Sustainable Eating #2: Why a Series on Sustainable Eating?

Welcome to 2010!

A lot of exciting things are supposed to happen this year.  If Arthur C. Clarke is right, this is the year that Jupiter will turn into a sun thanks to Roy Schneider.  We’re 2 years away from the Mayan (Aztec?) apocalypse.  Yep, this is an exciting time to be alive!

In all seriousness, while 2010 is a year of great opportunity, it’s also one of great challenge with the glocal economy still on shaky footing, joblessness soaring acros the world, and some very credible evidence that the environment is getting more and more unstable.  Fixing the environment is a big job, but it’s not so big if we all pitch in.  That’s why Caitlin from Roaming Tales and I are doing this series on sustainable eating: so everyone can make informed decisions about food and the food supply.

Why Another Series on Sustainable Eating?

I am sure some of you are wondering why this topic and why now?  This topic was real current about 3 years ago and since then, there’s been a lot of debate back and forth about the environmental impact of eating, factory farming, organic food, etc.  But then again, there’s been a lot of debate back and forth and frankly, it can be hard to know which choices made in the name of greening your diet are actually helping the environment.

This became clear to me when I was reading a book on greening one’s life.  I came to a section on biofuels, which I am fairly sure are ecofriendly because they do not add more carbon into the atmosphere than was used to create them and because drilling for oil is very un-ecofriendly.  However, in this write up on biofuels, there was a foot note which warned the reader to not only consider the fuel, but also whether the plants used to make the fuel were grown with or without pesticides, to understand that growing those plants might have lead to pollution or carbon emissions, and that the biofuels still had to be transported, which also caused greenhouse gases to be emitted.


This got me to thinking.  What is the perfect eco-friendly situation?  If one could live with a neutral or negative carbon footprint, what would it look like?

Let Me Introduce You to Farmer Joe And His Family

Farmer Joe believes in the environment and as such, is a farmer.  He and his wife and one child (because he’s doing his part to not overcrowd the planet) live on fairly sizeable plot of land upon which Farmer Joe has a sizeable organic garden which is large enough to feed himself and his family and enough plots of land that he can grow cotton, corn and the crops necessary to grow biofuels.  Farmer Joe has no lifestock and certainly has no dogs or other pets as they would cause him to produce additional food, which would be environmentally unfriendly.  This, of course, means that Farmer Joe and his family are raw, gluten-free vegans who can like crazy in the summer so they have food to eat in the winter.

Speaking of winter, Farmer Joe and his family live in a single room home and in the winter, the entire family sleeps around a wood burning stove for mutual warmth.  Oh, Farmer Joe and his family rise with the sun and go to bed when the sun sets.  They have no candles in the house (don’t want to burn anything and release carbon) nor do they have electricity since the construction of batteries and solar cells cannot happen without harmful byproducts.

Farmer Joe’s tractor runs on biofuels which he grows organically himself and converts into biofuel.   The tractor itself is made of plant-based plastics, again which he grew the plants for.  However, it’s unreasonable to assume that he would have plastic synthesizing capabilities.  Instead a plant-based plastic mobile factory comes by every so often (again which runs off biofuels and is made of plant-based plastics) and gives him plastics in exchange for biofuel.

Farmer Joe, his wife, and their child never leave their farm and have exactly no education because traveling to and from the house produces unnecessary carbon emmissions.  Since there’s no electricity, there’s no Internet for distance learning.  Besides, books are made from paper and ink, both of which are wastes of precious natural resources.

Did I mention that Farmer Joe and his family only wear clothes from natural fabrics that they grow and hand sow?  I can go on.  We can talk about Farmer Joe’s house and furniture if you want…

Okay, you’re probably thinking that’s  a little nuts, but that’s only because it is.  But, you can quickly see how conversations about the perfect “green” lifestyle can get out of hand quickly.

And that’s where Caitlin and I hope to make a difference.  Neither of us are eco-radicals, just two concerned people who have seen how certain excesses have led to situations which are unnecessarily harming our environment.  We’re not going to ask you to go without electricity or be raw vegans for the rest of your life.  Instead, this series is about informing you of some (though certainly not all) of the options you have to reduce your impact on the environment.  I promise they’ll be easy, delicious even!

My Challenge To You

The important thing, though, is that you don’t have to do all of them.  Find one or two you like and stick with them.

Remember, if we all change a little, no one has to do a lot and we can keep this planet of ours vibrant and alive.

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