Low-Impact Diet and Climate Change

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Our Thursday green news brings you the latest on green architecture, climate change, energy and communities:

e-highway, green transportation

Photo courtesy of Siemens Mobility

  • Low-impact diet and climate change:  The “carbon footprint” of our diet plays a significant role in climate change. Therefore, the attention to the environmental impact of food types has recently increased and drives interest in sustainable nutrition and in foods that can deliver nutritional value with a reduced environmental footprint. For instance, in order to reduce environmental impact as well as improve nutritional quality, there is big interest in the potential of using flours high in protein made from dried beans and legumes known as pulse flours, instead of common and affordable foods such as pasta made from wheat flour. Presenting the nutritional benefits along with the environmental impact correctly to consumers will be a key factor in educating the general public. For example, comparing the carbon footprint of various types of animal products to types of plant products as a car miles driven per 10 ounces of consumed food, will give the consumer a realistic idea about the environmental effect of the food he eats. However, a focus on increased taste and quality of these “environmentally-friendly” foods as well as their cost will be essential in consumer education. Therefore food companies that can offer this combination will be the future stars of the food industry. The innovation and technology that surround sustainable nutrition suggests that these products could be just around the corner.
  • New e-highway in Los Angeles offers a silent and zero-emission drive: Due to enormous air-pollution (the worst in the country) along the freeway between the two largest US ports -Los Angeles and Long Beach, where around 50,000 trucks drive back and forth every single day, a new “e-highway” experiment is being implemented. Specifically, one stretch of the freeway will be transformed into an electric road using the same system of overhead wires powering electric streetcars or buses, which will automatically charge the passing trucks. As the CFO for Siemens Mobility, company which created the e-highway technology, Matthias Schlelein explains: “Essentially, it’s completely CO2 free, you get cleaner air, and you also have quieter traffic. Truck operators have lower energy costs. Our technology is something that’s been proven; it’s sort of transferring the technology of a railroad on a track. But unlike the railroad, we preserve the flexibility that a truck has to go anywhere.”
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