Simple Ways to Save the Earth, Starting in Your Kitchen


Monterey Bay in Capitola
Earth Day calls on all of us to help today.

We've been celebrating Earth Day for over 50 years and while we've made improvements like reducing asbestos and DDT, we've also learned the harsh realities of fossil fuels and climate change.


Saving the planet can seem like an overwhelming problem much too big for any individual to tackle, but you can do one small thing today that can help the planet.


Here are five ideas you can choose from to implement on this Earth Day:


1. Reduce food waste.

According to the EPA, food waste has increased 217% since 1970 when Earth Day began (2) and has jumped higher since the COVID-19 pandemic. We all need to do what we can to prevent food from being thrown out.


If you're stocking up on fresh fruits and veggies, but finding they're going bad before you can eat them all, you can:


freeze vegetables to prevent food waste
Freeze fruits and vegetables to use in stocks, smoothies, baked goods, and casseroles.

#2. Go meatless tonight & once a week for the rest of the year.

The statistics on the methane produced by cattle, water used to produce a burger, and fossil fuels used to transport meat are staggering. (1)


Choosing to forego meat one day a week makes a big difference in the demand for meat, and ultimately reduces the environmental consequences to supply the beef on your plate. You can use the BBC's food calculator to see your diet's carbon footprint.


What to eat instead?

Try a fruit and nut-based lunch like Walnut Butter Fruit Tacos and vegetable-focused dinner like Pad Thai tonight.



#3. Conserve Water and Fuel.

Turn off the water when you're soaping up your dishes, lathering your hands, and brushing your teeth.


If boiling food for dinner such as rice or pasta, place a stainless-steel steam pot or colander with vegetables on top so you can conserve water and energy by using only one pot of water and one stove burner. You can kill two birds with one stone by cooking your veggie and starch at the same time.


Bike or walk when you can.


If you have to drive a gas-powered vehicle, limit your heat and a/c use to increase fuel efficiency.


bike and sneakers
Bike or walk when you can to reduce carbon emissions.

#4. Consider packaging.

Make it a point to keep reusable bags in your vehicle so there's no excuse about forgetting them when you arrive at the store. This eliminates plastic waste- both on the manufacturing side that requires oils and other resources to make and transport the bags- as well as the consumer end by keeping bags out of landfills and oceans.


If you're only buying one or two produce items, avoid putting the produce in a plastic bag. Keep them loose in your cart or use a reusable mesh bag. Email ZESTNutritionService@gmail.com if you'd like a mesh produce bag mailed to you.


Consider items that come in packages that are hard on the environment. For instance, instead of buying eggs that come in Styrofoam, make it a point to buy eggs in cardboard cartons.

reusable grocery bag
Reusable bags decrease oils, plastics, fossil fuels, and waste in our landfills and oceans.

#5. Unplug.

If you're not using your appliances, unplug your toaster, blender, TV, and other appliances to save energy. This also can save money on your electric bill each month.

plug
Unplugging appliances can save energy & money.

Which of these actions will you take today? Leave a comment below.



References:

(1) Stylianou, N., Guibourg, C., & Briggs, H. (Aug. 9, 2019). Climate change food calculator: What's your diet's carbon footprint? BBC News. https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46459714

(2) Environmental Protection Agency. Facts and Figures about Materials, Waste and Recycling. https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/food-material-specific-data

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