Have you successfully made it through the first month of your New Year’s resolution? By the second week of February, nearly 80 percent of resoluntioners that vow to “Eat Healthier and Diet” and “Lose Weight and Get Fit”, have given up. So why can’t people keep their New Year’s Resolutions? We don’t know; we aren’t psychologists! But our instincts tell us that it’s partially because people do not know where to start or how to sustain them.
This year, Sustainable Cleveland’s resolution was to not only eat a more climate-friendly diet, but also help you do the same. Sustainable Cleveland’s Guide to a Climate-Friendly Diet provides four steps to lead you in the right direction: (1) eat local and sustainable; (2) eat in season; (3) eat more whole foods (i.e. fresh produce and whole grains); and (4) eat less dairy and meat.
Food high on the food chain or food that undergoes extensive processing tends to require more energy and have a high carbon footprint, considering pesticides, water consumption, and land use that must be accounted for when consuming meat. Not a vegetarian or vegan? Don’t worry! You may not have to give up that beef jerky-loving habit to make an impact. Cutting out meat, fish, and eggs from your diet just one day a week can reduce your carbon emissions by 3 tons of CO2 per year compared to the average American diet. This number is equivalent to 306 gallons of gasoline saved each year! For someone that eats meat every day, partaking in the Meatless Monday movement is a great start to a climate-friendly diet.
For a more in-depth guide, Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition’s Community Food Guide provides tips that will save you time and money when grocery shopping for a climate-friendly diet. This guide includes a meal plan chart, recipes, information on seasonal Ohio-grown produce, a directory of Cuyahoga County farmers’ market and CSA (community sourced agriculture) locations, and how to properly store produce to avoid spoilage.
After you check out the Guide to a Climate-Friendly Diet and the Community Food Guide, we encourage you to start this sustainable and attainable New Year’s resolution with us. By following a climate-friendly diet, you’ll not only lead a healthy lifestyle, but also protect the environment along the way. Be sure to let us know how it’s going by commenting below.
Want to learn more?
Check out this study that analyzes how much land is needed to feed people under ten different diets. (Spoiler Alert: lacto-vegetarianism wins for most sustainable diet).
Check out Dan Buettner’s TED Talk, How to live to be 100+.
Check out TIME magazine’s 33 Ways to Eat Environmentally Friendly.