Food for Thought: Your Diet and the Environment
Learning with Food, Delicious!
Educators everywhere can attest, if a lesson or activity involves snacks, students perk up with excitement. We rely on food to keep our bodies and minds strong and healthy, but not everyone understands where our food comes from. Earth Day Network’s Foodprints for the Future Campaign educates students around the world on where our food comes from and the impacts our food system has on the environment and vulnerable communities.
The environmental and social impacts of the food system are multifaceted. When you combine the emissions from food waste, livestock, deforestation and transportation, the global food system is responsible for a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions. Not only are the emissions fueling climate change, but the system disproportionately neglects low-income communities and developing countries.
As awareness of impacts increases, so does the variety of alternative diet options. Food presents a great opportunity to engage students in important conversations about climate change and environmental justice. Teaching students about the impacts of our food system helps them make more informed choices about their health and the planet’s health.
- Feel free to use any of these ideas in your classrooms, as fundraisers to donate to a local conservation group or to raise money for a new green improvement to your school or organization: Host a Teach-In on the environmental impacts of our food system.
- Host a plant-based cooking class or workshop.
- Install composting receptacles on site for food waste from the cafeteria.
- Have students create a public awareness campaign, design posters or commercials for the morning announcements.
- Coordinate a school-wide assembly on the topic where students can write and perform skits or educational messaging.
- Plant a vegetable garden to use for lessons and snacking!
- Implement Meatless Mondays.
- Offer more plant-based meal options.
- Host a cook-off.
- Teach a healthy eating unit in physical education or health classes.
Cities are uniquely positioned to directly respond to community needs and bring people together.