Weighing the environmental impact of food
Carbon emissions are seen many places, many ways. They are only partially documented in the energy bills we receive. Online tools help us calculate our CO2 impact at home, at work, and resulting from products we buy.
Our travel leaves carbon footprints. Our trash sends greenhouse gases (GHG) soaring to the stratosphere. Even food has a footprint!
Restaurants boast of their farm-to-table menus. Grocers and farmers markets offer local produce. Although the environmental impact of locally sourced food is less significant, it still has significant economic, social, and health benefits. The depth of a food’s carbon footprint is more about the type of food; less about where is it from. 80% of GHG emissions result from how farming is done and what is brought to market.
The Carbon Footprint Diet?
Reduce your food carbon footprint in just 90 days! The Carbon Footprint Diet may never have an infomercial or celebrity endorsement, but it is based on nine published strategies for sending less GHG into the atmosphere. Start cutting CO2 today! Here’s how:
The estimated average food waste per person, globally, is well over 400 pounds. When that waste is sent to landfills, it emits the powerful GHG, methane.
Wasting less food may be the easiest part of your Carbon Footprint Diet. As you plan what you buy, then buy what you need, you will waste less food and save more money.
Choose unwrapped produce
Plastic bags and wrap are petroproducts. When not safely adrift in the ocean or consumed by fish, they contribute to GHG emissions. Salad kits and microwave-ready potatoes are convenient but add weight to a carbon footprint.
Eat less meat
The Carbon Footprint Diet limits meat dishes to one meal per day. Livestock are powered by green energy but have their own form of internal combustion that contributes 14.5% of global GHG.
Invest in plant-based protein
Bean burgers and other faux-meat products may be pricey, but they deliver dividends in individual health. They also reduce an individual’s carbon footprint.
Moo-ve away from dairy
Science (or at least one small scientific study) has concluded that dairy products are the second largest contributor to individual GHG emissions. Cattle produce more than milk and meat. Those byproducts are well-known to agriculturists and emit methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and ammonia.
Experts say that fiber-rich foods quickly satisfy hunger. When that happens, foods with a heavier carbon footprint can be set aside for tomorrow’s leftovers. The food choices and decreased consumption both reduce a carbon footprint.
Create a microfarm
Plant a garden. Grow more and buy less.
Observe the seasons
Fresh, summertime oranges and middle-of-winter sweet corn will be well-travelled before they reach a North American grocery. Their motor journeys leave carbon footprints.
Like any bona fide lifestyle plan, the Carbon Footprint Diet recommends eating no more calories than your body needs. This is based on science. One study of 16,800 overeaters found that 2.5 times more calories were consumed by people who have heavy carbon footprints.
 OurWorldInData.org — Our World In Data is a project of the Global Change Data Lab, a registered charity in England and Wales.
 ShrinkThatFootprint.com — Shrink That Footprint is an independent research group.
 Healthline.com — Healthline Media has not endorsed, reviewed, or promoted the fictitious Carbon Footprint Diet.