How can you become more sustainable in your everyday life? Click on any section to find out how you can be more sustainable in that category.
Agriculture for food currently makes up 26% of the global greenhouse gas emissions. This section of the sustainability calculator leads you to look at your personal food consumption and allows you to see how changing your eating habits may increase your sustainability.
1. Prioritize plants
- - The Healthy Eating Plate suggests filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits as part of an optimal diet, but planning our meals around produce also benefits the planet.
- Shifting to a more plant-based way of eating will help reduce freshwater withdrawals and deforestation from meat production—a win-win for our personal health and the environment.
2. Minimize meat
- Meat production is a substantial contributor to greenhouse gas emissions (beef production especially), as raising and transporting livestock requires more food, water, land, and energy than plant production.
- Consider eating less meat and switching to plant produce, such as lentils and beans, for protein alternatives.
3. Select new seafood
- Fish can be a healthy choice if part of a dietary style, but some species are at risk of being overfished or produced in ways that harm the marine environment.
- Depending on where you live, some species are more sustainable than others. If you are unsure, Monterey Bay Aquarium has guides for different regions in the United States!
4. Look local
- Exploring farmer's markets helps you find locally-grown fresh produce and meet the people who produce your food. You can learn how your food was grown, when it was harvested, and even how to prepare it.
- The farmers market is also a great way to find what seasonal produce is currently being sold, as eating produce that is in season is a great way to decrease your carbon emissions.
5. Eat mindfully
- One of the simplest things you can do to eat more sustainably is to practice mindful eating. Focusing on what you’re eating allows you to reflect on where your food came from and the food's nutritional benefits.
- By paying attention to what we are eating, we can alter our food consumption and reduce food waste, as well as become encouraged to seek out more sustainable food sources.
6. Reduce SUP packaged food while actively composting and recycling
- Reducing single-use plastic packaged foods can greatly reduce your carbon footprint. Choosing foods packaged with biodegradables, paper, or glass containers (if recycled) are more sustainable choices than polymer-based packages.
- In addition, composting can greatly reduce the amount of food waste entering the landfill. Landfill food waste emits methane gas, which contributes more to greenhouse gas emissions than the CO₂ emitted from composting.