Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Small Changes Begin with Awareness

Let me preface this post with a little background about me. Bear with me, I will come full circle and show this post's applicability to food and cooking. I promise. Last night we attended a free screening of Plastic Paradise, a film by Angela Sun, about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. While I am fearful for the next generation - we are leaving them a damaged planet - I am also hopeful for the changes and choices they will make.

I lean to the 'granola' side. You can't go to college in Berkeley and not absorb some of that. The air is rife with indignation; protests - peaceful sit-ins and those that end in arrests - are a weekly, if not daily, occurrence; and everyone is passionate about one cause or another. You spend four or five years of your life in that atmosphere and you are going to come out hugging trees.

When Jake and I worked in the SCUBA industry, certifying divers and writing articles about dive travel, marine conservation was my main focus. Then I became a mom. While I still embrace greenie tenets, my focus shifted to how to raise earth-friendly kids.

We have a stockpile of canvas bags; we are diehard recyclers; we lug our Kleen Kanteens on every hike. But there is always more to do.

Here are just a few suggestions to instill some basic environmental responsibility in the next generation. And, remember, do as you say. Don't just tell them what to do. Do it! Be a good role model and respect the environment yourself. They will follow your lead.

Respect for the outdoors. When you get out and hike in different areas, it's a great opportunity to discuss habitats, to identify the local flora and fauna, and to brainstorm on how to protect them. We do an annual camping trip around our state during their summer break. Usually 10 days, 1000+ miles, some time in BLM land, and at least 3 or 4 state parks. You don't have to go that large-scale. Even just a day-hike once a week will get them thinking about how people affect the environment.

Drink your own water. Bottled water is expensive and is actually regulated less than tap water. The water that flows from home faucets, at least in this country, is extremely safe; municipal water supplies are tested consistently, monitored constantly, and the results are a matter of public record.

I love that San Francisco has banned the sale of plastic water bottles...that goes into effect in October of this year. Hope other cities follow suit.

So skip the bottled water, invest in a stainless or glass bottle, and drink your own water! I love my Lifefactory bottles - glass with a silicone sleeve; but they are heavier, so I don't hike with them. For hikes, we pack our Kleen Kanteens. We each have our own color so we don't get them confused.

Lend a helping hand. Many communities sponsor green activities. We take part in beach clean-ups, seed collection, and other community events that make our world a better place.

Okay, as promised, let's talk food. Become a CSA-member. CSA. Click to read about Community Supported Agriculture. Here's Riley planting some seedlings at our farm from last year; he planted leeks and chard. This year, we're back with High Ground Organics. I can't wait till pick-ups start later this month!

That's something we're already doing. But on our way home from the movie last night, we challenged each other to come up with new and interesting ways of going green, living green, and - specifically - eating green.

I started thinking about how much plastic we touch and 'consume' every week. How do we minimize the packaging? It's a staggering amount of plastic. So unnecessary. I'm thinking that buying from the bulk bins and scooping into reusable containers might be the way to go for our dried staples such as rice and beans.

I know that awareness is the first step. Then small changes. It all adds up to make a world of difference!

Do you have any ideas? I'm all ears.

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