I am sure you had thoughts on how you can reduce your carbon footprint. With a climate-friendly diet, consisting of seasonal vegetables you can do something for our climate. A climate-friendly diet is not only a healthy diet but being more conscious about, what you cook can help to save the future of our planet. With a climate-friendly diet, each one of you can do something to reduce carbon footprints and thus help with the fight against climate change. And in the end, you might even save some dollars.
What has my diet got to do with climate change?
The massive increase in CO2 threatens our climate, The earth is getting warmer, sea levels are rising, and tropical storms are more destructive than ever. The consequences are:
- extreme droughts resulting in apocalyptic infernos, extinguishing plant and animal species
- islands in the ocean will vanish, leaving millions of people without a home
- more forceful tropical storms will develop killing life
and these are only a few of the disasters.
More vegetables, more fruit – and you will help the climate
A huge percentage of CO2 emissions are produced through our diet. About half of the food-related emissions originate from farming, mainly from intensive animal husbandry. The production of animal products causes more greenhouse gas than the production of plant-based food. Cows, goats, and sheep produce methane while digesting. This gas is even stronger than CO2 and set free in the atmosphere.
Some decades ago, most people had meat once a week. The typical Sunday roast and maybe a pair of sausages during the week. But income increased and consumers could afford to buy more meat. Nowadays, in some households, it is a must to have daily meat on the tables. This demand resulted in intensive livestock farming. Not only is excessive meat consumption bad for our climate, but it is also not too good for your health since processed meat products often contain additives such as sodium nitrite, phosphate, and monosodium glutamate.
With this knowledge, it is wise to reduce meat consumption and eat a more plant-based diet. The best is organic food. Organic farming uses less energy than conventional crop farming and produces less greenhouse gas.
A climate-friendly diet with seasonal and local vegetables
When I was a child you got mainly seasonal fruit and vegetable in the shops or the farmer’s markets. Today you get all sorts of fruits and vegetables all year round, no matter how exotic they are. Because of greenhouses, it is possible to have tomatoes all year round. There are blueberries and strawberries in winter. Greenhouse products are not only less aromatic than fresh fruit and vegetables from the fields, but most greenhouses are also still very hazardous to the climate.
Mangos, papayas, bananas, starfruit – these exotic fruits and others are imported and transported halfway around the globe by plane or ship. Both types of transport are not energy efficient and extreme climate unfriendly.
Especially in winter, when our body needs vitamins, it is very difficult if not impossible to find local fresh fruit and vegetables. To eat fruits and vegetables that don’t have an extreme carbon print, you should buy produce that comes from the nearest growing area. If you live in North Dakota, for example, you should buy products that grow in California, for example. But avoid imported fruit, which sometimes requires long transport by plane in order to be on the store shelf at any time of the year. Avoid exotic fruits as soon as local fruits are available.
Buy food in moderation
Worldwide the waste of food piles up mountain high. It is estimated that in the US 30% of food is thrown away. Isn’t this sad? But half of this food waste could be avoided. Before you go shopping, consider what you really need and how you want to make use of it. It is also important to store food properly, especially perishable food products.
Before throwing food away give it a thought of how you could still make use of it. With bread, for example, cut it in thin slices and roast it in olive oil and garlic. You get delicious crunchy bread chips. Leftover veggies, which don’t look too nice anymore? Clean those, cut out bad parts, collect the good parts in a freezer bag, and put in the freezer. As soon as the bag is full, defrost and cook a vegetable soup. This way you are not only reducing food waste, but you also save dollars.