Surely you must have heard of a global warming, right? Does the carbon footprint, greenhouse effect, rising global temperature ring a bell? Well, it should! At least if you are planning to live on Earth in the future.

To understand what is global warming and why we have to care about temperature rising just 1.5 degrees Celcius, I recommend you to read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Your dietary choices can 'make or break' our planet. What is the carbon footprint of your food?

This article will focus on a small part of this huge environmental problem, but a part that is influenced by all of us on a daily basis. It’s about the food -the foodprint (yes, the clever, conscious misspell of the word footprint). The footprint (with a ‘t’) is the word used to explain how human activity (pollution, damage to the ecosystem and abusing natural resources) impacts the environment. The foodprint (with a ‘d) then, it’s the same in relation to food.

The food we produce, the food we eat, impacts the environment. Growing plants, farming, processing, transporting, storing and cooking food, all of that cannot be done without CO2 emission.

Which foods have the worst impact on the environment and the highest carbon footprint?

Meat

Let’s start with meat – brace yourselves the meat lovers. Lamb and beef have been shown as having the worst impact on the environment. Why is that exactly? Apparently is all to do with the farts. Sheep fart a lot and cows do too. It all goes up to the air, polluting it. But not only that. Those animals need lots of water and food, and plenty of space, additionally putting a strain on the ecosystem.

Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad if such animals were grown on much slower, local scale. However, with huge global demand for meat, there are cows and sheep everywhere! People created massive production, to gain financial profits of course. On the other hand, everyone wants quick access to meat, wherever in the world they live. High demand, together with high production create disbalance in the ecosystems.

Which foods have the worst impact on the environment and the highest carbon footprint?

Just imagine times, before homo sapiens claimed the globe for themselves. There were cows, sheep, and other animals. They lived happily near each other, regulating their numbers via natural sources They either died of old age or died due to being eaten up by someone bigger than them. Everything in perfect balance.

It seems that smaller farm animals like pigs or chickens have slightly lower carbon footprint. Chicken is especially good choice, if you want to limit your impact on the environment, but at the same time you just have to have chicken wings! It’s your (almost) guilt free meat.

Cheese

Just like in case of meat, there is a similar issue with cheese production. As you know cheese is made from milk, which is given by cows or sheep. To keep animals healthy and alive, so that they are able to get pregnant and give milk, takes a lot of resources. Apparently, half of the carbon emission comes just from the transport of cheese.

Eggs

Which foods have the worst impact on the environment and the highest carbon footprint?

The absolute best source of animal-based protein, to minimize carbon footprint are eggs. The study from 2014 ‘The greenhouse emissions footprint of free-range eggs’ has confirmed that eggs have much lover carbon foodprints than meats. Fancy an guilt free scrammbled eggs? Go ahead!

Should we all become vegetarians?

Livestock farming produces up to 50% of human made greenhouse gasses.

If you ever considered to go vegetarian, think about this. A vegetarian diet produces about half of the carbon footprint of the meat-eaters. It seems we should all become vegetarians immediately. Not only this diet has many health benefits and is rich in fiber but also is better for the environment.

Which foods have the worst impact on the environment and the highest carbon footprint?

If you want to check the carbon footprint of your favorite food, check out the Climate change food calculator from the BBC. You will get the idea of your contribution to global warming. For example, if you decided on eating one banana per day, this action alone will give 25kg greenhouse gas emissions over the year. That equals to driving for over 100 kilometers or heating your house for 3 days. According to BBC calculator, your consumtion of banana would take up 3,334 litres of water, equal to 51 showers lasting eight minutes.

Once you are aware of your carbon footprint comming out of your food, you might decide to adjust your eating habits to help the environment just a tiny bit.

Let us know what you think about the carbon footprint of your food. Are you considering this, when you do your grocery shopping?


Your dietary choices can 'make or break' our planet. What is the carbon footprint of your food? 1
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