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REI’s Opt-to-Act plan will lower your carbon footprint, one week at a time

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As a result of a single day of #OptOutside is not sufficient for actual motion.

5 years in the past, out of doors gear retailer REI closed its doorways on Black Friday to encourage individuals to go exterior as an alternative of purchasing and has continued the custom ever since. This yr, nonetheless, the marketing campaign has been expanded to incorporate a 52-week motion program for individuals who wish to proceed their environmental activism year-round.

The Choose-to-Act marketing campaign is a powerful record of 52 actions, one for every week of the yr, that kicks off on Black Friday 2019. Lots of the motion descriptions have hyperlinks to extra sources to permit for extra analysis. The weekly format tackles that sense of apathy that may descend upon individuals who have been attempting for years to scale back their footprint, but could really feel they’ve stagnated.

I learn by way of the record and significantly appreciated the next ideas:

– Go bagless. Do not use both plastic or paper baggage, solely reusables. “You possibly can drive a mile on the petroleum it takes to fabricate 14 plastic baggage, and paper baggage usually require 4 instances as a lot water as plastic, in response to Stanford Journal.”

– Rely the variety of single-use plastic objects you employ in every week, and attempt to lower that quantity in half. (I merged two weeks of motion there.) Apparently REI is doing the identical, by striving to attenuate the variety of disposable polybags used to ship attire.

– Do not wash your denims all month (and different laundry-related activism). Find out about plastic microfibers and how one can wash garments in a extra environmentally-sensitive method, together with hanging out to dry (one other motion).

– Plant a local species of tree, bush, or flower in your yard this week. “As an alternative of counting on imported vegetation, which are sometimes sprayed with pesticides and may carry a hefty transportation burden, store for after which pot vegetation which can be native to your area.”

– When you do not want an merchandise instantly, contemplate a slower delivery choice. “Quick, customized deliveries can require autos to take inefficient routes, in response to a current CNN Enterprise report on the difficulty, which may result in heightened gasoline emissions.”

– Try and create zero meals waste this week. REI encourages individuals to go to the Zero Waste Chef’s web site for recommendations on cooking with what you have received within the pantry/fridge and storing meals in glass.

It is a good, stable record that, if adopted intently for a yr, would make a good dent in a single’s carbon footprint. It will be good if REI set extra aggressive targets, resembling changing into a weekday vegetarian or vegan earlier than 6, relatively than simply saying “go meatless for a single day,” or if it referred to as out vehicles because the mega-polluters they’re, relatively than encouraging individuals to inflate tires correctly to enhance effectivity, however I suppose any steering is best than none.

REI itself is wanting fairly unhealthy nowadays, in gentle of a brand new report by Stand.earth that ranked it on the backside of a listing of vogue corporations claiming to care about sustainability requirements. Its practices, if allowed to proceed, “will put the world on a path to local weather disaster, with 3+ levels of warming.” So maybe it ought to take its personal recommendation and spend the subsequent 52 weeks cleansing up its personal act.

As a result of a single day of #OptOutside is not sufficient for actual motion.

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Sustainability

‘The Game Changers’ documentary challenges assumptions about meat, protein and strength

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It seems you’ll be able to nonetheless be a high-performing athlete on a plant-based weight loss plan.

Final evening I lastly watched The Sport Changers, the Netflix documentary that has everybody speaking about plant-based consuming. There hasn’t been this type of controversy in my CrossFit-centric Fb feed since Forks Over Knives got here out in 2011, so in fact I used to be keen to search out out what it was all about.

The movie, which is directed by Academy Award winner Louis Psihoyos and produced by James Cameron, follows former blended martial arts fighter and army combative coach James Wilks, who’s recovering from a critical knee damage and begins researching learn how to velocity alongside that course of. What he discovers is that plant-based consuming (also called a vegan weight loss plan) isn’t solely efficient at serving to athletes to get well extra rapidly, however it could actually additionally considerably improve athletic efficiency.

The movie introduces viewers to quite a few skilled athletes, together with ultra-marathon runner Scott Jurek, Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan, world-record-holding strongman Patrik Baboumian, eight-time nationwide biking champion Dotsie Bausch, weightlifter Kendrick Farris, and boxing heavyweight title contender Bryant Jennings (amongst others), all of whom attribute their elite efficiency to their plant-based diets – and say they bought higher after slicing out animal merchandise. (Arnold Schwarzenegger has just a few issues to say, too.)

