J500 Media and the Environment

My Crater-sized Prints by vincemeserko
January 19, 2008, 7:57 pm
Filed under: Society + Media

My score was less than stellar. I tallied a total mark of 16 acres. If everyone required the same acreage as me we’d need 3.6 planets to sustain us. My score stayed under the national average by virtue of a low “mobility” score thanks to my intermittent use of KU’s bus system. It was the “food” category that elevated my footprint score. I enjoy heavily processed food quite often. By “heavily processed” I mean Michelina’s tv dinners. Those of you that have enjoyed Michelina’s “lean gourmet” selections know the food is vaguely synthetic – like shoe rubber or something. God only knows where that stuff comes from, but at 99 cents a piece they are well within the college budget. I also have an obsessive compulsive relationship with McDonald’s and its pipin’ hot flapjacks which doubtless contributes to a higher waste output. Overall, my footprint was significantly worse than I had envisioned. I think you can attribute it to the simple convenience of fast-food and cheap dinners and the hassle and elevated expense that comes with trying to eat local food. Despite my lifestyle hardly being ecologically conscious, the fact that my score is actually below average is somewhat frightening. Worldmapper’s bloated representation of the United States on its footprint map attests to this fact.

-Vince Meserko


2 Comments so far
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Vince, Let’s talk about your love affair with Ronald McDonald. Access is an extremely important piece of the eco-puzzle. When you think about all the stuff that goes into your frozen dinner or flapjacks and from how far it may have traveled (the average item on our plates travels about 1500 miles, as I mentioned in Sonya’s post), how do you think McDonald’s corporation manages to keep it so cheap? 99 cents won’t even get you the gas to get across town – so how can it cover the cost of the food + the fuel and labor it took to get to us? Who’s getting short-changed along the way?

Simran Sethi

Comment by j500

I’ve never really thought about this to be honest, and that’s probably not a good thing. I’m guessing the costs can be kept so low because the sheer quantity of food being produced reduces the overhead costs. The labor that cultivates the food has to be getting shortchanged in the process. I know the Lawrence Fair Food organization has been especially vocal in their disapproval of the egregiously substandard wages paid to Burger King’s tomato pickers. McDonald’s store employees are also barely paid a living wage. I guess the consumer, despite the lower costs, is also being short-changed to the extent that McDonald’s mass production does not always promote the healthiest eating habits.

I’m feeling guilty already.

-Vince Meserko

Comment by vincemeserko

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