Did you know that you could be a hero to the Earth by just sparing 5 minutes of your time to think before you consume a food item? #ThinkEatSave has become an internet wave ever since numerous organisations, including the UN, sought to raise awareness about the impact our food has on the environment. This approach is multi-dimensional and requires us to analyse various factors involved in the production and transportation of our food.
The most common argument in this regard is choosing a plant based diet over meat and dairy. No, it isn’t a myth propagated by PETA but a proven and substantiated fact that the meat and dairy industry is responsible for as much as 60% of agricultural pollution, water pollution and green house gas emissions. Livestock also consumes a larger part of the agricultural land that could otherwise be used to produce food sufficient for more people. According to ‘The Guardian’, scientists today claim that avoiding meat is the ‘single biggest way to reduce our impact on environment’. By choosing to cut down on these, we can make a colossal change to the current state of our environment.
Another very important question to ask ourselves is whether we are consuming food items that are in season or not. To produce a fruit or a vegetable that does not naturally grow in a particular season, more resources and chemicals have to be used. Additionally, huge amount of energy has to be spent to store food items for long periods in cold storage facilities. Importing food from different topographical zones might look like a solution to this problem, except it comes with its own set of fallouts. Transporting food, especially across long distances, involves increased use of vehicles, ships and airplanes, therefore adding to the existing carbon emissions. The greater the ‘food miles’, the worse the consequence. Exotic ingredients and snacks sound overwhelming, but if you’re big on saving the planet, you might want to think twice before consuming these. By buying from local vendors and farms instead of the supermarkets, online stores and sophisticated grocery chains, you do not only support local farmers, but also help sustain resources for some more generations.
Now, onto the most obvious yet often overlooked factor; packaging. It is safe to say that our generation prides itself at being aware about the insidious nature of plastic and its by-products. Every piece of plastic ever produced still exists on our planet in some form or the other. Nevertheless, and sadly so, it has traditionally been used to pack a wide range of food products for a very long time now. Some of these items do not even require packaging at all, when sold locally. As consumers, we always have the power to change what is offered to us. By ditching plastic and irrelevant packaging, we urge the suppliers to switch to more eco-friendly alternatives.
While we look up at our leaders to take leaps in this battle against environment degradation, we also need to take smaller and bigger steps on our own. By making everyday choices with more awareness and consciousness, we can do our bit in creating the tomorrow our planet deserves.