Just look at the carbon footprint of this banana
[Via Boing Boing]
Turns out, bananas are a great example of how shipping food halfway around the world doesn’t always mean tons of greenhouse gas emissions. Each banana represents about 80 grams of CO2, according to calculations done by Mike Berners-Lee, author of How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything. Compare that to, say, a kiwi fruit. If grown in New Zealand and eaten in Europe, a kilogram of kiwis represent about 1740 grams of CO2. A kilogram of bananas is 480 grams of CO2.
What makes bananas so carbon cheap?
They are grown in natural sunlight, which means that no energy-intensive hot-housing is required.
They keep well, so although they are often grown thousands of miles from the end consumer, they are transported by boats, which per kilo of freight transported emit only 1% as much CO2 as planes do.
There is hardly any packaging, if any, because they provide their own. (You might sometimes see a bunch in a light plastic bag or wrapper, but this probably pays for itself carbon-wise by reducing the chance of customers ruining the fruit when they try to split a bunch.)
Very interesting. The carbon footprint of different foods should be an iPhone app. If we could decide just how to calculate it. You’d have to know how it was transported, etc.
It is nice, though, that such a nice fruit may not be so bad for its carbon footprint. Now if we can just deal with their diseases in a healthy way. Because there is so little genetic diversity, an organism that gains a strong foothold can destroy all the cultivated plants.
This has happened once before. Luckily, we were able to replace the Gros Michel variety with the Cavendish in the 50s. The problem arises because different varieties taste very different and thus may not be as popular.