How to reduce your food’s carbon footprint, in 2 charts–The answer is not “eat local.”

A shopkeeper surveys fresh fruit and vegetables at a food market in Istanbul.
A shopkeeper surveys fresh fruit and vegetables at a food market in Istanbul.
 Tim Graham/Getty Images

“Eat local.” It’s a recommendation you’ve probably heard before. Environmental advocates and even the United Nations have hyped a “locavore” diet as a way to reduce your carbon footprint and help the climate. The basic idea is that more transportation leads to more emissions, so you want to reduce the distance your food has to travel to get to you.

And certainly, if you can eat local, that’s great. But it’s not the most effective way to reduce your food’s carbon footprint.

The website Our World in Data recently explained, with some great charts, why your focus should really be elsewhere.

“Eating locally would only have a significant impact if transport was responsible for a large share of food’s final carbon footprint. For most foods, this is not the case,” writes Hannah Ritchie. “Emissions from transportation make up a very small amount of the emissions from food and what you eat is far more important than where your food traveled from.”

Take a look at the chart below, which examines 29 different food products, from beef to nuts, and breaks down how much greenhouse gas emissions each stage in the supply chain is responsible for. The data comes from the biggest meta-analysis of worldwide food systems we’ve got so far, published in Science in 2018.

Our World in Data

As you can see, the share of emissions from transport (shown in red) is generally pretty tiny; the distance our food travels to get to us actually accounts for less than 10 percent of most food products’ carbon footprint. Processes on farms (shown in brown) and changes in land use (shown in green) typically account for much more of the emissions from our food.

Translation: What you eat is much more important than whether your food is local.

So, next time you find yourself trying to choose between a couple of different dinner options — local prawns versus non-local fish, let’s say — remember that from an emissions standpoint, the fish is the better choice even though it comes from farther away.

It can be hard to know which products in your grocery store are air-freighted, since they’re almost never labeled as such. But a good rule of thumb is to avoid fresh fruits and vegetables that have a short shelf-life and that come from far away (check the label for their country of origin). Berries, green beans, and asparagus are examples of foods that are often air-freighted. Locally sourced berries, green beans, and asparagus, though, have a low carbon footprint.

What about “sustainable meat” versus plant-based foods?

At this point, you might be wondering where plant-based foods fit into all this. With so many grocery stores and restaurants now selling Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, it’s reasonable to wonder about the carbon footprint of products made from protein sources other than meat.

Some have argued that you can have a lower footprint if you eat beef or lamb sourced from low-impact producers than if you switch to plant-based alternatives. But the evidence suggests that’s just not true.

“Plant-based foods emit fewer greenhouse gases than meat and dairy, regardless of how they are produced,” Ritchie writes.

Here’s another chart, which shows that less meat is nearly always better than sustainable meat when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. The data comes from the same 2018 meta-analysis mentioned above, which considered the food systems in 119 countries.

Our World in Data

As you can see, beef and lamb are way over on one extreme in terms of the amount of emissions they produce. By contrast, plant-based protein sources like tofu, beans, peas, and nuts have a very low carbon footprint.

“This is certainly true when you compare average emissions. But it’s still true when you compare the extremes: there’s not much overlap in emissions between the worst producers of plant proteins, and the best producers of meat and dairy,” Ritchie notes.

Translation: Eating plant-based food is almost always going to be better for the environment than eating even the most sustainable meat.

That said, it’s worth noting that some types of meat are much harsher on the environment than others. Replacing beef or lamb with chicken or pork — again, regardless of where you get the products from — is an effective way to reduce your carbon footprint.

This is all coming strictly from an emissions standpoint, mind you. It doesn’t take into account animal welfare. Perhaps you think the welfare of animals like pigs, which show signs of high intelligence, is an important consideration here; if so, you might think it’s a bad idea to substitute pork for other types of meat. And we have to slaughter about 200 chickens to get the same amount of meat we’d get from one cow, which raises environmental as well as animal welfare concerns.

There are multiple factors to consider when making food choices, and your final decision may shake out differently depending on how you weight each of them.

