10 Ways to Eat Greener, Healthier & Fairer
1) Turn Vegetarian
A vegetarian releases about 40% less CO₂ through eating as a meat eater; a vegan a massive 80%. Animals use energy and this energy is fuelled by fossil fuels. Cows’ farts are only part of the problem and are a relatively small problem compared to the deforestation and energy needed to fatten that cow.
Of course you must not turn into a strict vegan but having just one meat free day per week will help. 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions – more than the entire transportation sector are caused by meat production. Vegetarians also life longer. Go on add 3.6 Years to your life (and yes your longer life will be more than offset by the CO₂ that you have saved by being vegetarian)
2) Eat Locally & Seasonally
The transport for food from field, to processing, to supermarket, to your fridge causes about 1.8 percent of the total annual UK CO₂ emissions. That does not sound like a lot but it is largely avoidable. Through shopping with something other than a car and avoiding non-local/ non-seasonal products you can slash you contribution
Buy British not because you are proud of your nation but because it helps the environment. Don’t like those dull British products. Get inventive. Look online there are 100s of available tasty recipes all year round.
3) Efficient Cooking
Turn off the oven shortly before it is finished and let the retained heat do the work.
Cook in bulk. By cooking cookies at the same time as your main meal you have just cut that CO₂ by half.
Cook with friends. Instead of four ovens burning away only one has to (although of course keep an eye on it as burning food also racks up the CO₂ emissions).
When you’ve cooked enough to feed the ten thousand do not put it warm in the fridge or the freezer. Bugs do not grow that quickly (especially if it is something with veggies).
4) Cut the Ready Meals
Yuk Yuk Yuk! Not only unhealthy, expensive and bad for you, ready meals are also bad for your CO₂ balance. They basically have to be cooked, then cooled, then warmed/cooked again. I think the CO₂ balance is clear.
5) Less Frozen
From field to freezer in ten minutes and then burn that energy Mr Frozen Pea. Although frozen vegetables are better for you than eating no produce; fresh veg are higher in nutrients. Especially if you eat locally and buy from a farmers’ market.
6) Carbon Footprint
Of course some veggies are greener than others and it all depends on whether they need cooking/ processing/ and of course transporting. The humble potato has many CO₂ balances. Oven chips being the worst, then crisps and finally boiled is best. The rule is: the less processing the lower the CO₂.
An apple cool stored in Europe during the winter may not have a better CO₂ balance than an apple shipped from New Zealand. That is why we need CO₂ footprint labels. How can we reduce our CO₂ without knowing all the complexities of the Food Carbon Cycle?
Why do we not have the labels already? The studies are of course expensive but can have positives by exposing where unnecessary CO₂ is added. Walkers carried out such a study with their Crisps. Farmers pumped their potatoes with water to increase the weight and therefore their turnover. Water that Walkers then had to extract again. Therefore they changed the way they paid for their potatoes. CO₂ saved/ money saved.
7) Organic is Better
Organic farming has been shown to reduce the CO₂ balance by 75% compared to conventional agriculture. Why? Because fertilisers and pesticides are fossil fuel intensive (organic farming also increases the soils ability to absorb CO₂). Farming without fertilisers produces the food we need and at the same time increases biodiversity and reduces water pollution.
8 ) Fairtrade
Why is it green? With money education arrives and education is shown to be the most powerful birth control that exists. Less humans less CO₂
9) Waste Less
A third of all food ends up in the bin. The Cost to every British household is estimated at a massive £250 to £400 per year. The best before date is a guide! It does not mean chuck it out. Does it smell bad? Can you not make a delicious soup from those aging carrots?
Another way to reduce waste is not to impulse buy and to plan your meals/ weekly shop. Buy One Get Frees do not save money unless you need that product. Do not simply consume more!
10) Cheap food is expensive
Change to fresh, organic, fairtrade and vegetarian food. By doing this you internalise the costs that intensive farming externalised on your behalf. You may not pay for it at the checkout, but your health, our environment and in the end you children will carry the costs.