Earth Day 22nd April 2021

Climate change can be overwhelming, and while significant changes will require action on a global scale, there are small choices we can all make in our daily lives to lessen our personal impact on the environment.

Lowering carbon footprint at a personal level can range from changing our travel habits to tweaking our lifestyle choices such as the food and clothing we decide to buy. A great place to start is with your diet. Research suggests that swapping from a western diet to more sustainable eating patterns could cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70%! (1)

Less Waste
Food that is thrown away is left to decompose in landfills, and can release methane, a potent greenhouse gas (5). Over the past 100 years, methane has been shown to have 34 times the impact on global warming as carbon dioxide! (4). Reducing your food waste is one of the easiest ways to help reduce carbon footprint. Try to plan meals, find some zero waste recipes, use the freezer, save leftovers and only buy or order what you need.

Eat Less Meat
Research has indicated that reducing meat consumption may be one of the most effective ways to lower personal carbon footprint. The emissions from livestock production, especially beef and dairy, actually make up for 14.5% of the worldwide human-induced greenhouse gas emissions (2). Red meat is reported to have up to 100 times more of an environmental impact than plant based foods (6). Trying to limit animal food consumption, especially meat and dairy, to one meal a day, and joining in on “Meat free Mondays” is a great place to start.

Choose Plant Based 
Opting for plant based options is a great way to cut down on your greenhouse gas emissions and boost your nutrient intake. Start by choosing foods lower down the food chain. Try filling your plate with veggies, fruits, grains and beans.

Fibre Rich Foods
Consuming more fibre rich foods may improve your carbon footprint in addition to your health. A study on 16,800 American individuals displayed that diets lowest in greenhouse gas emissions were also high in fibre rich plant foods (2). In addition to helping the planet, adding fibre to your diet can also support your gut and digestive health. (3) Fibre is found in wholegrains, fruits and veg, nuts and seeds and pulses.

Shop Local
Supporting local green grocers and farmers markets is the perfect way to reduce your carbon footprint. Shopping locally will lower your dependence on food travelling long distances and could also help to increase your intake of fresh fruit and veggies. Eating local, seasonal food also involves less energy to grow as it sprouts more naturally and organically. Find your local greengrocer or farmers market this weekend!

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5094759/ (1)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6408204/ (2)

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5390821/ (3)

https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg1/ (4)

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28089203/ (5)

https://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aa6cd5/meta (6)