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Reducing Food Waste and Pollution

Reducing Food Waste and Pollution

For the year 2021, I made it a personal goal of mine to focus on reducing the amount of waste I produce through purchasing food. When we buy from the grocery store, we tend to not think about the trail of pollution or waste that was created to be able to purchase a fresh avocado for homemade guacamole or the apples bought on demand to bake the perfect apple pie for Thanksgiving.

Many people in the United States rely on grocery chains that have food delivered from all over the world. This is due for a demand in products that are not always widely available in the United States. This then generates increased packaging to be used whether its’ plastic or paper and the amount in distance that apple is required to travel comes with a cost of air pollution through boats and trucks moving produce 1,000 of miles to get to grocery store shelves.

We also don’t consider the amount of that food that ends up getting thrown away because of not completing a new diet or forgetting about the blueberries shoved to the back of the fridge. Fresh food that is going straight to the dumpster to your local landfill.

With the plastic epidemic looming, some places lacking access to food, and the constant reminders of how climate change will destroy us all being thrown in are faces, I know it can be overwhelming. However, there are many organizations in the U.S. currently helping communities helping to build sustainable regional food systems that will help support the decrease in waste being produced through production/purchase of food. There is also ways we can help as individuals through are everyday choices when buying food.

 

  1. Only Buy what you will eat

I’m very guilty of this and tend to convince myself that I will eat that apple which ends up rotting on the counter. I’m also very bad at telling myself that I will make a salad for Thursday night dinner but then decide to get take out. Don’t be like me. This message is to myself and to others. If you’ve already bought it then make it a personal goal that you will have to finish the food in your fridge by the end of the week before allowing purchasing of alternatives. Not only will this decrease food waste but also sustain your wallet. As well, even if something is on sale don’t buy it in bulks that will only sit in the back of the pantry. I swear it’s not the apocalypse yet.

 

  1. Buy from local growers when possible

I know this isn’t an option for everyone but I suggest researching the area you live to see what is available. Many more farmer’s markets are popping up with wider options for produce. This will not only reduce the amount of pollution created to get to market but also will give economic support to your local regional growers.

 

  1. Help bring attention and support to local food programs

Along with farmer’s markets increasing available produce there has also been a growth in programs supporting economic and social initiatives for access to healthy foods. Help spread the word in your community to let those who are vulnerable know that they have options for access to healthy local foods no matter what income.

 

  1. Grow from your own backyard

Growing your own food can not only help towards reducing your carbon footprint but you will actually know where your food comes from (knowledge is power). I was also always taught that playing in the dirt can help boost your immune system (allegedly from the mouths of moms all over the world).

 

 

Starting small with what many call “low hanging fruit” steps will eventually lead to bigger change. Don’t worry about what climate change will apparently do to us tomorrow and instead focus on how you can reduce your impact today. For more content you can check out my links down below and I hope you have a green filled Earth month!

 

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A Victory with “The Great American Outdoors Act”

As someone who has been to the Grand Canyon, I know the beauty the United States’ national parks have to offer. Not only do they serve as the perfect sunset back drop for a memorable photo, they also conserve some of the Unites State’s most important resources. However, parks take funds to be able to maintain infrastructure, so this year a bill that was introduced to the Senate in March 2020 was signed into law on August 4th 2020 in order to dedicate funding to these beloved parks.

 

What you need to know about the Great American Outdoors Act:

 

“As stated on congress.gov, the bill establishes the National Parks and Public Land Legacy Restoration Fund to support deferred maintenance projects on federal lands.

The fund must be used for priority deferred maintenance projects in specified systems that are administered by

  • the National Park Service,
  • the Forest Service,
  • the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service,
  • the Bureau of Land Management, and
  • the Bureau of Indian Education.

The Government Accountability Office must report on the effect of the fund in reducing the backlog of priority deferred maintenance projects for the specified agencies.

