Go to the main content Menu
Back
Food & Drink
Chelsea Wilkins Chelsea Wilkins

Earth Day 2020: 9 Ways to Save the Planet with the Food on Your Plate

In honor of Earth Day, we put together some simple ways you can make a positive impact on the planet, and it all begins with the food on your plate! From reducing greenhouse gases and deforestation to protecting our topsoil and eliminating pollution, these tips will have you feeling great about eating great.

Here are 9 things you can do to go gently on Mother Earth.

Eat More Plants!

Luckily, in 2020, it has never been easier to adopt a plant-based diet, and research shows that eating more plants reduces greenhouse gas footprints by 70%! Even better, the foods that are good for the planet happen to be great for your health as well, as countless studies have shown that a well-rounded plant-based diet lowers rates of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, and increases longevity, meaning not only are you more likely to live longer, but you’re healthier as well.

Choose Whole Foods

We know (and love) that almost every animal product has a vegan replacement on the shelf. While we love indulging in those vegan burgers and ice creams on occasion, sticking to plant foods in their whole form means less processing (and therefore fewer emissions) and less packaging that needs to be recycled, composted, or thrown in the trash. A whole food plant-based diet—including fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, and nuts and seeds—also means reduced sugars, oils, and other additives, and it happens to be cheaper too!

Shop Farmers Markets

This tip checks a lot of boxes. For starters, choosing a local farmers market rather than a mega-grocery means food will be fresher due to shorter travel distances, which also means fewer emissions. Shopping locally also involves less packaging—bring your reusable bags as always, and ask if your produce can come with you sans plastic. Supporting your local farmers not only improves your local economy, but it can be a great way of knowing where your food comes from and increasing the nutrient density of your food. Honestly, what’s not to love here?

Cut Food Waste

Nearly one-third of all food produced in the world goes to waste each year. Not only does that uneaten food use unnecessary resources (seeds, water, energy, land, fertilizer, money, and human labor), but it also creates large amounts of greenhouse gases. Before shopping, make sure to use what food you have, and stick to buying only what you need. Avoid over serving food at meals, and save or freeze leftovers rather than throwing away extra food. Repurpose waste where possible, either by composting yourself or using veggie scraps to make a yummy broth for future recipes. Opt for staple foods that come in glass jars or (BPA-free) aluminum cans, and always say no to single-use plastic. When traveling, or if you’re just out and about, make it a habit to bring along a zero-waste kit that includes a cup/mug, reusable straw, and cutlery!

Buy Produce in Season

While it’s tempting to buy strawberries in the dead of winter, opting for seasonal produce is an easy way to help the planet! When we buy produce that’s in season, we decrease the amount of fossil fuels used in transporting those fruits and veggies. It’s also cheaper and reduces our reliance on pesticides and chemicals, which are used to grow produce out of season and are necessary to make the produce last longer for transport.

Need another reason to get on board? In season produce is more nutritious (and tasty) for you and your family. Food shipped long distances is picked early to survive the longer transit times, so the produce has not yet reached its full nutritional maturity. Do some research to find out what’s in season in your area, and pick your favorites.

Support Regenerative Agriculture

Standard conventional agricultural practices deplete soil, and the process makes farmers and land reliant on chemicals, fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides. Regenerative farming, on the other hand, eliminates tillage of the soil, increases the planting of cover crops, utilizes planned grazing, and eliminates the use of chemicals, resulting in healthier land and more nutrient dense produce. Sounds good to us!

Eat Organic

While the USDA Organic label is far from perfect, organic agricultural practices involve organic fertilizer, some soil-building practices like crop rotation, and a large reduction in groundwater pollution. Organic produce also uses no synthetic herbicides, pesticides, or fertilizers, and has been linked to a reduction in cancer risk. For a list of produce that has fewer pesticides than others, check out the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 Lists published each year by the Environmental Working Group.

Choose Fairtrade

When shopping fairtrade, you’re not only supporting more ethical systems, but more environmentally friendly ones too! Fairtrade standards also can cover greenhouse gas and energy reduction, water and soil health, protection of biodiversity, and the prohibiting of genetically modified crops, as well as harmful chemicals. Keep an eye out for the fairtrade symbol on food products such as avocados, bananas, chocolate, and coffee.

Say No to Palm Oil

Palm oil is a vegetable oil made from the fruit of the African oil palm tree and is in about 50% of household items, ranging from food items like peanut butter and cookies, to cosmetics, shampoo, and detergent. Responsible for deforestation and the destruction of habitats and biodiversity, it also poses a threat to endangered species such as orangutans. Identify palm oil in the products you have and keep an eye out when shopping for new products, so you can bypass it altogether!

If you can implement even a few of the practices above, you will be on your way to living a life that is not only healthier for your body, but better for the planet as well!

 

RELATED: 5 Comfy Sustainable Activewear Brands We Love


Want even more vegan news, food, and lifestyle content? Subscribe to VegOut LA Magazine or VegOut NYC Magazine!

