It isn't always better for the environment to buy food locally. How it was farmed and how it was imported matter too. Most of the carbon footprint of groceries is from how they were grown and not how they were transported.

If it's in season where you live, then locally grown is best. If it's out of season, you need to consider a more nuanced point of view.

independent.co.uk/news/food-mi

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some surprising sustainability 

Also:

* Growing almonds for almond milk damages ecosystems and uses a *lot* of water. 80% of the world's almonds come from California, where severe droughts can be a problem

* Soy farming drives deforestation in South America. Tofu can have twice the carbon footprint of chicken

* Fish populations are dynamic. Sustainable fishing leaves land open for reforestation

* Bioplastics are not necessarily better than recyclable plastics like PET

* Industrial cooking is more efficient than home cooking. Tinned tomatoes, chick peas, etc can be a good option

* Cling film is plastic, and plastic is not good. But if you use it carefully, you can prevent food waste, which is worse. Beeswax wrapping is ideal

* Leather can last over a decade, and is biodegradable. Fake leather is made from short lived plastic

* Cotton production is energy intensive. A cotton bag needs to be used 149 times to be more carbon efficient than plastic. Get a good one. Use it often

Lots of people reply-guying it up about soy. Yes, a lot of soy is used as animal feed. That doesn't change the fact that, as things stand, tofu can have a higher carbon footprint than some meat does. And buying it from the wrong suppliers can support the same people destroying the rainforest and farming cattle.

Come on people, think a little before you take umbrage.

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some surprising sustainability 

@InvaderXan not forgetting how capitalism optimizes plant varieties for environmentally damaging mass irrigation!

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@InvaderXan the almond crops in CA are also responsible for huge waves of disease in commercial bees in the USA because almost every commercial beekeeper west of the Rockies is hired to bring their bees to the almond fields for spring pollination.

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@raye Oh wow, I didn't know that part! 😦

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@InvaderXan This link is from 2016, and nothing has changed or gotten better since then,
honeycolony.com/article/califo

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@InvaderXan Re: almonds. My reason for avoiding cow milk is not sustability, but rather terrible conditions cows live in in mechanised farming. So there is that.

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@jacek @InvaderXan Soy is occasionally worse than chicken, which is the most efficient livestock animal we have. It is never worse than cow. Cows are the worst.

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@jacek @InvaderXan
There is also coconut and rice milk, you don't have to use almond or soy milk.

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@InvaderXan 70% to 90% of the soy is used to feed animals. If you get rid of milk and beef you can do with a fraction of the current soy/almond/oat plantations.

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@InvaderXan If I eat soy directly instead of eating meat fed with soy, the bad effect of soy production drops to a fraction

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@InvaderXan
Cotton can and should be substituted ASAP. Linen, hemp, nettle are fitting fibres.

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@schwarzmetall I agree. A big problem with cotton is also that the industry producing it is exploitative as hell. Even today, many people (including young children) who harvest cotton are essentially slaves.

@InvaderXan I'm of the thought that if you have to destroy the local environment to grow/farm X then that is the complete opposite of being sustainable. Likewise if you have to import a subsitute rather than use/eat what is produced next door to you.

@Rae
The point is that food production out of season, while not any more damaging to the local environment, produces more emissions than importing.

Heating large greenhouses during winter typically uses a lot more energy than just shipping vegetables from someplace where they've been growing outdoors.

It may be produced next door. That doesn't mean it's sustainable.

@InvaderXan Oh I agree. Sorry I wasn't clear. Over here we generally do very well in terms of keeping things in season (Ireland).

The vast majority of meat production is grass fed, crops aren't irrigated and the animals are only in sheds for about 3 months in the winter (and then only heated by the animals themselves). Water is local wells, and not pumped from reservoirs.

@Rae Ahhh, I see! Yes, that's certainly a good way to do things.

Honestly, I prefer it when things are seasonal. It's makes some things feel more special when you can only get them during certain times of year, I think. A lot of foods in Japan are like this too, because very little is imported there.

