Dining & Climate Change

Did you know that a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions comes from food production?

A majority of these greenhouse gases are produced through three main ways: the raising of cattle and other animals, rice production, and creating synthetic fertilizers that fuel the growth of many of our other food groups.


Raising livestock is one of the largest ways food production contributes to climate change. Firstly, it takes land to raise livestock, which contributes to deforestation around the world. Once the livestock have been introduced, the animals themselves contribute to climate change because they emit methane, and finally, they are an inefficient source of calories, because of all of the energy and water they require to be produced. 

One of the ways that consumers can help take action to fight climate change is to change their eating habits, but sometimes it is hard to know which foods are bad for the climate and which have a negligible impact. That is where the Cool Foods Program comes in. 

Cool Foods Program


Wagoner Dining Hall at UNCW participates in the Cool Foods Program by the World Resources Institute. The Cool Foods Program is used by consumers around the world to make better choices for the planet, by eating a more plant based diet. You can make a better dietary choice for the planet at Wagoner Dining Hall, just be on the watch for the Cool Foods menu button (shown on the left). 

So, what makes a Cool Food Meal?

Cool Food Meals are meals that have a limited impact on climate change and meets the World Resources Institute's threshold of what we all need to be eating by 2030 to limit the release of greenhouse gases, and thus reduce the dangers of climate change. In the United States, a Cool Food Meal is a meal that produces below 3.59 kg CO2e/portion for breakfast and 5.38 kg CO2e/portion for lunch or dinner.

To learn more about the Cool Foods Program, visit this link here.