Monday, December 04, 2006

My Carbon Diet

This week it is about diet. But first I should probably report how I did last week. I drove 25 miles. Check me out ;) It was that low because of the blizzard, I'm quite sure. But still! I turned the thermostat down more often. I found myself saying, with Brenda Daynes from Cast On, "If you're cold, put on a sweater. That's what they're for." And I ordered, but haven't yet received (and certainly won't know how to install) a programmable thermostat. But by the time it gets here, math-man will be home and he does know these things. I think those are all the changes I made.

Now... on to this week. It's food, food, food. This I can work with. It amounts to this:
  • buy locally grown
  • buy organic
  • reduce packaging
  • plant a garden
  • cut beef consumption

So, let's talk. I do buy organic and locally grown, although it's not anywhere near 100%. I am a participant in Community Supported Agriculture. I'm eating a locally-baked cookie for breakfast. Does that count? A local diner (Lincoln Inn) has these chocolate cookies wrapped around another chocolate thing... Oh my lands. I have to get these out of the house! So, okay I'll do a better job of buying organics this week. And, I'll get my apples from the local orchard, assuming that the roads out there are plowed.

Reduce packaging.... this is so annoying to me. My daughter is dating an engineer who designs product packaging. Kirk, I'm in a position to make your life MISERABLE, my man ;) Stop designing fingernail-breaking, kitchen-shears-ruining packaging. His answer is that when people stop shoplifting, he can get a different job, which is probably true. So the thing I can do, that I embarrassingly haven't, is make and use reusable shopping bags. Our local food coop doesn't provide bags, in any case; you have to bring your own. I probably even have a bag I can use until I get my act together and make a cute one. OK, that's on the list.

I'm looking out the window and considering the planting a garden thing. Under about 5 feet of piled-up snow, there's place to put a garden. But seriously, I wouldn't take care of it. I know me. I was at a coffee shop the other day and they had coffee plants out. Now if only I could have a little coffee crop ;) I could have potted herbs indoors, but I'm sure I can't find started plants in the shops this time of year. (If someone knows differently, tell me.) So that one's going to wait, in short.

And I already don't eat beef, so there you are.

The results looks like this:
  • Cutting beef out of your diet saves approximately 1,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year
  • Bringing your own bags to the grocery store saves about 17 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions a year.
  • Buying food and other products with minimal packaging saves about 230 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
  • Becoming a vegetarian saves 3,000 pounds of CO2 a year.

So, we're off. Another week.


Lisa :-] said...

I gotta is buying "organic" supposed to cut CO2 emissions? I've heard stories that some cetified "organic" farms are little different from non-organic ones. I'm a bit skeptical of the whole racket, these days...

Andrea Rusin said...

Oh yeah, even organic food comes with an emissions price tag -epsecially as places like Wal-mart encourage the mass production of organics. Of course, most of that price comes from getting the food to market -which is why buying local matters.

Apparently you get the most significant carbon reduction from going organic with milk, cheese, and potatoes. So a good organic dish of scalloped potatoes is downright virtuous ;)

Wil Robinson said...

I can live without beef (I largely do) but I like meat...and you're just providing my wife with more reasons not to cook meat.

I can only eat so much Tofu...

I live in Japan, and the packaging here is INSANE. There is an obsession with packaging. I've opened a package of cookies, only to find that two separate packages inside of ten cookies each, only to find that EACH INDIVIDUAL COOKIE IS PACKAGED.

When you buy a hot coffee and take it to go from the coffee shops here, they put it in a paper doesn't even make sense.

However, they require you sort your trash in the same obsessive manner. We have seven different trash bags for different items.

My worry is what happens when countries like India or China get to this point? The world can't afford so much abuse.

As the richest country, the US needs to set an example - and it all starts with the individual. Keep at it. Everything makes a difference.

Andrea Rusin said...

Well, Wil, my dear, you can always cook your own meat ;) Back in the olden days, when I'd have late meetings, I'd come home and the house would smell like kielbasa (You know.... back when my husband actually lived here....). Contraband meat cookery ;)