Green

No Snacks, no sweets, no seconds. Except on Days that start with S. Too simple for you? Simple is why it works. Look here for questions, introductions, support, success stories.

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Blithe Morning
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Green

Post by Blithe Morning » Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:06 pm

I work in environmental education and outreach. And I've been thinking about No S in terms of my work. One of the things that is a significant topic of discussion in my area is how to change people's behaviors. There is a fair amount of research dedicated to this as well as two listserves that I know of with thousands of members each. Daily we agnoize over questions of how to get people to adopt sustainable behaviors (sustainable both in their longevity and environmental impact).

Regarding the behavior part: the fact that No S has a track record of changing behaviors on any scale is big. Really big. Just think about how much time, money and effort different entities expend to get us to change our behavior.

nd thinking in terms of environmental impact, without mentioning the environment at all, No S gets people to adopt a greener way of living. If you look at carbon footprint caculators, food is one of the heavier weighted (no pun intended) factors in figuring your footprint. Just by eating less, which you will do if you follow the plan, you will reduce your footprint. I suspect that if for some reason the United States en masse adopted No S, the environmental impact would be significant just from the reduction of high fructose corn syrup production alone.

So for those of you who wallow in guilt every Earth Day because you aren't doing enough environmentally, give yourself a pat on the back for following No S. Earth Day, btw, is April 22 and the best way to observe it IMNSHO is to follow the rules.

Since I'm on an environmental tear anyway, I'd just to like point out that urban rangering is also an excellent green practice. The other day it struck me, when did walking and biking become exercise and recreation instead of transportation? (Rhetorical question...)
Last edited by Blithe Morning on Fri Apr 11, 2008 5:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.

wosnes
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Re: Green

Post by wosnes » Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:29 pm

Blithe Morning wrote:The other day it struck me, when did walking and biking become exercise and recreation instead of transportation? (Rhetorical question...)
Oh, sometime after WWII when cars became more affordable, moving to the 'burbs became the ideal and neighborhoods with the grocery and all the other stores and services needed started to disappear in most places, including some of the largest cities.

IMHO, walking and biking should be transportation as well as exercise and recreation.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You are what you eat -- so don't be Fast, Easy, Cheap or Fake."

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reinhard
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Post by reinhard » Thu Apr 10, 2008 1:28 pm

It is funny how much talk there is about sustainability on a global scale, and how little on the scale of individual behaviors -- behaviors you can sustain without trashing your personal ecosystem, i.e, your body. But there is (or can be) a connection between the two. I don't want to get too righteous about this, but eating moderately and moving usefully do, as Blithe Morning points out, obviously have (however small) implications for society as a whole -- especially if your example resonates with and inspires others. And unlike other "green" actions you could take, there's no complex chain of arguments to consider, like, whether lamb imported from new Zealand actually has a lower carbon footprint than locally raised lamb, etc. Eating less and moving more is an environmental no brainer (as well as a personal one). There is no downside. Every day you tick off green on your habitCal is "green" in more senses than one.

Reinhard

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bonnieUK
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Post by bonnieUK » Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:50 pm

Just by eating less, which you will do if you follow the plan, you will reduce your footprint.
Absolutely, especially if your meals include lots of whole foods (wholegrain rice, bread, beans, pulses etc.) I can think of three reasons:

1) These foods can be bought in bulk, meaning less packaging.
2) You don't have the energy wastage involved in refining foods (e.g. polishing grains, refining sugar)
3) Beans and pulses provide an alternative protein source to animal products (better for the planet and cheaper too!).

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Blithe Morning
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Post by Blithe Morning » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:11 pm

reinhard wrote:And unlike other "green" actions you could take, there's no complex chain of arguments to consider, like, whether lamb imported from new Zealand actually has a lower carbon footprint than locally raised lamb, etc.
We (the human collective we) so overthink these things. I once witnessed a huge argument as to whether ceramic or styrofoam coffee cups were the more environmentally preferable option.

And let's not get into dishwashers versus washing by hand. My ears are still burning from that one.

If you haven't copyright "Don't be an idiot" yet you should. It's applicable in so many areas...

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bonnieUK
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Post by bonnieUK » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:29 pm

Blithe Morning wrote:We (the human collective we) so overthink these things. I once witnessed a huge argument as to whether ceramic or styrofoam coffee cups were the more environmentally preferable option.
True! This is the reason I had to give up posting on vegan bulletin boards, where I made the mistake of mentioning that I consider myself a vegan but still eat honey occasionally, a flame war ensured about the cruel exploitation of bees, nevermind big pressing issues in the world (human rights violations, poverty, poisoning the environment) think of the poor bees!

