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Eat Plant Based to Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

By Katt Andryskova 13 January 2020 1005 Views No comments

A new decade is upon us and the best way to decrease your carbon footprint, and help the planet is to go plant based.

Why do we need to cut our carbon emissions?

The growing, worldwide climate crisis has been impacting the livelihoods and futures of just about every person on the planet. If we want to leave a healthy earth for our children and future generations, we should take it upon ourselves to try and minimise our carbon emissions. Australia in particular has been experiencing longer and more ferocious droughts, decreasing water quality around the great barrier reef, and vicious forest fires. Luckily, Australian farmers are working tirelessly to protect the environment, and as individuals we can slash our own emissions easily!

With the recent fires ravaging the country, it is more important now than ever to take steps towards living a more environmentally friendly life. If you do want to do something more tangible and immediate, you can consider donating to one of the many organisations working to protect the native animals, habitats, and people.

What is the average carbon footprint?

An average Australian has the carbon footprint of around 15 tonnes of CO2 per year. Considering the climate crisis it is recommended that each individual should slash their carbon emissions by 2 tonnes to keep the earth from heating up by 2 degrees Celsius by 2050. Australia has one of the biggest carbon footprints of the entire world, second only to the United States which emits 16.5 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Emissions. If you are curious about your personal carbon footprint, you can check out the carbon footprint calculator here. Typically, this calculator will combine your fossil fuel use from transport, electricity in your home, waste emissions, dietary choices, and efficiency of your home.

What has the biggest carbon footprint?

When it comes to your lifestyle, the biggest aspects of your carbon footprint will be your transportation footprint, electricity footprint, and your dietary footprint. Today, we will have a look at how tackling your food choices can slash your dietary food emissions by a third. Studies show that food emissions account of a quarter of all human emissions, with 12% from agricultural production, 9% from farming induced deforestation, and 3% from refrigeration and freight. A meat lovers diet creates roughly 3.3 tonnes of Carbon Dioxide Emissions, while a vegan diet emits only 1.5 carbon dioxide tonnes of emissions.

The top eight carbon dioxide emitting food sources are all animal based, with lamb being the most environmentally harmful food.

Rank Food Carbon Dioxide Kilos Equivalent
1 Lamb 39.2
2 Beef 27.0
3 Cheese 13.5
4 Pork 12.1
5 Turkey 10.9
6 Chicken 6.9
7 Tuna 6.1
8 Eggs 4.8
9 Potatoes 2.9
10 Rice 2.7

What are the most sustainable foods?

Since we know animal products have an enormous water, land, and carbon emission footprint, what foods are the most sustainable?

Plant based foods are the most environmentally friendly, especially if you consider organic produce, where in Australia, farmers have an enormous responsibility to protect the natural environment.

  • Depend on proteins from beans, lentils, tofu, and tempeh as meat and dairy alternatives
  • To ensure you get enough iron and zinc, ensure to eat whole grains, beans, and a variety of vegetables
  • Don’t rely on vegetarian processed food

A plant based diet also has massive benefits to your health. The best foods you can get for you’re the planet (and your health) are fruits and vegetables. To boost your nutrition and add some healthy fats, it’s also a great idea to include activated nuts. See why they are good for your health, and which nuts are the best for the environment. To add a little variety to your dishes, locally grown and produced chutney’s can help elevate any meal. Check out the wide range of Kitz products which range from raw pizza bases, crackers, chews, and health bars.

Reduce the carbon footprint of your cooking

The less a food has been processed, and the more reliance you have on natural foods the lesser your dietary footprint will be. Here are some additional tips to adopt in your cooking habits to minimise carbon emissions.

  • Plan your meals to reduce waste
  • Experiment with vegetarian and vegan recipes
  • Prepare meals made from seasonal produce
  • A gas oven only uses of the 6% of the energy required to cook, choose a stove top
  • Use electric kettles to boil water for cooking and drinking
  • Save leftovers to create additional meals
  • Compost your own leftovers

Minimise your food waste to decrease your environmental footprint and contribute less to greenhouse gas emissions.

Does eating local food lower your carbon footprint?

Another way to minimise your overall dietary carbon footprint is to make sure you eat local foods. That is just one of the top 7 ways to reduce your food’s environmental footprint. Eating local is also a great way to support the local economy, and decrease the amount of food miles your food travels.

Plant based food ideas

There is a myriad of different recipes you can try to expand your vegetarian and vegan meals. Here are some of the easiest, healthiest, and quickest meals to craft out of local, organic vegetables.

  • Buddha bowls packed with vegetables
  • Vegetable based curries
  • Vegetable and tofu stir-fries
  • Vegan chilli which are bursting with flavour
  • Spiced vegetable bake
  • Lentil and falafel burgers
  • Baked vegetables and
  • Vegetarian meat balls
  • Curry vegetable pies

Challenge yourself and get creative with herbs and spices to truly boost any meal to tickle your pallet.

Conclusion

The best thing you can do for your health and the planet this new year, is to incorporate more plant-based foods into your weekly meal plan. For your ease, you can simply check the vegan box in the farm2market side bar and see all the delicious plant-based foods you can get from the Gold Coast.

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