In one of the prior posts this week, I mentioned that 40% of my household carbon footprint is from driving and flying.  And I’ve commented sufficiently on those this week. 

Yesterday, I explained that I had ordered produce from a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  And that’s a good segue into a discussion of food and diet which, incidentally, makes up 30% (the second highest category) of our household carbon footprint.

Please allow me to reference an article from The Guardian on this subject that still resonates almost five years later: UN says eat less meat to curb global warming

Dr. Pachauri, Chair of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) had been interviewed by The Guardian, and they reported that “people should have one meat-free day a week if they want to make a personal and effective sacrifice that would help tackle climate change.”

I think the main reason this has stayed with me is that Dr. Pachauri addressed a group of executives from our bottling partners later that same month (September 2008) just before we announced our WWF Climate Savers partnership (October 2008).  I am in a very privileged position to be able to seek counsel directly from the leader of the preeminent scientific body on this subject.

I admitted in my very first post this week that I very routinely eat meat.  I also mentioned that I made a conscious decision to have a veggie burger wrap on Monday for lunch.  Then on Wednesday, I had a vegetarian lunch by “accident” – after dealing with some urgent e-mails, by the time I joined the lunch ceremony at our Supplier Sustainability Summit, all they had left was vegetarian plates.  Good thing someone was looking out for me so I didn’t “default” to my normal diet.

Last night, my family got to participate in this exercise with me.  I made two types of meatless burgers (some black bean burgers and some soy patties).  I’ve now become curious about whether there’s a significant difference in greenhouse gas emissions from cooking on a grill (LP gas) compared to on the stove – because our pipeline natural gas supplier has been introducing recycled landfill gas recently, and I doubt that’s the case with the LP tank on my grill.  Maybe I’m over-thinking this. I grilled!

And we paired those “burgers” with some of the produce I picked up from the CSA program: fresh tomatoes, a simple cucumber salad, some baked sweet potato fries and fresh strawberries and blueberries.

How was it?  I’d say the black bean burgers were more to my liking than the soy patties.  One of my sons liked the soy better (None of them were “fooled” by the way).  And we proved yet again that “Things Go Better With Coke” like our old ad campaign used to say.

I can’t help but wonder whether the stuff from local, smaller farms necessarily has lower carbon footprint.  Perhaps some of you will offer comments below on that.

Bryan Jacob is Climate Protection Director at The Coca-Cola Company.