In the face of dire reports related to the climate change crisis facing humanity, it’s easy to feel helpless. But we can all take easy steps to make a positive impact right now. By choosing a more plant-centered diet, both the Earth and our health benefit.

The Environmental Working Group’s “Meat Eater’s Guide to Climate Change and Health” is a comprehensive resource that explains the connection between our food choices and greenhouse gas emissions. Its tips for shopping, decoding labels on meat and dairy, and colorful graphics make clear how our choices can contribute to environmental degradation.

“Through their digestive processes, cows, sheep and other ‘ruminant’ livestock release substantial amounts of methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2,” according to the “Meat Eater’s Guide.”

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization estimates that the meat industry generates 15 percent of all manmade greenhouse-gas emissions worldwide. But food scientist Kurt Schmidinger has calculated that eating just one less burger a week would be the equivalent of taking your car off the road for 200 miles!

Learning how to incorporate more plant-based proteins – lentils, beans, tofu, tempeh, etc. – will not only make a positive impact environmentally, it will save you money and likely improve your health.

Mary Ann Larson

Portland