The Climate Diet: A guide to living for a greener future

We at The Optimist Daily are big fans of lifestyle changes that contribute towards slashing greenhouse gas emissions and offer a sense of autonomy in creating a greener future. We’ve written at length about the benefits of shifting towards a plant-based lifestyle and reducing personal waste and this Earth Day, we share a book that serves as a complete guide for anyone looking to do a green overhaul of their everyday habits. 

The Climate Diet: 50 Simple Ways to Trim Your Carbon Footprint by Paul Greenberg urges everyone, but particularly Americans, to take a deeper look at their food and where it comes from. On average, Americans emit 16 metric tons of carbon dioxide per person every year, the highest individual footprint of any citizen in the world. Greenberg points out that other countries like England and France have average individual footprints a third of that and rank similarly in terms of quality of life. So how can Americans change their ways?

The book is split up into six categories: Food and drink, making families, staying home, leaving home, saving and spending, and fighting and winning (the fight against climate change). It offers 50 simple switches to quickly green up your life. 

Some switches are common knowledge, like cutting out beef or driving less, but others are more nuanced. Greenberg urges Americans to consider sustainable seafood options like clams and mussels which require no land or fertilizer, so their production emits less CO2 than many plants. It also highlights the benefits of shopping locally and seasonally. 

Outside of food, the book emphasizes how higher-quality clothing, a more efficient home, and less consumption of material goods can drastically reduce household emissions. The book includes some tips you wouldn’t even think of, like opting for more centrally-located family reunions and sustainable pet care. 

Electric vehicles and other green transportation options are of course highlighted, as is reaching out to local and state representatives on climate issues that matter to you. Greenberg writes: “Politicians are much more likely to respond to calls to action that can be accomplished within their given scope of authority and that are relevant to the people who voted them into office.”

At only 135 pages, the book is brief, but it’s an optimal go-to guide for anyone just beginning their sustainable journey and even a seasoned pro.

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