Dietary Carbon Footprint

Clara Wallengren

What we put on our plates matters a lot. Food production is a key contributor to climate change with different foods producing different amounts of carbon pollution. Raising animals for meat and dairy products requires enormous amounts of land and water to grow their feed, causing them to have larger carbon footprints than grain or vegetable products because of the inefficient transformation of plant energy to animal energy. In fact, about a billion tons of grain are used to feed livestock that we could be eating ourselves. The livestock industry on its own accounts for over 14% of global greenhouse gases which is roughly the same amount of emissions as all the cars, trucks, planes, trains, and ships on the planet combined.

A vegan diet has the least impact on the planet, but it’s not that different in terms of emissions than a vegetarian diet. However, we don’t all have to go vegan or even vegetarian, simply reducing your meat intake or switching to less carbon intensive meats greatly reduces your carbon footprint.

What we put on our plate really is a big part of the climate puzzle and we all have to eat everyday meaning our choices can make a difference. This topic changed my perspective about what I eat and my diet! Now I want to educate others about the impact their diet is having on the planet. So, what are you having for dinner tonight?