Heck, even climate scientists and activists need a beer after a week in the lab or on the street. And when they do, they may well turn to the beers below, thoroughly researched for their sustainability practices by 1 Million Women.
Tag Archives | Climate change
Food waste is a major cause of climate change, because food production pumps out greenhouse gas emissions – gases that are emitted for no reason when food is wasted. The Youth Food Movement have come up with a novel way of fighting food waste: “cook lucks”, dinner parties using ingredients that were destined for the scrapheap. By Zo Zhou of the Youth Food Movement.
Eating seasonally is an easy way to be gentler on the planet, improve your health and shrink your grocery spend. So why don’t we all do it? Daile from The Confused but Conscious Consumer peers into the produce section.
Picture this – you walk into a grocery store on a wintery July day. Maybe it’s your local farmers’ market; it could be a chain supermarket or even a fruit and veg shop. There are so many options – beautiful looking fruit and vegetables on display. The tomatoes are red and juicy, lettuce green and leafy. An apple so shiny you want to bite into it on the spot, just to hear the loud crunch and feel the sweetness burst in your mouth.
You may come shopping armed with a very specific list of items to purchase, based on the cookbooks you scoured prior to your shopping adventure; or perhaps the knowledge of ingredients for a family favourite. You grab a basket and fill it to the brim with zucchini for a frittata, asparagus for a weekend breakfast cook-up, sweet potato and pumpkin to make a nourishing soup, strawberries and mangoes to add to your post-exercise smoothies and some mint for Mojitos because no one is THAT perfect when they go shopping.
The asparagus has been imported from Mexico, the mint is out of season as it’s winter and the strawberries and mangoes are horribly expensive but still grown in Australia… although how far away and under what unnatural circumstances?
As consumers, we demand that the fruits and vegetables we want to eat be available for purchase at all times. Especially if we have seen it as a key ingredient on a TV cooking show the night before. We will pay top dollar for out of season fruit and vegetables, and not bat an eyelid at a bunch of greenery flown 14,000 kilometres to be sold en masse.
But how are we supposed to know what is in season? I’m no agricultural guru, and to be honest have a difficult enough time keeping a cactus alive let alone a vegetable garden. I have done a basic amount of research and know there are handy guides such as this one for Australians, this for the US and one for the UK. I have no doubt Google will point you in the right direction for whichever country you are in.
Seasonal eating information is out there, and sometimes common sense comes into play as well. Winter is the time for root vegetables, summer is perfect for stone fruit and spring is the sound of strawberry picking.
Eating seasonally is not that difficult but sometimes it means putting down your recipe book, turning off the TV cooking show inspiration and tossing out your old favourites. A great idea is ordering a farmers box every week and discovering new recipes based on the surprises found in the delivery. Think of it as a Masterchef Mystery Box in real life.
Tips for eating seasonally
– Shop at farmers markets. Talk to the vendors selling the produce, find out where the delicious food you are about to buy is grown and ask for their recommendations.
– Buy your fruit and veggies first. After you have stocked up on enough fruit and veg for the week, pull out your cookbooks or do a recipe search with your main ingredients. This will guide you with a list of non-perishables to buy to complete your meal plan.
– If it seems expensive, don’t buy it. There is a reason avocados are $4.00 in autumn. Not buying overpriced produce is a great way to eat seasonally as well as reduce your weekly spend.
– Experiment with food. So what if the recipe calls for potato and you bought turnip instead? You may discover new favourite flavours and surprise yourself. Breaking the rules is fun.
– Follow interesting food blogs to keep inspired all year round. I have listed some of my personal go-to blogs – Inspirational food blogs for cooking seasonally.
So, how often do you actually consider where your food comes from and how it came to be glistening at your produce market? Do you have any great food blogs you want to share? What about tips on how you eat seasonally at home?
KBR, tomato salad (CC)
Elizabeth Thompson, Vegetables on display (CC)
Now that we’re well and truly into the cooler months, watching electricity usage is crucial to stave off the end-of-winter power bill shock. Here are Otter’s top five energy-saving tips you may not have heard before to cut down your electricity usage, lower your carbon footprint and keep you toasty for less.
This involves cutting out large pieces of regular bubble wrap and sticking them to your windows. You don’t need adhesives – just spray the window with water and gently press on the bubble wrap. This can cut heat loss from the window by up to 50%.
Leave bath water until it cools
Instead of immediately draining your hot washing-up or bath water, let it sit and cool down. It will provide some passive heat for the room, and may take the edge off enough to prevent or delay the urge to turn on a heater.
Instead of heating your whole house, consider investing in a few inexpensive appliances to keep your body warm. A heated keyboard, heated mouse, strategic heating lamps, and timed electric blanket use far less power than traditional space heaters.
Outsource to your kids
Tell your kids that if your electricity usage decreases compared to the same bill period last year, you’ll give them the savings in cash. Watch as lights and heaters are switched off much more frequently, and hot shower times go down too.
Limit bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans
Kept running, your bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans can effectively suck out all of the incidental heat from using your stove or taking a hot shower. Keep them on only long enough to de-fog your bathroom or get rid of lingering cooking smells.
When it comes to personal action to reduce global warming, we can’t avoid looking at our food consumption. There’s a lot of advice around about reducing energy use, and that makes sense as there’s ongoing potential for energy efficiency improvements to save money as well as reduce our contribution to climate change.
But our consumption of food is an equally significant part of our carbon footprint. The production and distribution of food is a huge source of carbon emissions; it’s also an easy area to take action. This infographic from UK site Shrink That Footprint gives the top three actions individual can take. Continue Reading →