Good, Better, Best: Cutting Carbon From Your Diet

Good, Better, Best: Cutting Carbon From Your Diet

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. There is no additional cost to you whatsoever.

This is the ultimate article in a five-part sequence that helps you discover methods to scale back your carbon footprint by exploring the principle carbon culprits within the common American’s life-style.

Whatever deficiencies Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs could have, few folks would argue with the concept that meals is a primary necessity that outweighs most others. It’s solely pure for folks to change into defensive and really feel threatened when one thing as basic as their meals is criticized. But the acronym SAD to explain the standard American diet is greater than only a handy pun. What might be sadder than relying on a food regimen that threatens your continued existence?

The approach most individuals eat in the present day is a significant contributor to local weather change in addition to a poor foundation for wholesome residing. And it threatens our skill to proceed producing sufficient meals sooner or later. If we don’t rethink how we eat now, the query turns into whether or not we are going to eat in a couple of a long time.

Carbon Footprints

Because carbon dioxide emissions are a number one reason behind local weather change, the quantity of carbon dioxide launched by a specific exercise can function a helpful shorthand for its environmental influence. This measurement is named a carbon footprint.

Food Footprints

Americans are extra accustomed to obsessing over the vitamin of their meals than its environmental influence, but it surely seems that our foodprint is a significant portion of our carbon footprint, comprising 14% of our family carbon emissions.

You can considerably reduce your foodprint. Be conscious of what you eat and the way your meals is grown, produced, and transported. If you’re not satisfied that what you eat can have world repercussions, begin by calculating the footprint of your individual food regimen and studying about how meals manufacturing impacts local weather change.


Every step of a meals merchandise’s life produces carbon. But a great place to begin is on the finish of the consumption course of, with meals waste. Americans waste roughly 40% of the meals we produce annually.

Over one-third of obtainable meals within the U.S. goes uneaten yearly. Americans waste $218 billion price of meals yearly. That’s about 400 kilos per individual at a value of roughly $660 every. Of course, the aim is to not eat extra. The aim is to waste much less in order that we don’t have to provide as a lot.

Simple ways to scale back your individual food waste embody meal planning, buying from a listing, consuming leftovers earlier than making ready new meals, and storing meals correctly to keep it fresh lengthy sufficient to eat it.


Although it usually comes with a value premium, it’s higher to purchase sustainably produced meals.

Whenever doable, attempt to purchase humanely raised meats. Humane farming practices are much less carbon-intensive than industrial strategies. Many shoppers are suspicious of the worth of organic labels, however the pesticides and chemical fertilizers utilized in typical farming do produce further carbon emissions and degrade soils, that are an vital carbon sink. Although meals transport is a surprisingly small contributor to meals’s lifecycle emissions, meals that’s produced for local consumption reasonably than transport does produce much less carbon and is usually grown utilizing extra sustainable practices.

Shopping your values might be laborious. Take issues into your fingers and produce a few of your individual meals in a yard organic garden. Maximize your efforts by selecting to develop crops which can be most carbon-intensive when bought – commercially grown greens like asparagus have a surprisingly giant footprint.

Cutting down on probably the most climate-damaging foods by means of tweaks like Meatless Mondays or swapping substances to make a vegan version of a well-known dish take a bit effort, however they will have an effect on your carbon backside line. They are additionally an vital step in direction of doing all of your finest to chop carbon out of your food regimen.


It requires a significant dedication, however a vegan diet is one of the best ways for people to reduce the environmental influence of their meals.

Like any main life-style change, the change to a sustainable food regimen is most sustainable when taken in steps. Start with the modifications that appear most palatable to you – eliminating probably the most carbon-intensive meats first; consuming one vegetarian/vegan meal per day or in the future per week. Experiment with vegetarian proteins. Try substituting them for half of the meat in acquainted recipes. Build up a palette of latest meatless recipes earlier than giving up animal merchandise altogether.

Going vegan is difficult, however the advantages are vital. At least one study has discovered {that a} vegan food regimen generates one-fifth of the greenhouse gases of a meat-heavy food regimen, and can also be more healthy by most key measures.

Read the primary article on this five-part sequence: Good, Better, Best: Reducing Your Transportation Carbon Footprint

This article was initially printed on June 8, 2020.