23 Jan 2009

Green food

NY Times writes about how Pepsi has tried to find out how much of an impact on global warming are they having while creating orange juice. And this is the number the number they have arrived at:

the equivalent of 3.75 pounds of carbon dioxide are emitted to the
atmosphere for each half-gallon carton of orange juice.

Wow !

Now they are trying to figure out what to do with this data. If the consumer gets to know these numbers how does it help them?

In the last year when I have been working on a couple of film projects related to climate change, I realised that most of the arguments on global warming are obsessed with numbers. Most of the solutions are actually common sense and simple to do. Walk instead of driving. Cloth bags instead of plastic. Optimal consumption of packaged food products. Buy fresh. Things that someone would have been doing 30 years ago. Climate change or no climate change. But with so many choices today one tends to get confused about what is climate friendly living.

Today in India there is a small shift to using products that are organic or pesticide free. But this may or may not help reduce global warming since the product itself may have travelled hundreds of miles or thousands in the case of those apples from New Zealand thus adding to carbon dioxide emissions.

A more crucial decision is to buy and eat things that are produced locally. Another factor is to consume food that is seasonal. Many communities are already practicing this in Europe and America. Consumers now look at how much food has travelled before it reaches their store.

In India we are closer to the solution since most of us still buy stuff that is grown in season. A very small percentage of people can afford to buy imported fruits and vegetables on a regular basis. What is required is for large urban centres to tie up with farmers in the neighbourhood to come to weekly markets that are already functioning in cities like Delhi.

All this means bad news for Pepsi. Either they have to set up factories closer to their consumers or their products will not be classified as environment friendly in the future.

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