Oil = Food

The oil in your oatmeal. A lot of fossil fuel goes into producing, packaging and shipping our breakfast.

What they’ve discovered is astonishing. According to researchers at the University of Michigan’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture, an average of more than 7 calories of fossil fuel is burned up for every calorie of energy we get from our food. This means that in eating my 400-calorie breakfast, I will, in effect, have consumed 2,800 calories of fossil fuel energy. (Some researchers claim the ratio is as high as 10 to 1.)

But this is only an average. My cup of coffee gives me just a few calories of energy, but to process 1 pound of coffee requires more than 8,000 calories of fossil-fuel energy — the equivalent energy found in nearly a quart of crude oil, 30 cubic feet of natural gas or about 2 1/2 pounds of coal.

I am not sure how my environmentally conscious friends can justify their coffee consumption.

2 thoughts on “Oil = Food

  • March 28, 2006 at 1:53 pm
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    > I am not sure how my environmentally conscious friends can justify their coffee consumption.
    I can justify it because he’s full of shit. ;) In most parts of the world, the vast majority of coffee is hand-harvested and hand-processed. The only part of the process that takes fuel in any amount is roasting, and that only lasts 10 minutes or so.
    I must be super-friently to the environment, because I tend to buy dry-processed green (unroasted) African beans and roast them myself – light. ;)

  • March 28, 2006 at 3:51 pm
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    I was thinking of your coffee song when I wrote this blog entry. I guess you are a good steward of the environment!

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