Disney parks expand vegan food options and they’re delicious

 (just don’t call them ‘vegan’)

David G. Allan, CNN • Updated 14th February 2020
Editor’s Note — David Allan, editorial director for Features at CNN, has been a vegetarian for more than 25 years and Star Wars fan for 40 years. This is the first time those two priorities have intersected. The views expressed here about Disney’s plant-based options are his own.
Orlando, Florida (CNN) — The self-described “happiest place on Earth” is getting increasingly happier for animals, and for those who are increasingly removing those animals from their diet.
After a big push last fall, the resort development division of Walt Disney World in Florida has identified more than 400 new and proven “plant-based” options on the menus of all its food locations, including park restaurants, food carts and hotel properties. That’s 580 locations in Disney World alone. And a similar effort is underway at the Disneyland park and resort in Anaheim, California.
Just don’t call these non-meat, non-dairy, non-honey options “vegan.”
“Most research shows that the word ‘vegan’ appeals to vegans but the trend is much broader than that,” explained Cheryl Dolven, a manager for food and beverage health and wellness with Walt Disney World Resort Development, Optimization and Standardization.
“‘Plant-based’ is much more broadly appealing,” Dolven added.
“I get it, ‘vegan’ sounds weird,” I said to Dolven, who politely didn’t disagree.
“Plant-based” can be defined more loosely than vegan, says CNN Health contributor and nutritionist Lisa Drayer. But Disney defines their “plant-based” options as “made without animal meal, dairy, eggs and honey,” according to their website, meeting the commonly accepted definition of vegan.
Like many of Disney's food offerings, some of the vegan dishes are themed to match their location. This hummus dish served at Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge is called a "Felucian Garden Spread," a reference to a planet covered in overgrown plants in the Star Wars universe.

Like many of Disney’s food offerings, some of the vegan dishes are themed to match their location. This hummus dish served at Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge is called a “Felucian Garden Spread,” a reference to a planet covered in overgrown plants in the Star Wars universe.
Disney
Whatever you want to call it, it’s a smart move to capitalize on a trend that’s already impacting the restaurant and hospitality industry across the country. Restaurant sales of alternative meat products jumped 268% last year, according to the Dining Alliance, a US industry group.
Disney was also hearing directly from its own visitors, who were noting dietary restrictions in their reservations, buying more meat-free options, and giving feedback in guest surveys asking for vegan options. It all became a growing chorus asking the resorts to embrace a growing vegetarian and vegan appetite.
The company is also trying to appeal to younger guests, the future of Disney, as well as its own cast members who adhere to plant-based diets, Dolven added.

The proof is in the tasting

It’s one thing to offer more hummus and carrot sticks. It’s another to invest and innovate in alternatives that appeal to the diverse interests of those who are vegan and may still crave the taste of meat, chocolate, pastries and ice cream.
Disney chose the latter. Its in-house Flavor Lab, a research and development facility used to create and test new menu items, tasked its chefs to reeducate themselves. They took trips to vegan (sorry, plant-based) restaurants in New York and Philadelphia. They began hunting for and developing replacements for mayonnaise, butter, yogurt, cheese and eggs.
Generally, “chefs aren’t trained that way,” said Gary Jones, a culinary dietary specialist at Walt Disney World. “A lot of us are going back and relearning how to extract the most flavor from plant-based choices.”
Jones then led me through a sampling of some of that research and development.
The most impressive of the offerings was the seafood platter on the menu at the Toledo restaurant located at Coronado Springs Resort. The creations mimicked a mouth-feel — flavor, texture and other sensations — I’d been craving over the more than 25 years I’ve been a vegetarian.
The royal trumpet mushroom-based “scallop” was tender and buttery. The breaded fungi “calamari” was tangy and chewy. But it was the heart of palm-based “crab cake” that was personally moving.
I was born and raised in Maryland, baptized in Old Bay seasoning. I’ve never found a fake crab that wasn’t fish. And the Toledo’s crab cake was just how I’ve long dreamed non-seafood crab could be, the taste evoking childhood memories.
All over the Disney World parks and hotel restaurants, new menus rolled out in the fall feature a green leaf icon next to items that are plant-based. And while the company’s website has a new page featuring plant-based meal options, Disney’s vegan fans have created their own guides with a lot more detail and reviews.
And when it comes to Disney’s plant-based options, one size doesn’t fit all. Most of the new options are unique to a location’s theme and cuisine type.
The rustic-looking PizzeRizzo in Hollywood Studios serves a thick and juicy spicy Italian “sausage” sub, the same cost as their meatball sub. The African themed Mara restaurant in the Animal Kingdom Lodge has a Marrakesh Falafel Platter served with soy yogurt. Epcot’s Rose & Crown Dining Room, for example, has a vegan version of the traditional UK breakfast of bangers and mash available upon request. Hollywood Studios’ fancy Brown Derby serves a popular vegan chocolate-coconut cake, the same price as the espresso cheesecake and chocolate mousse cake.

