The Carbon Footprint of Food
Everything we see and every activity we do has an environmental impact on the earth. This even includes our food. From the beginning until it reaches our table, food is subjected to many stages. At each stage, carbon is emitted and therefore the carbon footprint of food increases.
The processes responsible for this increase in nutrients are as follows;
● Production: Any item used to grow animals or agricultural products; electricity, water, and medicines are included in this group.
● Processing: The energy spent on harvesting or gathering animals and the collection of secondary animal foods such as eggs and milk constitute the processing process.
● Distribution: At this stage, products are transported from their point of origin to markets. Mostly sea and land transportation is used.
● Storage and cooking: It represents the outer packaging that surrounds the food and the energy we spend while storing/cooking the food in our homes.
● Waste: Both we and sellers throw away food and outer packaging that is not consumed, leading to high carbon emissions in the waste stage
As you can see, there are many stages and at each stage there is energy used to make the action happen. Usually this energy is provided by fossil fuels. This increases the carbon footprint of the process much more.
How can we reduce our carbon footprint from the food we eat?
There are many choices we can make to reduce this amount of carbon in the atmosphere. For 5 years, Oxford University researcher Joseph Poore, in collaboration with the Swiss Agricultural Research Institute, investigated the environmental impact of the 40 types of food we consume most.
According to the report, as the world’s population shifts to a more vegetable-oriented diet, our need for agricultural land could decrease by 76%. On average, we would emit 73% less carbon emissions and we would need less water.
At the moment, it is not possible to completely change the world’s diet all at once. More realistic options include halving the amount of meat people consume and reducing their intake of refined fats, sugar and alcohol by 20%, which could save 43% of farmland..
Meat and cheese production accounts for 60% of agriculture’s carbon emissions. According to the ranking, lamb, beef and cheese are the top 3 products that have the most impact on the world. We can reduce the consumption of these foods.
During the transportation of imported products to the consumer, a large amount of carbon is released into the environment. To avoid this, you can choose local products nearby.
At the same time, organic farming requires 30% less energy, so you can choose organic products.
As a result, you can reduce your carbon footprint by changing your consumption habits and making conscious choices. Individually, you can also make the world a better place to live in.