Happy Earth Day! Or as I like to refer to it as the day where everyone becomes an environmentalist, or at least pretends to care about the planet. While some do-gooders go out and pick up trash or plant trees (Because who actually plants one on Arbor Day?) the rest of us tweet, share or post about helping the planet on social media, but don’t actually know what to do to help. That is until now.
Here are some ways you can help the planet during each meal:
Eat less meat.
I know this must sound like a broken record, but eating less meat really helps! The amount of food and water required to raise livestock is enormous. A 2006 report put out by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations says that over a quarter of the earth (26%) is used just for livestock to graze on. Insane!
Now, I’m not saying to completely abstain from eating meat (although a plant-based diet is the most environmentally friendly), but taking a day or two off a week, or only eating it once a day will make a positive impact.
Stop throwing out those leftovers
Americans are the worst when it comes to throwing out food. In 2014, we threw out about 40 million tons of food. All this food in turn fills our landfills, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas more deadly than carbon dioxide, into the atmosphere.
How can we cut down on our food waste? Stop throwing out all of those leftovers! Take last night’s mac and cheese, bread it and fry it (treat yo’ self)! Those leftover pork chops or chicken? Grind it and make meatballs. And that huge tupperware container full of mashed potatoes? Well, you’ll have to come back tomorrow to see what it can be transformed into. 😉
For more great recipe ideas, I recommend checking out Greatist, with over 60 leftover recipes to try.
Keep it local
When you can, try to eat in-season produce and other food products that have been grown or made locally. You’re not only cutting down on emissions from transporting the food, you’re also supporting local farmers and food artisans.
Plus, the stuff is really fresh. (Locally grown tomatoes, berries and watermelon during the summer are the best!)
What are you doing to help the environment? Let me know in the comments below!