And they ate happily ever after

I sampled other options in the Orlando parks, uncovering a not-so-hidden world of vegan, er, plant-based dining.
In Galaxy’s Edge, the Star Wars land, I adored the Felucian Garden Spread, with plant-based spicy “kefta” meatballs and hummus and tomato-cucumber relish with pita bread, served in a skillet and actual metal silverware. The kefta was meaty-chewy and filling, the hummus thick with herbs. Jones said its one of the best sellers among the stellar offerings at the boisterous Docking Bay 7 Food and Cargo. Felucia is a jungle planet that makes a brief appearance in “Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith.”
On the other end of the culinary spectrum, the ABC Commissary in Orlando’s Hollywood Studios served a thick and delicious vegan California Burger with sautéed peppers, vegan mayo ketchup and a Sriracha mustard, served with a side of perfectly crisp shoestring fries. It cost $2 more than their traditional cheeesburger. I didn’t see any vegan dessert options, so I asked the woman taking orders if there were any. She looked confused and politely answered, “No, I don’t think so,” which the Disney public relations department later confirmed.
And I made a hearty dinner of the Southwest Bowl at the Fairfax Fare stand in Hollywood Studios. The bowl is a well crafted blend of chili, corn and vegan cheese, topped with non-dairy ranch dressing and crunchy tortilla chips. It costs the same as their comparable bowl with chicken.
I also noticed some locations not meeting the claim that all food locations have plant-free options. The Dockside Diner, near the Fairfax Fare didn’t have any plant-based options on its menu of hot dogs and nachos.
But Disney is getting there. Disneyland will get its big plant-based push this spring. And properties in Europe and Asia have many plant-based options but no current plans to overhaul their menus (visitor demand could affect that decision).
Given the planners’ careful eye on sales, it’s clear that the more Disney guests who choose vegetarian and plant-based options, the more options they can expect. After all, this is a hospitality brand famous for its innovation and for perpetually reinventing itself, and that extends to its dining choices.
“It’s been great to see the reception we’ve seen from the guests,” said Jones of the new plant-based options. “They are ordering more than we thought and influencing other guests. And our chefs are a lot more inspired and excited about it.”
As should vegetarian and vegan guests.

Brad Pitt jabs GOP in Oscars acceptance speech, Joaquin Phoenix talks animal rights

Several Oscar winners took the opportunity to inject politics into Sunday night’s festivities, starting with the telecast’s first famous victor, Brad Pitt, who took a shot at Republican senators who voted against calling witnesses at President Trump’s impeachment trial.

The four-time Academy Award nominee won the best-supporting actor accolade for his role as a stuntman in “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.” The win marked his first-ever Academy Award win for acting. He immediately took the stage and got political by taking a jab at senators who voted against Democrats’ requests to call new witnesses in the impeachment trial, specifically former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who claimed he was willing to testify.

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“They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week,” Pitt said. “I’m thinking maybe Quentin [Tarantino] does a movie about it. In the end, the adults do the right thing.”

No new witnesses were called in Trump’s impeachment trial, for which he was ultimately acquitted by the Senate in a vote across party lines, with the exception of a lone Republican vote to convict coming from Sen. Mitt Romney.

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Pitt had been expected to win the category after scooping up a series of honors this year, including at the Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

They told me I only have 45 seconds up here, which is 45 seconds more than the Senate gave John Bolton this week

— Brad Pitt

Speaking backstage, the actor explained why he included a political jab in his Oscars acceptance speech.

“I was really disappointed with this week,” he told reporters. “And I think when gamesmanship trumps doing the right thing, it’s a sad day and I don’t think we should let it slide, and I’m very serious about that.”

Pitt was not the only actor to politicize his comments as Joaquin Phoenix used his lengthy, emotional best actor acceptance speech to discuss, among other things, the state of humanity, and the plight of cows.

"We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby," Phoenix said after winning the Oscar for best actor. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

“We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow, and when she gives birth, we steal her baby,” Phoenix said after winning the Oscar for best actor. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images) (Getty)

“I think whether we’re talking about gender inequality or racism or queer rights or indigenous rights or animal rights, we’re talking about the fight against the belief, one nation, one race, one gender, or one species has the right to dominate, control and use and exploit another with impunity,” the animal-rights activist said.

“We feel entitled to artificially inseminate a cow,” Phoenix continued. “And when she gives birth, we steal her baby even though her cries of anguish are unmistakable and then we take her milk that’s intended for her calf and we put it in our coffee and our cereal.”

Julia Reichert, left, and Steven Bognar accept the award for best documentary feature for "American Factory." (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Julia Reichert, left, and Steven Bognar accept the award for best documentary feature for “American Factory.” (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Even socialist revolutionary Karl Marx was mentioned in a speech by Julia Reichert, the co-director of the Barack and Michelle Obama-produced Best Documentary winner “American Factory.”

