Stewart David's commentary ["Greenwashed," July 1 Xpress] may have been factually correct, but the conclusions of the study he cited, "Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States," were much more nuanced and balanced than Mr. David's out-of-context quotes implied. Here is an example:
David: "… eating a vegetarian diet one day per week is equivalent to driving 1,160 few miles per year."
Study: "… shifting just one day per week's calories from red meat and dairy to chicken/fish/eggs or a vegetable-based diet reduces GHG emissions equivalent to 760 miles/yr (1230 km/yr) or 1160 miles/yr (1860 km/yr), respectively."
Notice the 1,160 miles/year fact is accurate, but Mr. David conveniently left out the reference to chicken/fish/eggs as an alternative, as this must not have fit his vegetarian agenda. The authors further pointed out that climate impacts are only one aspect related to food choice: Other factors include taste, safety, health/nutrition concerns, affordability, availability and environmental concerns.
Compared to some of his past missives, David's commentary this time was relatively less beady-eyed and strident. I think his intentions are good, and he presents some valid points. However, the single-minded focus of his sermons seems more directed at the members of the choir than to those of us interested in an honest, balanced debate. He should heed the study authors' advice: "Any attempt to change consumer behavior based on only one dimension of food choice is unlikely to be effective."
— Cecil J. Clark