Letters to the Editor

Letter: Want better air? Check your food

During a conversation about the Tri-Cities’ unhealthy air quality, a concerned friend asked, “What else can we do on an individual basis?” Kyle Timberman’s letter (Aug. 17) offers one research-based answer found in an overlooked place – the grocery store.

Like everything else we buy, food has a carbon footprint. The Carbon Footprint Factsheet from the Center for Sustainable Systems, University of Michigan (2018) is an informative online resource. It notes U.S. household food consumption emits 8.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalents each year, on average.

Grain and vegetable products have lower carbon footprints per calorie than meat products. Increasing low carbon footprint food consumption could help mitigate the likelihood of more frequent and intense wildfires associated with global warming.

The factsheet explains carbon footprint calculations. Also, it details other sources of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, it offers more ways to reduce emissions on an individual basis.

Individual action should be included in any comprehensive plan to address air quality in the Tri-Cities.

Caprice Consalvo-Olson, Kennewick