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Food

Sustainable Food Systems: Our Food Behaviors Impact The Environment, But We Can Fix It

October 3, 2023

The earth bears the brunt of what we eat. Almost a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions have something to do with food consumption.

Across the world, forests are being wiped out, and entire species of animals and plants are being eradicated to make room for our food choices. According to a 2017 study published in Science Direct, agriculture is one of the most significant greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions sources. The dairy and beef industry causes another major portion of the emissions.

Quirin Schiermeier writes in the Nature Food journal that since the current global food system causes a third of man-made greenhouse emissions, any action — on an individual or government level — will continue to fall short unless action is taken to change it. As the world population continues to boom, a rising demand for food also causes higher levels of GHC emissions.

The study claims a global shift in diets — including reducing excessive intake of red meat and improving shares of plant-based protein — will not only reduce emissions but avoid health risks such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.

One of the most critical steps to be taken is creating a sustainable food system for the environment in the long run. Simple changes in food behaviors, such as having more balanced meals, reducing food wastage, and recycling and composting kitchen waste, can greatly reduce GHG emissions.

Ultimately, such small changes in food habits reduce your carbon footprint and go a long way in fighting climate change.

Adopting Sustainable Food Behaviors

Thankfully, adopting sustainable food habits does not mean stopping eating food we like or cost you an arm and a leg. Small, systematic changes in individual food behaviors are enough to be more environmentally and health conscious.

Here are a few tips to help you start adopting food habits that are both good for you and the environment:

1 – Eat Diverse

Most of what the world eats now, at least 75%, comes from five animal and 12 plant species, causing multiple problems. Not only does it limit variety in agricultural practices, which can cause soil damage and lead to deforestation, but it also can cause global food shortages in the long run. The answer, thus, is to diversify your palate.

Eat more kinds of plants. Try different meats. Add a variety of fruits to your plate. Not only will it make for a fun experience for your tastebuds, but it will also ensure that you get a large variety of nutrients in your body. And it is great for the environment in the long run.

Here are 50 different foods that can help reduce environmental impact and help us make more sustainable food choices, according to the World Wide Fund (WWF).

2 – Add Plants to Your Plate

A balanced diet is critical to healthy food choices for you and the environment. The livestock industry makes up a considerable portion of man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Between 1992 and 2016, meat consumption worldwide grew by a whopping 500%. This growth significantly increases the space, water, and feed needed to keep the industry going, putting enormous pressure on an already struggling environment.

The simple solution here is to add as many fruits, vegetables, and leafy greens to your diet as possible. Doing this will improve your carbon footprint and give your body the essential vitamins and minerals to thrive.

3 – Reduce Food Waste

Adopting habits such as meal planning and storing produce to increase its longevity can come in handy here.

You will always create a level of waste, but you can significantly reduce the amount by planning what you buy and buying only what you need. Such habits are not just environment- but also wallet-friendly since the less you buy and waste, the less the need for emergency grocery runs.

4 – Grow as Much of Your Produce as Possible

This may be easier said than done, but if food influencers have taught us anything, it’s only a struggle initially. Again, growing your food will reduce grocery expenses and be a healthier choice for you and your family in the long run. If you compost the food waste you create, you can also create your own healthy and environment-friendly fertilizer.

5 – Eat Local

Eating local and what’s in season is another healthy choice. Buying from your local greengrocer would help support the economy of the community and support sustainable agricultural practices. Eating exotic sometimes is okay, of course. But entirely basing your diet around exotic foods can cause significant damage to the environment as pressure the local flora is wiped out to support unnatural species that need a lot of chemicals to thrive in foreign soil.


Ananyaa | Wealth of Geeks

This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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