The Instigator
Harman
Pro (for)
Losing
10 Points
The Contender
Danielle
Con (against)
Winning
20 Points

Walking has a More Negative Impact on the Environment than Driving

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 6 votes the winner is...
Danielle
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/23/2010 Category: Science
Updated: 6 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,747 times Debate No: 12400
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (6)

 

Harman

Pro

In this debate I will argue against the popular belief that walking to any given destination is more environment-friendly than driving to said destination. This debate assumes that the minimum distance that must be traveled over to reach the destination is ten miles. The debate also assumes that both the driver and the walker eat 2,000 calories a day, and are attempting to maintain their weight and currently doing so, and that both the driver and the walker are "at rest," making minimalistic physical motions unless otherwise stated. We shall assume that they both make motions to eat and drink, but these motions do not amount to physical activity, assuming that the definition of physical activity is any motion resulting in the burning of at least five kilocalories, hereafter referred to as either "kcal" or "calories." It is also assumed that the EPA's model for climate change is true. [3] I present the following argument to affirm the resolution.

The average car in the UK will emit two lbs of carbon into the atmosphere when driving for three miles. [1] Therefore, when the average UK car drives ten miles, It emits 6.666666667 lbs of carbon. It is safe to assume that the typical man or woman in the UK will not burn over five calories to get into their car, and for the remainder of the car ride, they are physically "at rest." The average walker will burn 180 kcal walking for three miles.[1] Ergo, when walking for ten miles, the walker will burn 600 kcal. Because the walker burned 600 calories, he/she has to replenish them with 600 calories of food, as stated. Assuming that the walker will eat beef, and that 100g of beef will replenish 180 calories [1], the walker will need to eat 333.333 grams of beef to maintain his/her weight. Because of how the beef is raised and transported, 100g of beef will emit 7.934 lbs of carbon. [1] The walker will have emitted 26.420 lbs of carbon, as opposed to the driver, who did not eat the excess beef, emitted only 6.666666667 lbs of carbon. One can substitute beef for any other food item, and the result will be the same, but with varying numbers. I challenge my opponent to find one food item that the walker could eat that replenishes the 600 kcal and does not emit as much carbon as driving ten miles. [1] Because carbon emissions negatively impact the environment, this argument affirms the resolution. [2] [3] [4] Also, if it is considered that a scenario could arise in which two walkers walk together, and two drivers drive together in the same car, The ratio of carbon emissions from drivers to walkers is even lessened, as is proved by simplistic mathematics.

I openly allow anyone to challenge me and prove me otherwise. Good luck.

[1] http://www.timesonline.co.uk...
[2] http://www.eia.doe.gov...
[3] http://www.epa.gov...
[4] http://www.ipcc.ch...
Danielle

Con

For clarification, I'll re-cap my opponent's argument simplistically: He claims that because one burns calories while walking, in order for them to sustain their calorie in-take they will be forced to eat food whose production and transportation emits more carbon than the fuel from the individual car itself.

Indeed, Pro's first source where the large majority of his information comes from notes, "Eating less and driving to save energy would be better" [1]. The article aims to educate on how there is not enough media attention surrounding the food industry and its negative impact on environment; instead all of the focus is on transportation. It states, "We need to become accustomed to the idea that our food production systems are equally damaging... The food industry is estimated to be responsible for a sixth of an individual's carbon emissions."

As you can see, the focus of this article isn't to demonize the act of walking (or any other physical activity) but rather to draw attention to a growing problem - the negative impacts that the food industry has on the environment compared to transportation. Now, had the resolution read, "Food Production Has a More Negative Impact on the Environment than Driving" then Pro would have had a case. Instead, the resolution specifically states that WALKING is more negative. On the contrary, Pro's entire argument rests on the problems specifically related to food production - not walking.

Con's final 3 sources simply clarify that carbon is bad for the environment which is obvious. In that case Pro would have had to prove that walking contributes more carbon to the environment than driving which it does not. So, in short, walking is not more negative -- the way food is produced is more negative. A further way to demonstrate the correlation is to acknowledge that people would still have to eat (and replenish calories) even if they did not walk and drove instead. The calories expended from walking could have easily been expended elsewhere. So again, walking itself is not more negative on the environment.

So now let's look at the negative impact that driving has on the environment. Well, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) notes, "Driving a private car is probably a typical citizen's most 'polluting' daily activity" [2]. Additionally, cars and light trucks consume about 16% of the total energy used in the U.S [3]. Well, if cars consume 4/25 of the energy, then it becomes about equal to the 1/6 mentioned in Pro's article regarding carbon emissions. In that case, my opponent's point is further invalidated by noting that the negative impact would be about the SAME (even if we were to do food production vs. transport instead of walking vs. transport) - not more negative.

