How food is impacting the environment

Studies have proven that what we eat can have a big effect on the environment. The world’s food system is responsible for a quarter of the harmful greenhouse gases contributing to climate change every year. The impact by the food system is complex and includes anything from farming methods to pesticides and fertilisers.

Meat and dairy have the largest impact. Livestock currently accounts for around 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases each year. This is a ridiculous amount if you consider that the emissions from all cars, aeroplanes, ships and lorries is around the same as this.

Meat

50 grams of beef produces on average 17.7 kilograms of CO2. That beef burger no longer looks like an innocent happy meal anymore… Food that comes from cows is the biggest problem for several reasons. Firstly, the amount of energy required in the production line; cows need a lot of water and food. They are also responsible for waste containing methane gas. One cow on average produces between 70 and 120 kilograms of methane per year and with a total of 9.6 million cattle and calves in the UK that’s an average of 912 million kilograms of methane each year in the UK alone!

We aren’t here to tell you how to live your life but as a company aware of the damage we as humans are doing to the world, these matters must be discussed. If you want to reduce your carbon footprint then consuming less red meat will have a significant impact. In fact, reducing your overall meat consumption will make a considerable difference, especially given that cattle, pigs and chicken are behind most of the deforestation of the Amazon rain-forest.

Dairy

Milk and some cheese typically have a smaller climate footprint than chicken, pork and eggs. But cheese, like cheddar and mozzarella has a bigger impact due to the fact is takes 10 pounds of milk to make one pound of cheese. There are so many available non-dairy products that you can easily make simple swaps to reduce your dairy intake.

Seafood

Some seafood has a low impact on the environment however wild shrimp and lobster tend to have a larger impact than chicken and pork because pulling them in, demands extra fuel for the fishing boats. The issue with turning to fish for your protein source is that the world is currently catching as many fish as it can. It would be unsustainable for fisheries to fish more than they already are.

Top 5 tips to help you reduce your carbon footprint

If you want to reduce your climate footprint from the food you eat, see below our top 5 tips:

  1. Buy locally sourced produce. Buying locally lowers your dependence on food transported over distance.
  2. Try to eat plant based once or twice a week (there are so many amazing recipes out there that this will not be difficult at all)!
  3. Buy bee friendly food. Make sure the food you buy isn’t covered in bee harming pesticides.
  4. Swap for a non-dairy alternative milk. As we mentioned earlier there are so many other choices available, try oat or soy milk.
  5. Grow your own produce. As well as helping reduce your climate impact, there are mental benefits to have your own growing plot too.
Conclusion

Often, we don’t think about the consequences of what we are eating. Food can be a lot more harmful to the planet and with everything so readily available to us, it’s easy to grab and go before we have time to process the negatives. If you can take away anything from this post, we hope that you are willing to try something new… What are your current diets and do you know how sustainable they are?


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