Monday, 19 October 2009
Every individual matters. Every individual has a role to play. Every individual makes a difference. - Dr. Jane Goodall
Well, rats!! I had no idea that 15 October was Blog Action Day!! It turns out that Blog Action Day takes place every 15 October. This year’s theme is “Climate Change”. ¹
Interestingly, I did have a note on the post about using a covered casserole instead of aluminum foil. And notes on what to do with the left-overs (ie: NOT waiting til they turn green and furry).
Naturally, I missed the event entirely. But I started thinking about it. I don’t make New Years’ Resolutions because it seems silly to wait until 1 January to resolve to make a change. So I don’t have to wait til next October to participate, do I?! Because after all, better late than never….
Cold outside right now, isn’t it? And it seems colder than normal too, doesn’t it?
And so we guffaw and sneer “Global Warming, Global Schwarming”. But think about it. If the polar caps are melting, the oceans get colder. Which means we closer to the poles will get colder too. (more about Ocean Currents and The Global Ocean Conveyor)
As the Earth continues to warm and Arctic sea ice melts, the influx of freshwater from the melting ice is making seawater at high latitudes less dense. In fact, data shows that the North Atlantic has become fresher over the past several decades. The less dense water will not be able to sink and circulate through the deep ocean as it does currently. This will disrupt or stop the Global Ocean Conveyor. Scientists estimate that, given the current rate of change, the Global Ocean Conveyor may slow or stop within the next few decades.
- Lisa Gardiner, Windows to the Universe: The Global Ocean Conveyor
Well. That’s pretty chilling, isn’t it? It almost seems like there’s really no point in doing anything at all. Why not just “Eat Drink and Be Merry” instead?
But surely it’s high time for us to take our heads out of the sand (…errrrrmmm… ocean?) and do something. Because, as Dr. Goodall said, “Every individual matters.”
I’d love it if we’d all stop using aluminum foil and plastic wrap as if they’re going out of style. There’s absolutely no reason to use aluminum foil as a covering for cooking food. A casserole lid or a cookie sheet for a larger dish will do exactly the same thing that foil does and all the lid requires is washing before being re-used.
And there’s really no reason to use plastic wrap in the humungous quantities that it’s used now. An inverted plate over a bowl, a recycled yoghurt container, or jam jar will work just as well to keep things from getting dried out.
Every time I see someone on the Food Network flagrantly reel out an arm-length or two of aluminum foil to cover one little dish, I cringe. And when the same someone cracks two or three eggs and dumps a collossal amount of crumbs for breading one little piece of fish, I start yelling at the TV. It’s embarrassing.
These are the people who should be setting examples for the rest of us! What a shame that their sponsors are encouraging them to use the sponsors’ products rather than instruct us to be thoughtful and sparing.
And while we’re at it, do we really need to buy special plastic containers for storing food? Containers that only survive a few times in the dish washer?
(And speaking of dishwashers, I’m the dishwasher here. And I think that our dishes are very clean. I use a smallish tub that I gradually fill with very hot water as I wash and rinse the dishes we use, leaving them to air dry before putting them away. After all, there are only two of us. How many dishes can two people use in one day?! Electric dishwasher? Needless waste of space!!)
Katie (Thyme for Cooking) DID know that 15 October was Blog Action Day. Here is an excerpt from her wonderful list for how to Stop wasting the food!:
Here, out in the middle of French nowhere, we do what we can in our, albeit small, way.
- Take your own bags to the markets and stores. [...] Do it all the time. All the time.
- Don’t cook more than you eat. [...] Every little bit of rice that you don’t throw out doesn’t have to be produced, harvested, shipped, hauled, packaged, and sold. Not to mention fertilized and watered. [...]
- Encourage restaurants to serve reasonable portions [...]
- Don’t throw out or compost what you grow. Compost the waste, not the food. [...]
- Invest in an energy efficient freezer if you can. [...] [F]reeze everything from [the] garden that [you] don’t eat. [B]uy food in season, when it’s cheap, and freeze that, too. [...]
- Buy in bulk
- excerpt from “Thyme for Cooking” Blog Action Day: Stop wasting the food!
I have only one thing to add to this excellent list:
- Walk, bicycle or take public transit to do your grocery shopping.
Sure, if you live in the middle of the wilderness, this might not be a viable option. But if you live in Toronto, there are bound to be grocery stores easily accessible to you on your way home from work. And remember, you don’t have to do a month’s shopping at once. Plan ahead a little. Make grocery lists and put them into your grocery bags. Only buy as much as you are going to prepare. That way, you can easily carry it home in the grocery bags you brought with you.
