March 30, 2023, Adrian, Michigan – When people think of “carbon footprints,” they often think of the amount of fossil fuel energy they consume through travel or the use of electricity. But Brad Frank, Director of the Office of Sustainability for the Adrian Dominican Sisters, explained the carbon footprint of an activity that people are connected to daily: eating. Headshot of Brad Frank, Director of Sustainability “One of the goals is just to promote awareness,” Brad said during a live streamed, February 28, 2023, presentation delivered at Weber Retreat and Conference Center. The food system in the United States accounts for about 30% of the greenhouse emissions that contribute to global warming, he said. Changing one’s diet to foods that produce less emission of carbon and methane gases would produce a more sustainable lifestyle – one encouraged through Pope Francis’ Laudato Sí Action Platform , he said. One of the Adrian Dominican Sisters’ 2022 General Chapter Enactments is on sustainability and becoming a Laudato Sí Action Platform Congregation. Brad pointed to several factors that affect the carbon footprint of foods: • land use change, such as the deforestation of the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil to create pastures for the nation’s 195 million cattle; • farm practices, such as the use of diesel tractors and fertilizer; and • transportation of food throughout the country, which consumes gasoline and other petroleum products. Taking these factors into account, Brad reviewed typical menus from the Dominican Life Center for breakfast, dinner, and supper, noting foods with the highest carbon footprint – beef, cheese, and other animal products. Finally, Brad offered suggestions on how to lower one’s carbon footprint through changes in diet: • eating items that are lower on the food chain by basing most meals on a plant-based diet; • consuming foods that are locally sourced and seasonal; • gardening; and • wasting less food. Watch the entire presentation below (presentation starts at 5:50). Feature photo at top: A graph from Brad Frank's presentation showing that corn used to feed cattle accounts for 95% of all grains grown, approximately 90 million acres.