Did you know you could reduce your carbon footprint by eating better? A foodprint is a food’s carbon footprint, or how much carbon is released into the atmosphere in the process of raising and preparing the food. If you eat food with a smaller carbon foodprint, then your overall carbon footprint gets smaller.
There are two major factors that affect the foodprint of what you eat, the resources it takes to produce the food and how far it has to be transported. According to Green Eatz, a group that explores and promotes healthy ways of eating, explains that lamb, beef, cheese, pork, and turkey have the largest carbon foodprints. This makes sense when you think about it – those animals had to eat plants and drink water to grow large enough to be consumed by humans. Land, water, and fuel are used to grow plants like corn, that will then be eaten by livestock. It would be much more efficient if we ate the plants we are feeding the animals.
The second major carbon foodprint factor, transportation, can be complex, because different transportation modes cause different levels of environmental harm. The Food Transportation Executive Summary by the state of Oregon explains that big ships among other large vehicles like planes and trucks have an extremely smaller carbon footprint than gasoline cars when transporting food because they are way more fuel efficient and they can hold more food, requiring less trips. In his book An Edible History of Humanity, Tom Standage explains, generally, local food, is best, because minimal transportation is needed, however in some cases, like when food is grown in a greenhouse because of cold weather, much more carbon can be released into the atmosphere than if the food traveled from the other side of the world.
The best way to be smart with your food choices is to research what you eat – use this website to help (https://www.greeneatz.com/foods-carbon-footprint.html). Figure out where your food comes from and learn about the different meat alternatives – I’ll tell you more about this in an upcoming post. In the meantime, try to eat less meat when you can. I’m not asking you to be a vegan starting tomorrow. I’m certainly not vegan, but I am trying to gradually change how I eat. Join me – change the little things. I guarantee you it won’t be as hard as you think.