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The Diet-Climate Connection on WGBH

Did you know that it takes 16 pounds of grain and soy to create one pound of beef? Or that 39.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents are emitted into the atmosphere for every kilogram of lamb that is consumed? Compare that figure to the 0.9 kilograms emitted for every kilogram of lentils that is consumed. Put plainly, the foods that we eat affect the environment. Agriculture a large emitter of the greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change, and some foods are much larger contributors than others. According to the Environmental Working Group, “if everyone in the United States ate no meat or cheese one day a week, it would be the same as not driving 91 billion miles or taking 7.6 million cars off the road.

WGBH's radio documentary series “The Diet-Climate Connection” examines the environmental and health impacts of food production from many different perspectives, from university students and food service providers to community gardeners and young children. At Carleton College in Northfield, Minn., food service provider Bon Appetit is hard at work reducing pre-consumer waste by cooking in smaller batches and composting kitchen scraps. At the same time, students at Carleton are working with a non-profit called the Real Food Challenge to pressure their dining halls to purchase 20% of their food from local sources by 2020. Across the country in the Dorchester neighborhood of Boston, Mass., students at Codman Academy Public Charter School are required to pass the “Save Your Life Nutrition Competency Exam” in order to graduate from high school. Codman Academy has banned junk food on its campus, revamped their cafeterias to serve healthier meals, and teaches students from a young age about the basics of nutrition and the health consequences of poor nutrition.

The Diet-Climate Connection explores the environmental impacts of food production and the association between climate-friendly foods and healthy foods through people and communities around the country. Whether you are a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore, this series will certainly offer you new facts, perspectives, and insights into what you eat and why. Check out the radio segments and other resources online at

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