What we eat and how we produce our food are inextricably linked to the climate crisis.
Science makes it clear that to avert the worst impacts of climate change, we must address the greenhouse gas emissions from the food and agriculture sectors. This includes capturing and storing carbon in soils, wasting less food, phasing out agricultural chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers, and reducing meat consumption from confined factory farms. With so many crises unfolding on our planet—pandemics, loss of biodiversity, hunger, and poverty—our food system must shift toward practices that increase health, sustainability, equity and resiliency.
Farmers and agricultural communities are on the frontlines of climate change. They are among the first to feel the economic and health impacts of hotter temperatures as well as more frequent and intense droughts and precipitation. These climate challenges mean more variability and an overall decline in crop yields, threatening both farmer livelihoods and our overall food security.
At the same time, changing farming practices, shifting away from a meat-intensive diet, and reducing waste along the food chain could result in considerable climate change benefits. Our current agricultural system accounts for approximately a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions. Producing the animals we eat creates nearly 15 percent of global emissions—if food waste were a country, it would be the third largest greenhouse gas emitter behind China and the United States.
NRDC is pushing for smarter policies and working with partners across the food and agricultural sectors to create a healthier, less wasteful, and more equitable and sustainable food system—one that can provide better food security for all communities; support farmers, food workers, and rural economies; and help solve climate change.
What We're Doing
More plants and less red meat for healthier people and planet.
The certified “organic” label provides the best assurance we have today that our food was produced without dangerous synthetic pesticides.
What we eat plays a big role in the fight against climate change. Eating more plants and wasting less good food are vital places to start.
A resource that is right beneath our feet can help us fight climate change, while cleaning up our water, increasing biodiversity, and creating healthy food in the process.
The most common and effective strategy for farmers adapting to climate change is improving soil health.
Everyone, from governments and large food companies to ordinary people, has the power to make a difference in the fight against climate change by changing the way we grow our food and changing what we eat.
As long droughts become more and more common, we're pushing farmers to embrace sustainable practices that increase soil health and use water more efficiently.
The IPCC lands report makes clear that the food system is a significant driver of climate change, but that it can also be a vital part of the solution.
As higher temperatures head north, the Great Plains’ grasslands are in for a transformation.
Solar farmers get a hand from regenerative agriculture experts to feed the soil under their arrays—another powerful tool to help fight climate change.
Carbon farming, an agricultural movement taking root in Northern California, aims to improve the soil and help stabilize the climate.
What You Can Do
Composting Is Way Easier Than You Think
With minimal effort, you can turn those banana peels and apple cores into gold. Let us break it down.