Most people realize that our precious Earth today is being overtaken by pollution and a warming climate. In response, many individuals have begun engaging in actions such as taking shorter showers, recycling, and using less gas. These are great steps to take in becoming more environmentally friendly, but there is one crucial aspect to the 'green movement' that may be the greatest of them all. FOOD!

What we eat every minute of every day has an impact on the environment and we therefore have the power to save the planet solely through manipulating our diets. Here are some practical ways to engage in sustainable eating everyday: 


vegetable, pepper, onion
Gabby Quintana

Don't understand the correlation between eating meat and climate change? I'll help ya out. Farm animals (especially cows) need lots of space to roam and take up mass amounts of farmable land. The increasing desire for red meat only aggravates the need for more cows and more farmland. Cows release very high amounts of methane gas while they eat, and methane is a chemical commonly known to warm the environment. As a result, 42% of emissions in our atmosphere come directly from animal agriculture. In less than 10 years, the amount of methane in the world has doubled, a statistic that should cause alarm going into the future.

In addition to the increased methane gases, the physical process of producing meat requires water — and lots of it. Actually, over 1,500 gallons of water go into producing one single pound of beef (Don't believe me? Check here). By eating one less burger a week, you will be doing the earth the equivalent of not driving 320 miles in your car. 

By choosing to partake in a meat free day once a week (a 'Meatless Monday' if you will), you will be reducing your meat intake by 14% and subsequently helping to reduce the strain that animals put on the environment.


nachos, pizza, chicken
Laura Quinting

One third of all food produced in the world is wasted: this amounts to 1.3 billion tons of food every year. This issue hits close to home for me, as there as so many people who struggle to get enough to eat everyday while others throw out food if it has just one brown spot. First, let's establish the difference between food waste and food loss. Food loss is any food rendered inedible or unsafe for human consumption during the food production process. Food waste, however, is the throwing away of food that is perfectly edible for human consumption. 

The amount of food that rich countries throw away (222 million tons) is almost equal to the entire food production in sub-Saharan Africa (230 million tons). WHAT! 

In order to practice sustainable eating, everyone should take steps to reduce the amount of food that goes to waste. Some practical ways for you to reduce food waste at the consumer level is to go grocery shopping for produce more often and buy smaller amounts each trip, so it has less time to go bad. You can also save leftovers and make sure you know how to store them properly so as to maximize the amount of time they can be saved (freezing if necessary). Another way to reduce food waste is to only take what you are sure you can eat, including sharing meals in restaurants. 

This leads into my next point, that even if you don't waste any edible food, you still may have organic waste products that could be disposed of in a sustainable manner. 


Olivia Shah

Composting is the collection of all food products with nutrients and soil to be decomposed. By composting all waste that would otherwise have been thrown away, the food and nutrients go directly back to the earth to be a foundation for future plants to grow, instead of going to a landfill. Here are some examples of food products you can compost: banana and orange peels, apple cores (or any fruit and vegetable scraps), egg shells, coffee grounds, herbs, and bread heels. Nonfood items can be composted, too: paper cups, plates, and towels, napkins, tissues, coffee filters, tea bags; as well as grass, leaves, flowers, and hair (so basically everything but plastic). 

By sending organic food products back into the earth where they originally came from, more food can be produced from them with a less pronounced impact on the environment- leading you to develop sustainable eating habits. 


Olivia Shah

Plastic. Pollution. Pesticides. Why do all the bad things start with P? Plastic is toxic for the environment, but is still a relied upon resource today, despite the many up and coming alternatives. Plastic is not biodegradable or reusable; meaning every plastic item that has ever been made on this planet still exists today. There is no removing plastic from the land once it is created. It fills up landfills, pollutes the oceans, and litters ecosystems. On top of the physical affects, plastic also releases harmful chemicals into the land, soil, and oceans where it rests. By leaching these toxic substances, it makes our daily environment hazardous, as well as animals who rely on natural plant-grown food sources. 

Here are some practical ways to reduce (and hopefully completely eliminate) your plastic consumption: stop using plastic bags- bring reusable bags to the grocery store instead; stop using plastic water bottles- just carry a reusable bottle with you, this'll actually save you money too! Stop using plastic utensils and plastic straws- buy a few metal straws or some bamboo utensils to carry around with you so you're never caught off guard and forced to resort to plastic. 


herb, vegetable, farmer's market, fresh vegetables, local vegetables, local farm, shop local
Sam Jesner

Buy fresh. Buy local. All day everyday (when it's in season). Whenever possible, aim to go to your local farmer's market or local grocers, over the large chain corporations. Large grocery store companies have their products shipped in from all over the country, meaning their produce adds preservatives to keep them fresh for as long as possible during transit. Local markets are not only fresh and preservative free, but also produced close to you, making them a sustainable choice for you and for the environment.


herb, relish, vegetable, oregano, care, Harvest, Gardening, Garden, farming, planting, Plant, Grow
Alex Frank

You don't have to have a green thumb to start planting a few fresh herbs or veggies. Tending to a backyard or balcony garden can consist of planting a few seeds and watering them once or twice a week. Growing your own produce is free and continues to pay off each year as it provides a greater bounty to both your wallet and plate. In addition to being free, growing your own produce gives a sense of satisfaction over your hard work. When the fruit of your labor is finally ready to be harvested, I guarantee that it will taste that much fresher and that much better.

With these tips on sustainable eating everyday, I hope that we can start to undo some of the strain that our generation has placed on our Earth. After all, we have no Planet B.