Reichert concluded her speech with a paraphrase of the “Communist Manifesto,” written by Marx and Frederich Engels, stating “[W]e believe that things will get better when workers of the world unite.”

Pitt’s politically driven tone was significantly different than previous wins, where he kept it light with jokes and breezy speeches. Pitt was more somber on Sunday, calling his win “incredible” as his peers cheered.

The actor plays the stunt double of an aging cowboy actor played by Leonardo DiCaprio, a best actor nominee, in Quentin Tarantino’s 1969 Hollywood fable.

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“‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,’ ain’t that the truth,” an emotional Pitt said before he thanked his children, Tarantino and DiCaprio.

“I’ll ride on your coattails any day,” he concluded of his co-star. “The view’s fantastic.”

Brad Pitt accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a supporting role for 'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood' at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.

Brad Pitt accepts the award for best performance by an actor in a supporting role for ‘Once Upon a Time in Hollywood’ at the Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

Young trader’s epic Beyond Meat stock misfire: ‘Biggest mistake of my life’

Published: Jan 22, 2020 2:34 p.m. ET

‘That’s what I get for betting against the vegan movement’

Reuters
Beyond Meat for sale at a market in Encinitas, California.

By

SHAWNLANGLOIS

SOCIAL-MEDIA EDITOR

For veteran Wall Street types, $12,000 is a rounding error, but for a guy getting his feet wet in the options pits, losing that much will leave a scar.

Unfortunately, that’s what happened this week to an anonymous trader whom we’ll call “Juice,” if the sob story he shared on Reddit is accurate.

“I thought I’d give options a try because I was doing pretty well swing trading and it was probably the biggest mistake of my life,” he wrote in a post. “I’m going to liquidate everything and pretend I didn’t just YOLO away a large chunk of my savings today on a stupid play I didn’t fully understand.”

YOLO, or “you only live once,” is the rally cry for Reddit’s WallStreetBets bunch, where excessive risk and sideways trades are celebrated daily. For most trading novices, options are best avoided—but apparently not for these guys.

Here’s Juice’s ill-fated Beyond Meat BYND, -2.20% options play:

When a trader buys a put option, he is buying the right, but not the obligation, to sell a stock at a specified price until the contract expires worthless. Buying puts is often used as a way to bet against a stock, like Juice did with Beyond Meat, which has surged more than 60% over the past month.

The timing of his options play, however, couldn’t have been much worse. Starbucks SBUX, +1.22% announced Tuesday that the coffee giant aims to add more plant-based items to its menu, sending shares of Beyond Meat up 15%.

“That’s what I get for betting against the vegan movement,” he explained to readers as his post gained traction. “Definitely the hardest financial lesson I’ve learned to date. Only 23 so I guess there’s plenty of time to make it up.”

The bet, in some ways, reflects growing appetite by average investors for risky plays as the stock market roars to new heights. At last check, the Dow DJIA, -0.05% was up modestly but further distancing itself from the 29,000 level.

The Wall Street Journal (paywall) reported earlier this month that over the past 20 years, stock-options volume has grown more than six times, to around 4.4 billion options contracts in 2019, citing Options Clearing Corp.

One benefit to purchasing equity options is that they can often be bought for a fraction of the underlying stock price and can be used as a way to hedge one’s exposure, or in the case of Juice, to make a speculative directional bet on an asset, that can sometimes deliver a gut punch.

WallStreetBets isn’t typically the place to go for a sympathetic shoulder, but, considering Juice’s age and inexperience, there were plenty on offer:

“Your main problem is going against the trend. We’re in a strong bull with very good investor sentiment,” Zer033x wrote. “No reason to go against it, even if you think something will drop, guess what? It’ll just be bought back up, so why not get it after the drop? That’s how you play the current market.”

Another Redditor looked at the bright side and called it, “A college semester of learning condensed into one afternoon of trading.”

At least there’s that, Juice.

10 Life Changes That Will Actually Make A Difference For The Environment

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/how-to-help-the-environment_l_5e1f9811c5b674e44b92119a?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly9uZXdzLmdvb2dsZS5jb20v&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAKyX5gAKTbgXyEbHMP1of4pP12oAUHPaNzKXftq3jrFdo8s-5X7JQDcdOT4wFMIz9xJ8lMcBJRZbgXISK7fBxX6okW69KvgS7R7efo_KB0Tr0_SUHlNiVTB74xnWstE7R6yFUWNyPSAgrOR_kv_xbkwrEDSnrotFGYgvuI2obnTR

As wildfires dominate the news, experts suggest some of the best ways you can help the planet and combat climate change.