Additionally, the bill makes funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) permanent. The President shall annually report to Congress specified details regarding the allocation of funds to the LWCF. Congress may provide for alternate allocations using specified procedures.”

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1957

 

This bill is meant to help the national park’s keep up with infrastructure that is currently backlogged in many of them due to not having enough economic backing. This bill also includes funding for other federal land to continue to support the restoration and conservation of United State’s resources of land and water. I believe this bill can truly help in continuing the legacy of protecting and conserving United State’s resources for future generations in America.

If you want to support this bill contact your federal and state officials. For more information on the bill you can visit congress.gov. You can follow me at the other media links down below for more topics and information on how you can live each and everyday by CodeGreen.

 

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Let’s Talk About the Big Cat Public Safety Act

Let’s Talk About the Big Cat Public Safety Act

Many of you at this point have heard of the documentary series on Netflix called “Tiger King”, and if you’re like me you ended up watching it in horror. Now, I don’t want to use too many words in this post talking about the documentary itself because I was so appalled by the lack of time spent highlighting the amount of animal cruelty that took place in favor of the human characters. However, I have to give credit where credit is due since the series did bring attention to a bill that is currently gaining traction in congress. This bill is called the Big Cat Public Safety Act, and even though I despised watching “Tiger King”, it has brought attention to this bill that could reduce the amount of cruelty towards big cats in the United States.

 

Here’s what you need to know about the bill:

 

As stated on congress.gov, the bill “revises requirements governing the trade of big cats (i.e. species of lion, tiger, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, or cougar or any hybrid of such species). Specifically, it revises restrictions on the possession and exhibition of big cats, including to restrict direct contact between the public and big cats”.

 

This means that there would be less people or private institutions who would be able to privately own and exhibit big cats. As well, this would limit people from the public being able to interact with them close up like shown in the documentary “Tiger King” where people were holding and taking pictures with tiger cubs.

 

For more information click on the link to congress.gov: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1380

 

Why would this bill be a good thing?

1.Safety

As stated in the bill’s title, passing these new restrictions would make it safer for not only big cats in terms of who interacts with them but also protects the public. There have been different documentations in history of big cats turning on their owners, whether it was at a circus or private zoo. These big cats are still animals and with every animal we still have to take every precaution whether we believe they’ve been domesticated or not. Sadly, anyone who has watched any of these documentations whether it’s been a video or news article knows that the big cat is the one who usually pays the cost with their life when an interaction goes bad.

 

2.Animal Welfare

At the end of the day we want to make sure that big cats living captivity are well taken care of and get their needs met by institutions and people who have been trained and have the funds. These animals (as much as some people wish they could have a tiger as a pet) aren’t your typical house cat that’s satisfied with a couch and a small bowl of 29 cent wet food from the local PetSmart. The Dakota Zoo located in North Dakota stated on their website that it costs up to 10,000 dollars a year to feed their two big cats and that doesn’t cover the yearly veterinarian bills. Places like zoos and wildlife sanctuaries also have trained staff that study and constantly make sure that the habitats their animals live in are up to standards because it’s their job. Let’s leave the handling of tiger cubs to professionals who are dedicated to making sure big cats are well taken care.

For more information on the Dakota Zoo follow this link: https://www.dakotazoo.org/at-the-zoo/animal_food/

 

3.Reducing Cruelty

There are people and institutions who will use and abuse animals in order to make a profit or be entertained, and big cats are no exception. Limiting people and facilities who can privately own animals like Tigers and requiring reduced interaction with the public will hopefully aid in decreasing the bad treatment of big cats.

 

If you want to show support for the Big Cat Public Safety Act please call or email your congressman to let them know how important you believe it is to pass the bill. For more information on the bill itself or other bills introduced to congress you can follow the link down below.

Big Cat Public Safety Act: https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/1380

 

In future blog posts I will be including more discussions on bills on the agenda for the United States Congress as they pertain to different environmental topics ranging from energy to wildlife conservation. For more eco-friendly action check out my other media links down below for more ways on how you can live each and every day by CodeGreen!

