You know certain foods are bad for your body, but what about the ones that are bad for Mother Earth? Unfortunately, many of our mealtime favorites aren’t so kind to the planet. They might require lots of water to produce, create greenhouse gas emissions, generate lots of waste, or contribute to deforestation, among other problems.
If you’re concerned about how your actions affect the world around you and are looking for ways to protect the planet, removing certain items from your grocery list could be the first place to start. Unfortunately, these decisions aren’t always easy. Take the 2015 study that declared eating more vegetables — which seems like a healthy and environmentally sustainable choice — could actually lead to more greenhouse gas emissions because they require a lot of energy and water to produce.
“There’s a complex relationship between diet and the environment,” said Michelle Tom, one of the study’s authors. “What is good for us health-wise isn’t always what’s best for the environment.”
Declaring a food “bad” or “good” for the environment is a lot more complicated than it might seem. Some producers make an effort to be environmentally responsible, while others don’t. Sometimes it depends less on the food and more on how or where it’s grown. After all, there’s a difference between an organically farmed tomato in your Community Supported Agriculture box and one that’s been industrially grown and shipped from overseas.
Still, if you’re worried about the planet’s health, you need to start somewhere. You can begin by giving up, cutting back on, or looking for more eco-friendly versions of these nine foods, which environmentalists say might be causing a lot of damage to our planet.