Eco-Eating for You and the Earth

The production of food for household consumption is a very significant cause of environmental problems, with two main classes of foods—meat and poultry; and fruits, vegetables, and grains—making their way onto the top seven list (see below).

Consumption of these foods is responsible for most water use and contributes heavily to land use and to both common and toxic water pollution. This finding seems to pose an insurmountable difficulty. How can we substantially reduce the amount of food we eat? Although many of us could perhaps benefit from a little dieting, we are not going to suggest that cutting back on your caloric intake is the way to save the environment; do it for your health instead.

Producing food will always be a resource-intensive activity, but its impacts could be reduced considerably. Most of the changes must be systemic ones undertaken by farmers with the assistance and prodding of governments. But individual consumers can help move things in the right direction in two key ways.

1. Eat Less Meat. Our results show that meat production causes more environmental harm than other food production, so it is desirable to try to reduce the amount of meat you eat.

2. Buy Certified Organic Produce. The other strategy for reducing the environmental impacts of your food consumption is to buy certified organic produce.


Number of members in household: 2.7

Hamburger: 3.2 lbs.
Pork: 2.6 lbs.
Poultry: 3.1 lbs.
TOTAL weekly meat consumption: 8.9 lbs.

Fresh Fruit and Melons: 6.5 lbs.
Fresh Vegetables and Potatoes: 13.3 lbs.
Grains and Sweeteners: 17.5 lbs.
Milk and Milk Products: 29.7 lbs.
Seafood: 0.8 lbs.
(Keep in mind that we cannot effectively assess the comparative impacts of eating seafood.)

Adapted from The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices,by Michael Brower, Ph.D. and Warren Leon, Ph.D.. Copyright (c)1999 the Union of Concerned Scientists. Reprinted by permission of Three Rivers Press.
Adapted from The Consumer's Guide to Effective Environmental Choices,by Michael Brower, Ph.D. and Warren Leon, Ph.D.


Dan B.
Dan Brook4 years ago


J.L. A.
JL A.4 years ago

good reminders

Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago


Jennifer C.
Past Member 4 years ago


Dale Overall

Eating a balanced diet, preferably with no toxins such as pesticides/non GMO fruit and veggies, avoiding highly refined foods is always healthy. One does not require meat every day. Meat from free range farms is far superior to factory farmed meat/poultry. No toxins! Smaller portions are a good idea, one really just needs a portion the size of a deck of cards.

There is an infinite variety of foods available and home gardening is delightful especially since you have control and can avoid using chemicals. Even if one only has a small balcony one can use large pots for herbs, veggies and flowers.

Kim Stueck
Kim Stueck4 years ago

Thank you

Glenn A.
Glenn A.4 years ago

I don' know a lot about the 2 different diabetes', but a friend of mine is type 1, the insulin dependant type, and he said, that for YEARS, he was afraid to eat a whole bunch of healthy things like fruits and sweet veggies, like beets and carrots etc, until he long as I know what I am eating, and know the Glycemic index of these things, I eat whatever I want now, just not in HUGE portions, and then figure out the right amount of insulins to use (combo of slow and fast) to make up for it...I don't know if this is considered dangerous or not, but he is 51, eats a well varied diet of EVERYTHING..even ice-cream etc, and seems healthy as heck to me..He is a commercial scuba diver,carpenter,and races cars too...I would talk to a doctor before trying his way I am sure, but he seems to feel he has it under control..

Glenn A.
Glenn A.4 years ago

Bob...Kudos, well done...just goes to show that as you said..with a bot of homework and perseverance, even a sailor that spent years on a ship CAN learn to grow food...anyone who has the room to have a veggie garden, and doesn't, should take inspiration from your story. tear up some of that pretty lawn an put in some organic food...

Kacey D.
Kacey D.4 years ago

I love vegetables, this reminds me, I need to start planning my organic garden soon.

Rudy Reteig
Rudy Reteig4 years ago

Worthwhile reading. With all the healthy fruits and veggies, who is missing the meat. Ok not necessary to skip all the meat, but eat much less than the average, it is good for you and it is good for the environment.