by Seth Berger
As the effects of carbon emissions are increasingly taking a toll on our planet, making conscious environmental decisions have become imperative to counteract this global problem. One way in which people can contribute to helping the environment is through making eco-friendly choices in the foods that they eat.
A 2018 study published in the journal Science reveals that reducing meat products can have a positive effect on the climate. The study states that greenhouse gas emissions can be lowered by up to 49% and a water-scarcity weighted water footprint by up to 19%. Although seemingly a better alternative, plant-based meats aren’t entirely off the hook either. While it is true that a soy burger will trump a beef burger any day of the week, soy production still leads to high levels of environmental damage.
For those that want to take it a step further, switching to a plant-based diet may be a good idea. Not only are they environmentally sustainable, but they are also shown to be positively correlated with reduced risk towards multiple types of cancer as well as heart malfunctions. Plant-based foods have become easier to incorporate into our meals over the years due to advancements in the quality of food produced and the possible health benefits from going vegan or vegetarian.
A common misconception with eco-friendly foods is that buying things locally will have a sizable impact on improving the environment. Studies show that farms and surrounding land account for nearly 80% of carbon emissions in comparison to transportation, which only accounts for a measly 5%. While it may be a good economical decision, it is not nearly as important as it is made out to be.
Another important point to take into consideration is the effect that certain seafood has on the environment. For example, shrimp farming has a large effect on the deforestation of mangroves, which are widely known to be extremely carbon-rich. Simply choosing a more climate-friendly seafood such as sardines could create a positive effect on the world.
Although seemingly trivial, individual actions can build up to create a lasting impact on our climate. We, as consumers, have the ability to drive supply and demand. As the effects of climate change continue to show itself, it is vital that we collectively make an effort to consider eco-friendly alternatives.