1. Waste Less
In North America and Europe roughly forty percent of all food is wasted and significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions are released growing food that will never be consumed. So next time you throw away food, remember it is not just the food you are throwing in the garbage, it is all the nutrients, the water, and the energy it took to get that food to your table. If that doesn’t inspire you to make some changes, check out the book Waste: Uncovering the Global Food Scandal and the author’s Ted talk on the topic.
Significant change won’t require that we all become freegans. There are plenty of other ways to reduce our rubbish. For instance, try eating the whole apple. If a banana is going bad, peel it and freeze it. Trust your senses; don’t let ‘sell by’ and ‘best by’ dates mislead you into throwing away perfectly good food. And use the graphic below from the Natural Resources Defense Council to befriend your fridge.
2. Take a Bite Out of Climate Change
According to the EPA, agricultural greenhouse gas sources account for roughly 10% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. And the U.S. Food System accounts for roughly 15% of energy use in the United States. As you can see from the graphic below, households are the largest single energy user in the food system. With great responsibility, comes great opportunity. We all can work to take a bite out of climate change. Try out meatless Mondays. By foods that use less packaging. And be consciousness of the energy used to prepare food in your own home.
You don’t have to sacrifice delicious if you want your dietary habits to be a part of the global-warming solution. Check out Laura Stec’s cookbook and blog, Cool Cuisine: Taking the Bite Out of Global Warming, for some advice on such dual purpose cooking.
And if you are itching for even more ways to eat more environmentally friendly check out this comprehensive list from Time magazine.
When walking around the grocery store it is easy to forget that our food started somewhere other than in a can or carton. Failing to recognize that Mother Earth and her cultivators are responsible for our food supply may truly be the greatest risk to both our food system and Mother Earth herself. So whether city-dweller or urbanite, connect with your grub and show Mother Earth some love. Try planting a garden this Spring. Get to know your farmer. And maybe even pet the cow that provides you with delicious and nutritious milk…