So what else does driving do to the environment? Well, there's water pollution, noise pollution, solid waste and huge negative impacts on wildlife. Additionally Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Particulate Matter (PM10) and Carbon Dioxide (CO2) - all produced from automobiles - is responsible for respiratory damage in humans and animals; injures plants; causes smog; can be poisonous and of course may contribute to global warming [3]. Again, walking has none of these effects, and the carbon emitted from food production is not because of walking but machinery. Pro also noted transport as a problem; in other words the DRIVING of food from one place to another is damaging - not walking.

If Pro wants to talk about carbon emissions from food production, let's talk about it. A website dedicated to encouraging others to reduce their 'carbon foot print' notes - regarding food production - "Anthropogenic carbon emissions come primarily from burning of fossil fuels in industry, homes and cars, trucks planes and trains... Modern processes such as use of machinary over man and animal power, global trading and increased use of fertilizers and other so called agro-chemicals has already made agriculture an energy intesive process in the developed world" [4]. So, it turns out that *walking* and burning calories again isn't the problem - it's the driving and use of machinery that is the problem, which ironically is what Pro suggests as a solution or positive alternative.

Thanks for this debate, Pro, and good luck.

[1] http://www.timesonline.co.uk...
[2] http://www.epa.gov...
[3] http://www.bikesatwork.com...
[4] http://www.foodcarbon.co.uk...
Debate Round No. 1
Harman

Pro

Con's entire argument is built on the basis that the food production industry and related enterprises that allow for its processing and transport is what causes the carbon emissions. Con states that because these emissions are the product of the food industry and not the physical act of walking, I am incorrect in stating that walking has a more negative impact on the environment than driving. However, an argument such as this is equivalent to prosecuting a cutlery production company for a murder committed by a woman who did the deed by her own malevolent intentions. While the company that produced the murder weapon enabled the act, the woman made the choice to stab the victim. The analogy is simplistic, but fitting.

The food industry allows its consumers to make the choice of whether or not they choose to walk or drive to a given destination. If the consumer chooses to walk, it is not the food corporations fault, but the consumers. The actions enable by the food corporation allow for the excess emission of carbon so long as the consumer chooses to walk and not drive. Under the scenario I have presented in round one, it is inevitable that the food industry and the act of walking become intermingled. Ergo, my argument does in fact rest on the problems as walking, as they are undeniably intertwined with the food industry in the scenario I had presented.

My opponent states that the calories expended from walking could easily be expended doing other activities. However, based on the scenario presented in round one, this is not possible. We are assuming that both the walker and driver are not doing any physical activities, with the exception of those related to walking or driving. Therefore, with the exception of the two previous activities, the only calories being burned are being expended at their BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate. For those who do not know what this is, it is the amount of calories you burn doing absolutely nothing, which both the walker and the driver are doing. In the scenario, we also assume that both the walker and the driver eat 2000 calories a day, due to the energy being expended by their BMR's. However, they will eat more if they expend more calories doing a physical activities. As stated, these are limited to walking or driving. Ergo, the calories burned walking can not be expended doing other activities.

Con has made the grave error of comparing apples to oranges. Con assumes that because driving uses 4/25ths of the energy in the US, it becomes equivalent to contributing to 4/25ths of the carbon emissions in the US. Obviously, this is not the case, as energy and pounds of carbon are two completely different units. X percentage energy expended is not equal to X percentage of carbon emissions produced. Therefore, driving does not contribute the same amount of carbon as the food industry does.

Con further states that driving leads to a large amount of consequences, such as carbon monoxide expulsion. However, Con fails to state how much these substances contribute to global warming in comparison to carbon emissions. Therefore, it is unfair to compare without understanding how much each contributes to make a mathematical calculation of who harms the environment more.

In conclusion, walking does contribute to carbon emissions, and my original arguments from round one stand. I wish you the best of luck, Con.
Danielle

Con

Danielle forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
Harman

Pro

Harman forfeited this round.
Danielle

Con

With many apologies to both my opponent and the audience, I regret having to forfeit the last round -- As you can see I was not online for 6 days due to problems with my internet at home. My forfeit should not be considered when judging the "conduct" portion of this debate, because my opponent was online but also skipped a round, meaning our conduct was equal. Let it be known that I will not introduce any new arguments in this round whatsoever, but merely respond to Pro's R1/R2 argument and re-cap what I posted in R1 (many of which Pro did not respond to). That said, let's get back to the discussion.

In R1, I claimed that walking itself was not to blame for any carbon emissions -- that Pro's entire argument rests *not* on the harms from placing one foot in front of the other repeatedly, but rather the fact that the way food is made (machinery) and transported (vehicles) is to blame. He presents an analogy using a cutlery/murder example; for instance if a woman decides to commit murder with a knife, then the cutlery company cannot be blamed for the tool she used to commit that murder. I completely agree. However, that analogy actually helps MY side of the resolution. I stated that Pro's case does not argue against the act of walking, but rather the way the food industry chooses to produce (and transport - i.e. driving) that food. As such, using Pro's analogy we can see that he is the one who wants to blame the cutlery company (food industry) for the action of walking (murder) which doesn't follow. Ergo, Pro's analogy actually demonstrated why his side of the argument is wrong.

