February 21 2012
The cross pollination of environmentalists and food activists is creating an interesting new breed of nanny statist, the enviro-foodie. This new foodie kill-joy is particularly talented at blaming food for both environmental catastrophes and health problems associated with pollutants. Their answer to these problems is simple: stop eating!
And now, everyone's favorite appetizer--shrimp cocktail--is in the enviro-foodies' cross-hairs. According to everyone's favorite dinner guest, biologist J. Boone Kauffmann, a 3.5 oz serving of shrimp has an ecosystem carbon footprint of 198 kilograms (436 lbs) of CO2 which is more than ten times the amount produced by the same portion of beef raised on cleared rainforest land (yet is much, much smaller than the carbon footprint left by Dr. Kauffman's many plane trips to Indonesia where he did his research!). Well, I guess the answer is to eat more beef...wait, what? I'm confused.
And it appears that Dr. Kauffman might be troubled by the same mathematics errors from which other environmentalists have long suffered. The Daily Mail, reporting on his work says that Dr. Kauffman claims that "shrimp farms produce just one kilogram (2.2 lbs) of shrimp for 13.4 square meters (five square miles) of land."
Ummmm, when did 13.4 square meters of land become five square miles? It seemed wrong to me (as it did to many of the commenters to the Daily Mail article) but to do the conversion, I had to call my math-wiz dad. After he stopped laughing at Dr. Kauffman's...ahem...math talents, my dad explained that 13.4 square meters is the size of a small bedroom--not a 5 mile swath of rainforest. To be exact, 13.4 square meters equals 144 square feet or .000005 square miles.
Nice try, Dr. Kauffman. I look forward to more of your flawed math to drive home your point that shrimp cocktail is killing mother earth.