Did you realise that a quarter of our carbon emissions come from food? We didn’t, until we read Sarah Bridle’s thought-provoking book Food and Climate Change – Without the Hot Air®.
Sarah, Professor Bridle, skilfully takes the reader through daily meals and snacks setting out their impact on climate change with the aid of impressive research and colourful bar charts.
Cheese v. Chicken
We were oblivious to the fact that a cheese sandwich actually does more damage than a chicken sandwich because of the milk used to produce the cheese. Evidently it takes about 10 kilos of milk to make just one kilo of cheese and cheese is responsible for producing about 16 times its own weight in greenhouse-gas emissions. Serious bad news for we cheese lovers. We could switch to a cheese alternative but unfortunately these are not so nutritious and the flavour misses out too in our opinion.
Luckily dark chocolate has less emissions than milk chocolate, but health and waist lines will suffer if we indulge in too much of that.
Eating fruit and vegetables out of season has become the norm these days – not good news for the planet when freight, production and growing costs are taken into consideration. Even eating ‘local’ can have problems if produce needs transporting to the local shops.
Grow your own certainly helps, but in a small garden there is only so much growing space and not everybody can cope with an allotment.
It’s a no to air miles
I do now feel a little less worried for eating the likes of apples grown the other side of the world when out of season in the UK as they are transported by ship – much less harmful than air freight. From now on we are waving goodbye to out of season soft fruit that has been flown to its destination, and likewise we are cutting down on veg that also have involved air miles
Varied diets but at a cost
Our diets in the last few decades have changed beyond recognition, they are certainly more varied and if we eat sensibly can be more beneficial for us, but it is at a considerable cost to the planet.
Reading Food and Climate Change is depressing, the future is seriously worrying. However, every small change in what we consume will help a little in saving the planet. And with the tips and help from this informative and incredibly well-researched and produced book maybe it will not be too late.
Food and Climate Change – Without the Hot Air.
S L Bridle. ISBN: 9780857845030. £19.99. Paperback. UIT Cambridge Ltd. uit.co.uk.