1. Eat less animal products

Producing animal protein requires up to 17 times as much land as vegetable protein, up to 26 times as much water, and up to 7 times as much phosphate, a dwindling natural resource1. Growing 1 kilogram of beef requires around 10 kilograms of plant food2 and produces emissions nearly 70 times those of 1 kilogram of oats3.

Animals are an inefficient way to feed ourselves.  They need a lot of land. This means instead of planting more CO2-hungry trees we’re cutting them down.

2. Avoid out-of-season ingredients

One study shows that an Austrian winter tomato has 12 times the emissions of a summer one4.  Try to eat canned tomatoes during winter.

3. Avoid flown foods

Food miles are complex. However, regardless of how you crunch the data, flying food is an earth-killer. Air transport emissions are around 100 times those from shipping5. The usual suspects are beans from Africa, asparagus from South America and tropical fruits.

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1Quantification of the environmental impact of different dietary protein choices – The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
2Livestock’s long shadow – Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
3Dietary greenhouse gas emissions of meat-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians and vegans in the UK
4Contrasted greenhouse gas emissions from local versus long-range tomato production
5The Validity of Food Miles as an Indicator of Sustainable Development
6FAO Stat – Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
7Cattle ranching and deforestation – Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations
8Livestock and climate change – World Watch Institute