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Our World in Data


6th, 7th, 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th, 12th


Science, Biology, Earth and Space Sciences, Mathematics

Resource Types

  • Interactive Media
  • Charts, Graphs, and Tables

Regional Focus


Environmental Impacts of Food Data Explorer

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  • This interactive resource provides students an opportunity to investigate the environmental impacts of a number of common foods.
  • Students can select many different environmental impacts to explore including carbon footprint, land use, water use, scarcity-weighted water use, and water pollution.
  • Students can select the foods they are interested in, customize the graphs, and see the relative percent of emissions in each step of the supply chain.
Teaching Tips


  • It provides data and insights into the many ways our dietary choices affect the planet.
  • The website is simple to use.
  • The data can be adjusted to show as many or as few foods as you'd like and results can be shown as per kilogram of food, per 100g of protein, or per 1,000 kilocalories.

Additional Prerequisites

  • Students should know how to read a bar graph and be familiar with the metric system.


  • Students could learn more about changing their diets or start a Meatless Mondays program at their school.
  • Science classes could use this resource for lessons about the carbon cycle, the water cycle, trophic levels, and ecosystems.
  • Social studies and civics classes could discuss the unequal use of water and land for livestock production, as compared to growing plants.
Scientist Notes

The resource explores greenhouse gas emissions from food sources. It is weighted based on the relative warming impact, and beef appears to have the highest value of kg CO2 eq among the selected food products. The resource is suitable to guide our food choices to reduce our individual carbon footprint. This is recommended for teaching.

  • Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
    • ESS3: Earth and Human Activity
      • MS-ESS3-4 Construct an argument supported by evidence for how increases in human population and per-capita consumption of natural resources impact Earth's systems.
    • LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics
      • HS-LS2-7 Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
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    • Excellent resource, with so many ways to search and present the data! This would be a great resource for math, science, and social studies!
      2 years ago
    • I used this interactive with middle and high school students. The students loved it! It's a great way to drive curiosity. The conversation eventually led to beef production and the deforestation of the Amazon. It's so important for our students to understand that critical link between cattle and the Amazon. It must be protected!
      2 years ago