Live Earth's advice on
Using Your Food Choices to Fight Global Warming


What's the Big Deal?

The dailies? You know - milk, bread, eggs - the dailies. These are

the things that you find yourself running out each week (or each day)

to purchase. Now, you spend a lot of money on these purchases because

of their purchasing frequency, so its important that something worth

so much money is chosen carefully.


Top Ten Tips

Here are 10 highly effective ways to go greener. Hit it.


1. The Big O

When you eat organic, don't just picture the healthy food you are

putting in your body, picture the healthy ecosystems which produced

that food, the workers who are safer from chemicals, the land, water,

and air that is being protected, and the wildlife that is being

allowed to thrive. Organic vegetables, fruits, grains, juice, dairy,

eggs, and meat (and don't forget the organic wine and beer), are

grown and processed in ways that support healthy people and a healthy

planet. (While you may not be able to find or afford organic options

for everything you need, certain fruits and vegetables are more

pesticidy than others.) For details on the meaning of organic, see

the USDA Organics homepage.


2. Fair fare

Fair trade certified food ensures a proper wage and working

conditions for those who harvest and handle it. But fair trade is

green for the environment as well. TransFair, the only fair trade

certifier in the US, has strong environmental standards built into

its certification process that protect watersheds and virgin forests,

help prevent erosion, promote natural soil fertility and water

conservation, and prohibit GMOs and many synthetic chemicals.

TransFair claims that their environmental standards are the most

stringent in the industry, second only to USDA organic certification.


3. Go local

Buying seasonal, local food is a boon for the environment for a lot

of reasons. Since most food travels many miles to reach your table

(1,500 miles, on average), locally sourced food cuts back on the

climate-change impacts of transportation. Local food also generally

uses less packaging, is fresher and tastier, and comes in more

varieties. It also supports small local growers and lets them get

more for their produce by not having to spend so much on packing,

processing, refrigeration, marketing, and shipping. The best way to

track down local food is at farmers markets or through community

supported agriculture (CSA), which often offer home delivery.


4. Don't follow the pack

Instead of buying foods that come in extensive packaging (most of

which is petroleum-based plastics) look for unpackaged or minimally

packaged foods, experiment with bringing your own containers and

buying in bulk, or pick brands that use bio-based plastic packing.

And of course try and recycle or reuse any packaging you end up with.

[Trader Joe, we love you but it's a packaging nightmare in there]


5. Compost the leftovers

Greening your meals isn't just about the food that winds up on the

plate-it's the entire process, the whole lifecycle shebang.

Composting leftovers will ease the burden on the landfill, give you

great soil, and keep your kitchen waste basket from smelling.

Apartment dwellers and yardless wonders can do it too! And yes, a

composting toilet can be part of the miraculous cycle as well. (see

below for more resources)


6. Grow your own

In the garden, in the greenhouse, in the window box, or something

fancier. Even urbanites can get quite a bit of good eats from not

much space.


7. To and from

Just as buying locally grown food cuts on "miles per calorie," buying

from local sellers cuts back on emissions, fuel consumption, and

unnecessary traffic.


8. Just enough

Put some extra planning into the amount of food you cook will cut

back on waste. If it's something that will spoil quickly, try to

avoid making more than you or your family can eat. If you ve got

extra, make a friend happy with a home cooked surprise. If it's a

bigger affair, give the leftovers to those who may need it more.


9. Raw

Many people swear by the benefits of eating raw. Whatever the health

advantages may be, preparing raw food consumes less energy and

because raw food is usually fresh by definition, it is more likely to

be locally grown.


10. Ease up on the meat

Meat is the most resource-intensive food on the table and eating less

of it can be the single most green move a person makes. Producing

meat requires huge amounts of water, grain, land, and other inputs

including hormones and antibiotics, and leads to pollution of soil,

air, and water. A pound of beef requires around 12,000 gallons of

water to produce, compared to 60 gallons for a pound of potatoes. If

you're a meat eater, for starters, try cutting out a serving of meat

each week. Going vegetarian or vegan is a profoundly meaningful

environmental choice, and it's done wonders for Chris Martin and



So You Wanna Do More?


Not content with just getting by? Go hardcore.


1. Co-op-eration

Organize a local food coop or farmers market in your area. This will

provide people in the area a convenient and readily available source

of local food, plus help support area farmers.


2. Think like a squirrel

Purchase extra fruits during the summer and practice drying and

canning them. Then they will be available year-round, even when

they're not in season.


3. Cooking with the sun

Solar ovens really work, even with dim sun. They can cook a huge

variety of foods and don t require any fuel other than our friendly

local stellar nuclear reactor. What s more, the basic design is so

simple, most do-it-yourselfers can make one for very low cast. (Some

ovens we've covered in the past are here, here, here, and here.)


4. The 100-Mile Diet

For many, eating local is a novel concept. The 100-mile diet is an

idea that challenges people to source food from within a hundred mile

radius of where they live. The idea has even caught on among

restaurateurs and comes in website form, too. Also see the TreeHugger

100-Mile Thanksgiving Challenge.


By The Numbers


Want the real deal? Here's where the rubber meets the road.


1. Shipping a pound of apples from a farm in Iowa to a market in

Washington requires 30% more fuel and releases 30% more greenhouse

gases than shipping those apples to a local market in Iowa.


2. The average US meal comes from five different nations.


3. Food today travels between 1,500 and 2,500 miles from farm to

market. That's 25% farther than it traveled two decades ago.


4. It is estimated that a making a liter of orange juice requires 958

liters of water for irrigation, and 2 liters of fuel for tractors,

water-pumping, pesticide spraying, and the occasional electric heater

to ward off frost.


5. A study found that to gather all of the ingredients needed to make

strawberry yogurt in Germany, 8,000 km worth of travel were required

to bring everything into one place.


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