Inspired by the latest pledges from President Joe Biden and other nations on Earth Day’s climate summit? Although it is integral, it is not just large nations that will make a difference when it comes to cutting carbon emissions, individuals can make in impact too by making small changes to their daily habits inside the home.
This can be anything from changing your energy supplier to an eco-friendly one, being more energy efficient, taking charge when it comes to recycling and cutting your own carbon footprint by using less energy and opting for eco-friendly options in all areas of your life from transport to lightbulbs. The fight against the climate crisis can also be fought at the dinner table and by changing a few of your shopping and eating habits.
Real Simple wrote that ‘Animal-related agriculture, for example, uses more than two-thirds of our farmland and is the largest source of water pollution, according to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has estimated that 80 percent of the antibiotics distributed in this country go to animals.
The U.N., the medical journal Lancet, and a host of other trusted authorities have called livestock production one of the most significant contributors to the climate crisis—and say it creates more emissions than all of the world’s transportation combined.’
Change what you eat
One major way of becoming eco-friendlier is to cut down on your meat intake, as the statistics above indicated animal farming contributes not only to carbon emissions, but its intense need for farmland adds to deforestation and the destruction of eco-systems. Mark Bittman writing in Real Simple adds: ‘cutting back on meat is a more powerful tool in curbing global warming than switching from an SUV to a Prius.’ Adding later that ‘To eat like a climatarian, that last category [plants—fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts] should actually make up the majority of our daily calories. The USDA says 50 percent; I’d recommend something closer to 90.’
Altering your diet can not only be good for the environment but also help your health levels reducing meat may help you to avoid chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, heart diseases, stroke, obesity and so forth. You may even find you general wellbeing levels increase as you feel healthier with a more plant-based diet.
Changing your diet to be more climate-friendly does not necessarily mean going vegan – vegetarian, vegan, flexitarian, reducetarian and even part-time veggies and vegans all make a difference to the environment by reducing the amount of animal products they consume.
Change how you shop for food
You can also look to shop locally, opting for in-season foods (for your local area) rather than importing fruits and vegetables from other countries. This will reduce on carbon emissions for transports and often be a lot healthier for you as it cuts down on the preservatives needed to keep those foods fresh. To do this, try shopping at local farmers markets or simply check the label on the foods in your supermarket, opting for locally sourced goods. You may also like to opt for organic and climate-friendly products.
Some products will ensure food sources like cocoa and coffee are sourced from sustainable sources and will have a stamp indicating this – be sure to research these first though! You can also opt for items which use recycled packaging or less plastic to help the environment too. There are even zero-waste shops available which will allow you to refill containers with goods such as pastas, rice, soap and so forth.
Change how you cook
Changing how you cook will also have a significant impact on your expenses. Begin with looking to waste less food, vowing to pull together delicious meals with leftovers or simply trying to get better with portion control. Instead of buying quick meals, you could batch cook, freezing portions of your favorite meal to zap in the microwave later. Think about prepping meals for work rather than ordering convenient foods that come with a ton of rubbish.
Try to use all of the foods in your cupboard – you can make a great stock out of vegetable peelings or bones. Store your food in re-cyclable jars and containers, trying to re-use whatever you can rather than throwing it to landfill. Begin a compost heap, as unwanted food in landfill contribute to methane levels… even cook more efficiently – covering boiling pots to save energy… the list goes on and on.
On diet, Bittman wrote in Real Simple that: ‘The beauty here is that there are no clear-cut rules; this system is all about flexibility. You might want to be a part-time-vegan. You might want to continue to eat meat, but in smaller portions. You might not like whole grains or legumes or fruit.
You might have to have ice cream every day. There are other issues that will influence your choices: making land available to farmers who want to raise food well; shortening supply chains so more of our food is grown closer to home; treating workers (and animals) more fairly; the relative sustainability of different foods; and improving access to real food for everyone.’