Let me tell you a story about data dreams and how they are squashed and how you learn something about the complexity of the world along the way.
When we started this project, I wanted to create an infographic that would show you all the inputs into a particular product—say, a hamburger—and then display all of the environmental outputs, like CO2 emissions and land use. And then, you'd be able to tinker with that hamburger and say, "What if I got this kind of beef?" or "What if I have a whole wheat bun?" or "What does cheese do?" and on down the line.
But think about that particular task. First, you have to track down the data for each individual ingredient. Then you have to find individual, toggleable elements that researchers have studied. As it turns out, that's not the easiest thing to find. In fact, in many cases individual data doesn't exist, and if it does, it wasn't collected or measured in the same ways. There is no canonical research on, say, how giving cows antibiotics so that they grow faster changes the energy inputs that are necessary.
We might have been able to make some squishy estimates and assumptions to get the numbers to show something, but we didn't feel comfortable proceeding down that path. Beef production is immensely complicated.