How to reduce your food’s carbon footprint, in 2 charts


“Eat local.” It’s a recommendation you’ve probably heard before. Environmental advocates and even the United Nations have hyped a “locavore” diet as a way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the climate.

The basic idea is that more transportation leads to more emissions, so you want to reduce the distance your food has to travel to get to you. And certainly, if you can eat local, that’s great. But it’s not the most effective way to reduce your food’s carbon footprint.

The website Our World in Data recently explained, with some great charts, why your focus should really be elsewhere.

“Eating locally would only have a significant impact if transport was responsible for a large share of food’s final carbon footprint. For most foods, this is not the case,” writes Hannah Ritchie. “Emissions from transportation make up a very small amount of the emissions from food and what you eat is far more important than where your food traveled from.”

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