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Hey! What about the rest of us!?

We are all guilty of making assumptions. It’s super easy to do, and generally, we prefer easy options over hard ones.

The topics for Smart Energy Solutions blogs tend to be geared toward people who own their own homes. While not all of them are, the majority for sure have that slant.

Today is not going to be that way, however. Today, we’re going to talk about small changes everyone can make to improve the planet (and ourselves!). So without further adieu, here are five things you can do today to help the planet without feeling like you’re a hippie treehugger. And they’re all food-related, because we like to relate things to food here.

  1. Dine Locally. Check out that food place that advertises locally-grown food. Today, three of our staff members went to a natural-food shutterstock_285854987market that offers INCREDIBLE burgers every Friday. Cory’s Burgers are made with all gluten-free ingredients, and he has both Breadsmith onion buns and gluten-free buns available. Cory also provides a handmade caramelized onion aioli and an incredible veganaise. Nobody WANTS to eat meat that’s chemically-pumped. So, at least once a week, shoot for a chemical-free ingestion day. Nose around your community for similar planet-friendly offerings.
  1. For level-two bravery, consider going entirely meat-free one day a week. In addition to that change being better for your health (limiting cancer risk, diabetes, cardiovascular troubles, and promoting longevity), consider the smackdown it gives planetary villains:

Minimize Water Usage—The water needs of livestock are much greater than those of vegetables and grains.

– Approximately 1,850 gallons of water are needed to produce a single pound of beef.
– Approximately 39 gallons of water are needed to produce a pound of vegetables.

Americans consume nearly four times the amount of animal protein than the global average. When compared with current food intake in the US, a vegetarian diet could reduce water consumption by up to 58% per person.

Reduce Greenhouse Gases —Studies show that meat production produces significantly more greenhouse gases than vegetables, including carbon dioxide, Methane and Nitrous Oxide – the three main contributing sources of greenhouse gas. Beef was found to produce a total of 30 kg of greenhouse gas (GHG) per kg of food, while carrots, potatoes and rice produce .42, .45 and 1.3 kg GHG per kg of food, respectively.

Reduce Fuel Dependence—About 25 kilocalories of fossil fuel energy is used to produce 1 kilocalorie of all meat based protein, as compared with 2.2 kilocalories of fossil fuel input per 1 kilocalorie of grain based protein produced. The meat industry uses so much energy to produce grain for livestock that if instead we used the grain to feed people following a vegetarian diet, it would be enough to feed about 840 million people (source: www.meatlessmonday.com). Whoa.

  1. Learn to love (or at least not emotionally reject) leftovers. Sure, last night’s magnificent white chicken chili looks decidedly less appetizing lumped up in your fridge the next day, but throwing away the remainders of last night’s meal just to avoid boredom and visual grossness isn’t the most eco-friendly option. So (hear us out here), try to get creative in the kitchen and experiment with new dishes you can make using whatever’s still hanging around. Or freeze leftovers so you can eat them down the road. Pinterest is your friend here. Trust us.
  1. Take it home. News flash from “Duh” magazine: restaurant portions are getting bigger. And that is absolutely fine by us. However, sometimes you just can’t even work your way around that plate of food, no matter HOW hungry you thought you were. So bite the bullet, and then spit it out in a doggie bag. Even better, you can impress fellow dinner guests with how eco-savvy you are and come prepared with a container for taking home whatever you don’t finish. On top of THAT, there’s one more meal you won’t have to worry about preparing this week!
  1. Go Metal.
    For our baking friends: we get it. You’re putting in a LOT of time preparing that amazing dish, and the thought of cleaning the crusted gunk out of it afterward is just a hard no for you. But using a new disposable aluminum tin every time you make a cake is hardly the way to reduce food packaging waste. So just do it! Invest in some metal and ceramic baking pans that you can re-use. Get the fancy colors or patterns, so people will not only be jealous of your mad baking skills, but also your taste in food-holding gear. Our staff definitely will. You should bring something by, today if possible.

So, there you go. You don’t have to own your own house to reduce your carbon footprint, so no more excuses. We all eat, so just make your choices as environmentally smart as possible. And if you just can’t/won’t swing any of the above, then at least recycle your wrappers.

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