Adiel Chrissetia
Published : 20 july 2022

Does it ever cross your mind if the food that we eat every day has a significant impact on climate change? Imagine yourself eating a hamburger and without even realising it, it causes harm to the environment. We tend to think climate change is mainly caused by large scale human activities such as energy production, industrial, construction projects etc. Hence, how is food related to climate change? The food that we consume needs to be grown, processed, stored, distributed, and disposed of. Each stage of the food system produces Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and contributes to land degradation, loss of water and food waste. This is because there is a significant link in the food systems that cause the environmental impact. It is stated in Crippa, M. et al (2021) research paper that the food system is responsible for a third of global GHG emissions.

GHG emissions are the cause of climate change. Realise it or not, our food consumption produces emissions. And the growing population as well as food production demand will generate increasing amounts of GHG emissions such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These three main gasses are produced during food production. And GHG emissions produced in the food system is not only from our food waste but it’s more than that. The source of emissions in the food systems comes from agricultural sectors such as cultivation of rice and crops, livestock manure, land use and water use for farming and harvesting, and the use of fertilisers until the retail distribution of the food products related to emission from transport.

To discuss emissions of GHGs from animal products, carbon dioxide accounts for roughly half of food-related emissions, while methane (CH4) makes up 35% and mainly from livestock production, farming, and waste treatment, according to the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organisation. Many articles discuss that beef products share the highest number of GHG emissions compared to the other types of food products. Cow is classified as a ruminant animal. It releases the CH4 through their digestive system that contains a process of enteric fermentation in rumen and other share comes from manure management. Besides, the production of carbon dioxide (CO2) comes from the energy used for dairy production and also the use of nitrogen fertiliser for animal feeding releases nitrous oxide (N2O) into the atmosphere. The other environmental impact on food production can be seen through loss of land where industrial agriculture damages the topsoil and the degradation caused by land clearing. Food that we grow comes from soil. So, it is a basic entity for humans. The fact is up to 40% of land has been degraded. Also, we are losing topsoil because of the adaptation of industrial agriculture. The loss of water is also part of the negative environmental impact on food production. Thousands of liters of water required for the food production. Based on data, it shows that the food system is responsible for 70% of freshwater use.

Due to the significant link in terms of the food systems, paying attention to our diet is valuable. It is not only about the way we consume but also what we consume. From the explanation above, GoSustainable launched the Climatarian Movement on 15th July 2022. So, what is climatarian? Although climatarian has not yet been recognized widely, it has been used as a diet or a food choice by some limited organisations and individuals. Based on google search results, climatarian is more commonly used for swapping beef or lamb/ pork or poultry to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Basically, climatarian is known as a diet that causes less environmental impact. It is also a plant-based diet. However, changing our diet to plant-based does not guarantee, we also need to consider where we get our food from, due to the emissions released during the food distribution. Through the Climatarian Movement that you can visit on , we are reaching out to the restaurants to join the movement and explore their creativity to create a climatarian dish.

In conclusion, changing diet to Climatarian is a simple way to gain awareness not only in reducing GHG emissions. With the Climatarian diet, we also save the planet for future generations by preserving the soil and water.