@InvaderXan It took a while to make a conscious effort to be like this here.

We can grow strawberries at a commercial level in Waterford for a few months of the year and omg fresh strawberries are crazy good! The smell! The flavour! You get them from Spain (like normally) and they're way too flat because they've been in storage for a while.

@Rae Strawberries also like the rain. It's one of the reasons the UK and Ireland grow them so well!

@InvaderXan Interesting, I didn't realize how much soy in Europe comes from Brazil (ie, deforestation). It's very different in the US. This really underscores the importance of local and regional sustainability knowledge.

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@InvaderXan re: plant milks vs. animal milks.

bbc.com/news/science-environme

You're not wrong by any means. It's just that it's a matter of degrees. Which is clear from the rest of your toot, imo.

We're not going to exist on this Earth and have zero impact. Doesn't mean we shouldn't try though.

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@teslas_moustache @InvaderXan

That impact is going to change depending on how the dairy cows were fed.

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@teslas_moustache @InvaderXan

It's currently more expensive to run a dairy on 100% grass, but the significance of "land use" and "water use" are completely different depending on whether the cows are kept on a diverse pasture that mimics natural grassland, sequesters soil carbon, and provides habitat for wildlife than if they are mostly fed grain (the norm). Grass takes up more acreage but has a lower impact on the local landscape.

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@teslas_moustache @InvaderXan

Likewise "water use" has different implications if the cows are peeing their water back out onto the land they are grazing than if they are geographically separated from the location of forage production.

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@InvaderXan regarding plastics, I don’t know much about the manufacturing of bioplastics but surely it’s better in the long run than plastics that can only be recycled a few times and don’t biodegrade? Or is it just about carbon footprint?

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@becky This point was actually about how well they biodegrade. The trouble with bioplastics is that a lot of them out there simply don't. At least not in any useful timescale. So while I approve of them not being made from crude oil products, they still need work to make them properly biodegradable.

(I probably should have split that post into two toots so I'd have had more characters to make things clearer.)

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@InvaderXan oh okay that’s interesting. I’d not thought of that, guess that’s what I get for assuming haha

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@becky Oh not to worry, I wasn't very clear. My apologies.

It's a problem with lots of "compostable" packaging, actually. It technically is compostable, but only under certain industrial conditions. If you put it in your garden composter, a lot of it just won't degrade at all.

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@InvaderXan no no I should’ve looked into it first

I hate this thing where it’s more profitable to sound eco friendly than to actually be eco friendly

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@InvaderXan
false publicity strikes again! 😠
@becky

@InvaderXan
This is so perfect! I think the idea that farming is bad for the environment is misleading. It’s incredibly narrow and just doesn’t address the issues we should be talking about. Thank you for this !

@SpunkyAlpaca Anytime 🙂 I think a problem is that a lot of people see things as being too black and white. Some things are "good" while other things are "bad" and that's as much as anyone considers. We should definitely be talking about the bigger picture here. The real world isn't quite so clear cut!

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@InvaderXan shout out to oat milk! (Please don't tell me something bad about it. I love it so much.)

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@MarcatoMarc Oat milk is just fine. It doesn't have any serious problems as far as I'm aware. Or at least, none beyond the usual monoculture farming things, which are probably hard to avoid where grains are concerned.

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@MarcatoMarc @InvaderXan

Oat milk is okay : )

If you can afford it, organic is the better option, just to discourage overuse of glyphosate.

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@dynamic @InvaderXan phew! Honestly, it's my favorite taste- and texture-wise too.

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@InvaderXan the tofu having larger carbon footprint than chicken surprises me, considering how chickens are fed with grains, and how efficient they are at converting that energy to build their bodies

do you have a source on that?

and then there are the ethical reasons besides that

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@uint8_t @InvaderXan
One of the really sick things about industrial meat is that the reasons that chicken and pork are considered to be lower environmental impact is because they are treated as commodity crops rather than as living thinking animals. Pork is particulary egregious. Pigs have almost human levels of intelligence and the conditions they are raised in are unconscionable.

