It seems that anything we can do to reduce the distance our food needs to travel before we consume it is a good way to reduce that food’s carbon footprint. A new study described at LiveScience.com suggests that doesn’t play as important a role as the type of food we choose.
Substituting chicken, fish or vegetables for red meat can help combat climate change, a new study suggests.
In fact, putting these foods on the dinner table does more to reduce carbon emissions than eating locally grown food, researchers report in the May 15 issue of the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
The production phase is responsible for 83 percent of the average U.S. household’s greenhouse-gas burden with regard to food, while transportation accounts for only 11 percent, the new study found. The production of red meat, the researchers conclude, is almost 150 percent more greenhouse-gas-intensive than chicken or fish.
“We suggest that dietary shift can be a more effective means of lowering an average household’s food-related climate footprint than ‘buying local,'” the researchers write. “Shifting less than one day per week’s worth of calories from red meat and dairy products to chicken, fish, eggs, or a vegetable-based diet achieves more greenhouse-gas reduction than buying all locally sourced food.”
Actually, it makes sense.