How food contributes to climate breakdown
- When livestock digests their food they burp up methane gas. Manure and rice paddies are also big contributors to methane in the atmosphere.
- Farm vehicles and machinery run on fossil fuels which put carbon into the atmosphere.
- Most fertilizers used in farming release nitrous oxide.
- We waste ⅓ of all food. That means we’ve unnecessarily used vital energy to produce it, releasing greenhouse gases in the process - and when it’s dumped it rots becoming methane gas.
- Forests are regularly cleared around the world for use by farms and livestock resulting in lots of carbon being released.
What stops us from changing how we eat?
- Food choices with a lower carbon footprint are usually more expensive.
- We enjoy the taste and experience of consuming meat and dairy products so much that we can’t bring ourselves to quit them.
- The way we eat today is perceived as normal, with changing comes social pressure to return to 'normal' eating practices.
- Often it's hard to know exactly what you should and shouldn't eat if you want to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Acting on climate change represents a trade-off between short-term and long-term benefits, which is the hardest trade-off for people to make. Ignoring it in the short-term is easy as we don’t have to make any personal sacrifices.
What you can do now
The easiest thing to do is to consume less food with a high carbon footprint
The biggest impact can be had if you eat less animal products — in particular meat and dairy, however all purchased food items have a carbon footprint. If you’re really committed, go vegan. Try to only buy items with sustainable, or no packaging, and buy local so your food isn’t travelling around the world.
How much would this help?
If we all did this, demand for harmful food and drink products would go down causing the supply chain to shrink. Since we’d be eating food with a lower carbon footprint, demand for those products would rise, causing prices to drop due to increased supply and competition.
Need help changing?
STOP wasting food. If something does go to waste make sure it’s recycled
Be more conscious when you shop and try to only buy what you’re sure will be consumed. When you have food or packaging that must be dumped, recycle it. Make sure you’re aware of the correct recycling procedures where you live. Try googling 'recycling guide + your location'.
How much would this help?
Roughly 1/3 of food each year goes to waste. If we all became more efficient with our food, less would need to be produced and less would be left to rot - reducing greenhouse emissions.
Don't assume everyone knows they should change the way that they eat to prevent climate breakdown. We need everyone to become informed so they can also make a choice about how they eat.
Has ClimateChoice helped you make changes?
Then tweet your success story @climatechoice and we'll add it here!
Help change the system
Support the people, groups and parties who prioritise the planet
All global warming could be helped by changes to laws across the world which prioritise the planet. Find your local candidates who promise to prioritise the planet and support them.
Get involved on a grassroots level with activist groups and charities trying to raise awareness.
How can I do even more?
Become a vocal advocate of helping prevent climate breakdown. You could stand as a political candidate prioritising the planet, join an activist group or charity.
Why not start your own business or charity trying to fix a problem associated with climate change.
Too long; didn't read?
We’re killing the planet. 26% of dangerous greenhouse gas emissions enter our atmosphere because of the way we eat and drink. To reduce these we must:
- Eat less food with a high carbon footprint
- Stop wasting food and recycle
- Vote for those who prioritize the planet
- Spread the word so others make changes too