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Today there is a growing awareness that business-as-usual corporate and lifestyle practices jeopardize the health of the planet and the ability of future generations to sustain a good quality of life. Awareness in turn has created a confusing array of sustainability-oriented decisions. The Greenophobe takes a skeptical, practical, informed look at a variety of sustainability topics. Explore a mix of common sense solutions and in-depth discussions that demystify how to live green and live well.

02 January 2010

What's for dinner, lower on the food chain

"The higher your food is on the food chain, the more energy that's required to produce it -- and the more global warming pollution it releases into the atmosphere." Source: NRDC Green Eating Guide
Greening your eating is one of the best ways to achieve significant environmental and economic benefits because it's good for you and good for the Earth.  Short of switching to a diet entirely comprised of algae and rainwater, it's possible to live a healthier, greener life by simply "eating lower on the food chain." This means taking a look at your diet and finding ways to incorporate more things that don't eat other things that require lots of energy to raise and bring to your table.

Before getting into the food chain strategy, check out the massive impact food waste has on the environment. 

If you've done everything you can to limit the amount of food you waste, the NRDC's green eating guide describes some of the logical next steps.

Be prepared: a major theme you will see across nearly all resources pertaining to greening up your eating is limiting consumption of red meat.  Beef production is highly greenhouse gas intensive and consumes vast amounts of petrochemicals and freshwater along the supply chain.

Making the decision to actively substitute grains, vegetables, and some kinds of seafood for a portion of your typical meat-based protein consumption results in less energy usage and lower emissions. 

Specifically when considering seafood choices, it's important to limit intake of overfished species and fish that are known to contain high levels of mercury.  Mercury accumulates in all organisms along a particular food chain, which means that predatory fish including Tuna and Shark can contain elevated levels that are dangerous to humans.

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