Reduce by Your Carbon Footprint by Changing Your Eating Habits





Introduction: Reduce by Your Carbon Footprint by Changing Your Eating Habits

In the following few steps I will describe to you different ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint by changing how you eat. This includes what you eat, when you eat what, and where you buy what you eat.

Step 1: Overview

Before I get into the instruction of how to do this I'd like to answer any questions you may have.

First a definition, taken directly from the Wikipedia pagethe Wikipedia page, a carbon footprint is a "measure of the impact human activities have on the environment in terms of the amount of green house gases produced, measured in units of carbon dioxide." Well there you have it. Basically a carbon footprint is how much your activities and purchases contribute to climate change. The goal of this instructable is to show methods that you can use to reduce your footprint.

Step 2: Changing What You Eat When

This is known as eating seasonally. Basically you only eat food that are in season, or growing, in your local area.

Why this helps reduce your footprint:
If you eat seasonally it means that your are going to have to be buying food that grows near you. This means that less gas and other resources will be spent on shipping your non-seasonal food to where you leave. Less gas burned for transportation means less carbon released.

Now, where will you buy all of this seasonal food?
Onto step 3!

Step 3: Change Where You Buy Your Food From

After reading the previous step your are now going to be shopping seasonally. The best place to shop for reducing your footprint would be from a local farmer's market or something similar where local farmers come to sell their goods. Aside from being a greener place to shop the farmers market also has a much friendlier atmosphere because most people are there because they want to be there not because they are making tons of money on it. Also the food is almost guaranteed to be fresher than food bought in the grocery store. While at the market I would highly recommend reusable grocery bags.

Why this helps:
This helps with a number of things. First, at a farmers market less packaging is likely to be used because the farmers are going to be moving it themselves and usually not moving it very far. The reusable bags help because you don't go through tons of plastic bags when you shop. Instead you just use one, or two, or however many you need. However many you might need it will certainly be less than all the plastic ones you'll use in a lifetime which means that less plastic bags have to be made which means less production which cuts back on pollution, your carbon footprint, and climate change!

Step 4: Change What You Eat

The biggest thing you will want to change is start purchasing as much organic food as you can. Second, eat less meat, mainly beef.

Why this helps:
Organic food means that no chemicals were used in the production of the food, i.e. no pesticides, fertilizers, human waste, or sewage sludge. Also in most countries for food to be organic it cannot have been genetically altered. This helps because the production of pesticides ant fertilizers gives of carbon which we are trying to reduce.
Cows produce a lot of methane. A gas, that while not carbon, still contributes to climate change. Also beef production requires lots of food to grown for the cows to eat. Which is usually not organic, and even when it is still needs to grown in large quantities. Non-organic beef has also most likely been pumped with growth hormones and lots of antibiotics, which the production of give of carbon. If you can't go with out beef at least try to get organic beef.



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    15 Discussions

    Great stuff, concise and to the point!

    Last week my wife was complaining about spring onions she got from a big supermarket here in England: spring onions from Mexico!

    For God's sake, these bastards are paying few pennies to the Mexican farmer, then flying this ubiquitous vegetable from the other side of the world to England, releasing tons of CO2, and then selling it to us at the same price with last week's Spanish spring onions.

    Give me a break, idiot corporations!..


    2 replies

    Yes, here in Germany it's the same insanity...15grams of fresh chive, packed in cellophan, for 89cts - from India!
    Apples from Chile, pears and grapes from South Africa, beef from Argentinia or Uruguay - I'm going mad about this....

    I'm blessed with a large backyard but also with snails, all my planted veggies were gone in just 2 nights...I don't want to poison them because of the hedgehogs but so I must continue buying on the farmer's market....

    put some beer in a few old bottles with wide enough neck for snails to crawl in, they die very happy and is enviromentally friendly. ( not from a snails point of view i suppose lol)

    On your last step you say "....of methane. A gas, that while not carbon..." Carbon isn't a gas. Most people are referring to CO2 because it contains carbon. However, methane is CH4 and contains the same amount of carbon. Maybe you can figure out what you were trying to say and correct that.

    In Step 3, you mention how much greener a farmer's market is. However, you said nothing about the other advantages. For one, everything tastes better because it was picked sometime in the last week, not sometime in the last month. Also, there's a much friendlier environment; as a general rule, most people are selling goods at a market because they want to be there, not because they're making huge amounts of money. Also, you get happy little surprises, like the little old ladies who sell the best cinnamon rolls in the known universe.

    1 reply

    Thanks for the suggestion. I add a lot of what you had to say to step three, not word for word, but the general idea.

    Aaaah no this is part of my big green 'ible I'm making, it includes loads of this stuff but different, I'll put a link to this in it...

    4 replies

    Ok mine covers a variety of things it's main aim is to pick up where many environmental 'ibles miss things, some simple some just not that obvious....

    Looks good, but you could add a lot more, of course.

    One piece of advice that would fit very well: use reusable shopping bags! The Berkeley Farmer's Market has a place where people can drop off and pick up used plastic grocery bags. I assume they recycle any extras at the end.

    1 reply

    I still mean to get the pile of bags toegther and try making some rope from them, if it's strong enough to do menial tasks it would actually be great, the only problem is a large number of our bags are degradeable as I work in the only shopping chain in the UK to have degradeable plastic bags, they really degrade, I'm seeing the first of it in our bag box thing now, as they still take 18 months to do so... It's wierd, they seem to just slowly stop existing no sludge no residues just holes appear... Any way back on track, plastic bags would make excellent materials for things as they happen to be immune to water and most damages of the environment making them great for rope, if woven really well marin applications srping to mind...