Now, it's true that I agreed to the R1 terms that the calories expended in this debate would be from walking and walking alone. However, even if the individual had driven to the store instead of walked, they would still need to eat. Pro cannot prove that they would eat less if they had driven. Moreover, even if Pro could prove that, that still would not change any of the deciding factors in this debate. The food industry would have still operated the same way: the food would be made by the same machinery, and it would be transported by the same means - even if the individual had walked.

So, if Person X walked to the store and bought a chicken (and ate the entire thing) vs. driving there and buying a chicken (but eating only half since they had less calories to replenish) then the exact same carbon emissions from the production and transport would have been released. Ergo, Pro has not demonstrated in any way whatsoever that driving to the store instead of walking would have a better impact on the environment. To simplify it further, Pro has not stated anywhere how WALKING is bad for the environment. Indeed if food were not produced by machines, or not transported via driving, then walking would have absolutely nothing to do with this debate. In fact my family grows a large portion of our own food, meaning Pro's entire argument doesn't even apply.

Additionally, if food were grown locally, then there would be less food transport (driving) meaning his argument falls apart. This further proves how his case is not about walking but rather noting the harms (carbon emissions) of the food industry itself. If we changed the way food was produced, then walking would have absolutely nothing to do with this debate and his argument would be entirely dismantled.

Next Pro writes that I have "compared apples to oranges" in noting the amount of energy we use vs. carbon emissions. While it's true that they are not synonomous, the two go hand in hand [1], [2], [3], etc. Because of the way we utilize energy, it seems that the more energy we use, the more carbon emissions we put out. Therefore, saying the two are not relevantly connected is false. Here you can also see how Pro manipulates the resolution when he notes, "Therefore, driving does not contribute the same amount of carbon as the food industry does." Indeed - but how much carbon does WALKING contribute? As I said, this debate is about walking vs. driving -- not the food industry vs. driving. Nowhere did Pro state that walking emitted any carbon whatsoever whereas I have proven that driving does.

More importantly, Pro completely ignored the other factors I noted in R1. For instance, I quoted a source saying that driving (not walking) was a citizen's MOST polluting activity; Pro never responded. I also pointed out all of the ways driving is negative on the environment, such as noise pollution, water pollution, solid waste production and other huge negative impacts on wildlife to name a few. Again, Pro never disputed this reality. Instead he writes:

"Con further states that driving leads to a large amount of consequences, such as carbon monoxide expulsion. However, Con fails to state how much these substances contribute to global warming in comparison to carbon emissions."

Let's stop right there. Nowhere in R1 (or R2 or R3 for that matter) did Pro EVER talk about global warming, or say that I had to compare / explain the harms of driving to global warming, therefore this statement is entirely irrelevant. It becomes increasingly obvious that Pro simply tries to change the entire subject matter instead of responding to the obvious truth that driving has a significantly more negative impact on the environment than walking (which has little to no effect).

Pro continues, "Therefore, it is unfair to compare without understanding how much each contributes to make a mathematical calculation of who harms the environment more." Once again, this is completely false and manipulative information. Moreover it negates Pro's entire argument! If he's saying that we can't come to a mathematical conclusion about which harms the environment more - walking or driving - then he has already lost the debate for himself because he cannot prove that driving is less negative than walking. Fortunately he's wrong; I have listed a handful of negative driving repercussions whereas Pro has listed *zero* negative repercussions of walking. In my book, any number of things is greater than zero. Therefore I have indeed proved how driving has a greater negative impact on the environment than walking.

To conclude Pro writes, "walking does contribute to carbon emissions, and my original arguments from round one stand." However, you'll notice once again did that he never sourced, cited or explained how WALKING contributes to carbon emissions. Instead, his argument is that people who walk need to "eat more" (which is not entirely true since smaller people who get exercise need less food...), and so more food would need to be produced and transported to replenish that burned energy. Again, if food were produced differently, then walking would be irrelevant. Moreover if food were locally grown, less transportation would be needed. However, driving would still have a more negative impact on the environment than walking.

Pro did not mention one way in which walking directly negatively impacted the environment, and I explained how the other factors he mentions in conjunction with walking are quite irrelevant. For instance even if one drove and ate less food, food production and transportation would still be the same (i.e. it doesn't matter if I eat half a chicken or a whole chicken - a chicken is still being killed and transported the same way). The indirect harms he mentions from walking are far-fetched. As such, because I listed a handful of negative impacts that driving directly has on the environment, the resolution has been negated.

Thanks and good luck.

[1] http://www.energystar.gov...
[2] http://www.infoplease.com...
[3] http://www.google.com...=
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by Brendan21 6 years ago
Brendan21
HarmanDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by Dingo7 6 years ago
Dingo7
HarmanDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by Vi_Veri 6 years ago
Vi_Veri
HarmanDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by ArtTheWino 6 years ago
ArtTheWino
HarmanDanielleTied
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Vote Placed by Harman 6 years ago
Harman
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Vote Placed by Danielle 6 years ago
Danielle
HarmanDanielleTied
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