piece is that statistics and the scientific method can produce results and tramadol used to treat forecasts that seem illogical and counterintuitive. Therefore, you should be sceptical about any scientific study. They may be based on science, but scientists are still humans. They're fallible and have ulterior motives just like the rest of us.

Which is all a long way of http://www.way2age.com/buy-cialis-50-mg saying that global warming fanatics are just as suspect as any other fanatics.
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Point 5 incorrect.
written by Don, August 10, 2007
If you count the hidden carbon costs of the car, you also need to count the hidden carbon costs of power the market, all the farm equipment, all the processing equipment, as well as transporting the food from the farm to the processor to the market.

Comparing simply walking or driving to buy cheap tramadol online the cow is about as simple as one could go in my opinion.

Otherwise, you leave yourself open to holes like the original story.
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Crud, typed too quickly
written by Don, August 10, 2007
Meant to say, you would need to count the hidden carbon costs to power the market, AND BUILDING all...., as well as TRANSPORTATION...
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written by pip, August 10, 2007
Laura, re-read the sentence you quoted from the article. Nowhere does he say that organic cows produce more methane than regular cows. He says that they produce more methane per litre. This shouldn't be surprising, as most organic farming yields less produce compared with the inputs - the benefits are measured elsewhere.

A broad-brush statement that is not always true.

I think most of the readers of the article missed the most important point. It's not that the author actually thinks that walking is bad. What you should take away from this piece is that statistics and the scientific method can produce results and forecasts that seem illogical and counterintuitive. Therefore, you should be sceptical about any scientific study. They may be based on science, but scientists are still humans. They're fallible and have ulterior motives just like the rest of us.

What most people SHOULD take away from that and what most people WILL take away from that is an important difference, since only the indian generic viagra latter really matters. What people WILL take away from it is the bald-faced idiocy that cars are better for the environment than walking. Trumping up a completely foolish set of numbers (a 36-fold emissions factor for beef, a 100% beef diet, not accounting for indirect emissions from using vehicles, etc) does absolutely nothing to demonstrate the value of skepticism. All it does is demonstrate the marginal value of "shocking" statements for the sake of getting a couple of extra books sold and pushing the agenda of Rupert Murdoch.

Which is all a long way of saying that global warming fanatics are just as suspect as any other fanatics.

Your ridiculous bias is now exposed, since the generalized statement you made about skepticism has absolutely no logical or specific relevance to this piece.

Have fun in Denial Land, along with all the other dead-enders.
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...
written by Larkspur, August 11, 2007
In response to Christopher-

...statistics and the scientific method can produce results and forecasts that seem illogical and counterintuitive.

Therein lies their value. The scientific method and statistics is not at fault in this article. It's the fact that science is done badly. It's important that readers learn to usefull link where can i buy real cialis discriminate between good and poor science, rather than being skeptical about all scientific studies.
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Bourke Engine
written by Gil, August 13, 2007
Here is the greenest engine every built (fuel efficient and powerful), download the video and watch.

http://bourkeengine.net/videoclips.htm

Who can help? I can provide more information.

0
*sigh* Hank swung and missed on this one
written by Andrew, August 13, 2007
For a site that I had come to respect in many ways and had considered writing for, it profoundly saddens me that the point of this article could be so utterly missed. I quote from the second paragraph of the times article ,

"Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance"

The point here is a simple one and espoused very early on in the article. Our food system and in fact our very ideas about food are one of how much levitra the top causes of carbon emissions and climate change. The idea that we should have food from around the globe at our fingertips all throughout the year has created a market where, as the author states, more energy is used to create the food, the infrastructure to transport it, and then transport it and viagra australia no prescription refrigerate it all the way than is used to create and drive a car to the grocery store.

The calculation is an easy one, really. You burned how much gas to get to the store? The average American food travels 1300 miles to get to the store. You want to include your car's manufacturing costs into the picture? Then add in the fleet of boats, trucks, and planes built specifically to transport your food quickly to the store.

The moral of this story is to buy and eat locally. And if you are worried that point might be missed because of sensationalist headlines of the Times, then the story written in response should address that issue and try to clarify the point. It shouldn't simply from up righteous anger and resentment, and then counter with misleading information of its own.

