Category Archives: Non classé

Day 61: Rise and shine with the sun!

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Sunrise seen from 175 miles above the Earth. Source: NASA, 1996

Happy March! As sun begins to rise earlier, I find myself not using the light switch as much in the morning. Not only is it nice to walk to my car in a sunlit road instead of groping my way through the dark – it saves electricity!

As the sun rises even earlier, we should take advantage of the available sunlight and rise earlier with the sun to perform our daily tasks using the natural light that’s available, instead of artificial light. Getting up early to use more natural light is compensated of course by going to sleep earlier and using less electricity at night. This is where the idea of Daylight Savings  (the period of time where our clocks jump forward to accomodate the sunlight) was born. Adapting one’s schedule to use more sunlight and less electricity makes complete sense for an Earth-savior. Here’s why:

  • Using more sunlight and saving electricity is good for the planet because it means using less fossil fuels and producing less CO2.
  • Natural light has Vitamin D and more good stuff than artificial light, like the ones that come from computers that don’t let us sleep at night.
  • Regulating your body clock to use more natural sunlight fixes insomnia as your body begins to release more melatonin (a hormone that induces sleep) when the sun sets. This happens if you’re in tune with the sun, and not bombarded with other light  sources after the sun sets, like from electronics. It also helps you to wake up when your body perceives sun rays in the morning.
  • Sunlight is good for your emotional and mental well-being (for example, lack of sunlight is related to higher suicide rates)
  • Rising with the sun allows you to listen to the birds more – if you love birds, this is an extra benefit.
  • If you pay your own electricity bill, you’ll notice the difference too – getting up with the sun is cheaper, too!

 

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Day 44: Reduce, reuse, and recycle! But especially, reduce and reuse.

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Bottle Racks near Braunschweig, Germany.  To find out more about this image, go here. Source: Yann Arthus-Bertrand. 

Reduce, reuse, recycle! That’s the mantra we’ve heard since grade school, and its fame has reason to be – most of what’s wrong with the world has to do with our waste and how we handle it. Producing and consuming less is part of saving the world, but how exactly do we do that? Here are some tips.  Continue reading

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Day 38: Eat produce that is in season – February

With all the technological advances in agriculture – keeping greenhouses warm in winter to produce summer fruit, importing from other warmer states or countries – we’ve kind of lost track of which produce is in season and what’s not. The supermarkets will sell tomatoes year round, but do the tomatoes you buy in winter really taste the same as the ones you buy in summer? That should be the first sign that something is “off” – it’s just not natural. To help save the world, you can reduce the amount of CO2 you’re responsible by eating what’s in season.

How does this help bring down levels of CO2? Simple. Buying tomatoes or strawberries in winter means that you’re either buying fruit that was produced in a heated greenhouse (emitting more CO2 than it would if it were grown in the summer) or flown in from another country (which emits lots of CO2). By eating produce that’s in season, like carrots and apples, you’re supporting natural farming that doesn’t require food to be flown in or grown with artificial heat.

So how do you know which food is seasonal? One way is to do your grocery shopping at a green or organic store, which probably knows what’s sustainable and what’s not. They will probably stock up on seasonal products. For example, in France, there is a great shop called “Biocoop” that sells a variety of local produce, sustainably-produced goods, or organic products. They won’t sell tomatoes in winter, and for each month they’ll hang a poster like the one below that shows which fruits and vegetables are in season in February in France, along with a recipe:

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Notice how food varies from season to season and even month to month. Also,  a portion of this map has tropical and exotic fruit that are in season in areas that aren’t too far from France, like the Mediterranean.

Another tip for remembering which food is seasonal is looking for seasonal recipes and eating dishes that are “seasonally” appropriate. For example, this site (Deliciously Ella) will let you filter winter recipes. That’s another way to know which ingredients you should prefer.

So what should you look for in February in the Northern Hemisphere?

  • Pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, other squashes
  • Kale, spinach (they include different types of lettuce on the poster, I’m a little skeptical, but I suppose lettuce uses less energy than tomatoes).
  • Mushrooms
  • Carrots, leeks, potatoes
  • Turnips, parsnips
  • Rutabaga,
  • Beets, radishes
  • Onions, garlic
  • Cabbages, cauliflower, brussel sprouts
  • Apples, pears
  • Citrus fruit (Florida, Mediterranean)
  • Yams
  • Avocados (Mexico, Mediterranean)
  • Pineapples and mangoes (stretching this a little far, but still better than buying strawberries in winter).

What should you look for in February in the Southern Hemisphere? Using Brazil and this website as a reference:

  • Avocados
  • Starfruit, figs
  • Coconuts, cupuaçu
  • Guava, graviola
  • Jaca fruit
  • Citrus fruits
  • Apples, pears
  • Papaya
  • Mango
  • Passionfruit
  • Watermelon
  • Grapes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers,eggplant
  • Tomatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Ochra
  • Corn
  • Onions

Choosing fruits and vegetables that are in season is vital to preserving the health of our planet. We shouldn’t waste energy and emit CO2 to transport or create produce that’s not in season. Look at the variety of food that is in season already! Can’t we content ourselves with those delicious products, creating a seasonal variety of dishes, instead of needing to have everything at our fingertips all the time?

You can’t force nature without consequences. Going back to only eating what’s in season is learning to respect the Earth and giving it time to replenish itself. Appreciate what the Earth gives you now, and the Earth will appreciate you back by becoming an enjoyable, clean and healthy planet.

 

 

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