Thursday, July 8, 2010

Think a hybrid is environmental? Even better, a car that runs on water!

A colleague told me the other day that they've created a car that runs on water, and consumers should have waited for this invention instead of buying hybrids.  The catch - the water has to come from the gulf coast.  Hee, hee, hee!

While this joke adds a little laughter to the BP oil crisis, it's really no laughing matter.  And, the unfortunate part is that those of us who drive, ride the bus, or eat bananas are part of the problem.  Eat bananas, you may ask?  Yes, here's why...

Tuesday evening, while at the grocery store, I started reading the origin labels on foods.  The bananas came from Guatemala.  In preparation for a presentation, I looked up the distance from Wichita to Guatemala City.  It's ~1600 miles, so the banana I enjoyed everyday for breakfast for many years traveled many, many miles to reach my plate, was probably picked early so it would be ripe by the time it got to me, and allowed me to be part of the BP oil spill problem.  Thankfully, through much enlightenment, my morning fruit now comes from within 50 miles.  This includes mulberries in my oatmeal, Juneberries on my yogurt, or apricots with my pancakes.

While I was still sitting at the computer, Chris came in from the garden with ripe produce.  In awe, I told him the bananas traveled ~1600 to our local food store.  "This cucumber traveled 17 feet," he responded.  How's that for perspective?

Required labeling of origin on meat, poultry, produce and peanuts sold in the U.S. began in 2008, although, there are some exemptions.  Next time you're buying groceries, pay attention to these labels.  Think about how far your food is traveling, and how dependent you are on oil for your nourishment.  You might be surprised.  Then visit a farmers' market, and ask the farmer how far the products you purchase there traveled.  Do the math, does your typical plate of food travel the average 1500 miles most plates travel?

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