April 16, 2008

Earth day column I wrote for ChefsLine

Earth Day will be celebrated next Tuesday, April 22. I thought it would be a good time to ask some of the other ChefsLine team to suggest some steps we could take in our home kitchens to have a positive impact on the environment... or at least to tread a little lighter. WOW, they came up with some really great ideas! The cool thing is that these adjustments are simple enough that you can put them into action immediately.
ChefsLine's Suggestions for Earth Day (...and every day!)
  • Chef Richard: Prepare a One-Pot meal. You'll conserve energy by using only one burner on the stove, and save water because you have to wash only one pot that night.
  • Chef Robyn: Treat yourself and support healthier cows with a milkshake or smoothie made with organic milk, or even better, yogurt and local fruit! Your body and taste buds will feel like a million bucks.
  • Chef Adrienne: Be certain that your used plastic bags from the grocery store are in a place where you can grab and go so you can reuse them. Even better, bring your own bag to the market.
  • Melissa: If you wash dishes by hand, do it right away and you'll use less water. If you use the dishwasher, make sure that it's completely filled up before running it, and use an environmentally friendly detergent.
And here are a few ideas that I'd like to contribute:
  • Buy fresh, local produce. Not only does it taste better, but you might not realize that frozen food requires a lot of energy to keep it frozen, and usually travels futher, which uses gasoline and creates carbon emissions.
  • Consider purchasing your staples in bulk. (rice, beans, flour, etc.) buying food in packages requires the use of paper, cardboard and plastic and other materials that need to be recycled. Recycling's great but it still takes energy!
  • If you eat meat, you don't have to go vegetarian to be environmentally friendly. Just eat less of it. It takes about 4 pounds of grain to raise 1 pound of beef, plus something like 2500 gallons of water! So if you're used to eating an 8 oz portion, eat 4 oz instead, and eat more vegetables. A good book you can read about this is The Omnivore's Dilemma.
Sometimes it just takes looking at an idea  from someone else's perspective to see how easy it is to make a few small changes to your day-to-day life, and it's empowering to see how subtle adjustments to how you get things done can make an impact on being "green".

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