Lo-ca-vo-rism

An interesting tribune in The New York Time of yesterday about locavorism, Math Lessons for Locavores. While I realise the absurdity of buying apples from New Zealand, grean peas from Kenya, or asparagus from Chile when shopping in my local grocery, because equivalent products are or will be available within a few months, I see two flaws with the ultimate locavore theory. The first one is that it is difficult to distinguish from protectionism. My naïve belief is that protectionism, while achieving in the short term a reduction in transportation costs, should have in the long run an adverse ecological impact. In particular because it imposes the production of goods in places where producing those goods are less energy-efficient (using for instance heated greenhouses or artificial irrigation). The second one is that it does not seem to be applying to other goods that are most likely more demanding in energy for their transportation (like cars or clothes) as, if it would, it would be very quickly unsustainable (at least in a democracy). The tribune of Stephen Budiansky is obviously all too optimistic when beaming at the advances of industrial agriculture, since they have been obtained at high ecological costs, as exemplified by the pilfering of Californian aquifers by California growers (I became much more aware of while driving through the parched countryside in the past days!), but he nonetheless has a point, discussed further on his blog.

Ps-Today’s (Sunday, that is!) New York Time contains a paper by Andrew Gelman and co-authors about gay marriage perception.

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