The Climaterian Diet and Network
A friend sent me a link to Climates, a social network that was started in the UK to connect people who want to live lives that reduce the impacts of climate change. The founders hope to get people thinking and experimenting and sharing carbon footprint-reducing ideas that are practical for anyone anywhere.
It’s easy for first-worlders to feel removed from drastic climate change. However, those of us who live on islands, as I do, have to think about rising sea levels, and all of us will soon be thinking more and more about food sourcing, among other things. Once you’ve dusted off your bicycle and changed your light-bulbs and made all the other simple fixes, what’s next? Well, something had better be next: Those of us in first world countries enjoy unprecedented choice and abundance, yet the uncomfortable truth is, the more abundance we enjoy and the more we spend, the greater our carbon footprint is likely to be.
Eat That The World May Live
Here’s something to think about: The average footprint for people in United States is 20.40 metric tons.
The average for the industrial nations is about 11 metric tons.
The average worldwide carbon footprint is about 4 metric tons.
Not sure you believe me? Here’s the source: http://calculator.carbonfootprint.com/calculator.aspx?tab=8
Wherever we reside on that sliding scale, the quickest way to shrink our carbon footprint is to make a climaterian change of our own. If all meat eaters simply switched from beef and lamb to pork and poultry, each person would shrink a ton a year off their footprint. Food production creates up to a third of all greenhouse gasses, and the bulk of that comes from raising beef. Over half of crops grown worldwide are used for meat animal feed, again mostly for beef.
How Now Dead Cow?
Leonard DiCaprio has made a film that is inspiring protests against global destruction caused by beef raising practices. Here’s a horrifying, action-inspiring glimpse of what lies behind beef production: http://www.cowspiracy.com/about/
Less Meat Or Meatless
Obviously, enjoying lower-impact meats and reducing the amount of beef and lamb each family eats is a good start. If your family is novelty-averse, the first step might be to cook pork and poultry in recipes where you might ordinarily use beef, such as stew. Instead of making a pork stew that doesn’t taste familiar, use your usual beef-based recipe but substitute pork (and don’t say anything about it unless somebody asks). Next, try it with turkey or chicken or duck to see which variation is most pleasing to those you love to feed.
A good next step might be to begin serving sustainably harvested fish weekly. Salmon burgers are a good start for many kids; not only are they delicious, but once you put enough ketchup on the bun, the patty flavor is less important. Fish and chips, grilled salmon, fish tacos and fish sticks are all good ways to nudge the family meal pattern away from meat.
The Green Shift
Changing slowly over to an increasingly vegetarian diet can shrink your carbon footprint by half. If you already eat a meatless meal once a week, try having a weekly meatless day. If you get push back, instead of announcing the new trend, just do it. Experiment to find tasty, intriguing vegetarian recipes the whole family enjoys and simply serve them without comment. (Many people won’t notice there’s no meat unless you point it out.)
Short of not using a car, few other changes we can make offer as much positive impact. One that does is of course to grow at least some of our own food, using organic methods. Small changes are easier to make than huge ones, but many small shifts can add up to very large and positive results! Here’s my current favorite tantalizing recipe to inspire you to create your own taste sensations:
Spunky, Chewy, Zingy Tacos
Chewy, organic yellow corn tortillas make this simple dish especially toothsome. For the most intriguing texture, fry the tortillas on both until they bubble, using just a slick of avocado oil. Add your favorite cheese and salsa to make this high-satiety meal even more satisfying. Have all ingredients prepped so you can serve (or eat) these amazing treats straight from the pan.
Avocado Lime Tacos
8-10 6-inch yellow corn tortillas (organic if possible)
1-2 teaspoons avocado oil (or any high-temp oil)
1/2 cup salsa
2-3 ounces extra sharp cheddar or any cheese
1/4 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped sweet peppers (saladini or any)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 ripe avocados, thickly sliced
few grans sea salt
1-2 fresh limes, in wedges
Brush a heavy frying pan with oil and place over medium high heat for 1 minute. Fry a tortilla on both sides until it bubbles, then spoon a little salsa on half and a slice of cheese on the other half. Put some raw onion and peppers on the salsa side and cilantro on the cheese side, then add avocado slices to the salsa side and sprinkle with salt. Squeeze lime juice generously over it all, fold in half and eat at once. Serves at least one.