This year, the global theme for Earth Day 2020 is climate action. According to EarthDay.org, the enormous challenge and vast opportunities of action on climate change have distinguished the issue as the most pressing topic for the 50th anniversary.
WE CAN : Fight climate change with diet change
What's on your plate? What you eat, where it comes from, and how it was produced contributes to your FoodPrint.
What is a FoodPrint? Think of it like a carbon footprint, but for food. It measures the environmental impacts associated with the growing, producing, transporting, and storing of our food — everything from natural resources to pollution to the greenhouse gases.
While we should all work to reduce our FoodPrint, there are many factors, including access, affordability, health and culture which help shape our decisions about what we eat. There is not one prescribed diet for everyone. We want to highlight the different ways we can make an impact on our FoodPrint.
LOW CARBON DIET
A low carbon diet means making lifestyle choices to reduce greenhouse gases. Such a diet minimizes emissions released from the production, packaging, processing, transport, preparation and waste of food. The diet involves reducing the following foods:
- Heavily processed and packaged foods
- Non-Local Food and food products which require cross-continental transport
- Out-of-Season foods
- General food waste
FOOD CHOICES TO CELEBRATE WELLNESS FOR YOU AND WELLNESS FOR THE EARTH
You can do your part to help reduce climate change by choosing the right foods to eat. A low carbon diet is not only good for the Earth, but also good for overall health. Here are some of the food choice strategies you can adopt to help both you and planet.
Choose local and organic foods. Buying produce locally can help reduce emissions associated with transporting food. Sustainable agriculture helps retain more carbon in the soil, and local food in season is more nutrient-dense. Shop at your local farmers’ market or co-op, or join a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm.
Limit meat and dairy. Today’s industrial meat production is highly energy intensive, which heavily impact climate change. Americans typically consume twice the recommended amount of meat and dairy. Purchase half as much meat-based foods and seek certified organic and pasture-raised meat and dairy. Better yet, choose plant-based protein.
Eat fewer processed foods. Processed foods contain unhealthy additives, preservatives and excessive packaging. Not only is this consuming large amounts of energy, the processed foods are not as healthy for our bodies.
Prepare vegan, drought-friendly meals. As surface water sources dry, groundwater becomes the resource of choice, requiring massive amounts of electricity to pump it out of the ground. To conserve water and the energy it takes to move it, create meals from recipes using the least amount of water.
DO YOU KNOW THE IMPACT OF YOUR FOOD CHOICES?
Exploring FoodPrint’s Meatrix helps consumers learn about the true costs of meat production, while the Water Footprint Calculator is a great tool for starting a conversation on consumption habits with consumers of every age. Here are a few foodprints calculators to help you calculate YOUR FoodPrint.
BBC Climate Change Food Calculator shows how your food intake compares to emissions of driving, heating a home and consuming water.
Eat Lower Carbon compares the carbon FoodPrint of different meals, and tests your knowledge on common foods.
Food Carbon Emissions Calculator provides a comprehensive approach to calculating your FoodPrint. It accounts for transport, waste, and quantity purchased.
How Does Your Diet Contribute to Climate Change? The New York Times quiz allows you to choose common meals and beverages to see how your carbon FoodPrint compares to others.
The Meat Calculator shows you how much water and carbon dioxide you save if reducing your meat consumption. It also tells you the approximate number of animals that could live from your reduction.