“the type of food you eat is the most critical factor in reducing your food footprint”

Latest in a series of posts on the environment

Alison Steele is a Liberty High School alum who traveled the world looking for adventure and purpose before finding it in Pittsburgh.  She has made it her mission to help others make more informed decisions around how they interact with people and the planet.

Community Supported Agriculture, Part 3

Processing Food

Several weeks ago when I began researching this topic, I posted a comment on Facebook about how shocked I was to learn about the heavy greenhouse gas footprint of cheese. Judging by the nearly 100 shocked comments from friends in the following days, I was not alone in my ignorance. I have known for years that reducing meat intake is a great way to lower one’s carbon footprint, and that going vegan is even better for the planet. However, I had always seen meat as the biggest factor, with dairy an incremental step.

In addition to learning that cheese was far worse for the environment than chicken or pork, I also learned that local sourcing of food and packaging – some of my biggest factors in ethical food shopping for years – play a relatively tiny role in lowering your carbon footprint. Last year in my meatless meat blog series, I even went so far as to wonder if locally-grown grass-fed beef would have a smaller impact on the environment than soybeans imported from South America. While I noted that additional research would be necessary, my hypothesis could not have been more wrong.

There are definitely benefits to buying local and in-season, and we will look at those in the coming weeks, but it is important to reiterate that the type of food you eat is the most critical factor in reducing your food footprint: cutting out red meat and cheese one day a week will create more of a benefit on that front than buying only local food.

continue on Alison’s blog

Community Supported Agriculture, Part 3

One thought on ““the type of food you eat is the most critical factor in reducing your food footprint”

  1. The Best Gift you Could Give, Ever?

    Water Crisis? Yes.
    This is a major global concern as water for drinking and agriculture is in dangerously short supply in many parts of the world, including our own west.4,5

    Eat “Lower on the Food Chain”
    This is part of the reason “eating lower on the food chain” – a more plant based diet – is much better for preserving our natural habitats – and ourselves: in addition, much less land is needed to be converted from biodiverse native habitats to monocultures – single-species crop land for the purpose of feeding animals. (Science gives us the “10% rule”: that 90% of the energy and mass consumed at any level of a food chain is lost as heat and only 10% becomes incorporated in the consuming organism!)

    The HUMAN Brain – and Meat?
    And we are the only species to have discovered that most of the protein and other nutrients necessary for good health can be harvested exclusively from plants. (With supplements, it can be argued that nutrients can be obtained this way.)

    “But we are made to eat meat!” Yes, and we have the physical adaptations to eat plant matter as well. But we are the only species with a pre-frontal cortex (brain region) that allows us to understand that we DON’T HAVE TO eat so much meat, and so more than others nations; that, rather, we COULD HELP ourselves by reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs) instead of the opposite, ie advancing climate change.

    One Burger
    Further specifics that have been cited in the recent past include 660 GALLONS of water required to produce one,1/3 pound burger.1

    Animal Agriculture & Climate Change
    Lamb (yearling sheep) is close behind beef in use of water and GHG emissions. In fact, animal agriculture – largely due to methane, a more powerful GHG – contributes more overall to Climate Change than all burning of fossil fuels for global transportation.2

    Chocolate????
    Yes, of all foods, it requires the most water to produce: 488 gallons/ounce or 7,816 gallons for a whole pound.3

    Consider re-considering your diet …and gifts. That might be the best gift you could give.

    1 https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.latimes.com/food/dailydish/la-dd-gallons-of-water-to-make-a-burger-20140124-story.html%3f_amp=true

    2
    https://www.cowspiracy.com/facts

    3
    https://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2013/jan/10/how-much-water-food-production-waste

    4 https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/water-scarcity

    5 https://www.worldvision.org/clean-water-news-stories/global-water-crisis-facts#facts

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