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Published on February 19th, 2007 | by Jeff McIntire-Strasburg

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PB&J: The Climate-Friendly Lunch


Well, Rebecca beat me to this, but I think it’s a great concept: The PB&J Campaign. Most of us consider a peanut butter and jelly sandwich a memory from our childhood, but the campaign (which looks to be completely independent) wants to promote this comfort food as the way to “Make a difference one lunch at a time.” According to their site,

A PB&J will slow global warming. Next time you have one you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by saving the equivalent of 2.5 pounds of carbon dioxide emissions over an average animal-based lunch like a hamburger, a tuna sandwich, grilled cheese, or chicken nuggets. That’s about forty percent of what you’d save driving around for the day in a hybrid instead of a standard sedan. If you were going to have a ham sandwich or a hamburger, you save the equivalent almost three and a half pounds of greenhouse gas emissions.

A PB&J also saves about 962 gallons of water over the hamburger. To put this in perspective, two PB&Js a month instead of hamburgers will save about as much water as switching to a low-flow showerhead.

Have a PB&J and save 12 to 50 square feet of land from deforestation, over-grazing, and pesticide and fertilizer pollution.

Ultimately (and you’ve probably already figured this out), the campaign is promoting meatless meals, but I think this is one of the most innovative and non-threatening ways to do it. If we take the approach of telling people “You should stop eating meat because of it’s heavy environmental impact,” we’re likely going to get an unprintable response. But focusing on a single meal, and a single solution (though the campaign has other options if you just really don’t want to do PB&J), especially one with which we’re all familiar, should be a lot more effective. Sure, large-scale vegetarianism/veganism is ideal; it’s likely not going to happen any time soon, though. A couple of lunches a week, though — that’s achievable, and could make an impact.

Along these lines, another GO writer, Patrick Donnelly, has a post up today on making your own “fast food.” His suggestions are not only greener, but probably much more tasty than a drive-up window burger… So what are you having for lunch?

UPDATE: Bernard Brown, founder of the PB&J project, has started a blog on the site. In his first post, he addresses the question of funding… The short version: he and some friends are the sole sources of funding.

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About the Author

Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of sustainablog. You can keep up with all of his writing at Facebook, and at



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