Sustainable eating culture is usually attached to vegan diets, however, this does not have to be the case. This for many tends to be the simplest way to reduce environmental footprint. I admit I do follow a vegan diet so I am a bit biased towards it. Although, it truly is not necessary to become a full vegan. So to aid in pushing us all to become more sustainable consumers I compiled the most effective methods for a more sustainable relationship, through food.
Eat Plant Based
For this argument, I am on the parent’s side, “Eat your vegetables!” A large driving factor in our current climate change dilemma is the meat market. Primarily cattle, which are the highest emitters of methane in agriculture. Methane is more detrimental to our climate than carbon dioxide so this is not a problem that can be trodden on lightly. So why are the cattle methane emissions so bad? This is mainly due to our spread of civilization (ranging from buildings to interstates) as well as, our dense localized livestock agricultural culture. It is no doubt that there are more cows on this planet than there was before colonization. These two major factors lead to very dense emissions of methane that the local ecosystems cannot absorb to filter organically.
What do veggies have to do with this? Well, the only reason that farms raise so many animals is to make money and satisfy the needs of the country, which currently dairy and meat are a massive industry. A healthy ecosystem full of plants that include fruit and vegetable varieties can absorb nitrogen and methane to make a natural filter to degrade from the harder to break down elements into more useful elements for the ecosystem. To reduce the stress on the environment we need to consume less dairy and meat. You do not need to cut it out entirely, as the drastic change could destroy our agricultural economy. However, if every single person ate one less piece of meat a day we could make an incredibly sustainable push!
But produce is so expensive!
Yes, produce is expensive when you compare it to an overly processed box of twinkies. There is no disagreement in that. However, compare the product that you are getting. 6 twinkies that were packaged in the cheapest and some of the most biodegradable material on the planet, as compared to a couple of apples that were grown from our earth using seeds, water, and fertilizer. No ingredients list is needed. You are truly getting what you pay for. Now, if you are that tight on a budget and truly cannot afford the produce there is a hot trend on the rise right now.
Growing your own food, this is an upcoming trend that I am extremely excited to talk about. No matter if you live in the suburbs or in a rural area with the bad soil you can grow your own fruits and vegetables. This is an effective method, one, because this will aid in a healthy ecosystem reducing your carbon footprint, and two, seeds are extremely cheap. I personally have grown peppers, watermelon, beans, tomatoes, and spinach. The seed packets were all under a dollar for around 20 or 30 seeds. Now each plant is variant but I will give my spinach as an example. I used 8 total seeds, each grew into its own plant and I got about 2 yields from each, with a total yield of around 5 pounds of spinach. This was all done on a 2 foot by 4-foot area. I get so excited sharing my experience growing plants because it can be a key player in a sustainable future!
This is my final tip for becoming a more sustainable eater, eat locally grown food. There are many reasons why eating locally is important. Most conducive to an unsustainable food market is the fuels used in transporting foods long distances, large-scale degradation farming practices, and destruction of local economies. Eating locally grown food aides in combatting these problems. The distance from field to market is very short using fewer fuels. Next, local small farms tend to be more sustainable. Today’s small start-up farms are adding more sustainable practices. Lastly, when local food is bought you know where the money goes. It puts the money back into the local economy supporting the family farms near you. In turn, this lowers taxes because most farm subsidies go towards the large agricultural firms. These local markets can be found with a quick google search!
Thanks for reading. and as always,
think green, friends!