How to Eat to Save the Planet

Climate-Friendly Diet

What we eat not only affects our health, but the health of our planet. According to Harvard’s School of Public Health, “Current food production is already driving climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, and drastic changes in land and water use.” Likewise, the UN reports that roughly one fifth of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions are created by agriculture and land use.

With the effects of climate change already upon us, it is becoming even harder for rapidly growing global populations to produce enough food to feed themselves. 

On the bright side, research shows that communities can make a big environmental impact through small changes to their diet without compromising on health. 

The Solution? A Planetary Health Diet

Outlined by The EAT-Lancet Commission (EAT), this diet is good for people and the planet.

The EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health is an international group of 38 scientists working to find solutions for a healthy sustainable diet to feed a future population of 10 billion people within the limitations of our planet. 

What’s on the plate?

A diet high in whole plants, low in processed foods, and low or free of meat.

“Meat can stay on our plate, but plants need to be the new main course.”

According to EAT, this flexible eating guide that avoids refined grains, highly processed foods and added sugars, is easily adaptable to your individual needs. While vegan and vegetarian diets are healthy options on this plan, meat and dairy are still okay in small amounts. 

What's on the plate?
Adapted from EAT

Why eat less meat?

Not only is meat production a high contributor to greenhouse gasses and water and land usage, but a high-meat diet contributes to poor health and increases your risk for obesity and disease.

What else to consider for a climate-friendly diet:

  • Choose organic food grown by regenerative practices without pesticides that focus on soil health and carbon drawdown. 
  • Buy local, in-season produce to cut down on air pollution and greenhouse gases. 
  • Avoid highly-processed foods devoid of nutrition made with GMO ingredients.
  • Cut down on your food waste by meal planning, utilizing scraps, and composting.

This story originally appeared in the Spring 2020 issue of KIWI Magazine. Read the full issue here, or check out the latest from KIWI Magazine.