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Worried About Climate Change? Fix Obesity

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The Associated Press' Seth Borenstein recently released an article outlining the startling connections between America's obesity epidemic and the climate change crisis. Our film, Killer at Large, further deconstructs the links between the simultaneous degradation of our bodies and the degradation of our environment.

New York Times bestselling author of The Omnivores Dilemma, Michael Pollan, explained to us and our cameras, "We don't often think about climate change in relation to food, but indeed it's one of the easier ways to address the problem." He went on to explain to us that our food system consumes almost 20% of the fossil fuels consumed by our country (almost as much as personal transportation) when you account for all the chemical fertilizers, food processing, packaging and shipping the food across the country. "A strawberry is four calories. It takes ten calories of fossil fuel energy to get it to you."

Additionally, the obesity epidemic worsens the fuel consumption of personal transportation as well. "For every pound the average American is overweight," Dr. Sheldon Jacobsen, a professor at the University of Illinois, told us, "we use an additional 938 million gallons of gasoline per year. That's enough to fill 2 million cars with gasoline every year." He explained to us that it's a simple matter of physics, the heavier you are, the more energy it takes to move you in your vehicle. And the pounds add up at the gas pump.

Small and varied solutions are needed to help curb this problem and our film outlines a great many of them, but as any expert on the issue will point out in the most general terms, the issue with obesity is most simply a matter of calories in, calories out. As it turns out, our bodies are the most efficient machines in existence provided we maintain them as well as we do our cars. And it turns out, the better we maintain our bodies the better we maintain the Earth.

Bryan Young blogs daily at This Divided State. You can find more information about Killer at Large here.

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