So before you carve the tofu turkey and dig into the organic kale pie, here are five tips for a Thanksgiving free from environmental guilt.
1: Buying Local Does Not Reduce CO2 Emissions
Pretty much every outlet starts off by claiming buying locally grown food will reduce the carbon emissions associated with your dinner by making it easier to move your meal from farm to table.
Academic analysis however, states this is utterly futile. Academics from Carnegie Mellon University found 83 percent of carbon emissions involved in getting food on the table come from producing the food, while only 11 percent come from transporting the food. Producing food locally leads to far more emissions than making food in a more favorable, if further away, environment. Economists from George Mason University wrote an entire book about how “buying local” is a marketing fad among the world’s most privileged consumers.
2: “Taking The Bus” Or Other Mass Transport Doesn’t Reduce CO2 Emissions
The left-wing environmental news blog ClimateProgress says using mass transport to get to your turkey can reduce the CO2 emissions associated with Thanksgiving. However, there is considerable academic debate around the subject if mass transport reduces carbon emissions.
A study by Duke University researchers found that taking the bus instead of a car causes a small reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, but only if the average bus is more than 63 percent filled with passengers. However, in practice, buses only rarely have that many passengers and thus tend to create more emissions than moving a similar number of people by car.
3: Buying Carbon Offsets Is A Scam
Environmental groups are very concerned that any carbon emitted during Thanksgiving be “offset,” a promise to reduce emissions somewhere else to compensate for a individual or company’s own emissions.
A report by the Stockholm Environment Institute showed that many offsets are fraudulent and have “significantly undermined” efforts to prevent global warming. It is believed that offsets may have actually increased CO2 missions by 600 million tonnes. An article about carbon offsets in The Atlantic says “[w]hen the product is invisible, the cons are endless.” Carbon offsets have likely increased emissions.
4: Organic Food Is Not Environmentally Friendly
Organic farming is less efficient from a land use perspective than conventional agricultural methods. This means more land must be brought under cultivation to produce the same amount of food.
Organic farms produce only 80 percent of what a conventional farm of the same size makes according to a study published in the prestigious journal Science. Other studies actually show organic yields are even lower, at 50 percent those of conventional farms.
5: Have A Good Thanksgiving … And Don’t Worry About Talking About The Environment
ClimateProgress has an entire article about how you should talk to a climate denier over Thanksgiving dinner. Rather than arguing about the (very real) “pause” in global warming, spend the time celebrating the holiday with family.
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