Can Your Grocery List be 100% Green? Climate Scientists Expose the Truth.

Can Your Grocery List be 100% Green? Climate Scientists Expose the Truth.

Grocery shopping can be stressful, especially when living a sustainable life. 

You have to find items on your list, which has become more difficult thanks to the global pandemic looming. You have to keep in mind dietary constraints for you & your family, all while staying under budget. For those of us who are consciously living green, choices become more intricate. 

Do you bulk buy for cheaper or stick to the idea of quality over quantity? Should you get chicken, beef, or fish for dinner and which meat will help sustain the rest? And what about packaging? Is everything that’s individually wrapped not eco-friendly?

Then just when you’ve got all that figured out, a whole, new set of classifications are brought into the grocery ring. Things like drinks being “carbon positive” and foods that are considered “certified transitional” sound way too scientific to be of any understandable interest to the average Joe, right?

That’s exactly why those at Huffpost turned to the experts for help.

“We spoke to climate scientists, those who have dedicated their time to tackling the science and studying solutions to the climate crisis, to understand how they think through these decisions ― and what matters to them when grocery shopping.”

Climate concerns when grocery shopping: What’s Climate got to do with it?

In a nut shell: 

  • The global food system is a driver of emissions and pollution at a farming level
    • Things like chemical fertilizers and methane emissions from cows seep into the atmosphere and waterways, ultimately causing deforestation.
  • The climate issue is already affecting how the land is farmed. 
  • The extreme weather patterns has been more frequent and more unpredictable 
    • This means more floods, more heat, and more droughts--all of which put a terrible burden on farming.

Can we create climate conscious grocery shopping habits?

The answers from climate scientists were shockingly similar. Most scientists considered the best way to grocery shop to save the climate was to cut down drastically on meat consumption since meat does emit a lot of CO-2. 

But, meat isn’t the only product with such a big environmental footprint.

For fruits and veggies, these scientists recognize that buying items that have low soil degradation is key. Obviously, there’s no stickers on the outside of products to notify you of soil degradation. How can you know then?

  • Research companies ahead of time and buy local. 
    • Farm stands, farmer markets, and even delivery box options exist that are all up front with their process in planting, cultivating, and picking process.

Once you know ahead of time where to purchase and who to buy from, your shopping list becomes easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. While you’ll probably pay a bit more for these products, most agree that the benefit of helping our Earth outweighs the slight increase in price. 

**Avoid these products when shopping**

  1. Liz Carlisle, assistant professor of environmental studies at UC Santa Barbara, told Huffpost that she tries to “...avoid all ... factory farm animal products. Coronavirus has even more deeply exposed the fact that meatpacking plants and concentrated animal feeding operations are unhealthy by every metric.” 
  • Since it’s extremely unsafe to be working around due to the virus, shoppers are recognizing they should be taking different steps to avoid supporting these working conditions. Right now, it’s unhealthy for the workers, the surrounding communities, and the animals. 
  • Another climate scientist claims that she doesn’t purchase drinks that come in plastic containers (unless they’re biodegradable, of course). Annually, around the world, 20,000 plastic bottles ― made from petroleum ― are purchased every second. Most of which isn’t properly recycled. Instead, our landfills and rivers clog up and then take up to 1,000 years to finally degrade.
  • Final Thoughts

    Can we truly be 100% green when shopping? Ultimately, that depends on us.

    Of course it’s difficult to be 100% green when grocery shopping, but! If these climate scientists can do it, then we can too. Being conscious about what we buy and how it's effecting our community is the most important factor. Yes, there's a learning curve, but who said learning is a bad thing. Knowing where to shop and what brands and stores offer perks to shopping green also plays a key role in encouraging us to make certain switches. Once we've done our research, the rest will fall into place.

    Embrace the learning curve and remember: every step we turn away from hurting our planet is definitely a step closer to helping it. 

    Source: Is Your Grocery List Sustainable? We Asked Climate Experts How They Shop. 

    By Kyla Mandel  Aug 20, 2020

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