One of the biggest shocks we had when we started researching this was how much of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions come from food, but that also means that our food choices are one of the easiest ways to make a real difference.

According to a 2018 Oxford Unversity study one quarter of all emissions are a result of the food we eat. That’s more than all our cars, lorries, buses, planes and trains put together. The emissions come from farming, food packaging and transport, and sadly from good food rotting, either on its way from farms to the consumers, (that’s largely an issue in poorer countries) or when we let it go to waste in our cupboards and fridges. (You have to be rich to be that wasteful.)

What’s more, a stagering 40% of the world’s non-desert land is given over to food production (so no room for wildlife there) and 2/3 of the world’s fresh water goes into agriculture, which increases water scarcity in many areas where people are short of water for their basic needs.

The study concludes that we food shoppers, cooks and eaters can massively reduce those environmental impacts just by making different food choices.

Step one.. waste less. 

Less waste food releasing methane as it rots in landfill; less carbon released in growing the food… and co-incidentally more respect for the extrordinary life-supporting and life-enhancing thing that food is.

Step two… less meat, more veg. 

We currently rear so many animals for meat and milk that the methane they burp as they convert grass or grain or soya beans into meat makes a huge contribution to global warming.

If we shift to a plant based diet we can halve the greenhouse gas emissions due to food and release 3/4 of the world’s farmland which would be good for wildlife and biodiversity. Even moving half way towards that would have almost 3/4 of the greenhouse gas benefits and over half the land-use benefits. 

The first steps happen with small changes made by all of us, day-to-day, in our homes.

This really is one of the easiest and most effective ways to start living greener.

greener food ideas for your Change List

Plan a planty party

Since we've got to shift over to eating less meat and more plants, doing it with friends seems a good sociable start.  Why not invite/challenge your friends to bring a plant based dish to share?  It should be intereesting to hear what people find easy/difficult/suprising/impossible and hopefully you'll all get...

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Try non-dairy milk on your cereal

I was really anti the idea of non-dairy milks (past traumas with soya milk in tea), but I realised that my breakfast cereal had lots of nuts in it anyway so I thought I'd give it a go with almond milk. Actually I liked it from the outset and now...

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Have a seasonal sunday

Why not make your Sunday special with a meal based on fresh, seasonal food. We think this seasonal food calendar from the BBC is brilliant. Not only does it automatically highlight the current time of year to show you what’s in season now, it also has links to seasonal recipes...

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