I always try to buy food with the environment in mind. Our household is full of organic milk and cheese, tofu and lentil-based vegetarian foods - although my meat-eating husband tolerates this quite begrudgingly! I always wonder if everybody ate like I do, would it actually make for a more sustainable society? Or would it just shift the ecological pressure over to grains and crop agriculture?
An article on The Ecologist website has stuck with me over the weekend and so I wanted to share it. It focuses on greenhouse gas emissions (from the fertilisers used to produce the food down to the production of the final product) and the biggest culprits. Unsurprisngly on the list were animal products such as beef and lamb, due to their high production of methane whilst being raised, fed, sometimes bred and finally slaughtered. I was astonished, however, that lamb produced 50% more emissions than beef, as the general public view is that it is beef and pork that are high methane producers, and as the animals are also larger in size, I always presumed more waste would be produced and more energy put into their upkeeping, resulting in higher emissions. But, turning the tables, lamb produces less meat in relation to live weight. Cheese was another eco-devil (the process to make it is lengthy and utilises a lot of milk), along with salmon.
'Green' foods were found to be lentils, rice and tomatoes, but I was rather disappointed with the lack of recommendations on how to change our eating habits based on the research. Research should not only be done to criticise, but to recommend and bring rise to positive change.
The full story can be found here: http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_analysis/986252/lamb_beef_and_cheese_have_largest_food_footprint.html