Making small changes to our diet can improve own well-being, and when eating sustainably we can reduce our carbon footprint and further improve our planet’s health. Although the stark effects of Climate Change may not yet be affecting our daily lives in Gibraltar, those in developing countries are experiencing hardships as a result of a planet under strain.
Some of the world’s poorest countries are experiencing prolonged droughts that reduce crops, destroy livestock and affect water sources. Rising carbon dioxide levels can cause staple crops like rice and wheat to become less nutritious. Globally, approximately 800 million people lack food and many suffer from nutrient deficiencies.
Plastic, which is used to package a great many of the food products we buy, is one of the most persistent pollutants on the planet. The manufacturing process for its creation produces billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases. Many items discarded after single use, and far too many ending up as pollutants in our ocean.
Every year, approximately 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nationals.
Once at sea, the effects of sunlight, wind and wave action break down plastic waste into small particles.
These micro plastics are breaking down further into smaller and smaller pieces. This can affect air quality, water sources and foods such as seafood.
Our relationship with food, what we eat and how we grow it, has a major impact on pollution and climate change.
Make a small change today to help reduce your carbon footprint:
• Be mindful of plastic packaging when purchasing a product. Check for plastic free alternatives.
• Reduce the amount of red meat and dairy you consume. Livestock, in particular cows, account for around 14.5% of the world’s greenhouse gases. Instead, try to increase your intake
• Choose fish species which are more abundant such as Mackerel or Herring, rather than species at risk of being overfished (e.g. Pollock or Tuna). If possible, try to buy fish that has been farmed sustainably.
• Use a refillable water bottle when possible – to reduce plastic consumption.
• Opt for reusable containers or beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap and aluminium foil when storing food.
• Whenever possible, shop locally. Eating produce grown within your geographical region requires less travel, also referred to as “food miles”, to get to your plate and therefore helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Some great local resources to learn more about the environment include
https://www.awcp.gi/campaigns [Cut Meat Not Trees]