Each people has an impact on the environment, and it’s often in ways we don’t consider. Take food, as an example. It accounts for 10%–30% of a household’s carbon footprint, which is that the total amount of gas emissions we cause directly and indirectly. These gases, including methane and greenhouse gas, trap heat within the atmosphere and are a big reason for global climate change.
Food also takes water to provide, and once we waste food, we’re wasting all the water, energy, and other resources that went into it. There’s packaging to contemplate as well—oh, most packaging.
“The most immediate action anyone can take [on climate change] today is to seem at what they’re putting on their plate and what they’re fitting their body,” Jillian Semaan, food and environment director at the planet Day Network, told The Verge in February 2020.
It is empowering to comprehend we will help mitigate huge environmental problems through our food choices. But knowing what to eat and what to chop back on isn’t easy when there are such a big amount of steps that occur between the farm and our table. Measuring climate impact will be difficult, and the U.S.’s dietary guidelines don’t include environmental considerations.
Stacker used news reports, studies, and blog posts from environmental organizations to compile an inventory of how food production and consumption impact the environment. Many sources reference data from a meta-analysis of world food systems published in Science by Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek in 2018.
A warning: a number of your favorite foods are also driving deforestation, changes in land use, biodiversity loss, pollution, and water stress. Just know that even minor tweaks in your diet are often beneficial.
On a bigger scale, more awareness, collective action, consumer pressure on producers and huge companies, government action, and emerging technologies can reverse a number of the negative trends of agriculture and aquaculture, the latter of which is that the farming of aquatic animals. for example, the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that irrigated land in developing countries will increase by 34% by 2030, but the number of water employed by agriculture will rise by only 14% due to improved irrigation practices.