Earth Hour started in Sydney in 2007 and rapidly grew to an annual global event symbolising the community’s concerns about climate change. So what does this have to do with food and nutrition?
The state of our environment has everything to do with our food supply and is every parents business. The recent weather events all over Australia very quickly led to empty supermarket shelves and many towns and cities cut off by flooding were unable to receive food supplies for days and weeks. Climate change experts forecast severe weather events such as these will only increase in the future which means increased concerns for food security. Feedlots that provide for our high meat diets are a source of greenhouse gas emissions (animal flatulence equals methane emissions; methane has significantly greater warming effect of the atmosphere than carbon dioxide). Australia imports a significant amount of food; food miles mean lots of carbon dioxide emissions in transportation and refrigeration. As well as being directly linked to carbon emissions, our food supply also has pollution consequences. Currently the average Australian household throws out 1 in 4 grocery bags of wasted food, this goes straight to landfill. Consider also the waste from food packaging, more landfill. Artificial agricultural chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides as well as animal excrement end up in our waterways as run-off and over time, intensive agriculture practices rob soils of life-giving nutrients; meaning reduced nutrients to grow our produce. Click here to view a short video about declining soil phosphorous levels. Here are a few tips for greener eating:
- Reconnect with the earth; try a vegie patch, even if it’s a simple as tomatoes and herbs. The kids will love getting their hands dirty and are more likely to try their own grown foods
- Feed a worm farm food scraps and in return they provide a rich organic fertiliser. Or a compost heap, they can be as big or small as you like and with time provides fertiliser for the garden
- Buy organic where possible to support environmentally friendly agricultural practices
- Stock your kitchen cupboards with reusable containers to help prepare lunchboxes with less packaging
- Plan your grocery shopping and freeze leftovers to reduce food waste
- Invest time in home-cooked meals from packaging-free fresh, whole produce
- Buy Australian produce. Try a community supported agriculture company such as Food Connect. All their produce is sourced form within 150km of Brisbane which means reduced food miles, and produce is organic or low chemical. Locally sourced food is richer in nutrients as it is fresher due to the reduced distance from paddock to plate, and you are supporting your local farmers.
- Use refill cups for those takeaway coffees and the whole family should have reusable, BPA-free water bottles
The food supply is intimately interconnected with our environment and it is our responsibility to deliver our children a sustainable and diverse food system for their future. You can quickly see eating green is more than just good for the environment. A green diet of fresh produce equates to that nutritious healthful diet full of fibre and low in salt, sugar and fat. We would love to hear your ideas about cleaner, greener eating. Contact Andrea at firstname.lastname@example.org, www.nourished.net.au or visit our Facebook page here.
Andrea Cruickshank APD AN