What Is the “Climatarian Diet”?

According to Climatarian.com, the food we eat is responsible for 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions. The climatarian diet is a “climate-friendly diet” that encourages people to make their food choices based on environmental impact or carbon footprint. For instance, Climates Network CIC recommends opting for chicken instead of beef because cows emit more methane and require more land.

The climatarian diet focuses heavily on reducing environmental impact through reducing intake of animal products and opting for a more plant-based eating pattern. It promotes veganism, vegetarianism and pescatarianism as more sustainable ways of eating.

For people who eat animal products, the climatarian diet encourages choosing pork, poultry, sustainable fish such as blue crab, dairy products and eggs over beef, lamb, goat and unsustainable fish such as swordfish, which are commonly overfished, as a means to reduce food emissions. According to Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, beef accounts for 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States and producing one pound of lamb creates five times more greenhouse gas emissions than producing a pound of chicken.

In addition to choosing more plant-based foods, proponents of the climatarian diet urge people to eat locally grown and seasonal fruits and vegetables. Other food-related methods of reducing environmental impact promoted by the climatarian diet are avoiding air-flown food, food grown in heated greenhouses, highly packaged foods or disposables and limiting food waste. Composting is suggested.

In summary, the climatarian diet is not a strict set of rules or “forbidden” foods but more of an appeal by members of a global social network for people to consider the environmental impact of their food choices and adjust wherever possible.