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Thursday, April 30, 2015

How What You Eat Affects the Planet

http://www.humanmedia.org/dcc/pdf/foodguide.pdf

We make choices every day about the food we eat.  We think about what foods will make us healthy, what foods will make us slim, and what foods will be visually appealing and taste as good as they look.

In our land of plenty, we never think of food as a dwindling resource.  We have giant feed lots and farms producing food for the world. Or do we?

Current factory farming trends for livestock add significantly to greenhouses gases that warm the planet. Damage to the environment  has occurred through deforestation to provide increasing acreage for animal feed crops. The methane gas from the animal waste products is another contributor.
 
Your vegetarian friends may be on to something. "Think global, act local" is an important grassroots effort you can participate in at your community farmers' markets.  Locally grown organic fruits, vegetables and grains reduce the carbon footprint that is contributing to climate change because petrochemicals that degrade the soil and reduce biodiversity are not used.

There is dissension in the ranks. Agriculture Secretary, Tom Vilsack, said in a recent WSJ article that his mandate was dietary guidelines for health, not the environment.  Another government agency, the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee which reports to HHS and USDA, was quoted in the same article.  They said: "sustainable diets are key to making sure future generations have access to food and that current U.S. diets are too hard on land and water supplies, and result in the release of too many greenhouse gas emissions."

And not everybody agrees that red meat is bad for the planet.  Meat manufacturers are vocally opposed to this idea and well-backed. Ridge Shinn of the Sustainable Livestock Farmers responds that not all red meat comes from corn fed cows. An alternative is 100% grass fed beef rotationally grazed to increase soil fertility and combat climate change. You have a sustainable choice.

Another factor for a sustainable planet is portion control. Not only what you eat but how much can also affect the environment. Eating everything you put on your plate reduces food waste. The EPA calls the amount of food wasted by Americans "staggering." In 2010, we threw 33 million tons of food waste into landfills.

If you not sure how to go about changing the impact of your dietary choices on the planet, the free downloadable  Climate Friendly Food Guide is a great resource. Or read Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Lappe and her daughter Anna Lappe's book, Diet for a Hot Planet:  The Crises at the End of  Your Fork and What You Can Do About It.

Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It ( - See more at: http://smallplanet.org/about/anna/bio#sthash.HL5g6Pi2.dpuf
Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It ( - See more at: http://smallplanet.org/about/anna/bio#sthash.HL5g6Pi2.dpuf
Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork and What You Can Do About It ( - See more at: http://smallplanet.org/about/anna/bio#sthash.HL5g6Pi2.dpuf
Read them today.

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