It’s easy to feel a sense of powerlessness when it comes to the environment.

The risk of wildfires all over the world is only growing, in part because of man-made climate change. We just lived through the hottest decade on record. Meanwhile, our leaders, at least in the U.S., have not enacted meaningful policy reform and many are dismissive of the threat of climate change.

While reforms need to be made at the federal, state and local government levels, our individual actions ― at least in the aggregate (tell your friends to do these things, too!) ― can make a difference. We asked environmentalists and climate change activists to share a few ways that each of us can reduce our carbon footprint and combat climate change.

Here are 10 useful suggestions:

1. Cut back on air travel — entirely if you can.

The idea of curbing your air travel, if not giving it up outright, was brought into the spotlight when Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg refused to fly to speaking engagements. She has traveled to events around Europe mainly by train and sailed from the U.S. to Portugal to attend the United Nations climate meeting in Madrid in December.

Critics of air travel usually point to the environmental damage done by international air travel, but domestic flights aren’t much better. As The New York Times reported recently, take one round-trip flight between New York and California, and you’ve contributed about 20% of the greenhouse gases that the typical car emits over the span of an entire year.

So when reducing air travel, don’t forget the domestic flights you likely take with more frequency ― a wedding here, an industry conference there.

“The antidote to air travel is to choose adventures closer to home, exploring your own state, arriving at destinations by train, bus or the family car,” said Erin Rhoads of The Rogue Ginger, one of Australia’s popular eco-lifestyle websites.

“The other benefits of this are learning the history about the country you are on in greater depth, supporting local towns off the beaten track, discovering hidden gems and creating new memories all while saving money,” she added.

For unavoidable flights, consider purchasing carbon offsets through airlines, online travel bookers and independent sellers like Terrapass. With your purchase, you fund environmental projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thus, in theory, reducing your personal carbon footprint.

Traveling by train is a more environmentally sound way to travel.

Traveling by train is a more environmentally sound way to travel.

2. Avoid all single-use disposable plastic items.

Plastics help protect and preserve goods while reducing weight in transportation ― but the benefits pretty much end there. Plastics originate as fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases from creation to disposal, according to a May 2019 report, “Plastic & Climate: The Hidden Costs of a Plastic Planet,” released by the Center for International Environment.

Recycling plastic alone won’t cut it; you have to stop buying it, too. Avoid single-use disposable plastic as much as you can, said Jay Sinha, the co-founder of the online store Life Without Plastic.

“Do a little personal plastic audit of your current plastic use and assess where you’re at,” he said. “Buy in bulk rather than purchasing packaged foods. Eliminate your takeout plastic waste by carrying your own non-plastic mug, water bottle, utensils, straw, food container, reusable bag. Try living a zero-waste lifestyle ― new zero-waste bulk stores are popping up all over to help you out.”

3. Eat local and go vegetarian or vegan.

There’s no way around it: A meat-heavy diet is not great for the environment. The production of one calorie of animal protein requires more than 10 times the fossil fuel input needed for a calorie of plant protein. Then, there’s the carbon footprint of the refrigeration required to extend the longevity of foods when they’re being shipped, the transportation of goods to and from airports, and the packaging, Rhoads said.

Minor tweaks to your diet can make a huge impact ― if more of us do it.

“Select vegetables and fruit grown locally in your country by visiting farmers markets, signing up to a CSA [community-supported agriculture] box or asking your local supermarket to stock local fruit and vegetables, preferably without the packaging,” she said. “Increasing your local protein staples from plants like beans and legumes grown in your state or country is the most sustainable diet choice, and your health and the planets will be better for it.”

Buy local as much as possible and keep your diet veggie-based.

Buy local as much as possible and keep your diet veggie-based.

4. Cancel your Amazon Prime subscription and cut back on online purchases overall.

This one might be a bit of a challenge for those of us who’ve gotten used to quick-and-easy Amazon buys. But that overnight or two-day delivery speediness comes at an enormous cost to the environment.

“If a FedEx Priority Overnight truck is dispatched to your suburban neighborhood just to bring you the socks you ordered ― even though you could have waited for [slower] ground delivery or bought them somewhere locally while buying other things ― that’s a significant greenhouse gas emissions tab you are creating unnecessarily,” Sinha said.

Gay Brown, a personal environmental health adviser and author of “Living With a Green Heart: How to Keep Your Body, Your Home, and the Planet Healthy in a Toxic World,” put it even more simply.

“Every time you order something, it has to be pulled by a human, boxed, wrapped, shipped, flown, or trucked, and delivered by more humans. Each of these people have to have used public or private transportation to get [to] their jobs and are using more transportation to get to you,” she said.