 

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Trying to Stay Green During Difficult Times

These last few months have been absolutely bonkers. We all know the pandemic has caused so much change that I feel like we’re in an alternate universe, the twilight zone, or even wonderland. I didn’t know if I wanted to make a post even talking about these historic times but environmentalism can never stop, not even for new threats. Below are two ways I’ve tried to minimize my impact while also staying safe:

  1. Reusable masks.

The new fashion trend of 2020 worldwide is wearing face protection to minimize spreading sickness.  Combining this with my love for Disney I was able to purchase two cotton masks from Simply Sawdust Studio on Etsy. I know in some areas it’s been difficult purchasing masks because of the shortage but there are many outlets selling reusable cotton masks that are great protection and can be washed and reused again. This not only reduces the possibility of spreading sickness but does it in a way that doesn’t increase the amount of waste from one time use masks.

 

  1. Cotton Bags

I’ve already received concerns about reusable bags containing and spreading germs due to possibilities of items such as meat leaking from their packaging or because of the bags being exposed every time you step into the store. I would suggest using whatever cotton bags you already have and then just washing them in the laundry after every use. This should minimize risk of exposure while also allowing to reduce the amount in plastic coming through your door.

 

 

I know these ways are obvious but in painful times of struggle it’s easy to throw out any habits that require extra effort. I hope everyone is safe at home with their families and I applaud all the students who are graduating during this time. Congratulations! Follow my other media links below for more ways on how to live each and every day by Codegreen.

 

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The Exchange of Paper for Technology

The Exchange of Paper for Technology

The world is slowly moving away from the destruction of trees and the constant reliance of paper due to rising alternatives that have been made widely available because of technological innovations. As a huge supporter of sustainability, I’m very thankful to reduce my amount of paper use in anyway. From the work place, to school, and even your home base there are many ways that we can work and play without printing off a single paper during the day. Below are some options that you probably already do or maybe have never thought of:

1.Go paperless with direct deposit through your work or even when depositing a check.

Many work places have direct deposit that employees can sign up for that not only reduces that hassle of having to visit your bank but saves paper from printing out a check. Now if you do get a check (like if you babysit or still receive a nice birthday check from your thoughtful grandma) you can use your banking APP to deposit your check directly. This saves the bank from having to print out a useless paper slip stating that you deposited the money,

2. Go paperless with bank statements.

Now I have credit cards, a retirement fund, and a bank that will send me updates and notifications on how much I’ve invested or how much I owe. If you’re like me and still appreciate getting updates because life gets really busy you can sign up for email notifications to stop getting paper statements in the mail.

3. When shopping ask for no receipt or ask for paperless option.

When I’m out shopping for groceries or other products I try to reduce paper waste by just not getting a receipt or by having them email me instead. Let’s be honest with ourselves we aren’t going to storm to the store demanding are dollar back for the carrots I bought to cook for dinner. (And if you’re one of those people just stop and do something better with your time like work for soup kitchen or donate time at an animal shelter).

4. When at work utilize sharedrive or Adobe programs.

There are so many options through program like outlook or Adobe that allow for work departments to have spaces where documents can be shared, uploaded, and even edited through each other without even being printed off. This has been utilized by students forever especially students who are in programs that force students to work on group essays or projects that also are unable to meet during the week.

5. University Library Online Databases

I don’t even have to leave to go to may university’s library to access all the sources that I need for my papers. I can download what I need to my laptop without physically moving or printing a single sheet of paper.

6. Download electronic copies of your favorite books.

Most people already know about this but you can download  your favorite books right to your tablet or laptop without having to buy a physical paper copy.

We’re so thankful for trees and the shade/oxygen that they provide for us that we can give a little love back by not cutting them down for useless paper items. For more green topics check the green links down below and live each and everyday by Codegreen:

 

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