What good is it to dismantle the propaganda of uk propecia sales one side only to have your supposed beneficiaries react with propaganda of their own?
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About eating locally
written by Hun Boon, August 15, 2007
Hi, I'm from Singapore and it's one of the many places which is not self-sufficient in food. We have to import from other countries. So I don't understand this constant urging to eat locally.

Even for food exporting countries like USA, you have to accept that not all regions produce all the foods necessary for a balanced diet.

On a related note, to go vegan for green reasons is not feasible for most people: I do believe we've evolved to be omnivores for a reason.
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Vegetarians and the Environment
written by Fred S., August 16, 2007
I couldn't agree with you more, Andrew!

I think the author does make his point clear in the beginning, and it's very unfair to get stuck on his clever headline (it was clever -- we all read it, didn't we?) and miss the pfizer levitra cheap point of the article for it. He's not actually saying we should drive instead of walk for all these reasons -- I hope that that is obviously ludicrous. He's actually making a pretty well-put piece about how much carbon our food industry produces. This has been reported on before, especially in a big Time magazine piece this spring:

* "51 Things you can do: A Global Warming Survival Guide"
http://www.time.com/time/speci...71,00.html
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Vegetarians and the Environment - 2
written by Fred S., August 16, 2007
Hun Boon, I respectfully disagree!

I empathize with the situation for local food in Singapore: metropolitan living demands a certain "division of labor" in the food system. But there's still a difference, for you, between Thai rice and http://www.nextstagecapital.com/cheap-cialis-no-prescription Columbian bananas (I'm sure I don't know much about the food market in Southeast Asia...). However, your point about vegetarians is dead wrong, in my opinion.
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Vegetarians and the Environment - 3
written by Fred S., August 16, 2007
(sorry to break this up, I'm having trouble with the blog software telling me my message is "too short"!)

Now, I've been a vegetarian and then dietary vegan for the past 4-5 years, so of course I say that. But hear me out: Saying it's hard to be a vegetarian is sortof like saying it's hard to own a hybrid car, etc...: it is hard at first -- you have to change your lifestyle in some way, do something new; but then, you spend less money at the pump (meat is expensive), you pollute the world less (meat production is CO2 intensive), you don't destroy as many rain forests (beef grazing is land-intensive) and you are healthier (meat-heavy diets are generally accepted as less healthy).

Try this for a rationale: We developed to be omnivores -- we eat everything from fruits and vegetables to big cattle and buffalo. But our bodies have not evolved to do this well (we don't have well-suited teeth, claws, muscles, or digestive systems for carnivore living) -- it's our intelligence and tools that have. We simply can't kill cows with our bare hands, we need the axe and the spear. We've adapted because adapting in these ways helped us survive in pre-metropolitan times. Well, now we live sedentary lives and don't have half the demands of calories for survival: we store away the extra calories to obesity!

Now-a-days, our survival into the future may well depend on ditching the inefficient meat industries in favor of the far more efficient and less polluting grains and the best place levitra pills canadian local fruits & vegetables.

"Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances for survival of life on Earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet." -- Albert Einstein

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Vegetarians and the Environment - 4
written by Fred S., August 16, 2007
(it was the formatting in some references I wanted to include...)

* Vegan diets healthier for planet, people than meat diets
http://www-news.uchicago.edu/r...diet.shtml

* Meat and the Environment
http://www.goveg.com/environment.asp

My apologies for including such a biased piece... but it makes the discount viagra sale point about how much land grazing cattle use and how much food they consume.
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written by Lena, August 17, 2007
I see how lawyers make their money. LOL. No wonder we can't make the world a better place! With two sides to every story and everyone justifying their side, what you believe has to come down to old fashioned common sense and an understanding of no prescription good vs. evil. I mean the forest for the trees has to be on fire in your frontyard as you walk out the front door of your house and then maybe you'll see the truth. False justification extends to all aspects of life. All I can do is do what I think is best for myself, the community and levitra for women the environment and then let my conscience be my guide.

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