How Does Your Diet Affect your Carbon Footprint? 

Azzera believes that achieving a net zero lifestyle should be part of a comprehensive approach to sustainability. Understandably, not all human activities can be changed or abandoned in order to reach a lower amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Hence we always try to implement our three-step approach.

Three step approach to reduce GHG emissions

This process involves calculating your yearly carbon footprint and compensating for unavoidable emissions by supporting carbon offsetting projects in different fields such as regenerative agriculture, Renewable energy, and many more. At the same time, for our efforts to have a better climate impact, we have to find ways to reduce emissions in our lifestyle.

One of the most accessible ways is to consider alternative healthy diets and consume more fruits and vegetables and reduce animal-based foods.

Animal Products and Greenhouse gases

A recent study in the UK decided to examine the association between carbon dioxide equivalents and food sources. It is known that animal-based foods produce more emissions compared to plant-based foods. This study aimed to estimate the difference in g GHG emissions between different dietary habits. 

The results, as expected, supported the initial thoughts that high meat eaters produce almost two times more CO2 emissions compared to other groups.

Chart comparing GHG emissions of different dietary habits

At the moment, the increasing food production has caused a rise in global meat and livestock production, which has made some significant environmental impact. 

While it’s true that meat production consists of a small percentage of total GHG emissions, according to EPA, animal agriculture is responsible for 50% of nitrous oxide and 37% of total Methane emissions in 2020, which makes animal agriculture the largest source of methane and nitrous oxide.

Unlike other carbon dioxide emissions, nitrous oxide is known to be an ozone destroyer which in the long run can cause much more public health hazards and can result in an increasing number of skin and respiratory diseases. Moreover, most emission reduction methods are ineffective in removing them from the atmosphere.

Climate Change and Food Choices

In 2005 research on Carbon dioxide equivalent emissions of animal agriculture determined that 84% of emissions are directly related to animals. Even with changes in fuels and more efficient means of transportation, the most significant portion of these emissions remain unchanged. Therefore, The easiest way to reduce your emissions and, more importantly, prevent the increase of nitrous oxide in the atmosphere is to change your dietary habits toward healthier food systems. 

Livestock and climate change

I. Going Vegan or Vegetarian

Going vegetarian or Vegan has never been easier, with more plant-based products in our grocery stores than ever before, not to mention the number of excellent plant-based restaurants popping up in cities globally. Furthermore, people who consume meat products are responsible for almost two times the number of dietary greenhouse gases when compared to vegetarians. By reducing our meat consumption or adjusting to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, we can reduce our carbon footprint by up to 73 percent. 

II. What’s the alternative?

Going Vegan can be a big change for many people, and for all sorts of reasons, you might not want to choose this lifestyle. No worries! You still have many options to reduce your carbon footprints.

Instead of completely cutting down on meat and animal products, you can only reduce your meat consumption. Choosing not to eat meat for only 2-3 days a week can reduce your Carbon footprint by 30%, which can significantly impact your yearly GHG emissions.

In addition, you can reduce your carbon footprint by 50% by just replacing meat with Fish, and poultry meat, as the production of red meat emits 8-10 times more carbon dioxide equivalents compared to the production of the same weight of Fish or Poultry meat.

In Conclusion

Your dietary habits and lifestyle directly affect your carbon footprint, and it is extremely easy to reduce these types of emissions by very small changes in your diet. It is also important to remember that a large portion of more dangerous GHG emissions such as Nitrous oxide are emitted by animal products that can affect much more than climate change and put children at risk of skin and respiratory diseases. 

So, start taking action. Small steps can make big changes

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