Welcome to 52 Weeks! A weekly tip, challenge or suggestion on how to reduce your carbon footprint over the year. Some are quick and easy, some build habits towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
Starting on Earth Day, April 22nd, you will be emailed a weekly tip that gives you a challenge, or something to think about that week. It will also be posted on social media, local media pages, and here on our blog.
Sign up any time at bit.ly/52WeeksofClimateAction!
Last week we lit a controversy, which we anticipated and we appreciate the discourse, because listening and understanding differing opinions with respect, and looking for common ground is a bit of a unicorn these days, and this blog is mostly about starting conversations, and opening each other to new ideas. We had lots of input from meat lovers who pointed out that Ontario beef produces a minimal amount of the greenhouse gas emissions in Canada. And, that beef farming is good for the environment because of the way animals graze, and aerate pastures. All these things are true, and we’ve talked about sustainable farming doing exactly that. Yes, it is really great that many Ontario farmers are doing their part for the environment, and that their operations are more sustainable than other provinces and countries. It’s amazing that people recognize the positive impact that farming can have on the climate crisis - it can absolutely stop it in its tracks. That’s why it's important to know your farmer, and know where your food comes from. So, please, if you are purchasing meat, be an informed carnivore, and make sustainable choices. Choose local!
The reality is, while many farmers may be doing exactly the right thing (and we absolutely applaud them for that, and thank them for it), according to the Beef Farmers of Ontario, only about half of the beef consumed comes from Ontario. So that means, half of the beef in our grocery freezer is NOT Ontario beef, and comes from places who may not have stringent guidelines. Hence, last week’s mention of factory farms, feed lots, deforestation and the unsustainability of this level of consumption. Face it folks. We’re getting a lot of things right, and we’re getting a lot of things wrong. Here comes my soap box speech. Brace yourself.
We can’t continue to divide ourselves into tiny pieces, and claim we’re not part of the problem. We need to think globally, not just about our little corner of the world. Emissions do not magically stop at the border. And if another country is pumping gHgs into the atmosphere, we’re all impacted.
Beyond that, saying we’re only 2% of the problem is unhelpful. Because if everyone is only contributing 2%, very soon we have a compounding problem, and we end up in a crisis. Oh, wait a minute...hello mirror.
Crop and livestock production accounts for 10% of Canada’s gHg emissions, not including emissions for fossil fuels burned, or fertilizer production, according to the Government of Canada. Hence, it’s one of the bigger players, and all we’d like is for people to consider that when they’re making dinner. That’s all.
All that to say, why not switch it up a bit once in a while? As I’ve disclosed before, our family is not vegetarian. However, we are conscious of where our meat comes from, and who we buy from. We do what we can to mitigate the number of animals we consume, and we have regular vegetarian meals, not all of which are successful I’ll admit! So Laurel, researcher and vegetarian extraordinaire, has come to the rescue.
Challenge 31: Look at some good vegan/ vegetarian recipes.
Or check out a vegan cookbook at your local public library.
If you feel like jumping in wholeheartedly, before the holiday feasting begins, try this 21 day vegan kickstart that has lots of recipes to help you along the way.
Then, pick one or two recipes that sound good, that you’re willing to try. Add the ingredients to your shopping list.
If you get really into it, here’s an article on how to go vegan in 5 easy steps, written by a meat eater.
There are levels of commitment to changing this particular habit. Do what you can to mitigate your carbon foodprint. If you’re eating pasture-raised beef, raised by your farmer friend and buying a whole side, you’re doing what you can. If you’re choosing a meatless Monday every week, or limiting the quantity of meat you eat per meal, that’s good too. If you’ve decided to raise your own sustainably grown chickens, and put them in the freezer, way to go. If you jumped in and realized you enjoy a vegetarian lifestyle, then yay you. As always, we’re asking you to be curious, to explore your options, and choose changes you can live with. See you next week!
Yours in Sustainability, Sherri Jackson & Laurel Hood
52 Weeks of Climate Action was created by Sherri Jackson and Laurel Hood. Sherri is a writer, speaker and musician. She is the candidate of record and communications coordinator for the Simcoe-Grey Greens. Laurel Hood, is a retired secondary teacher, transportation lead for the Collingwood Climate Action Team, and volunteer coordinator for the Simcoe-Grey Greens. Visit our blog or sign up at www.52weeksofclimateaction.com.