This year's theme is climate change. Just a few days ago I was listening to Tim Flannery on CBC radio talking about his latest book, Now or Never, and reminding us all how critical the situation is with climate change. We need to act now to reverse the horrible effects of human activity on the environment before it is too late. Wondering why you should bother? Whether you can make a difference? Read the Crunchy Domestic Goddess' post Climate Change - Why Bother.
Ten ways to feed your family without killing the planet
We all like to eat. We all need to eat. But we can eat better. Better for ourselves and better for the environment. There are many ways you can do this, but I thought I'd throw together a top ten list of ideas for Blog Action Day.
1. Become a vegetarian or eat less meat: Going Vegetarian or Vegan is a sustainable choice. In fact, eating meat is a significant waste of resources and adopting a vegan diet has a greater impact on the fight against global warming than switching to a hybrid car.
2. Eat organic: Help mitigate the detrimental effects of climate change by eating more organic food. Organic agriculture eliminates the detrimental effects of pesticides on our environment, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and reduces energy usage. It is possible to incorporate more organics into your family's diet while on a budget.
3. Drink tap water: Don't buy bottled water. The energy used in cleaning and bottling the water and shipping it to you is ridiculous. Instead, carry around a stainless steel water bottle and drink tap water.
4. Breastfeed: Breastfeeding is not just best for your baby and best for you, it is breastfeeding is also best for the environment. The manufacturing of infant formula is an inefficient use of resources, creates toxins and waste, contaminates water, contributes to air pollution and consumes energy. The manufacturing of bottles is also detrimental. In addition to being a natural food source without those detrimental environmental effects, breastfeeding is also a natural child spacer and helps reduce overpopulation (overpopulation increases poverty and pollution).
5. Plant a garden: Find a space in your backyard and plant a garden. If you don't have the time or space for a full-fledged garden, start with a few things that are easy and that you eat a lot of. We did a variety of different types of lettuce in planters one year. Since we eat salads once or twice per day, it made a big difference.
6. Support local agriculture: Become a partner in Community Supported Agriculture, shop at your local farmers' market, and seek out local produce in your supermarket. Supporting local producers is more than just helping out your neighbours. Buying local when it comes to food also significantly cuts down on the emissions and energy use involved in transporting and storing food.
7. Pack a litter-less lunch: A lot of us pack lunches everyday for ourselves or for our kids. Andrea from a peek inside the fishbowl wrote a great post earlier this month with tips on packing a litterless lunchbox.
8. Ditch the disposables: Try to get rid of or cut back on the disposable items that you use when feeding your family, like bottles, plates, cutlery, napkins, straws, and so on. Find re-usable solutions instead. To get more ideas read up on and participate in the Crunchy Domestic Goddess' Ditch the Disposables Challenge.
9. Cut back on processed foods: Processed foods hurt the environment in many different ways. Manufacturing processed food impacts the environment. Transporting processed food impacts the environment. Storing processed food in mega freezers and refrigerators uses tons of energy. Try to plan ahead and make double of some meals so that you will have some ready-to-go convenience foods of your own at home (e.g. make two lasagnas instead of one and then freeze one for another time, make large batches of soup and tomato sauce).
10. Look into the environmental practices of companies you buy from: Look up the corporate ethics of the companies that you buy from and see what their environmental track record is. Don't read their own corporate social responsibility stuff or if you do, read it with a grain of salt. Instead, read the reports of third party non-governmental organizations that follow corporate ethics.
We're not good at doing all of these, all of the time. But I do want to improve and check more of them off of my list. I also want to engage industry, restaurants, and governments to make more of these things a priority. To make it easier for people to make the right choices without going significantly out of their way and without having to break the bank. Humans are creatures of convenience. That is what got us into this hot mess, so we need to make it convenient to do the right thing. To link this to last year's theme, we need to take action to ensure that those hovering around or below the poverty line can afford to make sustainable food choices.