Sustainable Eating


When it comes to what we eat, it is clear that our choices have a significant impact on the future or our planet. An IPCC report published in August 2019 by United Nations scientists said that eating less meat, reducing food waste, and reforming agriculture could slash global emissions benefiting both our health and the environment. Worrying that meat production is on an “unstoppable trajectory to become the single greatest contributor to climate change,” the Lancet Report called for guidelines “doubling global consumption of fruits, nuts, vegetables and legumes, and cutting the consumption of red meat in half.” Currently, 47.6% of our greenhouse gases come from meat.

The second, often unconsidered source of global emissions, is food waste. As 1 in 8 Americans struggle to put food on the table, over 40 percent of the food in the United States is never eaten. An enormous amount of resources and energy goes into growing, processing, transporting, and eventually disposing of all that wasted food. That includes, reports the NRDC, the climate-wrecking greenhouse gas emissions at every stage of the food system, plus water, fertilizer, packaging, labor, and more.

It’s clearly time for us to take a look at our diets. You might want to start by taking this quiz.

And, then:

  • eat seasonally, eliminating the distance what you eat has to travel
  • think mindfully about what you buy so as to waste less
  • consider the packaging of your food. Time to bring your own refillable coffee thermos and water bottles, your own food containers that can be washed and reused after lunch at the office, and your own bags to the grocery store
  • reduce your consumption of meat and lamb, increase your consumption of fruits, vegetables, and nuts

These simple transformations cannot come fast enough. As we become more aware of the complex issues in our food system, we must each find our own way to reduce our carbon footprint and re-establish our connection with food.

Whatever your path may be, this section is designed to help you understand the food revolution taking place and how to contribute to building a healthy and sustainable future through personal choices. There’s no doubt that we need to take collective action against climate change as citizens, but examining our kitchens is equally important — and a great place to start the sustainability journey.


Climate Change Means Farming Needs a Revamp to Secure Enough Food

By Agnieszka de Sousa 06/30/23
If you were vacationing in France last year, you may have noticed shortages of mustard on supermarket shelves.
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How does the food system impact the environment and what is its obligation to reduce climate change?

By Elizabeth Crawford 06/01/23
With between a quarter and a third of human caused greenhouse gas emissions linked to food production and climate change intensifying to a point that its impacting how, where and when key crops are grown,…
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What do consumers want from sustainable food and drink?

By Flora Southey 05/17/23
Research suggests Europeans are ‘highly motivated’ to buy sustainable food. How can brands best communicate their sustainability credentials to consumers? And amid a cost-of-living crisis, are shoppers willing to pay for it?
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Low-carbon diets can reduce global ecological and health costs

By Elysia Lucas, Miao Guo & Gonzalo Guillén-Gosálbez 05/15/23
Potential external cost savings associated with the reduction of animal-sourced foods remain poorly understood. Here we combine life cycle assessment principles and monetarization factors to estimate the monetary worth of damage to human health and…
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Peter Singer: Fix Your Diet, Save the Planet

By Peter Singer 04/22/23
The year of the first Earth Day, 1970, was the year I stopped eating meat. I didn’t do it to save the Earth, but because I realized that there is no ethical justification for treating…
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Scientists claim this diet is the best for supporting biodiversity and food security

By Rebecca Ann Hughes 04/12/23
Our choice of diet has important consequences for the environment and climate change. With droughts and diseases threatening food systems, it’s now all the more crucial that we try to make a difference with what…
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USDA announces rigorous new school nutrition standards

By Laura Reiley 02/03/23
New rules aimed at reducing sugars, fat and salt and increasing whole grains in school meals are drawing backlash, even as childhood obesity increases
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Climatarian? Regenivore? New diets take aim at climate change

By Jennifer A. Kingson 01/26/23
Move over, locavores: A slew of new labels — from "climavore" to "reducetarian" — reflect the trend of people eating with sustainability in mind to reduce their climate "foodprint."
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Climate impact labels could help promote sustainable food choices: study

By Gianna Melillo 01/04/23
Labels placed on fast food items highlighting their high climate impact may sway consumers to make more sustainable choices, new study results show.
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How Changing Diets Leave Us Exposed to War, Extreme Weather and Market Turbulence

By Bloomberg News 12/22/22
Bagels in New York. Cakes in Beijing. Instant noodles in Jakarta. Daily habits for billions, yet just a generation or so ago Indonesians would have likely reached for a bowl of rice or the Chinese…
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10 Leading Sustainable Food Companies to Support in 2023

By Olivia Lai 12/17/22
Food waste has become one of the biggest environmental issues and contributors to greenhouse gas emissions – food in landfills releases a potent methane gas, and when combined with food production’s intensive water and energy…
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Embrace what may be the most important green technology ever. It could save us all | George Monbiot

By George Monbiot 11/24/22
So what do we do now? After 27 summits and no effective action, it seems that the real purpose was to keep us talking. If governments were serious about preventing climate breakdown, there would have…
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To develop environmentally, economically, and emotionally enhancing agricultural prototypes and facilitate their duplication throughout the world. 


