#9: EAT

‘Tis the season for farmers’ markets and a great time to EAT local. Why eat local? Eating locally grown food supports local farmers and your area’s economy. The food is fresher and tastier. It’s better for you. But most importantly, it’s better for the planet.

Did you know that the average food item produced and eaten in the U.S. travels 1,500 miles from the farm to your plate? And every one of those miles contributes to CO2 emissions. However, if you eat locally grown food (produce and meat) you are cutting down on food miles and therefore carbon emissions.

Locally grown food is also typically less processed than much of what you find in a traditional grocery store. Not only that, but local farms tend to practice more sustainable agriculture than large, factory farms. This minimizes the environmental impact and reduces the use of pesticides and other toxins that harm the soil and water. Finally, supporting them helps maintain greenspace and farmland in your community.

Just for fun, find a vegetable you like at a local farmers’ market. Then buy that same vegetable at a regular grocery store. Then, do a blind taste test with your family or friends. Which tastes better? In a lot of ways eating local is about the delicious, fresh food. But it’s way to make a difference because it’s #YourPlanetToo.

#8: AVOID

I have been called out many times for my tree-hugging dorkdom. So be it. But one thing that gets a lot of attention (and teasing) is when I bring my own Tupperware or straw to a restaurant or provide my own utensils for carry-out. I also always bring my own reusable bags to the store. What do all those things have in common? They cut down on single-use plastic.

Plastic waste is one of our greatest challenges. It is also one of the greatest threats to ocean wildlife. Surely you’ve heard of the garbage patches in the ocean – places where rotating ocean currents concentrate marine debris in one area. Of all marine debris, 80% is plastic. Every year, approximately 8 million TONS of plastic that makes it into the ocean.

In larger forms, these plastics are a threat to wildlife. Animals mistake the plastics for food or become entangled in it. Yet another problem with plastic is that it NEVER disappears. EVER. It may break down. But it breaks down into smaller and smaller bits, aptly named microplastics. These microplastics are now being discovered in all levels of the ocean. They are found in the food chain. And they are locked in sea ice.

In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8, 2021, I challenge you to AVOID single-use plastic. Or if you want a greater challenge, try to avoid all plastic (it’s hard!). Even if you live far from an ocean, rivers of all sizes carry improperly discarded plastics out to the sea. Not only that, even if you do properly discard your plastic, using plastic creates a demand for plastic. Earth needs less plastic. In fact, the earth doesn’t need any at all.

No matter where you live, it’s…#YourPlanetToo