We Earthlings: Every Grain Of Rice Has An Impact

We Earthlings: Every Grain Of Rice Has An Impact

Our dining choices have environmental consequences, and even the best choices can produce carbon emissions. Traditional rice cultivation, which involves flooding fields annually, releases methane, a carbon-equivalent (CO2e) gas with 28 times the warming potential of CO2. Author Mike Berners-Lee explained in The Carbon Footprint of Everything, that one kilogram of rice generates 2.2 lbs. of CO2e under average production conditions — that translates into 1.69 lbs. per dry cup of rice you cook.

Even then, rice is a great choice for a more sustainable diet. “Globally, it provides 20 percent of the world’s food energy in exchange for 3.5 percent20 of its carbon footprint,” Berners-Lee writes. The good news is that new agricultural methods that reduce emissions are being adopted in the U.S. and Asia, where it is a staple in virtually every meal.

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