Cut Your Carbon Footprint: Choose A Low-Carbon Diet To Reduce Your Environmental Impact

Trying to calculate your carbon footprint — and then actually do something about it?

Part of doing what you can to reduce your carbon footprint is making food choices that use the fewest resources and have the fewest negative consequences for yourself, others and the planet.

Change to a low-carbon diet and you can lower your environmental impact while consuming foods you can feel good about.

Here are some ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and start on your way to the low-carbon diet that’s best for all of us.

Buy local.

About 120 million tons of CO2 (carbon dioxide) emissions go into the atmosphere each year in America from the transportation of food. Choosing local foods cuts your participation in this system — and gets you the freshest food possible. Local foods often come from field to store in fewer steps, reducing your carbon footprint — and in fewer days, helping the items retain more of their nutrients.

Choose green beef.

Reducing your red meat intake reduces your carbon footprint because cattle produce methane gas. You can’t stop them from doing that, of course, but you can limit how much you buy into that system by reducing how much beef you use in your diet. And you can choose grass-fed beef. Since grass is easier for cows to digest, they produce less methane when they eat it.

Don’t waste food.

Food waste goes into landfills if you put it in your trash can and have it carried away, but food waste in landfills also creates methane gas, a contributor to global warming. According to some estimates, as much as 23 percent of the world’s methane emissions come from landfills. Prepare less food, reuse leftovers and compost your waste to help reduce your contribution to this problem.

Never buy water packaged in plastic bottles.

As many as 17 million barrels of crude oil are used to make the water bottles Americans use every year. And to make matters worse, those plastic bottles don’t decompose well in landfills, staying around to become the problem of future generations. Drink filtered tap water, and carry it in reusable metal or glass containers.

With some simple changes to your food choices, you can feel better about your impact on the environment. A low-carbon diet means you’re reducing your impact with every bite you take.

Your changes combined with the efforts of like-minded people around the world can help save the planet.