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It may seem odd at first that food contributes to environmental problems such as Climate Change. The fact is, the food we purchase in grocery stores requires a great deal of energy to transport and freeze. A generation ago, a pineapple was a luxury to find, yet now it is a standard item in the produce section. Does it make sense that we can purchase snow peas from China or apples from New Zealand? It makes economic sense for the grocery store, but it requires a great deal of fuel to make this happen. Compare this to purchasing food from a local source such as a market or farm. This is a great way to live on a low Carbon Diet.

Another way in which our food purchases contribute to climate change is the prepared food that is loaded into freezers without doors. Would you keep the lid to your deep freezer open (and pay the electricity bill)? While prepared foods are a convenient way to make a meal, they require a great deal of energy to keep them frozen in transport and storage, not to mention the waste produced by the packaging. Compare this with throwing some food into a slow cooker while you’re out of the house.

Here are some ideas about how you can reduce your Carbon Footprint and start going green:

Impact

Solution

Lifestyle Change

Health

Financial

Large

Eat Less Prepared Frozen Food

Habit

-

Large

Grow Your Own Food

Habit

$

Large

Shop for Local Food

Habit

-

Large

Eat Less Beef

Habit

$

Medium

Eat Seasonal Food

Habit

-

Medium

Purchase Organic Food

Habit

$

Medium

Eat Less Rice

Habit

-

-

Small

Improve Your Coffee

One-Time

-

$

Small

Purchase Food in Bulk

Habit

-

$

Small

Drink Water from the Tap

Habit

-

$

Eat Less Prepared Frozen Food

While prepared food is a convenient way to make a meal, it requires a great deal of energy to keep frozen in transport and storage, not to mention the waste produced by the packaging. Compare this with cooking some food in a slow cooker while you are out of the house… an easy way to go green and live on a Low Carbon Diet.

Have you also noticed how some of this food is displayed in the grocery store? Open top freezers are great for displaying food, but tremendously inefficient at keeping food cool. In the winter, the problem is even worse as the building is being heated to keep it warm, but the open freezers are running to keep the food frozen… an ongoing battle of energy consumption.

Grow Your Own Food

If you think about all the energy consumed by shipping food, artificial fertilizers, freezing food, and processing food, it can quickly add up. So why not skip all of that and grow your own? It can be as simple as growing tomatoes in a planter or as extensive as producing all your food needs for the growing season and beyond. If you haven’t gardened before, there are a number of resources on the web to help you start off simple. As you get more experience, you can expand what you grow. Remember to have fun with it and enjoy your journey to go green.

Shop for Local Food

The average Canadian meal travels 2,500 km to our plates. Have you ever noticed how far some of the food travels from to reach your grocery store? You can purchase snow peas from China and apples from New Zealand, yet these are produce items we can grow here in Canada. Think for a moment about the trip that food must take to reach your grocery store. Those long trips are contributing to Climate Change.

Buying locally produced foods can greatly reduce your Carbon Footprint and help you to go green. It not only improves the environment, it also helps the local economy and provides you with fresher food that often has more nutrients.

Purchase Organic Food

Many people think of organic food as “pesticide-free” food, but it is much more than that. Organic food is produced using natural methods of farming. This means no artificial fertilizers, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics, etc. What does this have to do with the environment? The general population is beginning to understand that pesticides damage our land resources and wildlife. What many people don’t know is that many modern farms rely on artificial fertilizers that are nitrogen based, which use considerable amounts of fossil fuel. Read more detail about organic food.

Eat Seasonal Food

There is nothing better than eating food that is in season (and locally sourced). The short time from-field-to-plate provides wonderful flavours that can’t be beat by off-season fruits and vegetables. Contact your local farmers association to understand what produce is in season in your area and learn more at Low Carbon Diet.

Eat Less Beef

Cows emit methane as a by-product of their digestion. Methane is 20 times more powerful than Carbon Dioxide as a Greenhouse Gas, therefore it has an impact on Climate Change. Believe it or not, reducing your beef consumption contributes to going green. Here’s a quote to illustrate:

"For example as a by-product of their digestion, New Zealand's forty-five million sheep and eight million cattle produce about 90 percent of that country's methane emissions, which equates to over 40 percent of the country's total production of greenhouse gases." The Suicidal Planet by Hayer Hillman, 2007

Eat Less Rice

Rice is another large source of methane (see Eat Less Beef). In fact, it makes up about 20 percent of methane produced from human activities which contributes to Climate Change. This small step will help you to start going green.

Improve Your Coffee

One of the worst environmental appliances made is the k-cup coffee maker that makes one cup of coffee using a disposable package that can't be recycled. The best solution for coffee is purchasing Affordable Organic Coffee and Fair Trade Coffee. We have discovered Nativa Organic Coffee is a great product that is roasted and packed in Canada.

Purchase Food in Bulk

Purchase food in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging you are using. Some stores will also allow you to bring in your own containers to reduce the packaging you use. It’s an easy way to start going green and reduce your Carbon Footprint.

Drink Water from the Tap

When bottled water was first sold, many people refused to accept the concept of paying for water. Unfortunately it is now a common practice with a negative effect on the environment. First of all, there is a lot of transportation required to ship the bottled water to retailers. Second, and more important is the plastic bottles that are used require a great deal of energy. The raw material for plastic is oil, which takes energy to extract, process, and then form into bottles. Lastly, the plastic bottle is used only once, and then disposed of in the land fill or recycled (a very difficult and costly item to recycle).

The solution is to go back to the way we used to do things… drink tap water. It’s clean, cheap, and safe. If you wish to carry water with you, use a stainless steel water bottle to avoid any potential problems with biosphenel A leaching into your drink from plastic water bottles.