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 sometimes means cutting down CO2-hungry trees.
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. Try to buy seasonal produce grown in Europe instead.
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