What is your diet’s carbon footprint?


Climate change is a defining issue of our times. The way that we deal with the warming climate and the increasing occurrence of natural disasters is going to change the way that our future looks forever. Millennials and Generation Z are those most worried about climate change (1), which includes us- we are the ones who are going to have to bear the brunt of decisions taken today. All too often, particularly being too young to vote, we feel that we have no power over what is decided in the Government and that our voices are not heard. This is why many young (and not-so-young) people have started to look for ways that they can change their individual lifestyles to become more environmentally friendly. Cue veganism – hailed as the best impact you can make to reduce your personal carbon footprint.


Animal products create more than half of food emissions, and reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) say that some of the best ways to cut down our carbon footprint is to buy less meat, cheese, milk, and butter (2), as well as buying more locally-sourced food and throwing away less. According to an Oxford study, the “single biggest way” to reduce our carbon footprint is to cut out meat and dairy products – changing your diet to a vegan one can reduce your individual carbon footprint by two thirds (3). However, if you’ve ever wanted to know how specific products affect the environment, then the BBC’s climate change food calculator can help you out.

It’s simple and easy to use – you choose one of the thirty-four food or drinks in the list and select how often you eat it, and the calculator will tell you the following: how many kilograms of emissions your consumption contributes; how many miles you could drive a car with those emissions; how long you could heat the average UK home with them; and how much water (in terms of eight-minute showers) your consumption uses. It’s an amazing free tool that shows us just how much our personal consumption contributes to climate change, and from it, we can learn what foods we should eat more of and what foods we should eat less. Why don’t you give it a try and explore?


The calculator is linked below: 




1.Ballew, Matthew et al. 2019. “Do younger people care more about climate change?” Climate Communication Yale, June 11 2019 

2.Stylianou, Nassos, Clara Guibourg and Helen Briggs. 2019. “Climate change food calculator: what’s your diet’s carbon footprint?” BBC News, August 9 2019. 

3. Ibid.