To kick off this eight-week series, we’ll be talking about best practices for minimizing food waste. In the upcoming weeks, you can expect to read about energy saving tips, strategies for reusing common items, how…

Animal Rights

Vegetarianism, Veganism, Pescatarianism, Flexitarianism. Never before have there been so many ways to define how and what we eat. But are these choices simply a matter of personal taste, or do they reflect a broader…

Opinion | Let’s launch a moonshot for meatless meat

I’m a vegan, but I’m also a realist. There’s no chance humanity is going to give up meat, en masse, anytime soon. That said, we can’t just wish away the risks of industrial animal agriculture.…

Land to market adds the good kitchen as member in regenerative agriculture movement

Land to Market, the world’s first verified sourcing solution for regenerative agriculture, is pleased to welcome Charlotte, North Carolina-based, The Good Kitchen, home meal delivery service as a new member of Land to Market. As…

He Wrote a Gardening Column. He Ended Up Documenting Climate Change.

In the summer of 2019, Jeff Lowenfels told me, one of his friends successfully grew okra in Anchorage. Lowenfels could not believe it. The crop was shorthand for all the change he has witnessed since he…

Environmental Impacts of Food Production

Food, energy and water: this is what the United Nations refers to as the ‘nexus’ of sustainable development. As the world’s population has expanded and gotten richer, the demand for all three has seen a…

Food in the Anthropocene: the EAT–Lancet Commission on healthy diets from sustainable food systems

Food systems have the potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability; however, they are currently threatening both.

Food security and nutrition around the world in 2020

Five years into the 2030 Agenda, it is time to assess progress and to question whether continuing efforts implemented thus far will allow countries to reach SDG 2 targets.

Vegetable Gardening For Beginners

Ready to jump into gardening? It can be daunting at first, but gardening is an incredibly rewarding hobby to get into. Our Vegetable Gardening Guide for Beginners will help you to plan and grow your…

Consumer Resources to Support Sustainable Seafood from the Seafood Watch Program at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

What You Can Do: The easiest and most important thing you can do is ask the question: "Do you serve sustainable seafood?" Let your favorite businesses know that ocean-friendly seafood's on your shopping list.

Eating Fish Sustainably

For millions of people globally, eating fish is a key component of a balanced and healthy diet. Because of its growing popularity, the fishing industry has grown significantly over the years. According to the National…

Analysis and valuation of the health and climate change cobenefits of dietary change

The food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions while unhealthy diets and high body weight are among the greatest contributors to premature mortality. Our study provides a comparative…

The Smart Seafood Buying Guide

Five ways to ensure the fish you eat is healthy for you and for the environment.

Humankind – Climate Friendly Food Guide

There’s no getting around it: The foods we eat have a huge environmental impact and they contribute to global warming. That’s why a lot of people who are concerned about recent weather extremes and climate…


Food after oil: how urban farmers are preparing us for a self-sufficient future

By Richard Benson   08/18/19  
Bristol is at the head of a food phenomenon that is helping residents better connect with their cities and each other
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Give Up Your Gas Stove To Save The Planet? Banning Gas Is The Next Climate Push

By Lauren Sommer   08/05/19  
As more cities and states try to cut carbon emissions, some are taking aim at a new target: natural gas inside homes. Buildings, through heating and cooking, use almost a third of the natural gas…
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UNFOLD: Is the Chicken Local?

Imagine you could know exactly where your food comes from, how it was grown, what kind of soil it was grown in and how it was handled and distributed. What if you could find out…
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How to Fight the Climate Crisis at Home: Small Tips for Making Big Change

By Sophie Hirsh   08/01/19  
This article is not just about finding little ways to reduce your impact — rather, it’s about ways to stop climate change from your home.
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Want a cleaner kitchen and a cleaner world? Get a composter for your food scraps

By Julie Compton   07/29/19  
Composting plant-based food waste is an easy way to keep your kitchen smell free while reducing your impact on climate.
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Tackling Food Waste and Climate Change from the Kitchen

By CPINEDA   07/29/19  
Here are some tips for reducing food waste and easing the impact of our food systems on a delicate climate.
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The Most Delicious Foods Will Fall Victim to Climate Change

