Most of us are familiar with climate change and its impacts on our environment, however people are not often aware of the impacts our dietary choices have on the environment. In reality, our diet is a significant contributor to environmental impacts of daily life. It is crucial that we take action to combat climate change and its impacts, and adjusting our diets is one of many steps we can take to save our planet.
What does it mean and what is sustainable consumption and production?
Creating a sustainable planet to live on means meeting our current needs without compromising the needs of future generations. Unsustainable consumption and production are a root cause of climate change, pollution, and loss of biodiversity. The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were formed to improve lives around the world while alleviating the harmful man-made consequences of climate change and implementing preventative measures for climate change in future practices. One of these goals is to ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns which refers to;
“the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations”. (United Nations Environment Programme, Sustainable consumption and production policies)
Australian Sweet Lupins and Our Climate
The Australian sweet lupin, also known as the narrow-leafed lupin, or Lupinus angustifolius, was developed in Australia in the 1960’s with further breeding and adaptation since this development focusing on disease resistance. Lupins have since become an important crop, particularly in Western Australia where Lupinus angustifolius grows well due to its compatibility with our climate and soil. Use of adapted crops, such as the Australian sweet lupin (Lupinus angustifolius), helps in the reduction of negative climate change impacts on agriculture, along with the introduction of crop varieties having a positive impact on biodiversity and ecosystems.
Australian sweet lupins are an extremely water efficient crop which is excellent news for our environment and really solidifies their compatibility with Australia’s climate. Water efficiency is an important consideration for Australian farmers due to the drastic effect of draught and bushfires, not to mention, 60% of the water available for human use is used for irrigated agriculture (14)! Thankfully we have resilient crops like the Australian sweet lupin that can significantly reduce this burden with their impressively low water footprint (7).
So, What can we do about it?
Supporting sustainable consumption and production is not as complicated as you might think! Supporting local farms and businesses by buying locally produced food is one way of becoming a sustainable consumer and protecting our planet (5). This reduces the ‘farm to fork’ steps which, in turn, reduces fossil fuel emissions associated with transport (5). Another action we can take is purchasing our food from producers who support sustainable agriculture and greater levels of biodiversity (5).
Australian sweet lupins are an eco-friendly crop with a low carbon footprint (8), making them an excellent crop to produce for a sustainable future in agriculture. They are an important rotational crop for ecologically balanced agriculture due to their ability to fix nitrogen to our soils (7, 8) and create better growing environments for various crops (7). Rotation crops contribute to soil health by naturally fighting off disease and pest problems (15) and increasing soil fertility (7). This ties in with a concept known as regenerative agriculture which prioritises soil health in order to rehabilitate and enhance ecosystems and manage water and fertiliser use (15). Synthetic nitrogen fertiliser contributes to greenhouse gas emissions during its’ manufacturing process due to the burning of fossil fuels to create the fertiliser, as well as emitting its’ own greenhouse gas in the form of nitrous oxide when used in excess (16). The significant reduction of synthetic nitrogen use associated with lupin agriculture means reducing its’ accompanying environmental costs which is crucial for reducing climate change impacts.
The Lupin Co. Australian sweet lupins are grown and manufactured right here in WA through environmentally conscious farming practices and thrive in our climate and sandy soil, while improving the soil for future crops, so by purchasing their products you’re not only supporting local Aussie farmers, but you’re also supporting sustainable agriculture.
Another aspect that links dietary adjustments to sustainability and climate change is the environmental benefit of adopting a primarily plant-based diet. Comparatively, plant-based diets are more sustainable than diets high in animal products due to reduced impacts on the environment and use of natural resources. Through extensive agricultural practices the Lupin Co. have created a sustainable protein supply that provides major benefits to not only our health but also the planet. The Lupin Co. Australian sweet lupins are naturally high in protein (40% in fact!) and low in carbs, with more protein than quinoa, chickpeas, brown rice, and oats, as well as more iron than kale, broccoli and spinach, they are an excellent plant-based protein to include in any meal.
Becoming a responsible consumer is one simple way we can all support a healthier and more sustainable future. By supporting eco-friendly, Western Australian agriculture, increasing plant-based protein, and consuming foods that are designed for our climate and require minimal water and fertilisers, we are setting ourselves and future generations up for a healthier and more resilient planet for all.