The term Climatarians first appeared in The New York Times in 2015. Since then it's been recognised in various dictionaries, food chains and increasingly by social media.
A Climatarian is someone who tries to help the environment by changing their eating habits. The aim is to eat food that has the least impact on the planet by choosing food that leaves the least carbon footprint. According to the New York Time, a Climatarian diet is:
“A diet whose primary goal is to reverse climate change. This includes eating locally produced food (to reduce energy spent in transportation), choosing pork and poultry instead of beef and lamb (to limit gas emissions), and using every part of ingredients (apple cores, cheese rinds, etc.) to limit food waste.”
This all sounds great, and eating food food that helps the planet is ideal. But how do we do this?
The five steps to becoming a Climatarian are as follows:
Reduce red meat consumption
Climatarians can still eat meat but they acknowledge the impact it has on the environment. In fact, swapping high carbon meats like beef for less environmentally damaging alternatives like poultry, as well as having at least one meat-free meal per day could help reduce our carbon footprint by one tonne of CO2 per year.
The UK wastes 6.7 million tonnes of food per year, this is horrific not only for our wallets but for the planet as well. Buying only what we need and using the whole of the product will help reduce waste.
For example, vegetable peelings can be used to make a tasty stock and soft bananas make great banana bread.
Choose low emission foods
All food has a carbon footprint and to make an informed decision we need to look at the resources used in the production and processing of the food.
For example, one glass of dairy milk produces more than three times the carbon emissions of one glass of oat milk and requires 10 times more land whilst most vegetables have very low emissions.
Eat seasonal and local produce
Not only do you support your local community, but you also help the environment. For example, food imported by air releases about 50 times more carbon dioxide than food transported by sea.
Similarly fruits and veggies grown in heated greenhouses produce three times as many carbon emissions as open-field production.
Avoid unnecessary packaging
Many stores now allow you to bring your own containers and buying from local markets often avoids unwanted packaging. Some packaging can be reused or recycled, sometimes you just need to be a bit creative!
In addition to these five steps you could :
Get a vegetable patch
Growing your own fruit and vegetables is not only extremely rewarding but has a very low carbon footprint. The taste of homegrown produce is amazing and gardening has the added benefit of being good for your mental health.
Double-check before you throw anything away to see if it can be used for a different purpose. Old bottles make great bird deterrents on the vegetable patch and old clothes can be fabulous cleaning cloths.
Whichever steps you choose to take every little helps and eating healthy food that's good for us and the planet is a fantastic step in the right direction.
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