SUSTAINABILITY: The quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
I was enjoying a coffee with a friend of mine recently and mentioned to him that i was going to have a tuna nicoise salad for lunch, which provoked this question...
'But tuna is so overfished, how could you eat it?'
Here's what my answer was: I don't eat tuna that often. In fact, the only time i really eat it is when we go for Japanese and very occasionally we cook it at home. The tuna i was eating on this particular day was line caught locally in the Hamptons by a husband and wife team which for me, meant it was ok.
Sustainability (to me) doesn't mean that we need to stop eating everything. It means we need to stop eating everything SO MUCH. Take meat for example, i don't believe that everyone going vegan is the answer. The over consumption, the portion sizes and the quality of the meat is the problem. If everyone ate less meat and only quality stuff (which means supporting organic, grass fed, pasture raised farms) we would not only be healthier but our environment would feel the benefits too as we wouldn't be producing or wasting as much food.
I mean, how many times have you had a meal and not finished everything on the plate? Do you compost it or does it go straight in the bin and then to landfill? Pretty wasteful, huh?
Food is a HUGE part of the sustainability issue but there are so many other things that also contribute to it. Here's 5 really easy things to start thinking about changing in your day to day lives that collectively will make a huge difference.
- STOP BUYING PLASTIC WATER (AND JUICE!) BOTTLES
Almost 30 billion plastic water bottles are sold in the US every year with less than 20% of them being recycled (which wastes energy too don't forget). Best way to change this? Stop buying them! Get yourself a reusable bottle instead and make your own juice or smoothie at home. It's that easy. If the thought of drinking tap water isn't your thing, install a basic filtration system under your sink or buy a water jug that has a filter in it. There really is no excuses on this one!
Documentary to watch: Blue Gold World Water Wars
2. DRINK YOUR COFFEE AT HOME
You know those take-out coffee cups that you're using and throwing away every day that you think are recyclable? Well they're not. They have a lining that stops the cups from collapsing when the hot coffee is poured in, therefore making them not recyclable. And those Nespresso pods? They're not great either, contrary to what our friend George Clooney is telling us. It is estimated that Australia alone is throwing away 1 billion coffee cups a year. ONE BILLION! It's scary to think what the US number is.... Read more about this issue HERE.
3. EAT LESS MEAT
You don't have to go vegan to save the planet. You just have to think about what you are eating and stop eating so much of it. Factory farms are not only inhumane but their impact on the environment by polluting the air, water and soil with their harmful chemicals is scary stuff. And the emissions that mass livestock are giving off (i'm talking burps and farts here) are actually worse than our cars. So next time you purchase your meat, splurge and go for the organic, grass fed, pasture raised stuff. I know it's seems more expensive but it's affordable if you eat less of it. Promise.
Documentary to watch: Cowspiracy
4. EAT LOCAL AND ORGANIC
The impact that food transport is having on our environment is devastating. Buying locally not only supports your local economy, it creates community, the food tastes better and you are eating produce that has been picked within a couple of days as opposed to sitting on plane, then a truck, then in the supermarket.... Buying organic forces the farmers to change their way of farming. Remember, we as consumers have the power and the best way to create change is to support the people and the companies doing the right thing.
Documentary to watch: Ingredients
5. DO YOU REALLY NEED THAT BAG?
Noooooooooooooo! It drives me CRAZY when i see people saying yes to plastic bags, especially when they only have one item that's about the size of the palm of their hand! I don't know if it's laziness or if it's habit or if people just don't care but we should all know by now to say no to plastic bags! I get that we don't always remember our canvas shopping bags (guilty!) but try, try, try! Plastic bags are not only incredibly unsustainable from a 'they are made from oil and don't break down' point of view, they are killing our wildlife too. In India, cows die on a daily basis from ingesting plastic bags. In the UAE, camels, sheep and goats are dying from ingesting plastic bags and our sea life, including turtles and whales, are washing up on our shores with bellies full of plastic bags every day. It's heartbreaking and so unnecessary.
Documentary to watch: Trashed
By implementing these small things into our lives, collectively we can make a difference. Who's with me?