Is It Better to Eat Locally or Eat Differently?

When it comes to greenhouse gas emissions, what you eat may be more important than where that food comes from. A new study in the journal Environmental Science and Technology indicates that replacing the calories from red meat and dairy products with calories from chicken, fish or vegetables could have the same impact on greenhouse gas emissions as shifting to an entirely locally-grown diet.

"Eating local" has become an important concept among environmentally conscious communities in recent years. The impact on greenhouse gas emissions of becoming a "locavore," however, may not be as great as proponents had thought. Chris Weber, one of the authors of the report, says, "Despite all the attention given to food miles, the distance that food travels is only around 11 percent of the average American household's food-related greenhouse gas emissions."

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