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snow of tomorrow

Snow of Tomorrow | Why climate protection starts on your plate

Save CO2 at breakfast

by Lisa Amenda 12/21/2020
Climate protection doesn't just mean driving less and consuming more sustainably. Climate protection often starts with breakfast and goes far beyond dinner. But are vegans the better climate protectors? And why shouldn't we neglect the soil?

I probably have to admit to myself at this point that I have long neglected an important aspect of climate protection: my food. I wouldn't say that I ate poorly or only bought the cheapest of the cheap. But I also simply didn't pay consistent attention to organic food. At some point that changed. There was no particular trigger. One of my old landlords, I was living on a farm in the middle of the Blue Land near Murnau at the time, told me when I moved out to only buy organic, especially when it came to onions and potatoes. "Everything else is contaminated with pesticides, I don't want that on my plate," he told me as I got into the car. Contaminated with pesticides?

I started to do some research. Pesticides. You know, the chemicals that keep insects away from plants to protect the harvest. However, the fact that they also drive insect mortality and are therefore not only bad for nature and the environment, but also bad for us, is often not considered. The fact that I became a vegetarian only came later. Mainly because I don't want animals to die for my food. And I know that someone might come along and say that I still eat cheese and therefore support the dairy industry, i.e. the slaughter of calves. That's true and yes, at the very moment I'm writing this, I want to give up the cheese in my fridge. Forever. But as humans, not everything is so easy for us and, like almost everywhere else, we have to come to terms with the middle ground. As you can see, this topic is actually bigger than a short online article. That's why I want to focus on the most important things and show you in five points why climate protection starts on your plate:

Organic food is the real climate protector

Agriculture is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. In Germany, for example, this amounted to a total of 65.2 million tons of CO2 in 2016 - or 7.2% of all CO2 emissions in Germany. If you add the production of fertilizer, diesel consumption for vehicles and machinery as well as humus extraction and the drainage of fens, the proportion rises to 13% of greenhouse gas emissions. However, various studies show that organic farming is more climate-friendly than conventional farming. The reasons are: The production of fertilizers is very energy-intensive and their use releases nitrous oxide. Organic farms do not use these substances. In addition, fewer animals are kept per hectare in organic farming and the feed for the animals does not come from overseas, but is produced regionally. This means that more grassland remains instead of arable land. Grassland can store more carbon due to its higher humus content. As humus contains many organic carbon compounds, it is also known as a carbon sink.

Bio saves insects = nature

A study from Krefeld showed in 2017: 75 percent of insects have disappeared in the last 30 years. And thus 75 percent of the food for birds, amphibians, bats, etc. In addition, we and the plants that provide our food are also dependent on these insects. The reasons for this are: a lack of habitats for insects due to land sealing, inhospitable private gardens (e.g. rock gardens) and monocultures as well as the use of pesticides. Around 30 percent of insect deaths are attributed to agriculture through the use of chemical pesticides such as glyphosate. We need these pesticides in conventional agriculture because they keep plants in monocultures healthy and protect against crop failure. However, organic farming does not use these pesticides. So when we actively choose food from organic farming, we are protecting the climate and nature.

Plant-based foods rock - but fresh, please

Don't worry, we don't have to go completely vegan. But plant-based foods are not only good for our health, they are also really good for the climate. According to Ökotest, the biggest climate killers are all animal-based foods. Especially butter. It takes 18 liters of milk to produce one kilogram of butter. And a lot of milk requires a lot of cows. And cows produce a lot of methane, which has 23 times more impact on the climate than carbon dioxide. Beef, cheese and cream are in second and third place. You don't have to go completely vegan, but it usually helps to reduce meat consumption and the consumption of animal products. For example, if all Germans theoretically ate 300 to 600 grams of meat per week, as recommended by the German Nutrition Society, our diet-related greenhouse gas emissions would already fall by around nine percent. In the flash calculator, you can work out how much you would save in emissions and water and how many animals you could save if you went vegetarian or vegan, for example. However, you shouldn't go wild with plant-based substitutes. Fresh, natural and unprocessed foods are still the most climate-friendly.

Regional and seasonal are king and queen

Somehow we have become accustomed to the fact that all food is always available. Strawberries in winter are probably the most popular example. But have you ever wondered whether this is even necessary? I have. And that's why I've had an eco box subscription for years, which delivers seasonal and regional fruit and vegetables to me once a week. And yes, I'm not a fan of parsnips and I can't stand cabbage or beet in winter. But I still think that these fruit and vegetables taste so much better and make me more creative in the kitchen. It also helps us to support local agriculture. Regional is a broad term, but it's still better to buy potatoes from Germany than from Egypt, for example, where they use a lot of water that isn't available there. Seasonal fruit and vegetables also save energy. This is because the food does not have to be transported far and no energy is used to heat greenhouses.

Healthy climate = healthy soil

According to the Federal Environment Agency, one teaspoon of healthy soil contains more organisms than there are people living on Earth. However, 45 percent of soils in Europe have lost a significant amount of organic matter, i.e. humus and soil organisms, due to intensive agricultural use. They are burnt out. Burn out. Through too much stress that we have put on them through our intensive use. Yet soils are so important. As described above, they are important carbon sinks. If they are out of balance, they can no longer do their job as such. It is therefore important to buy food from farmers who also strive to maintain soil health. One keyword here is regenerative organic farming. This approach rejects pesticides and artificial fertilizers and also focuses on the regeneration of the soil and thus biodiversity. This is achieved through evergreen fields. There are no fallow fields. More and more small organizations are springing up. One positive example is the Kaindorf ecoregion in Austria. Many small solidarity farms are tackling the issue, perhaps there is one in your region that you can support.


Eating a climate-friendly diet is not rocket science, but at the moment it means a little extra effort for the food on your plate. But if we can do this, we can contribute to a long-term change in agriculture and thus also to a reduction in our greenhouse gas emissions. And thus to the protection and preservation of winter!

This article has been automatically translated by DeepL with subsequent editing. If you notice any spelling or grammatical errors or if the translation has lost its meaning, please write an e-mail to the editors.

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