By Nicholas Thompson   06/13/19  
Amanda Little is the author of the new book The Fate of Food: What We’ll Eat in a Bigger, Hotter, Smarter World. She recently sat down with me at Betaworks to discuss lab-grown meat, GMOs, and why we need…
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History of tomorrow – Seed saving in a changing climate

by Kai Hoffman-Krull   06/01/19  
As global warming brings greater volatility in seasonal weather patterns, agricultural timelines are beginning to shift. We’re seeing dry months when there should be rain, for instance—or flooding when it should be dry. This variability…
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What to Cook in a Changing Climate

By Sam Sifton   05/01/19  
This week, the Food desk of The Times combined forces with colleagues on the Climate desk to find out, and to explore the thorny issues surrounding cooking in a changing climate.
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Our Best Recipes for Climate-Friendly Cooking

By Mark Josephson   04/30/19  
We have vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian options for climate change-conscious cooks.
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Mindful Eating: 15 Eco-Friendly Recipes | Earth Day 2019

By Shahzadi Devje   04/23/19  
If Earth Day is inspiring you to take action to better care for the planet, discover 15 nutritious and mouthwatering recipes that are eco-friendly – to help you practice mindful eating.
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The truth about expired food: how best-before dates create a waste mountain

By Dale Berning Sawa   04/17/19  
What happens if you ignore expiry dates altogether? One man did that for a year, without ill effects – but his approach is debatable
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Chirps Chips, the company that’s introducing Americans to eating crickets

Reporting by Daisy Simmons/ChavoBart Digital Media   04/12/19  
Their cricket-powder chips come in Sriracha, cheddar, and barbecue flavors.
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I Followed the Climate Diet For a Week and Now I’m Afraid We’re Doomed

By Alejandra Borunda   04/11/19  
Eating for a healthy planet isn't hard...if you have plenty of money, plenty of time, and an office fridge that can accommodate a small castle of Tupperware.
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6 Pressing Questions About Beef and Climate Change, Answered

By Richard Waite, Tim Searchinger and Janet Ranganathan   04/08/19  
Beef and climate change are in the news these days, from cows’ alleged high-methane farts (fact check: they’re actually mostly high-methane burps) to comparisons with cars and airplanes (fact check: the world needs to reduce…
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How clean cookstoves can help vulnerable women stay safer

Reporting by ChavoBart Digital Media   01/30/19  
Billions of people around the world cook over open fires or with rudimentary cookstoves. But cutting down trees for fuel is bad for the climate. And breathing smoke can harm people’s lungs and cause other…
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Would eating insects save us from climate change?

By Camellia Williams   01/17/19  
From a climate perspective, eating insects might be better than eating meat, but would you eat them? In the West, eating insects is still seen as a novelty, despite the number of start-ups hoping to tempt us…
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A bit of meat, a lot of veg – the flexitarian diet to feed 10bn

By James Gallagher   01/17/19  
A diet has been developed that promises to save lives, feed 10 billion people and all without causing catastrophic damage to the planet.
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Earth Hour Climate-Friendly Recipes

By WWF   01/05/19  
In support of Earth Hour, celebrity chefs including Raymond Blanc and Hugh-Fearnley Whittingstall have shared some climate-friendly recipes for you to try your hand at!
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9 delicious ways to cut down on food waste

By Amy Gorin, RDN   05/14/18  
Try these creative recipes that put food scraps to work in the kitchen — and lower your grocery bill.
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Fighting Climate Change With Food Scraps: Why Composting Is Easier Than Ever

By Sarah Baird   03/26/18  
No matter where you are in your eco-friendly ascent, there’s room in the mix for composting.
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20 percent of Americans responsible for almost half of US food-related greenhouse gas emissions

To estimate the impact of U.S. dietary choices on greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers built a database that assessed the environmental impacts involved in producing more than 300 types of foods. Then they linked the…
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Preparing our Homestead for Climate Change

By Ashley Adamant   03/16/18  
While climate change forecasts for much of the world predict drought, predictions for Vermont are just the opposite.
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How To Reduce Your Kitchen’s Impact On Global Warming

By Karli Verghese and Stephen Clune   06/29/17  
The food we eat is responsible for almost a third of our global carbon footprint. In research recently published in the Journal of Cleaner Production we ranked fresh foods based on how much greenhouse gas is produced from…
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Fugly Pickles: Reduce Greenhouse Gases with “Perfectly Edible” Discarded Food

By Eden Lew, Jon Lung, Ziyun Qi, Roya Ramezani   01/02/16  
Fugly Pickles is an enterprise created by second-year designers Eden Lew, Jon Lung, Ziyun Qi and Roya Ramezani aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions by removing "perfectly edible" discarded food from landfills—which contribute 16% of U.S.…
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Guide to Urban Homesteading

By Rachel Kaplan   04/01/14  
Learn about urban homesteading skills, such as small-scale composting, urban beekeeping, and how to set up a rainwater catchment system.
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