Research shows that the food we eat is just as important as what kind of cars we drive when it comes to creating greenhouse-gas emissions. In fact, according to One Green Planet “The food and drink the average person consumes are the single largest determining factor of one’s overall ecological footprint.”
According to a study at the University of Chicago, “By reducing or eliminating animal products from our diet we will have a bigger impact on the environment than if we bought a hybrid”. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Committee looked at the global impact of animal agriculture and found that farm animals emit more greenhouse gases than all of the world’s transportation. That’s all the automobiles, planes, trains, and any other form of carbon-emitting transportation combined.
Here’s why: raising animals for food (including land used for grazing and land used to grow feed crops) uses a staggering 30 percent of the earth’s land mass. It requires 100 times more water to produce 1 pound of animal protein, than it does to produce 1 pound of grain protein.
So what is a carbon footprint and why should I care?
Our carbon footprint measures how much carbon dioxide (CO2) we produce each day as we live our lives. Each year the average American household emits 53 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmoshpere as we drive across town, fly across the country , heat our homes, cook dinner, run appiances, and so on.
CO2 is the primary cause of global warming.
You can find out what your individual footprint is with this handy dandy carbon footprint calculator. It will measure your personal impact on our climate, tell you what you and your household is personally contributing to Greenhouse Gas Emissions, and tell you how you can minimize that impact.
What can I do?
Just being aware is the first step. So perhaps you used the carbon footprint calculator and found that your household is on the average (or maybe even higher) and you would like to take further steps to whittle down your carbon dioxide contribution. Not sure where to start? Here are a few simple ideas:
- Do business with stores, restaurants, and businesses that are using green practices. Most companies today are trying to do their part to minimize environmental pollution and they want you to know about it! They might be using all recycled paper and packaging, green heating and cooling, and minimizing travel.
- Look for companies that are Certified Climate Neutral
- Make the switch to common household products, like dishwasher powder and laundry detergent, that are environmentally friendly.
- Research ways that your family can save energy while decreasing waste.
- Consider ways to save energy.
- Keep measuring! The only way to know if you are decreasing your carbon footprint is to keep track of your energy usage from year to year. See if you can decrease it yearly!