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1 year ago
No-Sweat Fixes: On Your Table

Say no to chemicals. Most conventional farms use chemical fertilizers that release nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas that's some 300 times more harmful to the atmosphere than CO2. Organic farms don't.

Buy local. Choosing food that's grown, raised, or caught within a few hundred miles of where you live lowers CO2 produced by transporting it. For strategies on how to eat well locally, even in the dead of winter, go to 100 Mile Diet. The site was started by Alisa Smith and James MacKinnon, who spent an entire year consuming only stuff produced within 100 miles of their Vancouver home. The couple points out that the 100 Mile Diet is about understanding where our food comes from — and at what risk to our health and the environment.

Choose grass-fed meat. Some 70 percent of the corn grown in the U.S. goes down the gullets of livestock. Unfortunately, growing corn can require using fertilizer, which releases nitrous oxide, a harmful greenhouse gas. So if you're craving meat for dinner, go with lamb — or beef or buffalo — that ate only grass as nature intended. To find "pasture-fed" meats, check with your butcher or go to Eat Wild.

Shop at farmer's markets. To find one in your 'hood where you can buy locally grown veggies, go to AMS at USDA.

Brew shady java. Farmers in Central and South America burned megatracts of CO2-guzzling rainforest to make room for lucrative coffee plantations. But coffee grows just fine beneath the forest canopy. "Shade-grown" coffee has gotten much easier to find — even Starbucks sells it. As for the milk in your latte, find a local dairy that uses naturally raised cows at localharvest.org or visit Natural by Nature.

Pick your own. Find local strawberries and rhubarb for your pie at Local Harvest. Plug your zip code and those ingredients into the search engine for a list of local farms that cultivate them.

Sip organic. Here's where many grape lovers draw the line. Are organic wines even halfway decent? Some are, says Wine Spectator, which rated both Badger Mountain Chardonnay ($14, Badger Mountain Vineyards) and Organic Wine Works Zinfandel ($13, Wine Access) 86 on its 100-point scale. For other options, go to Organic Wine Company, the largest U.S. importer.

Don't have a cow. If you really want to save the planet, go vegetarian. Cattle and sheep alone pass so much wind — that's just the way they are — that they generate a whopping 18 percent of all methane, yet another greenhouse gas.

Back to the 50 Ways To Go Green page

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