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Food for Thought

As the science world continues to investigate the causes of global warming and the impact we as human beings have had on our planet, it has become clear that what we consume and how has potentially irreversibly changed the earth.

Forests across the globe have been devastated to make space to rear cattle and to grow crops to feed livestock, our oceans are trawled and overfished. Food production is not only one of the greatest drivers of global warming (contributing to about one quarter of our greenhouse gas emissions), it is also the greatest driver of wildlife loss.

It is easy to distance yourself from thinking about the havoc being wreaked in our rainforests, oceans, poles, and tropics. This is especially true if you are currently sat in your office, in the middle of winter, whilst it rains outside. It’s easy to think “how do I, one person, buying a bottle of water from a café each morning, have any impact on a global crisis?” However, I believe that we now understand how our individual actions can amount to a huge group effort. If no one considers the impact of their decisions then we would be destroying ecosystems with plastic pollution which takes thousands of years to break down, only to then be swallowed by something which is later served to you at your favourite restaurant (mmm… plastic).

This means that if small lifestyle changes could be made by many, this would have an absolutely huge effect on the world and everything in it. Surely the only question then is how can I make a difference? Well here are 5 small changes that you could make:

1. EAT MORE PLANTS

No one is saying you have to be a vegan! Before we dismiss this section let’s look at some facts. Farming animals for meat and dairy requires space and huge amounts of water and feed. The livestock industry alone generates nearly 15% of all manmade greenhouse gas emissions. With global meat consumption soaring 500% between 1992 and 2016, surely a rebalance to our diets by prioritising plants and moderating our intake of animal products can help massively. Also you may discover some wonderful new dishes that you can’t believe you ever lived without.

2. WASTE LESS

Food waste is a big problem. 30% of food produced is wasted, with serious repercussions for the environment. In fact, if food waste were a country it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gasses after China and the USA.  Reducing waste in your household is simple and you can start by freezing anything you can’t eat while it’s fresh, and buying loose produce so you can select the exact amount that you need.

3. GROW YOUR OWN FOOD

What is better than fresh, home-grown produce straight from the garden? As well as being healthy and delicious, it is free from the carbon footprint of shop-bought food. Not everyone has access to a garden of course, but remember we are looking at small changes. I bet you have enough space for an inside herb garden? Not only useful, but nice to look at also.

4. PACKAGING

As briefly touched on above, and probably one of the most noticeable threats to the environment, is plastic. So much plastic has been used throughout the years, that there is evidence to suggest that each of your major organs now contain micro-plastics. Small changes such as bringing a reusable bag when you shop or opting for packaging-free fruit and vegetables where possible can really make a big difference.

5. EAT WHAT’S IN SEASON

I could talk for days about seasonable eating and seasonable produce. However, I think at a basic level we all understand that strawberries are probably not supposed to be eaten in the dead of winter. That’s not to say that you can’t, more so that they don’t grow at this time of the year, meaning that they are likely shipped over from another country or are grown in an environment that uses artificial energy. Not only hurting the planet but also your bank account. Now “what is ripe and when” can be a difficult thing to get your head around, so click here for a better idea.

These are just a few small things that you can do to try a more sustainable way of shopping, cooking, and eating. The amount of small changes you can make is almost endless. Hopefully you are inspired to give some of these changes a go, and generations to come will be thanking you.

Tags:
  • #sustainability

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