We are in an undisputable climate crisis. Due to an increase of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, the global temperature is steadily rising, creating the extreme weather conditions and health and environmental issues we are confronted with daily. While this problem is enormous, our individual efforts can actually make huge differences in reversing the climate crisis. With up to 50% of greenhouse gas emissions created by our industrial global food system alone, we hold tremendous power for a healthy climate in our food choices. The way our land is farmed and cultivated and how our food is packaged and bought can actually play a starring role in climate solutions.
Currently, the global food system accounts for an estimated 30 to 50% of total greenhouse gas emissions, taking into account land-use changes, agricultural production, waste, processing, transport, packaging and retail.
Greenhouse gasses (carbon dioxide, methane, nitrogen dioxide) blanket the earth and trap heat in our atmosphere. The amount of carbon in our atmosphere is at levels not seen for the past 3-4 million years!
Excess greenhouse gases cause extreme weather like droughts, floods, tropical cyclones, hurricanes, heat waves, and unseasonable frosts, which damage or destroy food production. Droughts and heat waves in the U.S. in 2012 created an estimated $30 billion in damage alone.
Pollinators, including bees and butterflies, which pollinate 1/3 of total food produced, are sensitive to temperature extremes. Increased temperatures can affect pollinator numbers at important stages of the growing season.
Healthy, living soil can pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it. Organic and regenerative farming practices actively build healthy soil. This carbon rich soil boosts overall resiliency on farms.
Buy local and in-season to reduce food miles that contribute to carbon in the atmosphere. Check out your local farmers market.
Choose organic foods to create better soils that sequester carbon. When you go food shopping, look for the federal USDA Organic label. Organic produce also has a 9 at the start of the numbers on the sticker.
Eliminate industrial meat and dairy consumption. Choose Organic and Certified Humane meat products.
Remember, food that goes to a landfill causes methane gas, a greenhouse gas even more potent than CO2. Composting solves that!