Carbon reduction starts with our diet

Carbon Reduction Starts with Our Diet

Eating well is a blessing. But if our diet has a low carbon footprint, it’s a blessing for the planet too! According to a University of Oxford study released in 2018, food production accounts for a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.1 One might think that this figure has little relevance for a small city like Hong Kong. Yet, a study looked at emissions from actual consumption of different populations found Hong Kong to be the seventh highest emitter per capita among 113 regions.2 Given the destruction caused by frequent extreme climate events, the Hong Kong public must do our part.

As a foodie's paradise, one of the easiest approaches to carbon reduction is the adoption of greener dietary habits. By following the guidelines below for every meal, you can readily help reduce carbon emissions for the planet.

Choose local organic produce

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In Hong Kong, we can easily buy fruits and vegetables from faraway places like South America. But the long distance transportation involves extra processes and preservation procedures, not to mention multiple layers of wrapping, all of which produce significant amounts of additional carbon emissions. Choosing locally produced organic produce not only saves on transportation, organic production methods also benefit the health of the environment, farmers and consumers.
 
If you haven't tried local organic produce, be sure to stay tuned to MSIG's Facebook page. MSIG has partnered with an online farmer's market to not only help everyone learn about biodiversity, sustainable development and organic foods, but also offered related discounts. Hopefully, we can all develop greener eating habits by choosing local organic produce.

Don't think that organic means boring. MSIG has worked with local foodie KOLs to provide regular culinary tips on tasty and nutritious dishes, paired with appetizing images, to help everyone go low carbon and eat healthy.
 

Go for seasonal and fresh

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Even though most fruits and vegetables are available for purchase throughout the year, but out of season produce are either imported from far away or grown in an artificially modified environment -- both involving an increase in carbon footprint. In-season local produce not only comes with less carbon emissions, their tastes are also in peak form. Besides, in-season produce is cheaper due to more plentiful supply, making them an even sweeter choice!

Less meat, more greens -- healthy and low carbon

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Cutting down on meat can help lower blood pressure, thereby reducing the risks of cardiovascular diseases and diabetes. It also benefits the planet. Take beef for example, raising cattle not only requires a constant supply of cattle feed, the cows also emit methane, a key greenhouse gas. The space for cattle farming are often created from deforestation. These factors all harm the planet -- one piece of steak involves the emission of 20 kilos of carbon dioxide.2
 
For a healthy, low carbon diet, we can follow the advice of the Department of Health to limit the daily intake of meat, fish, eggs and other substitutes to no more than 180 grams.3 Another worthwhile consideration is replacing part or all meat intake with plant-based proteins, such as dried beans and tofu.