Chelsea Wilkins

@chelsea__wilkins

Chelsea is an attorney and Virginia native who spent two years living and working in Los Angeles. Passionate about climate change, energy policy, and food systems, she is currently completing a Master of Laws in Energy and Natural Resources Law at Queen Mary University in London. She discusses these topics and more in her newsletter, found at nettingzero.earth. Chelsea enjoys cooking, camping, hiking, and photography and has traveled to nineteen countries, seeking out the best vegan food she can find along the way.

Articles by Chelsea

More from VegOut

See the article falafel chain serving $3 pita sandwiches opens los angeles location

Falafel Chain Serving $3 Pita Sandwiches Opens Los Angeles Location

The for-good, for-profit restaurant serves affordable vegan options and donates a portion of its proceeds to refugees.

Allie Mitchell
Falafel Inc.
News Los Angeles
See the article vegan events happening this summer, fall, and winter in nyc

Vegan Events Happening This Summer, Fall, and Winter in NYC

Celebrate all things vegan at these festivals and pop-up events taking place across NYC and the tri-state area!

Kayla Pasko
Vegandale
Things To Do
See the article the best vegan store brand products at walmart

The Best Vegan Store Brand Products at Walmart

Check out our list of plant-based grocery products from Walmart’s store brand lines.

Anja Grommons Anja Grommons
Walmart
Food & Drink
See the article vegan restaurant chain by chloe rebrands as beatnic

Vegan Restaurant Chain By Chloe Rebrands as Beatnic

The vegan fast-casual restaurant is undergoing a makeover!

Allie Mitchell
Beatnic
News
See the article 10 must-try vegan food trucks in austin

10 Must-Try Vegan Food Trucks in Austin

Take a tasty tour of Austin, Texas with the help of these restaurants on wheels.

Tammie Ortlieb Tammie Ortlieb
Arlo's Curbside
Food & Drink
See the article the best places to eat vegan in the south bay

The Best Places to Eat Vegan in the South Bay

If you’re heading to Manhattan, Hermosa, or Redondo Beach, there is no shortage of vegan options. From upscale vegan Italian to Asian fusion to a fully vegan organic market with perhaps the best vegan BLTA you will ever have, there’s something for everyone. Here are the best places to eat vegan in the South Bay!

Natalie Mayer Natalie Mayer
Food & Drink Los Angeles
See the article chef mark mckinney is opening a vegan restaurant in philadelphia this fall

Chef Mark McKinney Is Opening a Vegan Restaurant in Philadelphia This Fall

This vegan chef is transforming his original pop-up into a restaurant concept in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania!

Kayla Pasko
Primary Plant Based
News
See the article vegout’s los angeles vegan gift guide

VegOut’s Los Angeles Vegan Gift Guide

Gift giving is a tradition as old as time, but not too long ago collective sighs could be heard across the world when it came time to buy thoughtful presents for vegans. Now, plant-based gift shopping is anything but boring and the furthest thing from difficult! Our Los Angeles vegan gift guide has you covered with everything from hand-poured candles and toxin-free spas to French-style pastries and some of the best chocolate you’ve ever had!

Jared Cross Jared Cross
NoHo Candle Co.
Shopping Los Angeles
See the article peet’s coffee now serves a limited-edition vegan cold brew oat latte

Peet’s Coffee Now Serves a Limited-Edition Vegan Cold Brew Oat Latte

The fan-favorite coffee chain is back at it with the vegan options!

Allie Mitchell
Peet's
News
See the article 10 vegan skincare brands we love

10 Vegan Skincare Brands We Love

It’s time to cue up the messy bun and wash away the troubles of the day with these cruelty-free, vegan skincare brands.

Tammie Ortlieb Tammie Ortlieb
OSEA
Fashion & Beauty
See the article crocs plans to go 100% vegan by the end of 2021

Crocs Plans to Go 100% Vegan by the End of 2021

The wickedly popular shoe brand is putting its kicks into four-wheel drive with its latest sustainability efforts!

Allie Mitchell
Crocs
News
See the article jessica biel just launched a vegan wellness brand for kids

Jessica Biel Just Launched a Vegan Wellness Brand for Kids

The actress and mother of two has created a company that makes natural, vegan products for families and also gives back to the planet.

Kayla Pasko
Kinderfarms
News

Newsletter

We’ll keep you updated on new information,
upcoming events, and the best deals in your area.

By signing up you agree to receive emails from VegOut Magazine
and accept our terms of use, privacy policy, and cookie policy.

Subscribe Now

Get the premier vegan food and lifestyle magazine delivered to your door (or inbox!)
Order the magazine!
Awards Issue
The Wellness Issue
The Holiday Issue 2020

Navigation

Awards Issue

Subscribe Now

Order the magazine!
Close

Filters

Cities

The Most

Writer