This board is a refreshing change, I'm sure if we ever get into insane details about a subject, someone will just step in and say "don't be an idiot" :)

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Nichole
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Post by Nichole » Thu Apr 10, 2008 4:34 pm

I think this is probably so true. Without buying snacks, for instance, you cut down on a lot of extra packaging. For instance, no more sting cheese for me (which used a lot of plastic) and no more sugar-free pudding cups (less plastic and cardboard). Also, I'm moving from Lean Cuisines b/c they're so overprocessed and not satisfying. That saves a lot of paper and plastic, too.
"Anyone can cook." ~ Chef Gusteau, Ratatouille

wosnes
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Post by wosnes » Thu Apr 10, 2008 5:09 pm

Speaking of green, this came in my email today:
Food for All Seasons

By LAUREL KALLENBACH

Spring marks the opening of farmer’s markets and an abundance of locally grown produce. But it only takes a small amount of effort to eat seasonal foods all year long.

We live in an era in which our palettes are truly pampered. In one leisurely meal, we might dine on Hawaiian mahi-mahi and pineapple, Thai jasmine rice, fresh asparagus spears (in January!), and Belgian chocolate. Global gourmandizing is so effortless that we’ve forgotten what it means to eat according to the seasons. After all, while North America is in winter’s grip, that luscious asparagus is basking in summer—just a plane ride away in Peru.

Unfortunately for our epicurean inclinations, the environment pays for all the fossil fuels required to import goodies from far-flung locales. A fruit or vegetable’s current average road trip from field to fork is about 1,300 miles, according to The Eco-Foods Guide, by Cynthia Barstow (New Society Publishers, 2002). “Buying food grown near home is one action we can take that makes sense for us and cents for our farmers,†writes Barstow. “Shorten the distance, lessen the cost and waste, support your neighbor, and save valuable open agricultural land.â€

Another problem is that food shipped long distances loses both flavor and nutritional value over time, says Deborah Madison, cookbook author and the founding chef of the renowned restaurant The Greens in San Francisco. Her most recent book is Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets (Broadway Books, 2002). “The fresher the food, the more vitality it has and the more it nurtures you,†she points out. “Too often, produce is picked before it’s ripe so it won’t go bad while trucking across the continent. Eating fruit should be a succulent, beguiling treat, yet shamefully, it rarely is.â€

The solution is to eat foods only when they’re in season in your area, which means supporting local farmers. Take your basket to the farmer’s market, chat with the people who grow the food, and revel in the array of fresh-picked organic eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, and summer squash just begging to be grilled with savory herbs and served over pasta. “When food is only hours off the plant, it tastes so good that preparing it isn’t complicated,†says Madison. “Simply slicing fresh vegetables and spreading them on a platter creates a flavorful masterpiece. Foods that are in season together always taste good together, which is why you can feel confident when cooking intuitively with food from the farmers’ market.â€

Summertime is when the eatin’ is easy, but in winter, we’re tempted to buy nonlocal foods. With some effort, however, you can dine well by relying on the bounty of winter gardens and food cellars. Although farmer’s markets are likely closed for the season, you can get a rough idea of what’s in season by noticing which foods are most vibrant and affordable in your supermarket, Madison notes. Check our chart for buying and preparing seasonal produce, then start to plan delicious meals around the cycles of the earth—not around shipping and air freight schedules. Your taste buds and the environment will love the difference.

Sources: The Farmers’ Market Cookbook, by Nina Planck (Hodder & Stoughton, London, 2001); Local Flavors, by Deborah Madison (Broadway Books, 2002)

Commit to Seasonal Eating

Shop at farmer’s markets. You can meet the growers of your food and ask how fresh it is and whether it’s organic. Farmer’s markets put money directly into the pockets of small family farmers who struggle to survive in an era of mega-agribusiness. Many markets close for the winter, but as more customers patronize them, farmers are encouraged to expand their facilities to accommodate wintered-over foods, says food writer and chef Deborah Madison.

Join a CSA (community-supported agriculture). Sign up with a local farm program, and for a fee you’ll receive a weekly share of just-picked food. With widespread support, local farmers can diversify their crops to offer customers a variety of seasonal produce or other farm products such as eggs and honey. CSA shares usually come in bulk, so you can capitalize on a bumper crop by canning, freezing, or storing those foods.

