Climate and Food

The food we eat has tremendous impacts on both our health and the health of the planet.

Good nutrition is an important part of leading a healthy lifestyle, and can help play a critical role in reducing your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer).

At the same time, the world’s food system is responsible for about one-quarter of all the greenhouse gases emitted each year, with about half coming from livestock - meat and dairy cows. That includes raising and harvesting all the plants, animals, and animal products we eat as well as processing, packaging, and shipping food to markets all over the world. And when food is wasted and tossed in the garbage rather than the compost, it decomposes, producing significant methane emissions.

Fortunately, many of the same foods that are good for our bodies are good for the environment!

The Air District is hosting a webinar series on climate friendly food in Fall 2020 through Winter 2021, through a partnership with the non-profit organization Acterra. For more information on specific webinars and additional resources, see Acterra’s Healthy Plate – Healthy Planet website.

As we all confront the challenging situation of shelter-in-place, we are presented with an opportunity to focus on how we eat and feed our families, and to make changes that help keep us and the climate healthy:

  • Understand the carbon footprint of the foods you consume. The carbon-intensity of the foods we eat varies greatly; these sites will help you make more informed food choices:
  • Follow a heart-healthy and climate-friendly diet:
    • Consume less red meat and dairy - this doesn’t mean you have to go vegan or vegetarian, but options that make a real impact are:
      • choosing meats with a smaller carbon footprint – pick fish and chicken over beef and lamb,
      • reducing the amount of meat you consume when it is part of a meal, or
      • making just one day a week or some meals during the week meat and dairy free.
      • The global movement Meatless Mondays has great recipes and encouragement for starting your week off meat-free.
    • Eat more plant-based foods – foods like beans, pulses, grains and soy tend to have the lowest carbon footprint:
      • These products tend to be quite economical, and since most are available canned or dried, you can stock up to provide healthy meals for now or later and reduce the number of shopping trips you make.
      • Green Monday serves as a platform for the worldwide plant-based lifestyle.
    • Shop at your local Farmers’ Market – you would be supporting a local business and getting some of the freshest fruit and produce possible:
  • Reduce your food waste:

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Geraldina Grunbaum
環境規劃師 II


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Last Updated: 2020/4/17