You (yes you!) Can Help Clean Up the Oil Spill

It’s been nearly two months since the BP oil drilling platform exploded in the Gulf of Mexico killing 11 workers and resulting in the largest oil spill in U.S. history. As we witness the devastating impact on health, livelihoods, habitats, and wildlife, we have to ask ourselves what we could be doing to help.

The answer is plenty, even for those of us who don’t live close enough to volunteer. And some of the ways to help will surprise you.

Are you thinking about your car?

Sure, we can each do our part for the environment by walking and biking and taking public transportation; and when we must drive, we can choose fuel-efficient vehicles. That will send a message to the oil companies AND reduce our carbon footprint.

What about your foodprint?

Did you know that your foodprint– the carbon impact of your diet– is greater than the impact of your driving and flying combined? That’s right; if you’re like most Americans, around 21% of your emissions relate to the food you eat versus 20% for personal transportation. And since about one-fourth of your personal transportation is itself food-related (grocery shopping, eating out), the real impact of your diet is even greater.

What can you do to shrink your foodprint?

You probably already know that the meat in your diet is the big culprit; so big, in fact that livestock production is responsible for more carbon emissions than all of the world’s transportation combined. But you don’t have go vegetarian to make a difference. Instead, think Meatless Mondays and join the movement that has been embraced by Australia, the U.K., and American cities like San Francisco and Baltimore. One vegan day each week is as effective as a year-round diet of strictly locally-produced foods.

Ask questions. Has this food been produced without the use of energy-intensive synthetic pesticides and fertilizers? How far has this traveled to reach my plate? Is the packaging excessive or made from oil-based plastics?

See how you’re doing. Check your foodprint with the Low Carbon Diet Calculator. Drag your day’s food choices into into the on-screen pan and it tots up your daily carbon points.

The Gulf Coast might not be close enough for you to help, but eating to fight climate change is within all of our reach.

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5 Responses to You (yes you!) Can Help Clean Up the Oil Spill

  1. Thank you, this is a really great post, and one that I hope more people come across and think about.

  2. Janice says:

    Spice Sherpa- It is just extraordinary to think about how easily we can have a significant impact. The food infrastructure is much better positioned to support change than are housing or transportation or any other carbon culprits.

  3. Great post! Glad you mentioned the foodprint… Thank you:)

  4. By far the most important food blog post that’s been slapped onto the internet in a looong time. I agree whole-heartedly. We use meat as an extra, not a main feature. Worse than carbon emissions are the methane emissions—it’s frightening to the point where I get really discouraged if I think about it too much. The sad result of having an M.S. in Environmental Science.

  5. Cousin Bobby says:

    Thank you.

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