Photo by Jason Gulledge (Flickr Creative Commons)

Since I eat a banana almost every day I admit I’ve dreaded cutting down or giving them up based on the fact that they are not a local food and therefore not environmentally right-on. I naturally assumed they were not energy efficient due to their having to be shipped from Costa Rica or some such far-off tropical place, but at the same time I didn’t really know.

A new book by Mike Berners-Lee entitled ‘How Bad are Bananas?’ attempts to measure the carbon footprint of, yes, bananas, but pretty much everything else too.

Both the Guardian and The Ecologist have been paying Berners-Lee’s book a fair bit of attention. And Bananas, to my relief, fair pretty well by his calculations. They grow in natural sunlight, keep well and don’t need packaging.

From a piece in the Guardian:

For just 80g of CO2e you get a whole lot of nutrition: 140 calories as well as stacks of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and dietary fibre. All in all, a fantastic component of a low-carbon diet.

Some other surprises according to a BBC News article on Mike Berners-Lee’s book:

  • Plastic bags, while environmentally horrible, don’t have much of a carbon footprint.
  • Apples from New Zealand are another low carbon food.
  • Watching TV is a fairly low-carbon activity

Check out the entire ‘What’s the carbon footprint of…?’ series in the Guardian’s Green Living blog, including entries on mobile phones, the World Cup and a cup of coffee.

Also have a look at this cool and informative interactive graphic on the carbon footprints of texting, flying, showeringm cycling and much more from the Ecologist and based on info from ‘How Bad are Bananas?’

Graham Land