Today you face the worst possible future for earths health.
"But it's out of my control" you might say.
You might even think that coal mining, deforestation and carbon emissions from transport are to blame... and yes, you are correct, these are big contributors to climate change, however they are not the only contributors.
YOUR FOOD CHOICES MATTER
You as an individual can actually make a big difference in helping to sustain the earth. Here's six ways to make better food choices for the earths health.
1. REDUCE YOUR MEAT AND DAIRY INTAKE
It costs a significant amount of resources (water, calories, fuel, pesticides, etc.) to produce meat (particularly red meat) and dairy foods. In comparison, it costs a lot less resources and has a much smaller carbon footprint to produce plant-based proteins like legumes (peas, beans and lentils).
2. CHOOSE LOCAL AND IN-SEASON FOODS
When you buy locally grown food you will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the transportation costs of food. Transportation costs of food is known as "food miles" and some foods have much greater miles on them than others. If you buy a locally grown apple it may have travelled less than 5 miles to get from its tree to your mouth. However, some apples travel all the way from Europe to Australia, resulting in a significant amount of fuel and therefore carbon emissions to get to your home. This further applies to buying in-season fruits and vegetables, because buying out-of-seasons means they have travelled from a lot further away.
3. CHOOSE ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY FOODS
When you can, aim to buy foods from suppliers that use less pesticides and less fertilisers in their production practices. As you are aware, pesticides and fertilisers have negative impacts on the environment. Organic fruits and vegetables are your best choices.
4. GROW YOUR OWN
By growing your own fruits and vegetables you will eliminate food miles, eliminate the need for plastic wrapping and eliminate the potential need for refrigeration. All in turn reducing unnecessary impacts on the earth.
5. PREVENT FOOD WASTE
Australians on average waste 20% of the food they purchase. This accounts to each household wasting over $1000 of food each year. This food is wasted because people often cook too much food, don't know what to do with leftovers, don't check the cupboard or fridge before going food shopping, buy takeaways instead of using the food they have at home and overall don't plan meals and snacks well.
Food waste results in significant amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas that is produced from rotting food. Methane is 25 times more potent than car exhaust fumes.
Food waste also means you are wasting water, fuel and resources used to get the food from the farm to your plate. To reduce your food waste, make a shopping list, plan your meals and snacks and get creative with your leftovers. Only buy what you need.
6. REDUCE PACKAGING, ESPECIALLY SINGLE-USE PLASTICS
Start by always taking your own shopping bags (green bags) or box when food shopping.
Next, aim to choose foods that don't come in packaging, such as fresh fruits and vegetables. Also make sure not to put each single fruit or vegetable in plastic bags, just let them be free. Also, don't choose pre-packaged leafy greens, tomatoes, apples etc. This is just unnecessary wrapping for convenience, plus they are more expensive when pre-packaged.
If you have access to a bulk food store, purchase your dry goods (e.g. rice, flour, pasta, nuts, seeds etc.) from here. They often supply brown paper bags which you can then transfer your dry goods into glass jars at home. If you don't have access to a bulk food store, aim to purchase dry goods that come in recyclable packaging. It also helps to buy dry goods/ non-perishables in larger amounts than smaller (e.g. 2kg bag of rice verse 500g bag).
Jars, cans and cardboard are all better options than plastic packaging, so try to purchase products (if you have to) that come packaged in these options.
Wash jars out, instead of discarding, and then use these as containers for future foods/ left-over meals.
Further to this, avoid plastic glad wrap and instead use bees wax wraps, jars or aluminium foil.
Another no-brainer is to always use your own coffee cup (e.g. keep cup) when getting a take-away coffee. At the minimum, avoid take-away coffee lids.