The domino effect from your selecting two-day delivery is huge, so if at all possible, buy those socks locally.

5. Ditch the car.

The decision to drive somewhere is a mindless thing for most of us: We hop in, maybe put our destination in Google Maps, and head from point A to point B. Over time, though, all those miles rack up. The average American drives 13,473 miles per year. If you aimed to plant trees to offset all your carbon emissions from driving, you would need around 37 trees a year, according to Carbonify.com.

It’s time to be more mindful of your driving. Avoid all unnecessary car trips and cluster errands for efficiency, Brown said.

“As a Californian for 35 years, I avoid going out to the store or running errands by car if there isn’t a few stops in that area,” she said. “My favorite mode of transportation is to walk. I like being out in the environment and
feeling the weather. A good rule of thumb is if your destination is one walkable mile or less from your dwelling, opt to walk instead of drive.”

Other non-driving options besides walking? Bike (though admittedly, that can be difficult in big cities with narrow bike lanes), take the train or hop on the bus.

Walking, rather than driving, to destinations near you can make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions.

Walking, rather than driving, to destinations near you can make a dent in greenhouse gas emissions.

6. Reconsider the number of kids you’d like to have.

In 2009, scientists suggested that having a child is one of the worst things you can do for the environment, especially among the world’s wealthiest people. Americans and other rich nations produce the most carbon emissions per capita, even as those in the world’s poorest nations suffer the most from severe climate change.

While the decision to have children is deeply personal, its impact on the planet is becoming a topic of public conversation again. Given the state of the environment, many believe it’s worth reevaluating ideas about family planning. If you were thinking of having, say, three or more children, could you be just as happy with two? It’s even more worthwhile to consider adoption.

“Population is the number one environmental crisis that no one is addressing,” Brown said. “I think two children is a great idea because you are not adding to the population too much. A friend of mine says that Harry and Meghan have decided to have two for this exact reason. I think that’s a great idea.”

7. Give composting a chance.

Kathryn Kellogg, author of “101 Ways to Go Zero Waste,” considers composting the most effective tool “in the save-the-world tool belt.”

That’s because Americans waste an unbelievable amount of food and most of it ends up in a landfill. In New York City, for instance, the average household will dispose of 650 pounds of organic waste in one year.

“You think food would break down since it’s dumped into a giant hole in the ground, but it doesn’t because landfills aren’t aerated for proper decomposition,” Kellogg said. “Instead, all of that oxygen-deprived organic matter releases methane, and methane is 30 times more powerful than CO2.”

Composting is a good way to combat wastefulness. And Kellogg said not to worry about critters or bad odors; she’s been composting for years and hasn’t had any visitors or awful stench.

“If you have a backyard, you have it pretty easy. You can have a tumbler bin, an enclosed bin that stands alone, a worm bin, or you can even do trench composting,” she said.

Trench composting is when you dig a hole at least a foot deep, put your food scraps in and bury them. (It’s also a safe way to compost pet waste.) Kellogg said you want to make sure your hole is deep enough so that animals passing by won’t be tempted to dig anything up.

What if you live in an apartment? Kellogg recommends using bokashi bins, electric composters and even worm bins.

“Also, if you have a small balcony, a tumbler compost bin would work just fine since you don’t have to have any sort of ground for that,” she said.

8. Don’t rush out to buy new clothes and shop secondhand whenever you can.

The fashion industry is responsible for 10% of annual global carbon emissions, according to the World Bank. The water used to manufacture clothing has drained rivers and lakes around the world, destroying ecosystems. Look in your closet and drawers, and you’ll no doubt see your personal contribution to this particular problem.

Rectify your fast-fashion buying ways by wearing the clothes you do have instead of running out to purchase a new outfit for every occasion, said Lindsay Miles, a waste educator and author of “Less Stuff: Simple Zero-Waste Steps to a Joyful and Clutter-Free Life.”

“Using what we have and making stuff last might not be as sexy or Instagrammable as buying a shiny new stainless steel reusables kit or purchasing a wardrobe full of new ethical fashion, but that’s what is going to help the environment most,” Miles said.

If you’re really hankering to shop, consider going secondhand. Consignment stores and eBay aren’t the only options worth exploring if you’re sustainably minded. Online resale platforms like Depop, ThredUPThe RealReal and Relovv are worth a look, too. But since any online option requires shipping, a vintage store in your area should be your first go-to.

“This isn’t to say we never buy anything new ever again ― hello, brand new underwear ― we just need to dial it right back,” Miles said. “By doing this, not only are you reducing demand and stemming the flow of new stuff when you buy secondhand (because you’re reducing demand for new) but you’re helping keep existing items in use for longer, maximizing their potential and making the best use of the resources that were used.”

