Sustainability Tips: Food & Gardening
Due to recent events regarding global warming, various budding environmental movements as well as the looming presence that is the climate crisis, it is more important than ever to start implementing environmentally-conscious habits into your everyday life. I have compiled a list of tips (and tricks!) to help you go green by changing small things in your day-to-day life.
#1: Start cooking your own meals! Despite the fact that it can sometimes be more convenient to skip making your own breakfast in the morning and opt to drop by Starbucks for a coffee before school or work, this is never the healthiest option. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to ban take-out altogether and start cooking every meal from here on out; instead, slowly try to cut out fast-food from your daily life and opt to make your own meals with your own ingredients – such as eggs for a quick and healthy breakfast, zucchini or broccoli for an easy-to-make roasted dinner or even coffee beans and a semi-expensive coffee maker if you’re feeling gutsy and want to try your hand at brewing your own coffee! By implementing these healthy habits into your life, not only are you eating healthier, you’re saving up on hard-earned money, gas to take you to and from your nearest Burger King as well as plastic waste (did you know that most cups you purchase your coffee in are not recyclable due to their plastic-over-paper coating? Now you do!)
#2: Start a garden! Despite the fact that this may not be do-able for everyone, starting a garden is not only a great way to pass the time in the summer, it can also allow you to create your own delicious meals from your own, accessible ingredients - now that’s what I call hitting two birds with one stone (except we’re not murdering animals of course!)
#3: Create a compost bin! Interested in (figuratively) hitting three birds with one stone? Starting a compost bin, while it may seem like a daunting task, is a great way to reuse any food waste (such as broken eggshells, banana peels, apple cores and tea bags), nonrecyclable paper-products (such as empty pizza boxes and used paper napkins) as well as yard debris (‘tis the season – it’s fall!) and turn it into an amazing fertilizer for your little garden! Eventually, your garden will create ingredients for your meals which will then turn into food waste that you can put into your compost bin and make more fertilizer to make more ingredients and, gosh, it’s a whole cycle, guys!
(Pro Tip: If you don’t have much counter space in your kitchen and are sick of the smell, freeze your compost! It may sound strange, but freezing your compost saves up on space, eliminates any nasty odors and the fertilizer is as nutrient-rich as ever!)
#4: Fill your home with plants! While this is more of a trick, not only can plants liven up any home, it can help you work on your green thumb and maybe even act as a way to show your parents that you are responsible enough to take care of that dog you’ve been begging them for since you were 7!
(Note: If you have pets/are planning on getting one, do your research on what kinds of plants may be toxic for certain animals – you wouldn’t want to accidentally poison your cat or dog!)
#5: Cut down on eating meat! I know meat is delicious, but hear me out! According to GreenMonday.org, “The livestock industry is among the greatest contributors to global warming, emitting more greenhouse gases than all our cars, trucks, trains and planes combined!” Additionally, the production and consumption of meat, specifically red meat, is not only detrimental to the environment’s health, it can also be detrimental to human health (eating more red meat can increase your chances of getting any number of heart diseases). Whether you want to gradually replace red meat with healthier, more sustainable options - such as poultry or fish - or just cut ties with meat altogether and go vegetarian, limiting our consumption of red meat is essential if we want to reduce our global carbon emissions and combat the climate crisis.