Agriculture and food production release more than 25% of all greenhouse gases (such as CO2). A full half of the ice-free land area on earth is used as cropland or pastureland for livestock farming.
The world's population is growing; our food-demand is growing, which leads to the clearing of tropical forests, savannahs and grasslands and threatens species with extinction.
Did you know that last year, the palm oil production industry was responsible for burning tens of thousands of hectares of rainforest in Indonesia. Fires were so large and widespread that they could be seen from space, reported NASA. Those fires have severely endangered the survival of the last wild orangutans on earth. Now, have a look at the food products in your kitchen cupboard, and count on how many you can read "palm oil" or "vegetable oil", without you even knowing about it.
With the intensification of global agriculture, our diets are higher in processed foods, refined sugars, and fats, oils and meats, which increase the incidence of obesity and diseases such as diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases or cancer.
In contrasts, almost one billion people on our planet still cannot eat enough, or only access foods which do not fulfil their essential dietary requirements.
We can cut by 50% the CO2 emissions associated with our food.
1. Reduce your consumption of animal products, in particular meat, which has a big impact on the emissions associated with our meals.
2. Eat seasonal fruits and vegetables instead of those growing under greenhouses, which require a lot of energy for electric lighting, watering and heating. Wondering what grows when in Switzerland? Check out this page.
3. Buy local products. Long transportation distances (for example products imported by plane) are associated with higher emissions. Prefer fresh products instead of frozen ones.
4. Eat your food. 45% of the food waste in Switzerland or France comes from households.
Make your meat-based dish a weekly treat. You will enjoy it more, spend less money on food and live more on the healthy side.
No need to worry about your protein intake! Many other sources of proteins exist: tofu, lentils, beans, wheat gluten. They are even healthier alternatives than red meat.
Check your fridge regularly and if some veggies are turning bad, make a nice soup and freeze it. You'll be happy to unfreeze and eat it another day.
- Tilman D., Clark M., Global diets link environmental sustainability and human health, Nature, 2014.
- Johnston et al., Understanding sustainable diets, Advances in Nutrition, 2014.
- FAO report on food wastage footprint - 2014
- Climate-friendly meals - http://www.eaternity.org.