When you do need to shop, consider secondhand stores and online resale platforms. 

When you do need to shop, consider secondhand stores and online resale platforms. 

9. Hold more meetings online.

If you’re in a managerial position at work and your employees are far-flung (they have long local commutes or live in distant cities), suggest video conference calls over in-person meetings. Brown said she used to log 250,000 air miles a year for work travel but now does most everything ― especially one-on-one meetings ― via Google Hangouts, Skype or FaceTime.

“I do allow myself to fly for important dates like big events like conferences,” she said. “If I happen to be in a city where I’ve had virtual meetings and I’ve never met the people I’m doing business with, I will reach out to try to meet the person(s) for a coffee or something casual to develop a personal relationship. If I’m making a lot of new business relationships, I will do a quarterly trip to one area to do a ‘geographic’ swoop to ‘press the flesh.’”

10. Talk about this stuff regularly with your friends and family, and get involved politically.

If you tried any of the suggestions above and found it a lot easier than you’d expected, tell your friends and family about it. Personal stories are often the most effective in persuading others to give change a chance.

Of course, this isn’t all on you. Encourage your local elected officials to implement bigger, more substantial changes in your city or district, said Crystal Chissell, vice president of operations and engagement at Project Drawdown, a nonprofit that researches how global warming can be reversed.

“Gather a group to write to or visit your elected officials to let them know you care and expect them to work with experts to explore solutions,” she said. “We will be less overwhelmed by our awareness of the problem when we each recognize our power to collectively solve it, share the tasks and enjoy working together for our common good. We’ll need strong bonds with others to face the challenges ahead.”

Considering a plant-based diet? Here’s what you need to know

Before you jump into a new diet — or any lifestyle change — it's critical to be informed. Thinking about going plant-based? Here's what you need to know.
Before you jump into a new diet — or any lifestyle change — it’s critical to be informed. Thinking about going plant-based? Here’s what you need to know. (BestReviews)

Whether you’re concerned about the state of the environment or are focused on your own health concerns, there are more than a few reasons to consider a plant-based diet.

Despite common misconceptions, you don’t have to survive on raw celery and plain nuts to do it, either.

In fact, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle, can actually be incredibly delicious in addition to being great for the environment. Plus, a plant-based diet can save you some serious cash if you do it right.

So, if you’re thinking of making the switch, here is everything you need for a seamless transition into veganism.

Do your research

With any major dietary change, it’s important to know just what you’re getting into. There are a wealth of resources available to help you learn more about both the environmental and health aspects of veganism.

Eating Animals by Jonathan Foer: This popular book provides a truly eye-opening look at the food and farming industries that can put your meat-free lifestyle into perspective. It’s a poignant moral examination of our food and lifestyle choices.

Plant-Based on a Budget by Toni Okamoto: It’s also a good idea to invest in some solid vegan recipe books so that you don’t get stuck eating the same boring thing every day. We love the budget-friendly, easy-to-prepare meal ideas in this particular cookbook.

Start small

Whether you decide to go vegan for the environment, animal welfare, or simply want a clean healthy diet, the temptation to dive in immediately in can be overwhelming. To have long-term success with a plant-based lifestyle, it’s important to transition slowly. You can and should still finish any non-vegan groceries in your house, then swap them out for plant-based alternatives when you replace them.

Nature’s Bakery Whole Wheat Fig Bars: You should focus on replacing the small stuff first. Swapping out traditional granola bars that likely contain milk or honey for a vegan snack bar is an easy and attainable goal to start with, and these are a delicious fruity breakfast option on the go.

Clif Bar Best Sellers Variety Pack: If you prefer something denser and with a little peanut butter or chocolate, then this is an excellent protein-dense choice great for after workouts or as an afternoon snack.

Season everything

Many of us think that it would be nearly impossible to sacrifice the flavors of our favorite meaty dishes, but the truth is, you don’t have to. You might be surprised to learn just how easy it is to replace many of your favorite meat-based meals with veggie options if you have the right seasoning.

Takii Umami Powder Magic Shitake Mushroom Seasoning: To give your plant-based burgers an extra meaty boost, try mixing in a rich umami mushroom powder. It has a rich, almost meaty taste that adds depth and flavor to any dish.

Edward & Sons Not-Chick’n Cubes: For chicken-style meals, you can find a number of imitation poultry bullion cubes that you’d never know were vegan. These are super easy to use and they’re gluten-free as well.

