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Sarah Bridle Food climate change without hot air book review

Although Sarah is a scientist, she wrote this book about education and carbon footprint emissions from food, for everyday people (mainly in a UK context). The language is not complex scientific data but instead uses simply explained examples, at times in amusing language, that is easily digested by any reader. Also, if you wish to check where she is getting the data from, you can easily refer to the detailed footnotes next to the text.

She starts with a brief introduction about global emissions including other major sources, such as travel for instance. Her aim is to compare food emissions versus the rest of the global emissions and where food in itself comes in the ranking. The overall numbers are there to give you an insight into what percentage, in comparison to the rest of the emissions, food on its own contributes. She then highlights that clearly people in Western societies eat more and a wider range of foods as well as being the biggest wasters of food produced. Other people either starve or have a very simple daily diet.

She further explains that in order to make the book more digestible, as no one has yet written a book of this kind, she had to divide the global population figure and an average food intake per person per day equally, as currently there is no data to work with on the divisions.

This all follows with four chapters discussing the emissions contributions between typical breakfast, lunch, snacks and evening meals food types. In each chapter, Sarah offers us easy solutions on how to lower our emissions by eating different foods.

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She further informs us of the details about food emissions and how we need to really calculate the emissions of each food in order to understand what to include in the total carbon emissions counting. You may just be surprised about what emissions are waiting to be uncovered!

She then ends on a chapter called “looking ahead” where she discusses the emissions for a whole days food consumption, food waste, health, whether Veganism is the answer, or not, and the policy around the subject.

Lastly, in her appendix chapter, she covers the impacts of climate change on food and the diet of the future. All the web links, citations, references and bibliography are there for the nerds, too.

Sarah’s background comes from Astrophysics which she studied at the University of Cambridge and where she had also completed her PhD. Her story of transitioning into the science of agriculture was inspired by the loss of a close friend and mentor in her scientific career, the eminent Prof. Sir David MacKay, combined with reflecting on her own daily life and habits (in this case eating food) and thinking about her own children’s future.

Sarah had to ask herself: what planet will my own children and all other children inherit? What sort of world will the next generations live in? This very personal story was clearly born out of her empathy for the world, life itself and people in it. Acknowledging her own responsibility towards making a healthier Earth is one of the biggest human contributions an adult can make, today.

Personally, I believe everyone should read this book as informing ourselves is the key to how we improve our ability to make the right choices. If you wish to contribute to the reduction of your personal carbon emissions this book is a must!

Even people who thought they understand how best to keep their personal food emissions down might find they have missed a detail or two. I highly recommend this book if you are on a journey to explore or further cut down your own carbon emissions, and are tired of waiting for someone else to do it for you.

Sarah’s book can be purchase through Amazon but more importantly, her book is available for free via the Kindle app. See the link here:

Check Sarah’s website here:

Listen to an interview with Sarah Bridle here:



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