The food choices we make every day have a big effect on the environment.
Greenhouse gases trap heat and make the planet warmer. These greenhouses gases include nitrous oxide (N2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4), which all contribute to climate change and global warming.
Livestock – animals raised for meat, dairy, eggs – contribute to the emissions. The main culprit is the CH4 animals belch out. N2O from urine and dung from grazing livestock, use of nitrogen fertilisers, and emissions from manure management also play a part.
Changing what we eat is the biggest step we can take to improve our health and the planet’s. Here’s how to eat a climate-friendly diet.
1. SWAP ANIMAL PROTEIN for plant-based protein. Replace the meat with nuts, seeds and legumes (beans or lentils). Add more green veggies to your sandwich instead of meat. Start with small steps – even replacing one meat meal a week with plant-based protein will reduce your diet’s carbon footprint.
Replacing animal-based and highly processed foods with plant-based alternatives not only result in even fewer emissions, it is good for your health, and your wallet in the long run – preventing ill health can result in huge healthcare cost savings.
2. REDUCE FOOD WASTE. It’s estimated that a third of all the food produced in the world is thrown away before it even gets to the table, according to the UN. This waste then produces methane. Plan meals, use leftovers, check the fridge before you shop. Reducing food waste will also leave more money in your wallet.
3. EAT SEASONAL & LOCAL. It’s usually cheaper to buy produce in season. It also reduces the amount of greenhouse gases your food generates to get to you as it takes less resources to transport and store your food.
Next: Tweaking your diet can help save the planet, says UNEP
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