Food production across the world does a lot of damage to the environment. And with a growing world population and increasing global temperatures, this is a problem in need of a speedy solution. Here are a few ways your food choices impact the environment and what you can do about them:
Choosing Local and Organic Produce
How many miles does the food you buy travel before it reaches your plate? It’s taken from the farm, to a depot, to a warehouse, to a supermarket and eventually makes its way to your home. When food is transported by a non-electric vehicle, these “food miles” are all contributing to harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
Local produce – for instance the produce you find at farmer’s markets – has had to travel a much shorter distance in comparison to the food you find in big supermarkets.
Choosing Not to Eat Meat and Dairy
It’s now a well-known fact that cattle farming produces high levels of CO2. In fact, there are studies to suggest that cow “emissions” are more harmful to the environment than those from cars. When we consider that 30% of the world’s entire land surface is dedicated to livestock, it’s not hard to see how such a problem may have arisen.
Eating less meat and less dairy produce can therefore help to reduce CO2 emissions and the greenhouse gases that are causing global warming.
Choosing Sustainable Fish
Fish stocks in seas around the world are running low. Sustainable fishing methods have to be employed in order to maintain the food supply and keep our oceans healthy. You can now use apps and online tools to find out whether the fish you’re thinking of buying is as sustainable as it should be.
Reducing Food Waste
The amount of food wasted every day is gobsmacking. In the US up to 40% of food produced goes to waste. Not only does this cost households money, it also damages the environment. The environmental damage involved in the food production process is unnecessarily severe because of this waste.
We should buy more responsibly, plan meals, use leftovers and help the environment in the process.
The fertilisers and chemicals used on non-organic products often find their ways into water sources, rivers, seas and oceans. This can affect natural habitats and the supply of water safe for human consumption.
Choosing organic means none of these fertilisers and chemicals are used and we are able to maintain healthier waterways.
Choosing Products Containing Sustainable Palm Oil
Palm oil is present in a wide variety of household products – baked goods, confectionary, peanut butter and even toothpaste. This oil comes from the oil palm tree, grown in tropical climates across the world and often farmed unsustainably. Rainforests and wildlife habitats are being destroyed to make way for palm plantations. This level of deforestation is driving some species, such as the orangutan, to the brink of extinction. Seeking out products that use sustainable palm oil is a step in the right direction.
Choosing to Grow Your Own
Growing your own is the ultimate way to cut out the food production process and some of the environmental problems associated with it. When you grow your own, your food travels just a few metres to reach your table and it will all be organic. Whilst complete self-sufficiency is a step beyond most people and most gardens, if lots of people make a few small changes we will start to make a difference.
We need to make big changes to the way we farm and shop if we’re to prevent further damage to the environment. As consumers, we need to shop more responsibly, work to understand the risks food production poses to the environment and make more informed food choices.
About the author:
Michelle Arios is a an eco-enthusiast, deeply interested in keeping our planet green and healthy. Currently writing on behalf of Bizdb.co.nz, Michelle might often be found online, discussing on a variety of topics, including business, careers, green-living and lifestyle. You can find her at @MichelleArios.