Agricultural activities are responsible for 11% to 15% of greenhouse gas emissions. It is becoming increasingly evident that the way food is produced can either exacerbate or combat the effects of climate change. How do your consumer choices affect the health of our planet?
Despite our constant, daily dependency on the Earth’s resources, we all too often go through our lives entirely disconnected from the environment. Unfortunately, we live in a time and society where this is understandable. The meat we eat is chopped, our food is packaged, our water is bottled, most of us have no clue where our fuel comes from, and we’ll probably never know where our used batteries end up.
Admittedly, we all lead hectic lives and perhaps the last thing on our mind is researching the environmental ethics behind the fifteen different egg brands on the produce shelves (although you can easily refer to our GreenScores for this). Despite our busy schedules, taking a few minutes to be mindful of where our food comes from, who produced it, and under what conditions, can go a long way in shrinking our carbon footprint. It may sound far fetched to say that the carton of eggs you buy on your weekly grocery run makes any significant difference. However, throughout your lifetime, every single purchase you make adds up as a vote for or against our planet.
Odds are you, like most people and households around the world, rely on certain essential foods that will always be bought and consumed on a weekly basis. Whatever these products may be (eggs, meat, rice, milk, coffee, corn, fish) you can do your part by trying to buy them locally, from farms that use organic, low impact practices to ensure the sustainable use of the land. If you’re buying them at any nearby grocery store, you can do your part and take some time to research where your staple foods come from and which brands best embody ecological farming principles.
Here are a few key things to keep in mind about the benefits that local shopping can bring to you and your community:
Now here’s two charts that will help you visualize your food choices contribution to global greenhouse gas emissions:
Your role in the environment’s well-being can improve through small but powerful steps. Take the first step and research local stores, farms, and restaurants around you that can provide sustainable food choices. For easy access to sustainable food vendors, restaurants, and farmer markets around you, you can search the Eat Well Guide which covers all 50 states. Perhaps next time you visit your local farmers market, you can have a conversation with the vendors and get to know the people and processes behind the food on your plate. Understanding where your food comes from and making informed decisions cannot only help the planet and support local economies, it can also maximize the freshness and nutritional value of what you eat.
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GC Content Writer: Sofia Regalado
Below is a more comprehensive, 15 minute documentary produced by the Fair World Project on how industrial agriculture influences climate change and how small scale farming can help mitigate the negative environmental impacts caused by our food system.