Old Bay Seasoning: Did you know mushrooms, either from the supermarket or locally foraged, can easily replace decadent seafood like scallops? Just sprinkle some Old Bay on them and you’re good to go.

Kamenstein 16-Jar Revolving Countertop Spice Rack: Of course, seasoning goes well beyond meat substitutes. In order to elevate every dish you make, you’re going to need a variety of spices on hand. This rack comes with pre-filled jars and is an easy way to get all of the basic spices you’ll need to get started.

McCormick Organic Spice Gift Set: If you don’t have the counter space for a traditional spinning spice rack, then this wall-mountable option is an excellent alternative that includes even more spices and herbs.

Have the right tools

There are a few essential kitchen appliances and accessories that will make transitioning to a plant-focused diet easy, and dare we say, fun.

Prep Naturals Glass Meal Prep Containers: One common complaint about vegan cooking is that it’s time-consuming. If you don’t have a lot of spare time to set aside for cooking during the week, then doing a large meal prep day on the weekend will save some serious time. These containers make storing your meals for the week simple. Vitamix E310 Explorian Blender: Next up, you’ll need a good blender. From banana ice cream to nut-based cheese sauce and every breakfast smoothie and creamy sauce in between, you can never go wrong with a Vitamix.

Hamilton Beach 10-Cup Food Processor & Vegetable Chopper: You’re going to be chopping a lot of raw veggies and a food processor will save you time and effort. Something like this is perfect for making large batches of hummus, pesto, and nut butter as well.

Hamilton Beach Mini 3-Cup Food Processor: If you’re chopping veggies for one, then this smaller version will do the trick for a fraction of the cost.

It’s all about balance

The general assumption is that veganism is healthy, and it certainly can be. However, just because certain foods are vegan doesn’t mean they’re inherently healthy. You can’t live off of a diet of french fries with a side of Oreos, for example.

So be sure that you’re still getting all of the protein and vitamins that are essential to a healthy diet. Black beans, lentils, spinach, quinoa, and bok choy are just a few of many protein-dense vegetables that should be incorporated in your meals.

Orgain Organic Plant-Based Protein Powder: If you’re worried about getting enough protein, then adding some vegan protein powder to baked goods, smoothies, and more is an easy way to get your daily requirements.

Anthony’s Premium Nutritional Yeast Flakes: B12 is also essential to a healthy well-balanced diet. Since this nutrient is naturally found in animal products, vegans will have to look for alternatives. Nutritional yeast is full of B12 and has a mouth-watering nutty, cheesy flavor. It can be sprinkled on top of popcorn or pasta or used in any number of cheesy recipes for a B12 boost.

Nature Made Vitamin B12: Nutritional yeast alone may not be enough, but luckily there are a number of supplements available that will ensure you’re getting enough of this helpful nutrient.

Amber Van Wort is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. BestReviews and its newspaper partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

Celebrities React To ‘Amazing’ Vegan Television Advert

‘It’s fun, funny and non-judgmental, yet is guaranteed to make people question how comfortable they truly are with their food choices’
Actor and animal advocate Evanna Lynch reacts to the ad (Photo: Supplied to PBN)

Actor and animal advocate Evanna Lynch reacts to the ad (Photo: Supplied to PBN)

A group of celebrities react to the UK’s first vegan television advert in this video created by Veganuary and shared exclusively with Plant Based News.

Veganuary – a global organization that encourages people to try vegan in January and beyond – created the advert, which will be the first of its kind to air on mainstream TV in the UK, Germany and the US between Christmas and New Year.

This reaction video – released before the advert starts screening on December 29 – features famous vegan faces including Evanna Lynch, Carl Donnelly, and Derek Sarno among others.

Celebrities React To Vegan Advert
Celebrities including ‘Harry Potter’ star Evanna Lynch react to the first vegan advert to be shown on UK television.
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Vegan advert

Veganuary produced the advert – which it describes as ‘high-quality, attention-grabbing and thought-provoking’ in collaboration with Kolle Rebbe ad agency and vegan film producer Fabian Weigt.

The charity says: “In true Veganuary style it’s fun, funny and non-judgmental, yet is guaranteed to make people question how comfortable they truly are with their food choices.”

It features an international cast to ‘demonstrate how this issue goes to the very heart of human nature’.

The power of TV

“We all know the power of TV advertising to capture people’s attention and influence their behavior, so getting the first pro-vegan ad on TV will be a major milestone for our movement,” Toni Vernelli, Head of Communications at Veganuary, said.

She added that getting the ‘bold, fresh, and compelling ad in front of millions of people’ could ‘inspire them to try vegan this January and beyond’.

You can find out more about Veganuary – including how to sign up for the month-long pledge – here