Greens tend to spend a lot of time talking and thinking about food. True, many of us really like to eat, enjoy the art, science and ritual of preparing a great meal, and savor the chance to slow down and enjoy something delicious with friends and family.
The fact is, though, that our food choices have an enormous impact on the environment, from food miles to high meat consumption to pesticides, fertilizers and energy use. You probably have heard that organics and eating local can make a big difference, but it may seem overwhelming.
Now, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution recommends the following 10 easy ways to start decreasing your dietary footprint:
1. Ditch the Bottles
Bottled water is pricey and uses a lot of fuel to transport, as well as to make and store all those bottles. Use what comes out of your tap instead. Get a good filter to boost its purity.
2. Buy Local
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, most produce in the United States travels an average of 1,500 miles before being sold. Reduce all that shipping by rediscovering the fresh bounty of your surrounding area. Find farmers' markets, co-ops and CSAs (community-supported agriculture projects).
3. Dispose of Disposables
Instead of relying on single-use containers, get real dishes, and wash them! The resources saved will really add up.
4. Banish Excess Packaging
Buy things in larger sizes if you know you'll use them. Try to select items that have less plastic and extra filler stuffed with them.
5. Bring Your Own Bags
It's so simple, and plastic and paper bags both take resources to produce and distribute, and end up as litter.
6. Get a Green Thumb
Growing plants not only helps soak up excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, but it can help clean toxins from the air and provide habitat (and food, though you may not want to hear that) for wildlife. And it reconnects you with nature!
7. Eat Less Meat
Modern meat is energy- and resource-intensive, and factory farms are huge polluters. Eating lower on the food chain reduces those problems.
8. Use Your Appliances Wisely
Get an energy audit (doing one yourself is easy), unplug unused devices and pick Energy Star when it's time to replace.
Plan meals ahead of time so you aren't scrambling to pick up something convenient, which is likely to be less healthy and wrapped in more packaging. Check out TDG's great coverage of delightful and easy green cuisine every day.
10. Become Educated
Learn to save money and time by reducing waste and unneeded consumption, whether that's water, energy, paper, food, travel and more. Read TDG to keep up on the latest news and trends!
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