When trying to aid in the fight against climate change, it is easy to find yourself feeling powerless. Big corporations are responsible for much of our current situation, and are not being held accountable for their actions. However, it is important to not give into this trap of inaction, because individual actions can have an impact.
As seen in the growth of the vegan market and an increase in corporate sustainability initiatives in recent years, individual preferences can drastically change the market and can help to drive it in a more climate friendly direction. Today we are diving into some carbon reducing diet swaps, which can help to reduce your own individual carbon footprint while helping to drive the market in a more sustainable direction.
- SWAP BEEF WITH PLANT PROTEIN
According to data from a study published in Science, beef has one of the highest carbon footprints of any food. Beef is responsible for 60 kilos of greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of food produced. Swapping beef for poultry can help to reduce your carbon footprint as poultry produces only 6 kilos of greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of food. Even better? Swap beef for a whole food plant protein that has been minimally processed, as processing often requires more greenhouse gas emissions.
- SWAP EGGS WITH CHICKPEA FLOUR
- Eggs produce about 4-5 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of food. To reduce your carbon footprint, consider opting for a plant based “egg” made with chickpea flour. Beans, on the other hand, produce about 2 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of food. Swapping eggs for a bean based alternative can help to cut the carbon footprint of your “egg” consumption in half!
- SWAP CHEESE FOR VEGAN ALTERNATIVE
- Cheese produces about 21 kilograms of carbon dioxide per kilogram. Plant based cheese alternatives however are made with ingredients that have lower carbon footprints associated with their raw material production. And, although some argue that vegan cheese may have a larger carbon footprint because of its processing, most real cheeses' carbon footprint comes from farming. By eliminating much of the carbon emitted in farming, vegan cheese is by far superior.
- SWAP TUNA SALAD FOR CHICKPEA SALAD
- Tuna is a higher carbon protein option, but is a popular protein in sandwiches in the form of tuna salad. Tuna can pack in around 6 kilos of carbon emissions per kilo of food, so swapping for a bean based chickpea salad can save 4 kilos of carbon emissions! Chickpea salad is a high protein sandwich filling option that can provide the same delicious flavor for a much smaller carbon footprint.
- SWAP GAS STOVE TO ELECTRIC STOVE
- Gas comes from fossil fuels derived through processes like fracking, an energy intensive, pollution producing extractive operation that fills our air with toxins and carbon emissions that are driving our climate crisis. So, ensuring that we are ready to switch to renewable energy, it is important that we have outfitted our living spaces with eclectic appliances. By swapping your gas stove for an electric stove, you can ensure you are reducing your consumption of fossil fuels, and are helping to fuel the electrification of our energy grid.
- Organic produce is grown in certain conditions without the use of synthetic toxic pesticides that pollute our waterways, air, and food. Non organic produce may be grown using possibly carcinogenic chemicals like glyphosate that are aiding in massive biodiversity loss.
- Shopping local can help reduce the carbon footprint of foods associated with food transport. Food that comes from another continent or country must travel via airplane, car, or boat to get to you. By reducing the transportation associated with the food you are consuming, you can help to support local food production and reduce your own carbon footprint.