Today we had a talk by the director of a naturopathy institute of national repute and the talk was on ‘Energy Glut’. I am not going to say whatever she said, but raise some questions. Today we all are aware of something called artificial chemicals used for production and so on. But the aspect called energy gut is not so easily known to us. I will give with a simple example given by her (figures are approximate).
In Pune, I am consuming 1kg of guava prepared in my home farm and 1kg of apple brought from the market. Let us assume that both give equal calories to human body (it is more for guava in reality). So we get 1000 Calories by eating either of them. Let’s also assume the cost is the same. Now guava is produced in my farm land; the energy required for it to reach my table is (let’s say) 100 calories. The apple is plucked from the farm in Kashmir (2500km or more from where I stay), transported to Pune and reached my table. The energy required will be (let’s say) 10000 calories. Normally when we go to buy things, we look at the price of the item; some extremely sensitive people will see whether it is organic or not; another aspect will be the taste. But none of us look at the use of energy. Here there is a huge difference in the energy required to bring it before us. It is beneficial to go for local foods for the sake of creation, whenever it is possible.
I will create 4 more scenarios and some ethical issues involved. There are 4 available tomatoes here. (Forget about money for the time being)
- Home Grown with Chemical Fertilizers
- Home Grown with organic Fertilizers
- Grown in Punjab with chemical Fertilizers (Punjab is 2000 km from the place I stay)
- Grown in Punjab with organic Fertilizers.
What will I prefer?? I think most people would go for Option 2 (if it is available). Here I think it is very very clear. Probably Option 3 is the worst one. Now I have to see between Option 1 & Option 4. Option 1 may be beneficial from Energy point of view (as Calories required to bring it to my table is less); Option 4 is better from health point of view. (organic is better).
Health of Me vs Health of Nature (Energy Use).
What will I choose??
What should I choose??
(For many of us, it boils down to cost of the product.)
NB: I have made the examples very simple to help us to understand. I know artificial has its own energy use in Option 1. I assumed it negligible compared to transport.
I realize this energy glut might be very much connected to the term carbon-footprint. Carbon foot-print is another popular and similar term to analyze the same phenomena