The documentary is stuffed with references to research that assist this, from analysis displaying that the Roman gladiators had been primarily vegetarian (their Latin identify interprets to ‘bean and barley muncher’) and that human enamel are extra suited to consuming plant-based materials than gnawing on meat, to research linking parts of animal merchandise (heme iron, proteins) to the event of most cancers and heart problems.

A primary argument made within the movie is that animal merchandise inhibit athletic efficiency as a result of they do not give the physique what it wants. Too usually, a surplus of protein pushes carbohydrates off the plate, and but these are what present the vitality wanted to carry out athletically. Vegetation, not like meat, don’t inflame blood vessels, which permits extra blood to pump by way of the physique quicker and improve stamina.

I’ve not combed by way of all of the research that had been talked about to know whether or not or not the information was cherry-picked. Males’s Well being journal printed a scathing assessment that claimed this, with none references of its personal; however after an in depth rebuttal was printed on Medium by Dr. James Loomis, Males’s Well being deleted quotes it had printed from a paid spokesman for the meat business. In Loomis’s phrases: “As such, this MH article is simply the most recent instance of how related and well timed a movie like The Sport Changers really is.” However I did make two observations that incline me towards the movie.

First, who stands to realize from encouraging folks to eat plant-based? So far as I can inform, comparatively few. There isn’t a big vegetable or tofu foyer group that can generate profits from this – at the least, nothing just like the Nationwide Cattlemen’s Beef Affiliation or the pharmaceutical corporations that make a fortune promoting medication to fats, unhealthy People to maintain their our bodies transferring.

Second, the movie confirmed a broad vary of spectacular athletes whose private tales (to not point out skilled achievements) had been highly effective and provoking. It didn’t really feel as if the filmmakers had picked a small handful of individuals to painting the weight loss plan in a sure manner, however extra like they could not slot in all of the people who find themselves really doing this as a result of there are such a lot of. Actually, 14 members of the Tennessee Titans soccer group went vegan after seeing Derrick Morgan’s huge enchancment.

It was a mesmerizing movie that I appreciated merely given that it targeted on athletic efficiency. Forks Over Knives was extra about shedding pounds and combating continual illnesses by way of weight loss plan, which is necessary for many individuals, however does not apply to me. As a devoted CrossFit athlete who trains and lifts heavy weights 4-5 instances per week, I’ve usually puzzled learn how to reduce meat out of my weight loss plan with out compromising efficiency on the health club; however till I watched The Sport Changers, I did not know of another athletes (apart from skinny, lanky runners whose physique sorts are the other of mine) who go with out animal merchandise.

I appreciated, too, the local weather change dialogue on the finish of the movie. Even if you happen to do not buy the entire plant-based-for-athletics argument, it’s clear that we should scale back meat consumption to curb greenhouse fuel emissions. (That is the premise of Jonathan Safran Foer’s newest e-book, We Are The Climate.) Movies like this encourage folks to present it a strive, and be pleasantly stunned by the outcomes. See trailer beneath:

‘The Sport Changers’ documentary challenges assumptions about meat, protein and power

It seems you’ll be able to nonetheless be a high-performing athlete on a plant-based weight loss plan.

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Sustainability

How to make a greener cup of coffee

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Reusable mugs aren’t all the things.

Most articles I’ve examine create a extra sustainable espresso routine deal with the cup. “Get a reusable mug!” all of them say, which is necessary, after all, but it surely’s not the total story. (Even I’ve given this recommendation.) In the event you actually care about minimizing the influence of your favourite sizzling drink, then there’s extra to speak about.

First, purchase beans with certifications. There are a zillion certifications on the market, and it will possibly really feel complicated to navigate, however the ones I search for are fair-trade (licensed by Fairtrade Worldwide), natural, shade-grown, and Rainforest Alliance. I do not often discover all of those on the identical bag, however prioritize them within the order proven above.

The perfect state of affairs is if you purchase your beans in a reusable container, resembling a glass jar. Some artisanal espresso retailers have bean dispensers and can tare a jar for you on the size earlier than you fill it. You can look right into a subscription service just like the one Lloyd makes use of, which delivers fair-trade espresso beans in glass jars by bicycle. Some espresso roasters will take again their luggage for correct recycling.

Subsequent, brew your individual espresso, and do not make a lot that you find yourself throwing half of it away. That is what I really like about my French press and my moka pot; each make real looking portions of nice espresso that I can drink all through the day. I am additionally not against reheating espresso within the microwave, though some connoisseurs would possibly frown upon that observe.

