Changing what we eat can cut our contributions to global warming by half.
Along with reducing flying, reducing how much meat and dairy we eat is the biggest contribution most individuals in high income countries can make to help mitigate climate change. And if you inspire colleagues and students to do the same then your impact could be huge! But while changing diet is easy on a personal level, what is the role of organisations and English language schools?
Food production contributes over a third of greenhouse gases through deforestation and peatland degradation, animal burps and manure, transport, processing, food loss and waste.
On top of that, agriculture is both the leading use of fresh water and the top cause of water pollution (from fertilisers, pesticides, manure, antibiotics and more); agriculture threatens 24,000 of 28,000 species on the extinction red list; and, while we could produce enough food for everyone, 820 million people are undernourished and hungry. We choose to feed the animals we eat instead.
What we eat and how we produce it is a key part of tackling the environmental and climate crises.
The most impactful change you can make in this area is shifting to a plant-based diet. This will dramatically reduce your contribution to global warming, water consumption and land degradation. Then choosing organic, plastic free, seasonal and fair trade options will further improve your impact on people and planet.
QUICK ACTION LIST
✓ Offer mostly vegetarian and vegan food
✓ Introduce Meat free Mondays
✓ Ask food supplier about environmental/ sustainability policies
✓ Teach your students about food and grow with them (whether a herbs in a window box or a full vegetable garden)
✓ Cut plastic, especially single-use plastics
✓ Reduce your food waste
✓ Run a community fridge to help your community and reduce waste
More coming soon…
We are researching more facts and tips about reducing the negative environmental impact of your food and will update this page as we learn more and hear more from you.
Reducing food waste, choosing fair trade and including the environmental impact of food in lessons are great ways to improve the environmental and human impact of food at your school.
Should schools that serve food also switch to plant-based menus? Can we ask homestay hosts to reduce meat and dairy? What should be served at industry conferences and events?
We welcome your experiences, plans, questions and ideas any time!