Green Living Ideas: Eating – Reduce your greenhouse gas footprint and eat healthier
What It Takes: Easy/Medium – Eating habit change, maybe additional food cost
Lifecycle assessments of total greenhouse gas emissions reveal that all protein is not created equal.1 As you can see from the chart below the number of kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per kg (kg CO2e/kg) of food varies significantly.
Make small changes to exchange foods with high emissions to ones with lower emissions. Eating 4 oz. of beef is the equivalent emissions of driving your car over 6 miles.1 Just switching from beef to pork makes a difference. Incorporating more plant based protein makes an even bigger difference.
Minimize food waste. Just buy what you need. It is estimated that 20% of produced meat is discarded.1
Eat appropriate portion sizes. Meat is important in many diets to get needed vitamins, minerals and protein. However, eating a lot of red and processed meats has been associated with increased risks of heart disease, certain cancers and in some studies, diabetes. 1 If you eat the equivalent of one less burger per week for a year, it is like taking your car off the road for 320 miles.1
Eat more grass-fed, no antibiotic/hormone, and/or pasture raised meat, eggs and dairy. Eat wild fish. This reduces grain-fed emissions, antibiotic resistance and exposure to hormones and toxins. 1 Try reducing portion sizes of more expensive proteins and adding more plant based protein to offset most of the increase in cost while maintaining proper nutrition.
What You Get: Eating less, greener and healthier meat is good for your health
World Benefit: Reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves animal circumstances.
References: 1) http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/a-meat-eaters-guide-to-climate-change-health-what-you-eat-matters/ This link includes extensive references to data sources including emissions and health studies. EWG.org Environmental working group is a powerhouse of well researched information on chemicals in/on everyday products, food, etc. It allows consumers to make informed choices for personal health and the environment.