The unfortunate reality is that today’s farming practices are unsustainable. Not only that, but the way we eat is unsustainable as well.
This leads to deforestation, water pollution, and the death of wildlife. Eventually, these environmental impacts will affect every aspect of our lives. Therefore, we should start eating sustainably.
This article will discuss simple tips on how to eat sustainably. Remember, it’s about preserving the world around us for future generations. And, believe it or not, sustainable eating can also be very affordable.
How to Eat Sustainably – The Best Ways
We have a list of practices that you can engage in to eat more sustainably. When we say sustainable, we mean it in terms of the environment and your own wallet.
1. Buy Foods From Local Sources
One of the best practices is to buy food from local producers. This is more sustainable for your local farmers and food producers. However, it’s also much more sustainable for the environment to eat locally grown foods.
Locally grown foods don’t need to be transported great distances. However, when you buy international foods, they need to be transported. Tremendous amounts of energy, fuel, and money are wasted in the transportation process. In addition, burning fuel leads to more significant environmental impacts and pollution.
The closer your food is grown to home, the more sustainable it is. A good starting point is buying as much as you can from your local farmers’ markets.
2. Purchase Food That Is In-Season
Another way to eat sustainably is to buy produce only when it is in season. When produce is seasonal, it requires less upkeep. For instance, warm weather fruits will need heating and lighting to survive winter. None of those foods would survive long enough to reach your table without that special care. Also, out-of-season foods usually need to travel much farther to reach your table.
As mentioned, this concerns pollution and energy expenditure. Seasonal produce simply doesn’t create as much environmental impact as out-of-season produce. In addition, seasonal produce is more affordable because greater quantities are available.
3. Eat Organic
Perhaps one of the best things for food sustainability is to eat organic. There are many different reasons eating organic is more sustainable than conventionally grown foods. First, there’s the issue of pesticides.
Pesticides are great for killing pests, but they are indiscriminate and kill many other animals, such as essential pollinators. Our world needs pollinators for plants to survive, but pesticides kill too many of them. Those pesticides also get into our water sources.
In addition, many inorganic and chemical fertilizers are used to keep soil nutrient-rich to grow food, but they have many negative impacts.
Many organic livestock rearing practices are more eco-friendly than conventional livestock rearing practices.
There is more than enough to write a book on these points alone. However, the bottom line is that eating organic is more environmentally sustainable than eating conventionally grown food.
4. Eat Less Meat
We aren’t telling you to become a vegan, but fruits and vegetables are more sustainable than meat. Also, did you know that grazing animals take up around 70% of all agricultural land?
Deforestation is a problem surrounding livestock-raising practices. Vast swathes of forest are destroyed to create grazing land. This leads to less carbon dioxide being sequestered because there are fewer trees.
At the same time, animal feed production creates greenhouse gases. Moreover, animals, particularly pigs and cows, release greenhouse gases. Furthermore, did you know that animals produce about half as much meat as food required to feed them?
Essentially, plants use less fertilizer, water, and land than livestock. Producing protein from plants uses about 100 times less water than raising animals. So, you can see that eating meat is not overly sustainable.
5. Don’t Eat Wild Caught Fish and Seafood
Seafood might be labeled as “wild-caught.” To many people, this is a good thing. After all, wild-caught seafood is better than farm-raised seafood, right? Well, this might not be the case.
When seafood is wild-caught, it affects overall populations in the wild. Although there are laws and regulations to prevent overfishing, they are often ignored, or ways are found to evade scrutiny. Moreover, wild-caught fish may also have high levels of mercury and other poisonous substances.
Therefore, it’s much better to eat farm-raised fish and seafood. These farms, especially those that follow good practices, are much more environmentally friendly and sustainable; farm-raised fish and seafood won’t deplete natural populations.
6. Grow Your Own Food
One of the best ways to live sustainably is to grow your own food. This is easy if you have a lot of land, or even just a small garden.
First, there are no transportation costs when you grow your own food. Fossil fuels aren’t burned to get the food from the farm to your table because it’s right in your backyard.
Moreover, you know what you are eating. You can grow organic food without using poisonous pesticides, herbicides, or other chemicals. This, in itself, is more sustainable.
Pesticides have environmental impacts. They ruin the ground below and the water around us. In the long run, growing your own produce is also more affordable. Not only can you save the environment, but also your money
7. Cut Food Waste
One of the most devastating facts is that 33% of the food the world produces is wasted. Consider how much land, fuel, fertilizer, money, and more are used to grow that food.
Many resources are wasted in this manner. Therefore, do everything you can to cut down on food waste.
- Buy less food, to begin with, and only cook as much as you can eat.
- Don’t throw leftovers away because you don’t want to eat them. You can always turn those leftovers into something new and exciting.
- You can freeze leftover food for future consumption.
There are many ways to cut down on food waste that you can put to use.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are many ways to eat sustainably, and we’ve only scratched the surface. If you want to save the world and your money, become far more sustainable with your eating practices.