Start reducing your carbon footprint by making changes in the kitchen
Our carbon footprint is the measure of greenhouse gases – particularly carbon dioxide – that we individually and collectively generate and release into the atmosphere. This includes the energy we use every day, including fossil fuels for transportation and electricity.
According to the Nature Conservancy, âThe average carbon footprint of a person in the United States is 16 tonnes, one of the highest rates in the world. Globally, the average is closer to 4 tonnes. “
The cumulative effect of the global carbon footprint is the direct cause of global warming. In order to avoid the catastrophic increase in temperature of 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) that is expected if we continue at our current levels of consumption, we must reduce our carbon footprint, at the individual level, to 2 tonnes.
While it would be difficult to ditch our cars in our vehicle dependent city or give up electricity, one area where we can reduce our carbon footprint is in our kitchen. It will benefit the planet and our health. Here are a few ways to get started.
Aim for zero waste cooked. It is estimated that Americans shed 80 billion pounds of food per year, or about 220 pounds per person. Food waste makes up almost a quarter of the material in landfills, and this waste releases powerful greenhouse gases when it breaks down. Save money and the planet and aim for a zero waste kitchen by planning meals and eating leftovers.
Eat more plants and less meat. One of the worst culprits of greenhouse gas emissions? Cows, which give off massive amounts of methane. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, agriculture releases 18% of the world’s greenhouse gases, even surpassing the transport sector, with livestock using 30% of the earth’s land surface. Earth. You don’t have to go vegan to make a difference; Start with a meatless meal once a week.
Also reduce your intake of dairy products. No one wants to give up cheese, but the reality is that it takes a lot of milk to produce it. As a result, cheese production emits more greenhouse gas emissions than pork, egg and chicken production. For your morning cereal, try various plant-based milk substitutes available at your local grocery store.
Learn to love ugly products. Deformed fruits and vegetables are thrown away because consumers think they are below average. But they’re just as nutritious as their photogenic counterparts. Give love to the ugly and save them from landfill. You can even sign up for online grocery delivery services like Imperfect Foods (imperfectfoods.com) and Misfits Market (misfitsmarket.com) with a strong reduction.
Grow your own garden. If you’re new to cooking, start with common cooking herbs. Then expand your repertoire to include seasonal produce, like tomatoes and peppers. If you don’t have garden space, rent a plot in a community garden like Vegas Roots (vegasroots.org), where you will benefit from the support of expert gardeners.
Eat seasonally. One of the most magical things about fruits and vegetables is planning when they are in season: juicy blueberries and sweet corn in the summer, pumpkins in the fall, sweet potatoes in the winter. We were never meant to enjoy these seasonal treats all year round, and their availability in the off-season comes at a high cost to the environment as they have to be transported elsewhere. Make a habit of visiting farmer’s markets and you will be rewarded with produce at its peak. In addition, you will support local producers.
The future isâ¦ more plastics. But it doesn’t have to be. We all now know that our planet is cluttered with plastic (300 million tonnes are produced each year). Google the Great Pacific Garbage Patch to see exactly where that plastic bag from the grocery store or the water bottle from the gas station might end up. This mid-ocean vortex of garbage spans an area twice the size of Texas, and it’s growing day by day. In less than 30 years, there will be more plastic (by weight) in our oceans than fish. But we can do our part by using our own bags at the grocery store, reducing single-use plastics, and cooking our own foods to reduce our dependence on take-out plastic containers.