Food System

How do our personal food choices and the food system (locally and globally) impact personal, public and planetary health?

Consumers have power and farmers will grow what consumers demand. Changing to organic plant-rich diets free of harmful chemicals can make a significant difference in our health and the planet’s health.

Average American protein consumption exceeds what we need meaning we are consuming too many calories:

Visuals from Sustainable Diets: What You Need to Know in 12 Charts https://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

Animal based foods are more resource intensive than plant based foods:

Visuals from Sustainable Diets: What You Need to Know in 12 Charts https://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts
Visuals from Sustainable Diets: What You Need to Know in 12 Charts https://www.wri.org/blog/2016/04/sustainable-diets-what-you-need-know-12-charts

Shifting high consumers’ diets can reduce the impact:

You don’t have to become a vegan or even a vegetarian, because small shifts in diet make a global impact.


Video made by Climate Lab

Food Waste 

  • About 1/3 of the food produced every year – enough to feed 3 billion people – gets wasted in our current food system.
  • If food waste was a country, it would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases globally, just behind the U.S. and China.
  • If food waste winds up in landfills, it decomposes and emits methane, a more lethal greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide. Food waste can be composted to create a rich fertilizer.
  • In addition, the resources – water, land, energy, labor, and capital – used to grow the food, are themselves wasted, and produce roughly 8% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions(1).

Reducing food waste avoids deforestation of additional farmland, conserves our precious resources, and could help feed more people in the world.

(1) EC, JRC/PBL, 2012 Emission Database for Global Atmospheric Research, version 4.2.