01 Dec Tips to Make Your Eating Habits More Sustainable
Make your eating habits more sustainable and help save our planet! The year 2021 hasn’t even come to a close and yet, the world has already seen the many ways that climate change is making its presence strongly felt across continents. In Lebanon, Greece, Turkey, Italy, and Brazil, forest fires have destroyed large swathes of land, many of which were important wildlife habitats. Some parts of the United States have not been spared, with several states, such as Montana and Oregon, suffering heavy losses from the all-consuming flames.
While several nations are battling these forest fires, other countries are dealing with massive flooding. Austria, the UK, Belgium, Croatia, Germany, are among several European countries that are facing heavy losses to life and property brought about by the overwhelming floodwaters.
Surely these are “natural” disasters over which we humans have little control? Think again! That second slab of luscious steak you are helping yourself to has as much impact on these successive blights as much as overeating has on your health. Here we will discuss ways by which we can make that healthy transition to eating for the good of the planet.
1.Eat your greens
Not only is eating a green diet good for you, it also benefits the world you live in. Eating more plant-rich edibles means that you are consuming fewer meat products. We must reduce the global consumption of meat, the production of which affects the climate. The feeding of cattle requires the re-appropriation of land from prairies and grasslands to fields dedicated to monocropping (the cultivation of a single type of crop in a specific area).
These fields are drenched with chemicals from fertilizers and pesticides. These then seep into the soil and eventually pollute our waterways, along with the inhabiting marine life, some of which are food sources for humans. Because our oceans absorb a third of all carbon dioxide emissions, it is paramount that we protect their health. The next time you’re invited to a steakhouse, you may want to head straight to the salad station — and help save the world in the process.
The shorter the distance it takes for your meal to be transported from the farm to your table, the more environmentally friendly it is. When you purchase locally sourced food products, fewer delivery vehicles are making the trip, and the lower the gasoline consumption is. The reduction in fuel requirements decreases the utilization of fossil fuels.
When these fuels are burned, sulfur and carbon dioxide emissions are released into the atmosphere, trapping heat, and causing a rise in global temperatures. Supporting your local grocer or even growing your own food can alleviate climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
3. Eat home-cooked meals
Are you surprised that there is a correlation between enjoying food prepared at home and the global issue that is climate change? The link lies in the commonly used packaging that goes with food deliveries, and even the utensils and plates that abound in fast-food chains. Most packaging is made of single-use plastic.
The production and disposal of this convenient but hard-to-decompose material poses more harm than good to humanity. Most plastics contain chemicals that are produced by using gas, oil, or even carbon. These fuels release air-warming gases which trap the sun’s heat, a phenomenon called the greenhouse effect.
The disposal of plastic is similarly a grave concern. Because of the nature of the chemicals that make up plastic, their decomposition is a long-drawn-out process. A single plastic bottle is estimated to last 450 years. Without a substantial reversal of trends in the manufacture of plastic and waste disposal practices, about 12,000 metric tons of plastic waste are expected to accumulate in the environment.
Aside from threatening the health of our oceans (when toxins from plastic find their way into our waters), the incineration of synthetic materials as an expedient way of disposal also results in the release of greenhouse gases.
4. Eat not with your eyes
Have you ever gone over to a buffet table with eyes hungrier than your appetite is large?
The desire to stuff yourself to death rises when your peepers are mesmerized by visually appealing temptations without regard to how hungry you actually are. The result is usually a big pile of left-over food, which will unceremoniously be thrown in the trash bin at the end of the day. An estimated 1.3 billion tons of food, equivalent to a third of the total amount of food produced for our consumption, go to waste every year.
How does that impact climate change? The food waste dumped in landfills emits methane and thus contributes 8% of total greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. The next time a big buffet invite comes your way, make sure you only take what you can consume. And need we say, eat in moderation. If you can make your eating habits more sustainable, you will also see the health benefits personally in addition to the wider global implications.