The System Is Broken

US national labs receive lots of money to research energy production and consumption, how to mitigate the environmental impacts of energy production and consumption (global warming, habitat destruction, etc.), and ways to produce and consume energy with less impact.

Yet those same national labs waste amazing amounts of energy on a daily basis. Here are just a few examples.
  • The food served in the cafeterias is consistent with the standard American diet (SAD) -- lots of meat, dairy, and highly processed foods. Food starts out as simple plants. To produce meat and dairy, we feed the plants to cows and chickens, losing a significant portion of the usable calories and emitting significant quantities of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere in the process. To produce processed foods like bread, snack foods, desserts, and highly sweetened beverages, the plants are processed in various ways, again losing a significant portion of the nutrients and emitting greenhouse gases. We could save energy by simply eating the unprocessed plants in the first place.
  • Consumption of the highly processed food served in the cafeterias over time leads to chronic disease -- obesity, vascular disease (heart attacks and strokes), cancer, and autoimmune disorders. Eating unprocessed plants instead would save energy by reducing the future per capita healthcare requirements.
  • More could be done at relatively low cost to encourage and support staff members getting more exercise and saving gasoline by riding their bicycles to work. Bike paths, lanes, and shoulders cost much less than the full roads required for cars or the fallout from accidents. Safety is a big issue at the labs. Why can't we make it safe to be green?