Eating and Shopping: Daily Habits and Climate Change

3 minute read

Updated on: 28 Jan 2021

As the world gets richer, we are buying and eating a lot more stuff . This has not been good for the planet . Let’s take a look at some of the easiest ways we can reduce this as individuals.

Food and diet

26% of global man-made greenhouse gas emissions come from the production and consumption of food . But not all foods are equal:

Image of Different foods can have varied impacts

Different foods can have varied impacts

To reduce our diet’s carbon footprint the best thing we can do is to adopt a largely plant-based diet . The graph below shows the impact that different diets could have .

Image of Changing your diet can have a big impact!

Changing your diet can have a big impact!

What about processing and transport emissions?

People often worry about how far the food they eat has traveled . But transport of food only makes up a small amount of the industry’s overall emissions (5.1% in the US) .

It turns out that transport distance is a fairly poor indicator of how bad for the environment our food actually is, because other sources of emissions like storage and production are far more important . For example, transportation only accounts for 1% of emissions from beef !

How does fashion affect the environment?

And yet demand for clothes continues to increase :

Image of Demand for clothes

Demand for clothes

The best thing individuals can do is to buy clothes less often, but for real change we need changes in practice within the whole industry .

How can we make our housing more green?

Ensuring our homes have double glazing and loft insulation makes them more energy efficient - this could save the average gas-heated home in the UK 0.6 tonnes CO₂ and £184 every year .

Image of There are many ways to reduce the impact of housing

There are many ways to reduce the impact of housing

Another high-impact action you can choose is switching to a clean electricity supplier. On average, this can save 1.5 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per person .

Next Chapter