Veg-Flex: The Practical Interfaith Pathway to a Low-Carbon Maine Food System

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  • 1. Veg-Flex: The Practical Interfaith Pathway to a Low-Carbon Maine Food System Jonathan Maxson, MSW Webinar 7 June 2011 for Maine Interfaith Power & Light Board Conference Call
  • 2. Three Guiding Questions
    • What is the carbon foodprint of the American food system today?
    • What foodprint reduction should Americans achieve by 2030?
    • How can Maine lead the way to this target?
  • 3. What is a Carbon Foodprint?
    • The sum of all greenhouse gases produced by our meals across their total life cycle.
    Source: The American Carbon Foodprint (2010) brighterplanet.com
  • 4. The Sum of All Greenhouse Gases
    • Carbon Dioxide
    • Methane
    • Nitrous Oxide
    • Other Gases
    • Measured in carbon dioxide equivalents (CO 2 e)
    Source: The American Carbon Foodprint (2010)
  • 5. Produced By Our Meals
    • All Meals - Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner & Snacks
    • Eating In & Eating Out
    • All Food Groups
    Source: The American Carbon Foodprint (2010)
  • 6. Across Their Total Life Cycle
    • Production
    • Packaging
    • Supply Chain Transportation
    • Retail
    • Personal Transportation
    • Restaurants
    • Kitchen
    • Disposal
    Source: The American Carbon Foodprint (2010)
  • 7. Carbon Foodprint Definition
    • The sum of all greenhouse gases produced by our meals across their total life cycle.
  • 8. The American Carbon Foodprint
    • Total Emissions = 28.6 Tons CO 2 e Per Capita
    • Foodprint = 6.1 Tons CO 2 e Per Capita
    • Foodprint = 21% of Total Emissions
    Source: The American Carbon Foodprint (2010)
  • 9. 28.6 Tons CO 2 e Per Capita?
    • U.S. Clocking 28.6 Tons Carbon Per Person
    Source: Carbon Footprint of Nations
  • 10. Versus Australia…
    • Australia Clocking 20.6 Tons Carbon Per Person
    Source: Carbon Footprint of Nations
  • 11. Versus Canada…
    • Canada Clocking 19.6 Tons Carbon Per Person
    Source: Carbon Footprint of Nations
  • 12. Versus United Kingdom…
    • UK Clocking 15.4 Tons Carbon Per Person
    Source: Carbon Footprint of Nations
  • 13. Versus China…
    • China Clocking 3.1 Tons Carbon Per Person
    Source: Carbon Footprint of Nations
  • 14. Versus India…
    • India Clocking 1.8 Tons Carbon Per Person
    Source: Carbon Footprint of Nations
  • 15. One More Comparison
    • Total U.S. CO 2 e Emissions = 28.6 Tons Per Capita
    • Total Chinese Emissions = 3.1 Tons Per Capita
    • Total Indian Emissions = 1.8 Tons Per Capita
    • American Food print Alone = 6.1 Tons Per Capita, or Double All Chinese Emissions & More Than Triple All Indian Emissions
  • 16. If That Is the U.S. Foodprint Today…
    • What Reduction Targets Should Americans Aim to Achieve by 2030?
  • 17. A Difficult Political Calculus Source: Fig. 24 from Dr. J. Hansen’s SMG
  • 18. But Most Reliable Sources Agree
    • Contraction and Convergence of Total Emissions to Less Than 1-2 Tons CO 2 e Per Capita by 2030-2050 to stabilize at 450 PPM - with runaway warming still possible
    Source: Global Commons Institute
  • 19. 2030 Foodprint Targeting, Pt 1
  • 20. 2030 Foodprint Targeting, Pt 2
  • 21. 2030 Foodprint Targeting, Pt 3
  • 22. 2030 Foodprint Targeting, Pt 4
    • A Foodprint Reduction Target of 1.0 to 0.25 Tons CO 2 e Per Capita by 2030 is 84% to 95% Below the Current American Average
  • 23. Low-Carbon Food Transition: Other Reasons
    • Peak Oil, Gas & Coal
    • Peak Phosphorous
    • Peak Water
    • Peak Land
    • Loss of Soil Fertility
    • Loss of Biodiversity
    • Environmental Toxicity
    • Limited Jobs in Other Sectors
    • Health Benefits
    • Aesthetic Benefits
    • Social Benefits
    • Spiritual Benefits
    • Ecological Benefits
    • Joys of Home Gardening, Composting & Cooking
  • 24. How Do We Lead There? Pt 1
    • Eat fewer animal products & more plants
    • Buy unprocessed foods with less packaging
    • Grow & harvest your own food *organically
    • Minimize car trips to food stores & restaurants
    • Cook at home more & eat out less
    • Cook with efficient appliances & techniques
    • Compost, recycle & relish leftovers
    From: The American Carbon Foodprint (2010) *Except “organically,” which is an addition to the original text.
  • 25. How Do We Lead There? Pt 2
    • Incremental 4-5% Foodprint Reduction Per Year Over 20 Years
    • We Do Not Miss a Single Year’s Reduction Opportunity
    • We Harvest the Lowest Hanging Fruit First By Reducing Beef & Dairy Consumption
    • We Anticipate Subsequent Reductions Will Be Increasingly Hard to Achieve
  • 26. Veg-Flex Food Pyramid
  • 27. Emissions Per Calorie By Food Group Source: The American Carbon Foodprint (2010)
  • 28. How Do We Lead There? Pt 3
    • Veg-Flex Food Pyramid
    • 85-100% of Calories from Whole, Plant-Based Foods
    • Veg an Base (no animal products; honey as a matter of conscience)
    • Veg etarian (dairy & eggs) and Flex itarian (fish and meat) Options in Very Small Amounts (4 oz day or less for all animal products on average)
  • 29. How Do We Lead There? Pt 4
    • Precision-Engineered Nutrition and Neighborhood-Based Organic Food Production Systems
    • 20% of Workforce in Well-Trained, Middle-Income Food Production Sector
  • 30. How Do We Lead There? Pt 5
    • 70% Neighborhood-Based
    • 90% Organic, 90% Nutrient Recycled
    • 75% Human-Powered
    • Garden, Orchard & Microfarm Intensive
    • Raw & Dried Foods, Wood Stoves, Induction Stoves & Pressure-Cookers
  • 31. How Do We Lead There? Pt 6
    • Explore Low-Carbon Food Systems (Less Than 1 Ton CO 2 e Per Capita) as a Humanistic & Interfaith Sacrament
    • Explore the Transition to a Low-Carbon Food System as a Movement Toward God & Wholeness
  • 32. Conclusion
    • The climate impacts of our food choices are complex and serious
    • With knowledge, we gain the power to reduce these impacts through conscious daily living 
    • As interfaith stewards of creation, we are called to champion conscious living in the modern world
    • www.permavegan.blogspot.com