Monday, October 14, 2013

One 1/2 lb cheeseburger = 16 Miles Worth of Fuel?!

Take a look at the picture above. It is a 1/2 pound cheeseburger, with lettuce, on a sesame bun. Let's say you see this item on a menu, and decide to order it for lunch. Think about what kind of questions, that might come to mind, as you place your order. If you are any kind of self proclaimed, "foodie", like myself, questions such as these might run through your mind. What components make up this food item? What kind of bun, what kind of cheese? Or maybe you question how this food item is prepared? It is cooked medium well, medium rare? Is it grilled or broiled? Or maybe you question where the food item is sourced from, or how the ingredients were prepped before they came together to make the final product? Was the cow that became the beef, grass fed? Does the cheese contain any growth hormones? Was the bread made from local ingredients?

All of these questions are very thought provoking, and completely necessary to ask, when trying to select what kind of food is right for you to consume. But do you ever consider this question when selecting a food choice? How many resources did it take it make this? If not, then you should start. It may sound like the beginning of bad joke, like how many "insert people here" does it take to screw in a light bulb", but it's really mind blowing how many resources it takes to produce something as simple as a 1/2 lb burger.

You may be surprised to learn that eating the single 1/2 lb burger pictured above, is equivalent to eating 10
loaves of bread. Think how many sandwiches that would make?!

Now let's look at how much water or energy it takes to the produce the same 1/2 lb burger. It would be the water equivalent of taking 30 showers. AND it would be equivalent to using 256 100 light bulbs for one hour.

Still not blown away? Eating that same 1/2 lb burger is equivalent to the same amount of fuel used to drive a car 16 miles. To put that in perspective, it takes 6.5 miles to drive from the Ithaca College Campus to Ithaca Mall-this is over double that. Just for one 1/2 lb. burger. 
But this information is not to intimate you, or to make you feel guilty about choosing that burger off the menu for lunch. Rather this information should make you feel empowered, because every time you sit down, and decide what to eat for lunch, you have the opportunity to make a choice. And it is with this very simple decision, that you have the power to determine how many resources go into what you choose to eat. 

People ask me all the time, what they can do in their everyday lives to make a positive impact for the environment. And, I always tell them, you make an impact three times a day, and that's every time you pick up your plate. You have to eat everyday in order to survive, so why not decide to make your lunch have the best impact possible?

The best way to start? Why, on Monday, for Meatless Monday of course! Know that every time you choose to eat a veggie burger, instead of a traditional beef burger, you are actively making a choice about how much water and energy that goes into making your lunch. 

If everyone in the US went vegetarian for just one day: it would save100 billion gallons of water-enough to supply all the homes in New England for almost 4 month!! 

So, go eat lunch, and save some water in the process!
Happy Meatless Monday!
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