An article within the Guardian suggests, moderately provocatively, that capsule pods are much less wasteful than they’re made out to be. Natalie Parletta wrote,

“It’s to do with arithmetic – one pod offers a exact measure and the water is flash-heated, whereas different brewing strategies have a tendency to make use of and waste extra espresso beans per cup, producing extra power to warmth it, land and water to develop the beans, carbon dioxide emitted throughout their transport and methane produced by espresso grinds that find yourself in landfill.”

Whereas that could be correct, the difficulty of non-recyclable waste stays an enormous downside, to not point out the inflated value per serving. Plus, there are actually many different single-cup-sized espresso techniques, from small French presses and moka pots to fancy espresso machines. I’m fairly content material to stay with my very own zero-waste system that produces nothing apart from compostable espresso grounds.

One other step is to rethink your use of dairy. This generally is a robust adjustment for many individuals, however dairy’s carbon footprint typically will get neglected within the debate over top-quality beans. As Mark Bittman wrote in VB6: Eat Vegan Earlier than 6:00 PM,

“If lattes are your factor, strive substituting unsweetened soy, oat, rice, or nut milk, for the reason that quantity of dairy that goes into even an average-size espresso drink is substantial.”

You can change to drip espresso and use a splash of half-and-half to get the identical creamy style (which is what I do now with my French press, having given up lattes). Or try this listing of ‘eight methods to boost your morning espresso or tea,’ which incorporates a number of non-dairy concepts.

Normally, it is necessary to acknowledge how particular this drink is, and to deal with it with respect. I liked this touch upon a sustainable espresso put up by zero-waste blogger Lindsay Miles:

“All of us should be a bit of extra conscious of how we method our espresso routines – maybe rather less velocity (these miserable little capsules…) and extra time spent brewing a cup of espresso will make us admire simply what an unimaginable journey these espresso beans have had – from their dwelling of origin to our houses.”

Reusable mugs aren’t all the things.

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Sustainability

How to eat cauliflower’s delicious leaves and stems

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The cauliflower components that normally find yourself within the trash stands out as the tastiest a part of all.

Final 12 months, Chad Frischmann, vice chairman and analysis director at Venture Drawdown, stated that, “Decreasing meals waste is among the most necessary issues we are able to do to reverse world warming.” And actually, If meals waste had been a rustic, it could place third – following america and China – for affect on world warming.

Realizing that form of makes one have a look at their meals in a different way. When I’m cooking, I think about each half and marvel if it may be eaten; carrot tops get used as herbs, herb stems be part of the pesto, peels are left on each time they’re edible sufficient. The scraps that defy my efforts find yourself in my freezer awaiting a future with a inventory pot.

Which brings us to cauliflower. The heads I get appear like this (after having eliminated half the florets to grate and add to risotto, yum).cauliflower leaves© Melissa Breyer

If I had been simply to make use of the florets, I might be throwing away round two-thirds of this magnificence! Fortunately, most of it isn’t solely edible, however scrumptious.

Identical to you may peel broccoli stems to disclose their tender hearts, so are you able to with cauliflower stems. They’re hardest on the very backside of the stem, however the remainder of the stems are fairly tender when cooked and sometimes do not even require peeling. The leaves, man, they’re so good. Like kale, however sweeter. I believe they’re one of the best half.

For the dish above, I chopped up the stems and sauteed them on medium warmth in a single tablespoon of olive oil (with a smashed garlic clove for good measure) till they began to melt. Then I added the leaves and florets together with two teaspoons of maple syrup (as a result of glazing) and continued cooking till every little thing was tender sufficient, with some caramelized edges. Then I plated it and added some sea salt, purple pepper flakes, and lemon zest. (By the way in which, do not throw away your lemon rinds, severely! See: Are you throwing out one of the best a part of your citrus fruits?.)

The addition of the leaves and stems elevates a cauliflower dish, providing completely different textures and flavors. However in the event you simply plan to make use of the florets for ricing or a recipe, you may cook dinner the leaves on their very own. I like roasting them, they get that melt-in-your-mouth crispy factor like kale chips. Merely toss them in olive oil, place then on a baking sheet in a single layer, and roast at 400F levels till crispy however not burned, about 10 to 15 minutes.

In the event you simply have stems to make use of up, you may shred them and add them to salad, grate them and add them wherever you would possibly use cauliflower rice, chop them and add them to soups, stir-fries, or curries, et cetera.

And there you go … who knew that serving to to reverse world warming would style so good?

The cauliflower components that normally find yourself within the trash stands out as the tastiest a part of all.

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