There have been numerous talks about sustainable living over the past decade and a half. The fast-depleting natural resources and the ever increasing burden on planet Earth are urging people to alter their lifestyles. The economists believe that if we continue living the way we are living at present, planet Earth will become unliveable in around 100 years.
A lot has been said and written about sustainable living, but there’s little to no attention paid to sustainable eating. Today, we are well aware of the lifestyle changes that we need to make to honour the sustainability of our planet but, what is sustainable eating?
What is Sustainable Eating?
Wikipedia defines sustainable eating or sustainable diet as “Eating habits with low environmental impacts that contribute to food and nutritional security and healthy lives for the present and future generations.
Sustainable diets are known to be respectful of biodiversity and ecosystems. They are affordable, are nutritionally adequate, safe, and healthy.
While the concept of sustainable living focuses on reducing the impact of human lifestyle on the environment by adopting eco-friendly ways of living; the idea of sustainable eating focuses on the agricultural aspect of living. It includes the production and consumption of food along with the farming techniques and practices that help in conserving the natural resources thereby reducing the impact on the environment. It is about choosing foods that are healthy not only for our bodies but also the environment.
According to the EAT-Lancet commission (2019), if we want to feed the world’s growing population, there needs to be a global shift towards more plant-based foods than animal-based foods. The livestock production is one of the significant contributors of greenhouse gases accounting to 18% of total anthropogenic emissions which is 5% more than the transportation sector.
5 Simple Sustainable Eating Habits to Adopt
As established above, the impact of our dietary choices on the environment cannot be undermined. Adopting sustainable eating habits will not only help in saving the planet but also improving our overall health. Here are five simple and easy to adopt sustainable eating habits:
- Eat less and better quality meat
Animal-based food is the most significant contributor to the total environmental emissions especially red meat and dairy products. They are the most energy-intensive manufacturing processes that release harmful greenhouse gases. Reducing the consumption of animal-based foods on a routine basis can prove to make a huge impact on decreasing the carbon footprint. You don’t need to give up on meat completely. Practice flexitarian dietary habits, and you can contribute hugely to this cause.
- Curb Food Wastage
Food wastage is a global issue that needs our immediate attention. According to the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) – 1.3 billion tonnes of food, which is one-third of the food produced for human consumption, gets wasted or lost per year. As per FAO estimations, 40% of the food produced in India gets wasted or lost per year. This loss costs a whopping 1000 crores every year. Food wastage can be curbed through simple buying and eating habits. Buy only as much food as required for consumption. Instead of throwing away the leftovers, consume them the next day or serve it to the needy. If every household consciously decides to contribute to this cause, the food wastage percentage can be brought down remarkably.
- Try Organic Farming and Eating
Farming and agricultural has resorted to unhealthy practices for producing food to meet the growing consumption demands. The use of synthetic fertilisers is deteriorating the soil quality thereby upsetting the marine eco-balance and human health. Organic farming prohibits the use of harmful chemicals and artificial fertilisers for the production of food. By adopting organic farming practices, one can add to the cause. Moreover, you can support this by buying organically produced food products.
- Eat Seasonal Produce
In today’s time, it is difficult to establish seasonal foods/fruits as everything is available around the year. Ever wondered how did this become possible? The year-round availability of foods and fruits is a result of unethical farming practices that meddle with the climatic conditions for production. Eating unseasonal produce is harmful to both human health and the environment. You can contribute to this cause by avoiding the purchase of unseasonal fruits and vegetables.
- Shop Locally
Shopping locally is one of the simplest and best ways to promote sustainable living. The local produce doesn’t require transportation which, in turn, reduces fuel consumption. By consuming locally produced food products, you not only help in saving the environment but your money also.
To make this planet liveable for the coming generations, we need to do our bit. Every individual effort counts in bringing this change. Adopt sustainable eating habits and urge your family and friends too to be a part of this cause.