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@uint8_t @InvaderXan Perhaps because soy is the number one genetically modified product in the world representing half of all worldwide biotech crop acreage with an 82% adoption rate among soy farmers?

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@rickscully @InvaderXan that soy is overwhelmingly livestock feed, not to produce tofu

on the second note, genetically modified plants aren't inherently bad. monoculture is bad, industrial farming is bad, but there isn't anything specifically wrong with all GMOs.

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@InvaderXan I already knew about the almonds, but not about the soy. Thank you.

I'm lactose intolerant. What do you recommend for a milk alternative (I like flax milk best taste wise, but not a lot of places carry it) I mean between Oat/Rice/Coconut?

I like crochet. lately I've been buying cotton and bamboo. I heard Bamboo is overrated though. Is that true?

How bad is wool other than the sheep existing perspective?

Sorry for so many questions.

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@lapis @InvaderXan I'm gonna jump back in here with some textile commentary. My BA is costuming, my MFA is fashion textiles. Any natural textile could be done sustainably, however, the second you get into any larger scale dyeing or production, you immediately get into environmental damage (dyestuffs/bleaching/water resources) and worker exploitation (costs/manufacturing).

If you were growing your own fibers locally, and only used them to make the least amount of clothing that everyone needed, things could be balanced. We have fashion industries that churn out multiple season of clothing per year, all just to tempt people to buy things, not because all that new clothing is required.

Thrifting clothing takes it out of the trash stream, and better uses the dyes and water that went into making that fabric in the first place. But you need rich people casting off tons of stuff to have materials to thrift.

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@InvaderXan
A really simple heuristic for reduced energy consumption...

(Disclamer: Reduced energy consumption is not always correlated to better ethics)

...is simply lower price.

re: some surprising sustainability 

@InvaderXan ive looked at two sources upon googling "does tofu have twice the carbon footprint of chicken" and nothing im finding even slightly suggests that
bbc.com/news/science-environme
greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-foo

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@InvaderXan

sorry, but I have to call out your bullshit. * almonds are water intensive and you shouldn't drink it, but if you're drinking cow milk instead it's even worse, in literally every way. carbon, land use, and water use. * animal agriculture is driving deforestation in South America. 80% of soy produced in the Amazon region is used as feed for animals. if everyone started eating tofu instead of meat, we could start reforesting those areas that were destroyed by soy farming needed to raise animals for meat. * fishing is extremely destructive to the ecosystem and fish have very high bioacumulation of heavy metals. we should stop eating them too. * not all fake leather is plastic, and even the ones that are can last a long time. as an example, there is pineapple leather and we think more of these types of fake leather should be made instead of leather as they are more environmentally friendly than raising animals. the rest is fine.

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@InvaderXan On the point of leather's durability: I have a sturdy leather belt I bought when I was a preteen. I'm 34 now and it's still holding my pants up just fine, and thanks to the way leather ages it still looks good doing it.

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@LexYeen @InvaderXan just use a fuckin' extension cord. Or a goddamn piece of rope.

m.youtube.com/watch?v=ch5yEULQ

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@InvaderXan @kd something like 70% of global soy production is used as livestock feed, so the deforestation is really driven by demand for feed for livestock, not so much by human consumption of tofu.

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@InvaderXan @kd the rest of this is pretty spot on tho, especially the durability points!!

Imo It’s better to buy second hand leather if you don’t want to contribute directly to leather production than to buy plastic alternatives.

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@InvaderXan I started avoiding almond milk for some time but then I learned that it's still much better than dairy. These days I use either no milk or oat one
bbc.com/news/science-environme

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@charlag @InvaderXan oat! Is so good !

re: some surprising sustainability 

@InvaderXan don't the fish need to be fed stuff grown on land? [probably wrong, I don't know much about farming]

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