Food miles may not be over-extravagant in their energy use, but they are thickly implicated in a centralized distribution system which multiplies our energy expenditure at every opportunity and whose impacts include excessive packaging and refrigeration, waste, traffic congestion, road-building, noise, accidents, loss of local distinctiveness, exploitation and displacement of peasants, excessive immigration, urban slums, deforestation and habitat destruction, removal of biomass from third world countries, the undermining of local communities in the UK, the collapse of UK farming and the blood which is split over oil fields.
I've just been reading Meat: A Benign Extravagance. It's a very, very thoughtfully-written book. It's not mostly about food miles, and it's not mostly about meat being an extravagance.
Reducing it to one main idea is doing it a disservice, but if I might: It is mostly about dispelling the idea that livestock are intrinsically "unsustainable". The argument is so convincing that upon reading it, George Monbiot, previously a noted promoter of veganism, changed his mind, and decided that veganism was not the answer.
I plan to do a full write-up on the book when I finish reading it. In the meantime, if you're wondering what to read next, this book would be a great choice.
(submitted as part of the Hearth And Soul blog carnival at A Moderate Life)