And it’s NOT too cold outside to ride a bike!! Until there is snow and/or ice on the roads, biking is not a problem. In fact, in the city, it generally takes about the same time as driving. And you can park your bike for free right outside the doors of the shop. How convenient is that?
I also really like Katie’s point saying to make only what we’ll eat.
I confess that we often make more than we can eat on that particular night BUT it’s with the idea that we will use any of the leftovers in subsequent nights’ dinner – roast chicken one night, chicken pie the next night, risotto or soup the next – made with stock from the carcass.
And we love adding beans to meat dishes to extend the meat!! Aren’t beans wonderful? We particularly like black, kidney, Romano, Pinto, Navy, Garbanzo… inexpensive and easy to prepare. And forget the cans. Do your own preserving! You’re really not getting very good value when you buy canned beans! (Not to mention that there are all those cans that have to be recycled….)
Buy dried beans in bulk. Plan ahead just a little by taking the few minutes to wash the beans and leave them to soak overnight. If, during the week, you’re perennially pressed for time, cook beans in huge batches and freeze them in serving-sized containers. We use 750 ml yoghurt containers to freeze beans.
Blog Action Day is an annual event encouraging bloggers to post about the same issue on the same day. Their aim is to raise awareness and trigger a global discussion. This year’s topic is “Climate Change”.
This December world leaders will gather in Copenhagen to negotiate a global response to climate change. As a world leader in greenhouse gas pollution as well as clean energy technology, the United States needs to take bold action by implementing comprehensive clean energy policies to curb emissions. [...]
Time is running out, and our planet can’t afford to wait.
- excerpt from blogactionday.org: take action
It isn’t just the USA that needs to take bold action…
As the co-chair of UN Climate Change Conference in Nairobi in November 2006, Canada and its government received embarrassing criticism from environmental groups and from other governments for its climate change positions.
- excerpt from canadaglobalwarming.com: The Kyoto Protocol
What many Canadians don’t know is that we’re falling behind in achieving the targets scientists tell us we need to avoid runaway climate change.
Our country is now one of the top 10 global warming polluters in the world.
Citizens can make a big difference in their everyday lives. But the public can’t do it alone. Canada is at a crossroads. Our political leaders have the power to jumpstart big changes – through law-making, carbon reduction targets, and investments in clean-energy projects.
- davidsuzuki.org: Global Climate Summit
Some suggestions for what is being done and what we can do:
- World Wildlife Fund: Take Action
:: Cycle or walk instead of driving
:: Eat less meat
:: Shop with reusable bags
:: Earth Hour “Even though the official annual event took place in March, help keep the spirit alive. Encourage your friends and family to have an Earth Hour every month, or every week. [...] Having a lights-out hour become part of your regular routine is a great way to do something nice for yourself and the environment.”
- Canada Global Warming: Take Action
:: Taking Action Against Climate Change
- David Suzuki Foundation:
:: Food and Climate Change
:: Diet for a healthy planet
:: Take action where you live
:: David Suzuki’s Nature Challenge Green Living Made Easy
- Bon Appétit Management Company:
:: Eat Low Carbon Diet Calculator
- Make Poverty History:
:: Make us Proud to be Canadians at the G8/G20 Summit
- Blog Action Day:
:: take action
:: 45 Things You Can Do About Climate Change Right Now
:: 7 Blog Action Day 2009 Videos You Should See
- Government of Canada:
:: Environment Canada: Climate Change – Top 10 things you can do
:: Canada’s Action on Climate Change
:: Contact Canada’s Minister for the Environment
- Government of Ontario:
:: Ontario Ministry of the Environment
:: Climate Change: What Ontario is doing
:: Contact Ontario’s Minister for the Environment
COP15 United Nations Climate Change Conference Copenhagen 2009
Environment Minister Jim Prentice and Climate Change Ambassador Michael Martin will attend the COP15 to work in collaboration with representatives from almost 200 other countries to establish an ambitious global climate change agreement for post-2012 (when the first commitment under the Kyoto Protocol expires).
COP15 Website: http://en.cop15.dk/
- excerpt from climatechange.gc.ca
Speaking of missing important events, here are a few others that slipped by without me noticing. (sigh)
- 16 October: World Food Day
:: FAO of the UN: Imagine achieving food security in times of crisis
:: world food day = no food day for the worlds’ hungry
- 16 October: World Bread Day
:: kochtopf: World Bread Day announcement: Yes We Bake
:: Wild Yeast: Imagine
- 16 October: International Day for the Eradication of Poverty
:: Make Poverty History: Take Action
:: 16-18 October: Global movement to end poverty
And to think that when I started this tirade, I was just going to reiterate and simply expand on my comment made on Katie’s post. Ha!!
edit 21 October 2009: Please also see a billion for a billion, a not quite Wordless Wednesday post