Climate change has become a concerning issue in this decade. Scientists across the world have highlighted the damage humans have caused to the environment. They are concerned that if actions aren’t taken immediately, then climate change will become irreversible. Unfortunately, the food that we eat is also a major contributor to climate change. It is responsible for about 26 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture is the biggest reason forest land is being converted to agricultural land. Due to this, there is a loss of approximately 60 percent of biodiversity worldwide. These numbers are significant and need to be reduced to protect the environment.
Reducing emissions due to food production is a major challenge that humanity is facing. To control emissions from energy consumption, there are many options like renewable or nuclear energy. But to reduce the contributions of the agricultural industry to climate change, alternatives are yet to be found. Moreover, the human population is increasing exponentially. Thus it becomes even more necessary to find an eco-friendly sustainable solution for food production. One way to tackle this issue is to switch to sustainable eating. Some of the ways in which you too can contribute to this cause are:
Eat more plants
Eating a healthy and balanced meal is important for the body. Thus switching to a plant-based diet helps in balancing the nutrients. Eating more vegetables and fruits as part of your daily diet is beneficial for both you and the environment. Eating plant-based meals reduces freshwater withdrawals and deforestation. Whole grains, nuts, beans, potatoes, etc. are good sources of carbohydrates and proteins. If you feel that eating fruits and vegetables will not get you the required nutrients, then you must kill this myth from your mind. Try including more variety in your plant-based diet to balance your meal.
Waste less food
Food wastage is bad for the environment. It’s like throwing Earth’s natural resources down the dumpster. You must be calculative in buying food items for your household. To do this, you can only buy the items you need and step out again once the previous stalk is over. Never buy fresh food products in bulk unless you have a big household to feed. The majority of this food can go waste as fresh food spoils faster. Always try to buy local produce as it reduces the carbon footprint. For example switch to coffee pods in place of ground coffee beans. Make sure that you buy the food items wisely so that there is minimal wastage.
Reduce meat intake
Meat and dairy products contribute to around 14.5 percent of greenhouse gases every year. This is the same as the contribution coming from the transportation sector in the world. beef and lamp intake is contributing the highest to emissions in this category. The higher the meat intake, the more will be deforestation to support the demand. The best alternative for similar protein intake in a plant-based diet is provided by beans, pulses, soy, and grains. These are more climate-friendly options and reduce the carbon footprint. Reducing meat intake, especially red meat is a good strategy to counter climate change.
Buy certified food items
While buying food items it is important to read its packaging in detail. There are certain standards that every food item has to meet before it’s packed and sold. The certification tells you that food is sourced and produced sustainably. Some of these certifications are Animal Welfare Approved, Food Alliance Certified, Soil Association Certified Organic, etc. There are many such standards in place that have set guidelines so that the food items are produced in an environmentally-friendly way.
Reduce intake of foods rich in fat, salt, and sugar
The food products that are rich in sugar, salt or fat consume a lot of energy in their production. So, these food products contribute more to the emission of greenhouse gases. Also eating these food items isn’t healthy in any way. Thus reducing their intake will help in countering climate change. Some countries are planning to implement a carbon tax on food whose production generates more carbon dioxide. Tax on sugary items or drinks is also in discussion in many countries.
Choose sustainable seafood
Based on a report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization fish consumption is at its highest currently at 20.2 kilograms per person. Due to such high consumption, many seafood species are overfished and overexploited. This impacts the balance of the ocean’s flora and fauna, thereby impacting the environment. While shopping for seafood, make sure that you buy products certified by seafood sustainability organizations like the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, the Marine Stewardship Council, etc.
It is you and us whose cautious actions will help to save the environment. By following some of the tips stated above, you can not only follow a healthy diet but also contribute to environmental conservation. Such small actions will be fruitful in achieving a higher goal.