I know you know that your and my individual eating habits have a big influence on the global commons that is our climate, not to mention our waistlines. Eating locally produced food, preferably vegetarian, is better for the climate than foodstuff shipped, flown or trucked over wide distances — although there are some finer notes about the development contributions for poor countries involved in the food miles debate that should at least be honestly acknowledged. And it keeps us healthier and fitter, too.
So the climate connection is obvious (too much food, wrongly produced, too many food miles) when I tell you that in the United States alone, by 2020 some 75 % percent of the adult population are expected to be overweight and obese (meaning, those folks are not just chubby like the average middle aged person living in the United States, such as myself, but extremely overweight). All that extra food is adding up to tons of emissions overweight, too.
But did you know that the economic cost to the United States for that collective belly fat — in lost productivity because of shortened life-spans, more illnesses and thus increased health care costs — already is at least at 1 percent of the United States gross domestic product (GDP) and expected to rise? A new OECD study says so.
Now, that caught my eye and should catch yours, if you are concerned with fighting climate change: not only is the fattest OECD country also the biggest climate polluter in the industrialized country club, but the trajectories for both GHG emissions and belly girth in the United States specifically and the wider OECD world in general are trending seemingly unstoppable upwards — and with it the costs…. (more…)