Climate Change Tip Sheet for September

Climate Change Tip Sheet for September

Most of you are concerned and want to take action but are often somewhat overwhelmed.  We have been asked to provide a series of monthly tips on personal actions that can have an effect.  Obviously not every action will be equally possible for everyone: putting up solar panels is out if you rent or live in a house that is heavily tree-shaded and using public transportation to get to work doesn’t make sense if you work from home.  However we hope to inspire all of you to take the actions that are personally feasible and have an impact.

If you want to get more involved in the fight against climate change and need some help having an impact consider joining the Kirkland Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby. Email us at

Climate Change Tip for September

Eat more plants (and less meat and dairy): Agricultural production of animal based food products accounts for 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions based on the most conservative estimates. According to the Drawdown project, when transportation and food waste is also accounted for this contribution could be as high as 50%.   The Drawdown researchers concluded that conversion to a plant based diet was #4 out of the top 100 actions to reduce global warming with the potential to reduce up to 66 gigatons of CO2 in the  next 30 years compared to business as usual.

Consumption of excess animal products is not just bad for the planet it is bad for your health. The daily protein requirement for healthy adults is about 50g.  The average American and Canadian adult consumes nearly twice that amount.  Epidemiologists have found links between animal protein consumption and heart disease, stroke, cancers (particularly colon and breast), obesity and diabetes.

Not all meat is equal in terms of greenhouse gas emissions.  In fact farming chicken produces less than one third of the emissions per kilogram as beef.  See the chart in the following link for more detail.  Other interesting takeaways from Environmental Working Group research cited below include the relatively high carbon footprint of cheese and farmed salmon and the relatively low footprint of milk and eggs.   For many foods the post farm processing and transportation makes up the largest part of the carbon footprint.

In order to avoid making things too complicated we recommend the following approach to eating for the planet:

1) eat more plants and less meat and dairy
2) particularly reduce consumption of beef and lamb
3) favor whole foods over processed foods
4) favor local grown foods over those transported long distance
5) avoid food waste

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