WSJ Reports on "Going Green"

Yet another sign that green is mainstream ... Jessica Marmor ("Pound by Pound, Dollar for Dollar, The Complicated Equation for Going Green") offers up tips for being green in today's Wall Street Journal. Tips offered include: switch to green power, use low energy light bulbs, drive less, eat local, eat less red meat, and I'm shocked to see these two in the WSJ:
Get Rid of Your Car

Cost: A year's worth of public transportation varies widely, from $200 to $2,000 depending on location.
Savings: The Sierra Club estimates that the average yearly cost of driving a single-occupant car is between $4,826 and $9,685. Fueleconomy.gov puts the cost of gas alone at about $1,300 for an average car, like a Honda Civic.
Impact: The EPA's calculator estimates that a typical car driven by the average American emits about 12,100 pounds of CO2e a year -- about 30% of one person's total emissions.

Cut Out All Animal Products

Cost: Wouldn't dramatically increase or decrease spending at the grocery store.
Impact: 3,000 pounds of CO2e a year; or 8% of one person's total.

The average American diet produces 3,000 more pounds of CO2e a year than a calorie-equivalent "vegan" diet that is derived only from plants, i.e., fruits, vegetables, beans, according to the authors of a 2006 University of Chicago report.

The savings come from bypassing the livestock industry, which is responsible for 18% of the U.S.'s total greenhouse gas emissions, according to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N. A good deal of that comes from the methane emitted from cow manure (methane is a greenhouse gas), the CO2 produced by the operation of farm machinery and the devotion of colossal amounts of land to grow single crops, like corn. Corn is cultivated with a synthetic fertilizer that emits greenhouse gases in two ways. First, manufacturing the fertilizer--a combination of nitrogen and hydrogen gases--requires large amounts of natural gas. Second, runoff from this fertilizer evaporates into the air as nitrous oxide -- a greenhouse gas hundreds of times more powerful than CO2.

Much of the rest of the food industry's CO2e output simply comes from transporting meat and dairy products around the world, a phenomenon that is not unique to meat -- turning a seemingly clear-cut option into a bit of a puzzle.
Who would have thought it? Earth-friendly advice from the Wall Street Journal. Wonders never cease, do they?

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