Think globally – buy local food |

Think globally – buy local food

Dear Editor: Food, clothing and shelter are the three basics. At least one of these was not a priority in the recent work done on Aspen’s and the general valley community’s global warming studies.The work that has been done so far seems accurate and is thorough for what it covers. The emissions inventory seems to include more relevant sources than any other cities’ studies that I have read. However, I did find a few holes in the list of considerations in these studies and models. This most likely is not a reflection on the ones gathering data and conducting the studies or building the computer models, as they were probably given parameters to investigate, such as skiing days versus early runoff as related to irrigation of crops in the case of the computer modeling, and any reference to food and the greenhouse gas emissions related to food that is consumed in our valley in the emissions inventory. Factoring in all the fractional inputs and connected impacts of all the systems that we utilize to operate our current way of life is complicated business. There are, however, large areas of emphasis that are missing in these studies and climate models. The one that stands out the most for me has to do with the impacts related to the food we consume each day in this valley, where it comes from, how it is produced, packed, shipped, the impacts of distribution, the preservation/refrigeration/freezing of it, the trips to the store by each of us, the waste stream related to its disposal, and the methane generated by what is discarded of what we eat. The energy required for traction on farms, the production and distribution of our food and the greenhouse gas emissions from those processes is substantial and must be factored into any real picture of our impacts. Raw fish for our sushi is flown in from Hawaii, Champagne is from, well, Champagne, beef from Texas, apples from New Zealand. If we continue these important emission studies and build a more complete analysis of our accumulated greenhouse gas additions we will see how what we choose to eat here in the Roaring Fork Valley has a tremendous impact on the warming of our planet. Buying locally produced food whenever possible is just one way to decrease the distance from farm to table. There are, of course, plenty of other ways we can lower our carbon footprints related to food. Grappling with these issues is not simple or easy. But if we are to move ahead with the urgent work of designing intelligent solutions for a more sustainable community we need accurate accounting of what impacts we now are responsible for. The work done so far is a good start. We must expand this study to include the primary function of eating. This will greatly enhance our effort to lower our emissions and set the stage for far greater food security in our valley. Brook Le Van, directorSustainable SettingsCarbondale