Why is our relationship with the food we eat important for nature?
Our diet has a great impact on the environment. Research from the University of Oxford suggests dietary change can create environmental benefits on a scale that can't be achieved by producers 1. Adopting plant-based diets has the potential to reduce land use by 76%, greenhouse gas emissions by 41% 1, and is thought to be the single biggest way for an individual to reduce their carbon footprint.
However, we recognise that not all individuals are able to adopt a plant-based diet. Reduction is just as important as a complete transition to a vegan lifestyle, and different meats and dairy products have different environmental impacts.
The environmental cost of foodstuffs also greatly depends on production method. We can improve our relationship with nature by avoiding high-impact producers and choosing sustainably-sourced foods.
Food waste has a very detrimental impact on the environment, so avoiding this is another step to improve our relationship with nature. Food waste is responsible for a massive 6% global greenhouse gas emissions 1,2 and 40% of this waste typically goes to landfill where it produces methane, a greenhouse gas thought to be 21 times more potent than carbon dioxide 3.
Limiting our own meat & dairy consumption and food waste, and encouraging institutions to prioritise these issues, can make great change for the planet and promote a much better relationship with nature.
References and more information
Poore & Nemecek (2018) https://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987
Various sources cited by Ritchie (2020) https://ourworldindata.org/food-waste-emissions
Various sources cited by Vision 2020 https://www.vision2020.info/ban-food-waste/https://www.vision2020.info/ban-food-waste/