Ancient cultures respected nature and believed to be connected with everything around them. They would teach each other to be friends with the animals and plants, and to revere the sky, the sea and the earth as our divine family. Then progress advanced even further, and in many parts of the world we changed our way to see it all. The once revered, sometimes adored, nature became a large series of resources that could be exploited for economy and culture.
History is a pendulum, and now it's starting to swing back again. Our actions are destroying the environment and more and more people agree with the famous Native American chief quotation, that when there is no longer the river, the forest and the eagle, "white man would realize that he cannot eat money".
A new movement of smart cities and collaborative economies is getting stronger in some countries of the world. The idea is to redesign our overall economic system, our architecture and infrastructure, and the whole society at large. With the proper changes, we should be able to stop eroding our environment and live on this planet for generations and generations to come. We take for granted so many activities and so many ways to perform them, but many people would be surprised to find out how altering their daily habits can positively impact our environment. Here is some info about one of our basic everyday activities that we can modify to go greener and more sustainable: eating.
There has been a recent trend in some Western countries about eating healthier. Also, vegetarianism and veganism are on the rise, as well as dietary options for losing weight, green sweeteners and natural dietary supplements. However, did you know that adapting your eating habits can also help reduce the carbon footprint?
As a matter of fact, the food industry produces about a quarter of the total carbon emissions. Food growth, collection, elaboration and transportation emit massive amounts of CO2 which contribute to the greenhouse effect and the overall air pollution in our planet. By knowing which practices cause more emissions and what we can do to reduce our carbon footprint, we can actually make positive changes and help protect our planet.
Some sorts of food have processes of heavier carbon emissions than others. It depends on the way they are produced, how long they need to be transported, and which resources they consume in order to be grown and collected. By adapting our eating habits, we can produce food with a production process that leads to smaller emissions.
For example, eating season food is always better than off-season food. Off-season food requires a heavier use of resources, including greenhouses, fertilizers and/or special growing methods, all of which emit more CO2 than a more natural approach. Another way to get off-season food is to import it, but the transportation process also emits CO2, so in the end, the best that you can do is eat mostly seasonal food.
Some businesses like Guest in the City (guestinthecity.com) offer tourists and travelers the opportunity to eat with locals at their homes instead of in a restaurant. With Guest in the City you can eat with locals in Paris and other places in France. Eating at home is better because industrial or commercial places like bistros, restaurants and bars consume more power, so the carbon footprint is much larger.
The other aspect is that local food has less "food miles" - which measure how far food has to be transported from the spot of production to the spot of consumption -, so it's more environment friendly, now you know that. Also, it has the added value of local culture, which is especially interesting when you go on vacation or travel far from your home for any other reason. Instead of eating food you're used to, you can take the chance to eat local, try new flavors and texture, and get in closer contact with the local culture. It's an interesting and constructive experience, and it also helps reduce the carbon footprint.
This idea is also friendly with the collaborative economy model, where economical exchanges cut down the corporate intermediary and go back to being directly between people, which results in a much lesser loss of value. Get on board and give this new model a try!
Finally, click here if you want to learn more about how to change your eating habits. In this great article, you will find how you can reduce up to 60% of your food-related carbon emissions at home.
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