Are you pulling your hair out trying to figure out what the connection is with the foods we eat and global warming?
Turns out there is a price to pay for every action. That’s as true for driving a car as it is for growing food and delivering it to your dinner plate.
Here is a simple short cut to inform you from farm to fork, which products inflict the most climate-warming pollutions.
How does what I eat factor into climate change?
It looks like the farming process of plants, animals and the meat products including corn, lentils, milk, animals we eat and the materials used in the shipping and packaging sent out around the world is responsible for approximately ¼ of the warming of greenhouse gases. We humans are culprits.
So how do we know what has the most impact?
In order of impact:
- 17.7 beef
- 9.9 lamb
- 9.1 farmed shrimp
- 5.4 cheese
- 3.8 pork
- 3.0 farmed fish
- 2.9 poultry
- 2.1 eggs
- 1.6 milk
- 1.0 tofu
- .04 beans
- 0.1 nuts
Apparently, the worst offenders are beef and lamb, with plant-based foods having the least impact.
What can I do to minimize my impact?
Moving to a plant-based diet is ideal. Another option is lowering your intake on the meats with the highest footprint and try switching them out for ones with lower impacts like pork, chicken or eggs.
What’s the reasoning behind this?
- It takes 3 tons of grain to raise 1 pound of meat.
- It takes more land, energy and food to produce a pound of meat than plant.
- Why else do beef and lamb have such a large carbon footprint? They belch out gas created by the huge intestinal bacteria methane, a toxic greenhouse gas.
What about fish?
Wild fish, including anchovies, sardines, herring, tuna, pollock, cod and haddock generally have a lower impact than chicken and pork. Mollusks such as clams, oysters, and clams are a super low impact option. Wild shrimp and oyster are higher than chicken and pork due to the fuel consumed in the netting and harvesting process.
What about food waste?
According to the USDA American’s waste approximately 20% of their groceries. So, all the work and energy it takes to produce the food is building up emissions so this is a habit we can all change. Eat what you buy.