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Green grub

By Angelique Ruzicka

, |

Green grub

By Angelique Ruzicka

, |

3 min read

Climate change is top mind thanks to environmental activists like Greta Thunberg making fun of politicians’ lack of action. Of course, the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) has also done much to shine a spotlight on the big issues.

But COP26 does have an end date (12 November 2021) and the danger is that as the doors to Glasgow’s SEC Centre shut, we’ll start to forget these pertinent issues.

Politicians have their work cut out for them, but what part do we as individuals play in the fight to preserve our planet? Well, one thing we can do is reduce our foodprint.

What is your foodprint?

According to foodprint.org, your foodprint is the result of everything it takes to get your food from a farm onto your plate.

You may not be aware of this but food production, which can include animal products like beef, chicken and eggs and various crops, can have a huge impact on our environment. It can affect soil conditions, our water resources and even cause air pollution.

So, what can you do to improve your foodprint?

1. Eat a planet-based diet

Yes, you heard correctly – it’s a ‘planet-based diet’ and not a ‘plant-based diet’. This is a proposal put forward by the WWF last year.

The WWF describes it as a “win-win” diet which offers up human health benefits while reducing the overall environmental impact on the planet.

WWF says adopting such eating patterns has a potential to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce wildlife loss by up to 46% and premature deaths by at least 20%.

There’s no one size fits all solution but if you’re unsure about how planet-friendly your meal is, use the WWF’s Planet-Based Diets Impact & Action Calculator as a guide.

2. Eat local food that’s in season

Foods are shipped around the world and the advantage here is that we can eat most foods any time we want. While this boosts choice, it’s harmful to the environment because a large amount of fossil fuel is used to transport our food.

By simply choosing to eat avocados in the summer and grapes in the winter we are doing environmental damage.

Reduce your foodprint by eating food that’s grown locally and in season. If you know you’ll have a craving for a particular out of season fruit or veg later in the year, find a way to store the food by preserving, pickling, dehydrating it or freezing it to enjoy later.

3. Eat out sustainably

Eating sustainably in the home is a good way to start but this should be carried through to when you eat out at restaurants or get take-aways.

Restaurants from around the world are trying out new ideas and offering up sustainable dishes and South African venues are no exception. The Vegan Chef is one such restaurant that has been singled out for the good it’s doing for our taste buds and the planet.

There are lots of things you can do to eat sustainably when you eat out at a restaurant. Foodprint.org says this can be achieved by shunning restaurants that offer a buffet, splitting big portions of food and reducing waste by taking home any leftovers.

Working together

There’s much work to be done to save our planet and it’s important that we all work together on this mission. Watching what you eat, ensuring it’s healthy and has a low foodprint is one way to start the journey towards healing our world.

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