Recently, while doing some research on the carbon footprint of food, I ran across some studies that reported Americans ate, on average, 3774 calories of food each day.
Something about that smelled funny to me.
Sure, Americans eat a lot. But 3774 calories a day? I have family members who subsist almost solely off fried meat and various sorts of potatoes and I'm not convinced that even they hit that number on a regular basis. When I took my questions to the researchers, I found out that my hunch was correct. Americans aren't, technically, eating an average of 3774 calories per day. This figure is calculated by looking at food produced, divided by the number of Americans. It assumes we're eating all that, but, in reality, according to environmental scientist Gidon Eshel we really only eat about 2800 calories per day. That whopping 3774 includes both what we eat—and what we waste.
And what we waste—not just at home, but from the farm field, to the grocery store, to our Tupperware containers full of moldy leftovers—is a big deal.
We use a lot of energy producing, transporting, processing, storing and cooking food we don't eat. About 2150 trillion kilojoules worth a year, according to a recent study. That's more kilojoules than the United States could produce in biofuels. And it's more than we already produce in all the oil and gas extracted annually from the Gulf of Mexico.
Reducing that waste requires both changes in the way we eat at home, and systematic changes that address waste at every part of the food cycle. Right now, I've talked to a lot of researchers who can identify the problem, but don't have a lot of suggestions for concrete solutions. I'm sure they're out there, though, and I'll report back as I track them down.
Image: Some rights reserved by Flickr user Nutloaf
Apple released this lovely new commercial featuring Carl Sagan reading from his magnificent 1994 book Pale Blue Dot: A Vision of the Human Future in Space, now available as an audiobook. This surprising partnership spurred Adweek to interview my friend Ann Druyan, Sagan’s wife, collaborator, and creative director of the Voyager Golden Record, about being […]
The Action Lab took a maglev gyroscope and placed it inside a sealed chamber to see what happens to a levitating gyroscope in a vacuum. A lot of people took issue with the experiment’s setup and explanation, but it’s interesting nonetheless. He responded to those concerns: Hi everyone! I see a lot of comments that […]
Shocking footage, taken from a nearby aircraft, shows a jetliner spraying its appalling chemical payload into our skies. Traffic 12 o'clock pic.twitter.com/g5QjlQ5v8z— Airplane Pictures ✈ (@iLove_Aviation) June 19, 2017
As the old saying goes, “You should sit in meditation for 30 minutes every day. Unless you are too busy, in which case you should meditate for an hour.” Since most of us have an endless list of things to do and people to see, carving out quiet time can feel impossible, especially when most […]
The Bragi Dash Truly Wireless Smart Earphones are far more than your run of the mill Bluetooth earbuds. While the earpiece design makes these earbuds ideal for exercise and activity, and passive noise cancelling is conducive to a more serene listening experience, these buds go well beyond just playing music.First of all, they can actually […]