If you’re environmentally aware, chances are you already recycle, avoid tumble drying like the plague, shower instead of taking baths, and use low-energy light bulbs. By taking these easy steps – combined with driving sensibly, if at all – we each stop the production of just under a tonne of global warming gases every single year. But is that enough? What if we want to do even more?
One of the most effective ways of cutting carbon emissions is by considering the food on your plate. The Food Climate Research Network reckons we need to cut our food-related emissions by 70% by 2050 in order to make a real difference to the environment.
Our book explains the main ways we can make real food-carbon savings, which are summarised below. It also contains 40 pages of tried and tested low-carbon recipes, to help you put them into practice.
Simple steps to a lower-carbon diet
1. Reduce meat and dairy consumption. Cut both out completely and you can halve your food carbon footprint. As long as you get the dietary balance right, there’s research to suggest that your health and life expectancy will soar, too! (Saving: 1.2 tonnes of CO2-equivalent gases [CO2-e] each year.)
2. Buy organically-produced food where possible and watch a quarter more carbon drop off the scales. To maximise freshness, chop and freeze on purchase and add to stir-fries, soups, stews or smoothies. (Saving: 0.5 tonnes CO2-e.)
3. Buy local, seasonal food, sold by local retailers – or grow or forage some of your own. It not only cuts down on food miles, but also helps the local economy. And it can save you money, too.
4. Cut down on food waste, avoid packaging, and recycle, recycle, recycle. Reducing waste by just half a large bag each week saves half a tonne of CO2 per year. Large supermarkets such as Tesco East Didsbury accept Tetra packs. And these days you can even compost for the Council from the comfort of your own kitchen! (Saving: 0.47 tonnes CO2-e.)
5. Cut down on meals out, such as takeaways, by cooking more from scratch at home. It’s good for your waistline, good for your wallet, and will knock another tenth off your carbon footprint. (Saving: 0.10 tonnes CO2-e.)
The good news is that you’re not fighting climate change alone. Most Didsbury residents that we surveyed (80%) already have one or more meat free days each week; 65% actively avoid buying packaged foods; and 52% compost food waste/biodegradable packaging. Why not join the growing trend?
Sustainable food: is local and seasonal; avoids artificial fertilisers and foods of animal origin; gives producers a fair price; promotes health; and reduces waste and packaging
Climate change (also known as global warming): changes in long-term weather patterns across the world, mainly caused by human activity. Heatwaves, heavy rain and flooding are examples. Carbon dioxide (CO2), methane and nitrous oxide all act like a blanket around the Earth, causing it to warm up. They are released by the actions of people, such as burning coal, oil and gas
© Amanda Woodvine for Didsbury Dinners, 2o11. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced in whole or in part without the permission of the copyright owner.
Food photography: © Chava Eichner