Many people don’t realize the tremendous impact that agriculture and the production of food have on the environment, or that they can help lessen that impact with their purchasing decisions. Fifty percent of the world’s habitable land is dedicated to agriculture. Agriculture also requires the use of 70% of the world’s freshwater, and food represents a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, agriculture has a major influence on the majority of the 28,000 species of wildlife threatened with extinction. Until relatively recently, most of the earth was wilderness, including grasslands, forests and deserts. Over the last few hundred years, however, as people have turned to agriculture to grow the food necessary to support human life, wild habitats have been replaced by farmland.
Consumers can also make a difference and reduce the environmental impact of the food they consume with their shopping choices. For example, you can walk or bike to the store instead of driving. Buying locally produced food can help you reduce your overall grocery carbon footprint, as can choosing companies that use sustainable packaging. To learn more about what you can do to help protect the environment, check out the accompanying resource.