If you’re someone who cares about global warming and wants to do what you can to help reduce its impact, you’d think that walking more instead of driving would be a good thing. Well, you’d be very wrong. According to an environmentalist’s calculations, walking, or any exercise for that matter, is worse for the earth than driving:
Walking does more than driving to cause global warming, a leading environmentalist has calculated.
Food production is now so energy-intensive that more carbon is emitted providing a person with enough calories to walk to the shops than a car would emit over the same distance. The climate could benefit if people avoided exercise, ate less and became couch potatoes. Provided, of course, they remembered to switch off the TV rather than leaving it on standby.
The sums were done by Chris Goodall, campaigning author of How to Live a Low-Carbon Life, based on the greenhouse gases created by intensive beef production. “Driving a typical UK car for 3 miles [4.8km] adds about 0.9 kg [2lb] of CO2 to the atmosphere,” he said, a calculation based on the Government’s official fuel emission figures. “If you walked instead, it would use about 180 calories. You’d need about 100g of beef to replace those calories, resulting in 3.6kg of emissions, or four times as much as driving.
“The troubling fact is that taking a lot of exercise and then eating a bit more food is not good for the global atmosphere. Eating less and driving to save energy would be better.”
Mr Goodall, Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford West & Abingdon, is the latest serious thinker to turn popular myths about the environment on their head.
Serious thinker? And I’m Wonder Woman. I’m waiting for an environmentalist to announce that the mere act of breathing causes global warming and that we need to start holding our breath several times a day.