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The case against eating local

Adam Oxford
Adam Oxford
2020-01-31

Avoiding “food miles” – ie. trying to buy food that isn’t imported – has been long been a thing for the environmentally conscious. Over at Oxford University’s Our World in Data, however, Hannah Ritchie demonstrates that eating local may not make as big a difference as you think – and there are far more effective ways of reducing the carbon footprint of your lunch. Sadly one involves skipping cheese.

Eating local beef or lamb has many times the carbon footprint of most other foods. Whether they are grown locally or shipped from the other side of the world matters very little for total emissions.

Transport typically accounts for less than 1% of beef’s GHG emissions: choosing to eat local has very minimal effects on its total footprint.

Adam Oxford
  • Adam Oxford is a freelance journalist, media consultant and civic tech enthusiast. He also works closely with startups developing solutions to access to justice problems.

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