We have a serious problem. 40% of the food in the United States is wasted, and 30% of food worldwide is wasted. What a ridiculous waste of energy, money and water. Read more here.
At the same time over 800 million people don’t have enough to eat, and more land is being cleared everyday for more agriculture. Rotting food waste in landfills creates methane gas that causes pollution. Each one of us needs to reduce our food waste. I have said many times this is one of the hardest things for me to deal with in trying to help our climate crisis. Reducing food waste takes constant vigilance. This week I came home from the farmers market with rotten apples and cucumbers. Being a more thoughtful shopper and buying just what I needed could have helped.
These are important facts we should be aware of, from the IPCC, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: Food production causes 30 % of greenhouse emissions, 80% of global deforestation, and uses 70% of the world’s fresh water!
My advice for managing food waste and working for zero waste in my home:
1. First, be mindful of your perishables, use your freezer, buy in bulk to get just what you need, and become aware that gluttony is a form of food waste
2. I save celery tops, onions and raw produce waste to put in a stir fry or soup. One of my favorite things about cooking is how I can use leftovers creatively. I love making wraps, rice or quinoa bowls with food leftovers.
3. Expiration dates are not something I obsess over. Most of the time food is good long past the date.
We love lakes, we love rivers and streams, and we love our oceans. March 22, is World Water Day. Clean water is a human right and should be available to every human being. Unfortunately, some of us have too much water, but many don’t have enough water, and the water they have is polluted. I am lucky to live in a place with lots of water, but it is a struggle to keep it clean. Many live with polluted wells and water from farm pollution. Why they have allowed farm run-off to pollute their wells is beyond me??? The farming industry has gotten away with polluting our water, and for some reason they now think they have that right. Where I live, farm run-off is the number one cause for the pollution of our water ways and ground water. Lack of regulation on agriculture can harm water resources when raising pork, beef and other livestock, along with sugar beets, corn and soy beans.
There are industrial cities like Houston, Texas, that allow industry to pollute air and water. Stronger regulation is needed to stop water and air pollution, but that is not happening in the United States anytime soon.
Agriculture and industry are major water pollutants, but so is plastic. As the spring flooding overflows the banks of creeks and rivers the winter trash is getting washed off the land, into our waterways, then into our oceans. With some personal responsibility we all can make a difference with our behavior to water.
On this World Water Day weekend I challenge you to go meatless, I challenge you to go plastic-free, and I challenge you to get outside and pick up trash.
“I’m going to slash government regulations!” Candidates for office
Who is their audience for this absurdity?
This is my simple take on a very complex issue.
Many candidates for office talk about cutting regulations. What are they talking about? Why doesn’t the media ask them what regulations they want to cut? One presidential candidate wants to cut food regulations? Cut the Food and Drug Administration rules that govern food production, cleanliness, food packaging and temperature? Ridiculous!
Do we really want less regulation on financial institutions? What have we learned from Wells Fargo? Should we allow banks to cheat their customers like Wells Fargo did? I had a problem with U.S. Bank selling my credit card number to a health club. It took months to get my money back after unauthorized charges were placed on my credit card. Banks need to be regulated!
David Brooks has said, that capitalism without a moral compass is a failure. As evidenced by this presidential race, we have lost our moral compass. Capitalism/for-profit businesses should NOT be deciding what standards they want to follow. Does it work to let corporations set their own rules about polluting our water and dirting up our air when profit is a top priority? What do you think?
Regulations and standards are to keep the public safe. Sometimes rules seem extreme, but they keep us safer regulating our workplaces, food, many products, and other necessary things.
Self regulation does not work. Farmers in the United States were given a pass in the Clean Water Act. They think they can regulate themselves. Is that why the corn and soy bean belt in the United States has dangerous nitrate levels in their drinking water? Business and Republicans think regulations are too expensive. But communities, such as Des Moines, with polluted water pay enormous amounts of taxpayer money to clean their water. Smaller communities often must drink and use this dangerous water.
This is a wonderful story of farmers regulating themselves and trying new things to protect our water resources. Read it here.
Then there is the drug industry. Is there anyone that thinks their self-regulation and monopolies are working? MORE regulation is needed of the drug industry!!
It is less expensive to keep from polluting our air and water in the first place, but of course business doesn’t have to pay for the pollution and sick people they create. Five million people die from air pollution every year.
Never vote for a candidate who promises to cut regulations. They can’t be trusted with the health of people or the earth. They are not for what is good for our children, wildlife nor for the good of human beings on this planet! In the long run clean-up is more expensive than doing the right thing in the first place.
In the past two weeks I have spent 5 days in Iowa, and then a week in Northern Wisconsin away from the agricultural belt. As I biked and walked in Iowa the lack of butterflies was disheartening. I even saw and smelled the Iowa DOT spraying along the highway. In contrast northern Wisconsin is more grass/hay country, lower pesticide use, and the butterflies aren’t like what I would like to see, but they are flitting around when you look for them. The bee population up north is still questionable, but better than what I saw in Iowa.
I agree with this excellent letter to the editor in today’s Minneapolis Star Tribune:
Thank you for “Bees at the brink” (June 29). Our rural surroundings have changed since we moved to south-central Minnesota in 1960. Our small farms have mostly disappeared, and our once-vibrant town struggles to stay alive. There was much more variety in the landscape: I remember picking strawberries along Hwy. 169 with my children; we heard and saw meadow larks and pheasants, and clouds of monarch butterflies were a part of every spring and summer. Now what do we have? Corn and soybeans from horizon to horizon; hedgerows with their diversity of plants and animal life gouged out; wetlands drained, and herbicides ensuring that few bee-friendly flowers grow on roadsides and lawns. Our state and federal supports, with their continuing crop insurance programs — even for marginal land — and cutbacks on set-aside acreage such as CRP and CREP help to perpetuate the increasing sterility of our natural environment.
Economic success should not be the only determinant of wealth. We lose too much if it is.