Juneau Commission on Sustainability



Reduce Climate Impact

What you choose to eat every day affects the climate.  What we eat and how our food is produced, packaged, shipped and disposed accounts for at least 13 percent of human-caused carbon emissions in the United States.

The production of certain types of food creates more carbon emissions than others. For example, on a per-calorie basis, the production of red meat creates significantly more carbon emissions than the production of cereals and grains.

Tips for reducing your impacts

  • Eat primarily fruits, vegetables and grains.
  • Go meatless once a week:  see Meatless Monday for resources, recipes and reasoning.
  • Purchase food that is minimally processed and packaged.
  • Plan your meals and eat reasonably-sized portions.  See Wasted Food – An insightful blog with information and action steps for reducing your food waste.
  • Get Dirty in the Garden.  Grow and harvest your own food.   (see Section I).
  • Compost your food waste.  See Metro: Guide to Effective Composting to learn how you can save money and reduce waste by composting certain food scraps and yard waste.

These Actions will help you:

  • Support a strong local economy. Buying local food supports the regional economy. It’s estimated that for every $100 spent at a farmers market, $62 is re-spent locally.
  • Cut calories. A plant-based diet is rich in fiber and you’ll feel full with fewer calories, resulting in lower calorie intake and less overeating. On average, Americans get less than half the recommended daily quantity of fiber.
  • Prevent disease. Eating more fruits and vegetables and limiting meat consumption may lessen your risk of chronic preventable conditions like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
  • Protect ocean life. Use of chemical fertilizers is considered the major human-related cause of dead zones in our waters, oxygen-starved ocean areas that are devoid of all marine life.
  • Reduce your impact on climate change. Food and other organic matter that end up in the landfill produce methane gas, 23 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

For more information:

  • The Gardener’s Guide to Global Warming (2007)
  • This brief guide shows how gardeners can help mitigate the effects of and adapt to climate change in their own backyards and communities. Suggested activities include incorporating native plants into gardens, developing rain gardens, and planting roof gardens. Learn more…