Although we are grateful for the earth everyday, Earth Day (being celebrated this Saturday) is a great time to bring awareness to a major planetary crisis. To celebrate this special day, I wanted to talk a bit about how our food choices not only keep ourselves healthy, but our planet healthy too.
Here are a couple tips for eating for the earth:
Choosing a plant-based diet is a great step towards reducing greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. You don’t have to be vegetarian or vegan to have a plant-based diet; a plant-based diet simply means that plant-foods like veggies, fruits, grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds take center-stage on your plate.
This is something that many of us are probably already aware of and may already be implementing into our lifestyle, but here is a bit of info on why it’s such a big deal…
- Farm animals are a major contributor of 3 of the most environmentally disruptive greenhouse gases–Methane, Carbon Dioxide and Nitrous Oxide. Currently, this sector of industrial farming contributes to nearly 20% of all greenhouse gases that humans are responsible for. If this continues, by 2050, that number has the potential to grow to over 60% – the effects of this will be devastating to say the least.
- Demand for animal products is also a major cause of deforestation as forests and land is cleared to be used to raise animals for food. Choosing a plant-based diet helps to reduce this demand. The reduction in trees due to deforestation leads to excess circulating CO2, a loss of habitat, and a reduction of biodiversity. Sadly, approximately 80% of deforestation of the Amazon can be attributed to animal operations.
The good news is that choosing a plant-based diet has a tangible effect on helping to reduce these causes of global warming and preserve resources. Even one vegetarian meal a week can make a difference – in fact, it’s about the same as driving 1,160 miles less per year, which is about how many miles are covered during a drive from Philadelphia to all the way to Fort Lauderdale. Imagine how much of a difference a few plant-based meals a week can make.
Another great way to reduce greenhouse gases is to try and purchase food grown locally whenever possible. It is estimated each meal has traveled one way or another about 1,500 miles to make it to our plates. By choosing foods produced locally we can help support farmers in our communities and reduce the need for transporting foods across large distances.
Small changes can add up to make a big difference for the earth.
Time for a long tree pose 🙂