Want to reduce your carbon footprint? You have an opportunity to support the environment any time you enjoy a meal! Here are four simple tips you can put into play this week.
1. Reduce your meat and dairy intake and replace with plant-based proteins like beans and nuts. Animal agriculture is one of the biggest contributors to greenhouse gasses, so this is one of the greatest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Even one day a week of complete vegetarian fare makes a difference. It’s a perfect time of year for a veggie burger! Lentils, in particular, are the lowest greenhouse gas contributors. Make a lentil dal, pate, salad, or, yes, chocolate lentil muffins!
2. Support safer and more sustainable farming practices by buying local or organic when possible. Strong research shows that pesticides and fertilizers have damaging effects on both our water supply as well as wildlife. Visit a Farmer’s Market in your neighborhood or seek out the “organic” sign on foods at your grocery store. It may cost a few extra bucks, but the money you save from eating less meat may help to cover some of that.
3. Consume your beverages in reusable cups, mugs, and bottles. Americans throw away millions of paper cups and plastic bottles yearly which means more trees cut down, gallons of water wasted and more garbage generated. Purchase a festive refillable container for staying hydrated on the go, and next time you head to your local coffee shop, bring a mug. You might just save a dime here and there. Whenever possible, recycle.
4. Compost your food scraps! Close to 1/3 of our food supply is being wasted every year which contributes to 8% of all Greenhouse gases. You can avoid food waste from happening in the first place simply by putting less on your plate (which may have benefits in itself), but if you do have unwanted leftovers or there’s an unidentifiable “something” lurking in the fridge, find a compost bin to toss it in. If the food is just potentially “on its way out” aesthetically but still perfectly edible, toss into a soup or smoothie and…blend. No one will know, not even you. Feel free to start somewhere easy and simple.
Your food choices matter. Mother Earth tips her hat to you in gratitude.
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