While most people agree that population growth is closely connected to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHG), which are harmful to the environment, as they lead to global warming, a rare individual believes that he or she can make a difference in the matter. However, contemporary dietary habits have a significant impact on environmental sustainability, as meat production industries are resource-intensive and considerably add the emission of nitrous oxide, carbon dioxide, and methane. Additionally, the transportation and preservation of animal products are connected to plastic industries and refrigeration, which are also immense contributors to GHG discharge.
Livestock is considered to be accountable for almost 18% of GHG emissions, as it requires substantial energy to produce feed and fertilizers, breeding activities, electricity use, and resources to build farms (Lacour et al., 2018). Livestock farming is also closely connected to the loss of biodiversity, as natural ecosystems are destroyed by farms used for grass and feed crops (Lacour et al., 2018). Therefore, a reduction of animal product intake worldwide can sufficiently improve the environmental issue. Food habits of consuming no animal products produce 2.5 times less GHG than diets rich in animal products (8). At the same time, vegetarian and pesco-vegetarian people contribute 46%-54% less GHG than omnivorous men and women (Lacour et al., 2018). Plant-based products require less land to feed the global population. According to Lacour et al. (2018), a 35% reduction in meat consumption can lead to a 24% decrease in diet-related land use. Thus, dietary habits have a significant impact on the ecological state of the Earth.
Purchasing habits also have a tremendous impact on the environment. Mindless consumption of cheap unneeded products leads to increased emission of greenhouse gasses associated with products that could otherwise be avoided. Additionally, transportation of the unneeded product also contributes to the overall greenhouse effect by burning fossil fuel to deliver these products to the stores. The unneeded goods often end up in the trash shortly after purchase, which inevitably leads to problems with garbage utilization. Currently, global society produces 3.5 million tons of waste daily, and the numbers are expected to grow up to 6 million tons a day in 2025 (Winmark, 2019). A considerable part of this waste is associated with mindless small buys people do to please themselves.
Another purchasing problem is closely related to the current trend of online shopping that was facilitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Consumers all over the world often choose overnight or express delivery for their purchases to arrive as soon as possible. This implies that instead of being delivered in bulk, individual purchases are being delivered with the same heavy-duty, diesel-guzzling vehicles, which are typically used to deliver large orders (Winmark, 2019). Such habits significantly add to the problem of GHG emissions. The same should be said about packaging. Every individual order is heavily packaged to avoid damages to the product. This package is thrown away immediately after receiving the order, which adds to the solid waste production.
In summary, if we want to save ourselves from the consequences of global warming and pollution, we need to start changing our everyday habits. First, we need to understand that eating meat every day is not only unnatural but also bad for our health and the environment. Additionally, we should stop mindless purchasing and buy only things we really need. It is always a good idea to repair old devices. Also, if we need something, we should consider visiting a local resale store. Such purchasing and dietary habits will decrease the demands of products that harm the environment, leading to a better future for all of us.
Lacour, C., Seconda, L., Allès, B., Hercberg, S., Langevin, B., Pointereau, P.,… & Kesse-Guyot, E. (2018). Environmental impacts of plant-based diets: How does organic food consumption contribute to environmental sustainability? Frontiers in Nutrition, 5, 8.
Winmark. (2019). How do your shopping habits impact the environment? Web.