Do you want to contribute to solving the climate crisis? Then, take a look at what you eat. Because as much as a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions come from our food system. These are our best tips for a climate-friendly diet.
The climate impact of beef and lamb is very high. This has to do with the way these animals digest food. Cows and sheep eat tough grass, which is broken down in their stomachs by specialized bacteria. This digestion process causes the animals to produce methane. During the first twelve years post its release into the atmosphere, methane is more than 80 times more effective than CO₂ in warming the climate. In addition, many of the world’s forests are being cleared to grow fodder or graze animals. In the process, carbon stores contained in trees and the soil are released into the atmosphere. So by eating more plant-based foods (such as pulses, nuts, and lentils) and less or no meat, you make an enormous contribution to reducing climate change. A bonus: eating vegetarian not only reduces emissions of greenhouse gases but is also healthier and less likely to cause chronic illness.
Imagine a field full of potatoes, ready for harvest. Now throw a third of your imaginary potatoes into the bin. That is how much food is lost worldwide after it has been harvested. Waste occurs during transport, in warehouses, markets, in shops, at home, in schools and in restaurants. It means that 30% of the land, water, chemicals, and greenhouse gas emissions used to produce food are wasted. Preventing waste at home is easy. For example, check the amount of food you have at home before going to the supermarket. Cook to order and store your food in the right place (fridge, cellar, or freezer).
By buying seasonal products, you can further reduce your carbon footprint. So tomatoes and beans in the summer, kale, and carrots in the winter. By eating in season, no refrigerators are running to store food and no polluting cargo ships import fruit and vegetables from other continents.
We hope that these tips will help you enjoy cooking and eating even more than before. Remember, by eating climate-friendly foods, you are doing yourself and the planet a big favour.