Carbon Footprint

I acquired an electric bike today. An E Moto Velocity 2.0. It requires that I pedal but it will provide electrical assist when asked. I have been on a bike almost daily, except for rain. I have lost weight and saved gas. I had to spend money for a new helmet and lights and clothes so I will be seen readily. My first ride starts at 6.45 AM and it is still dark out. I am terrified of cars but I am determined to try becoming a bike commuter. There aren’t many electric bikes in Dallas. Most are sold on the west coast in places like San Francisco and Seattle and Portland. I hope to remain safe and healthy and to improve my carbon footprint. Most of you know that I already drive a Prius. This is just one more step in trying to be environmentally conscious. Hippies ain’t all dead or living in CA. Some of us escaped to the hinterlands.

My children are also vegetarians. there are two reasons for this. One, they abhor the mistreatment of animals for food production. The second is that the carbon-footprint of meat is much larger than vegetables.

In an article in USA Today by Elizabeth Weise, Gail Feenstra, she interviewed a food systems analyst at the University of California-Davis Agricultural Sustainability Institute.

Meat is less efficient because we eat the animal that eats the grain instead of eating the grain ourselves. It takes about 15 pounds of feed to make 1 pound of beef, 6 pounds of feed for 1 pound of pork and 5 pounds of feed for 1 pound of chicken, the Department of Agriculture estimates. For catfish, it’s about 2 pounds of feed per pound of fish.

Add to the feed the cost of raising, transporting and producing cattle, and beef is by far the least energy-efficient meat. Nathan Fiala, a doctoral candidate in environmental economics at the University of California-Irvine, estimates it requires about 15 pounds of carbon dioxide to produce 1 pound of beef.

“A family of four that gives up eating beef one day a week has basically traded in their pickup for a Prius,” he says.

My children assert that adults should be implementing environmentally sound and ecologically beneficial practices, such as recycling. They think that we adults should take responsibility for what condition we leave the earth to subsequent generations, like themselves. I find it hard to argue with them. But in the main, most people I know have no environmental conscious practices. Most don’t recycle, or conserve water, or drive cars which consume minimal amounts of gas. Most commercial buildings do not provide recycle bins or auto-shut off lights etc.

So, yea, I bought this bicycle used, although it was never ridden. Just like we buy used clothing and housewares. We take our own bags to the grocery store and try not to buy products that are packaged wastefully. We could do so much more, but we are doing something. And I am proud of my vegetarian, ecologically conscientious daughters.

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