Ask your grocer to stock local foods. Large, corporate-owned grocery chains sometimes sell local foods, but they rarely identify them because the supply is too small to meet consumer demands, notes Madison. Shop at food co-ops or family-owned grocery stores that make it a priority to sell local produce.

Stay committed, even when you’re not perfect. Few people can eat seasonally 100 percent of the time, so focus instead on continually challenging yourself to go a step further. “It’s human nature to be curious about foreign foods, and we love to eat them,†says Madison. Fortunately, restaurants and stores have begun to feature gourmet local foods on menus and on the shelves, so eating seasonally feels exotic.


Sniffing Out Local Treasures

Follow your nose at your local market—along with your sense of sight, touch, and taste. Shopping for fresh-grown produce is a sensual experience, and when food is at its best, you’ll know it. Keep in mind that seasonal food that’s ripe in California may not reach its peak in Minnesota for another month—or ever. And half the fun of shopping locally is seeking out foods that are unique to your area: fresh-roasted chiles in the Southwest, hickory nuts in Wisconsin, green peanuts in Alabama, or Rocky Ford cantaloupes in Colorado.
"That which we persist in doing becomes easier for us to do. Not that the nature of the thing itself has changed but our power to do it is increased." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

"You are what you eat -- so don't be Fast, Easy, Cheap or Fake."

Too solid flesh
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Green

Post by Too solid flesh » Thu Apr 10, 2008 8:01 pm

reinhard wrote:Every day you tick off green on your habitCal is "green" in more senses than one.

Reinhard
Good point! It will make those green squares extra satisfying.

Re the article Wosnes posted, I have been getting a local organic fruit and veg box for nearly a year now. This is a green way of buying tastier food, and I believe that eating this nutritious food has improved my resistance to cold bugs etc. It's rewarding all round.

blueskighs
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Post by blueskighs » Fri Apr 11, 2008 2:52 am

I suspect that if for some reason the United States en masse adopted No S, the environmental impact would be significant just from the reduction of high fructose corn syrup production alone.
Blithe Morning, if you will run for president and use that as your platform I will vote for you !

Blueskighs
www.nosdiet.blogspot.com Where I blog daily about my No S journey

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bonnieUK
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Post by bonnieUK » Fri Apr 11, 2008 9:39 am

Deviating from topic slightly, but there is an interesting article on the BBC news site about families eating and food buying habits around the world:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/talking_point/7287793.stm

It's one of a few articles there about food price concerns etc. I find it interesting that one or two of the families seem to eat meat every day (or at least used to before meat prices went up) even when I was a meat eater my family didn't eat meat daily, meat was considered more of a special day thing (e.g. Sunday roast!).

I definitely find that doing No S keeps the grocery bill managable.

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Blithe Morning
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Post by Blithe Morning » Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:48 pm

blueskighs wrote:Blithe Morning, if you will run for president and use that as your platform I will vote for you !
Blueskighs
Thanks, Blue. I doubt I could get elected dog catcher by advocating for anything that would result in less corn production, at least until there are some huge systemic changes in our food production system (Cargill, ADM, Con Ag).

Greg Critser has an interesting chapter in his book Fatland about how food production drives what food we have available to us. Predating Michael Pollan's work by a couple of years, I think it's worth dipping into.

blueskighs
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Post by blueskighs » Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:20 am

Blithe morning,

well we can always dream,
you are doing good in the world.
the earth and all those who love our dear planet appreciate it!

Blueskighs
www.nosdiet.blogspot.com Where I blog daily about my No S journey

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OrganicGal
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Post by OrganicGal » Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:45 pm

I am the owner of an Organic, locally focused grocery store. By that I mean my focus is on selling as much LOCALLY grown produce as well as beef and chicken ( all certified organic) as possible.

I run monthly (soon to be weekly) seminars on all kinds of topics...i.e health related as well as environmental issues. I am dedicated to reducing my own carbon footprint as well as educating others so they can make an informed choice about things.

And I'm not tooting my own horn here, the point I was trying to get to, was that by eating better (the No S plan way) and buying locally for as much as we can with food and everything else, we can ALL reduce our carbon footprint without having to make huge non-sustainable changes to our lives. :)

Didn't mean to sound like a rant...lol
Have a great weekend everyone
Creating and sustaining the No S habits are the only thing that will take me in the direction I want to go!

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