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Mar 11, 2009 01:54 PM

save the world

as most of us know climate change is changing the face of our planet and as a race we have to do what we can to save our environment (or some of our favourite foods might be in jepardy to) so i thought we should start a list of ways to save energy when cooking and shopping...

here are a few to get started..
1) shop as locally as you can to reduce food miles
2)try fill your oven as much as possible each time you use it so that you use it less often for example roast all the veggies you want for that week or three days etc in one go
3) buy as high rated energy efficient kitchen appliances as you can afford

there are lots more to so please share your tips for the energy efficeient green world of the future ;-)

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  1. Waste less! I just this morning finished reading a paper for a class I'm in discussing the US food system from a life cycle analysis perspective. In it a statistic was given that 26% of edible food was wasted in 1995(43.7 Mt). This includes retail, food service and residential waste. The same paper indicates that if 5% of this waste were recovered it would feed 4 million people on an American diet. (Heller and Keoleian, 2003 if anyone would like to read it. The authors indicate these statistics come from the Economic Research Service of the USDA).

    I"m still mulling this over after reading this morning. I"m not sure if I"m more shocked, saddened or appalled. I do know that I try to throw as little away as possible but am still guilty - often tossing old dairy I don't get through because I don't drink or eat much of it. Restaurant waste too...I"m guilty of that.

    The environmental considerations of all that waste are enormous - both on the production side and on the end of life side. Such a big difference could be made if we just wasted less....

    1 Reply
    1. re: ziggylu

      good one! i find writing a list of everything i'm cooking and the ingredients i plan to use really helps cut waste down thankyou and keep the tips coming ;-)

    2. - Walk to the store or make a single trip per week (or more)
      - Replace your lawn with a garden - or some of it
      - Eat less meat - The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated that direct emissions from meat production account for about 18 per cent of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, resources used to produce it are extravagant - it takes 1 pound of grain to make 1 pound of bread but 20 pounds of grain to make 1 pound of beef. Meat requires more land and water as well. So reduce the consumption of meat (1 day per week?) - save the planet and save money.

      6 Replies
      1. re: alwayscooking

        Does "meat" include poultry, or are we just talking cows and pigs as far as contributing to our carbon footprint? Cows fart a lot, and that is a major burden as far as methane goes. Is it the same for pig and chicken farts? (sorry to get so gross, but I'm curious...) adam

        1. re: adamshoe

          I don't think so...ruminents have a unique digestive system to digest grasses etc. I'd imagine confined and poorly-managed animal waste would still contribute significant methane, though.

          1. re: xanadude

            I don't think the problem with meat is just animal gases. There's also the ratio of feed to meat. It takes a lot more resources to grow all the pounds of food a cow (or pig or sheep or even chicken) eats and when you finally butcher it, you are not left with anywhere near as many calories worth of food as you put into the creature.

            Here is a link to an older article about it. It's the first thing I found when I did a search:


            "Tracking food animal production from the feed trough to the dinner table, Pimentel found broiler chickens to be the most efficient use of fossil energy, and beef, the least. Chicken meat production consumes energy in a 4:1 ratio to protein output; beef cattle production requires an energy input to protein output ratio of 54:1. (Lamb meat production is nearly as inefficient at 50:1, according to the ecologist's analysis of U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics. Other ratios range from 13:1 for turkey meat and 14:1 for milk protein to 17:1 for pork and 26:1 for eggs.)"

            1. re: megmosa

              no one is saying that the only problem with industrial/cafo meat production is greenhouse gases.

              "Cows fart a lot, and that is a major burden as far as methane goes. Is it the same for pig and chicken farts? (sorry to get so gross, but I'm curious...)"

              The only caveats to the analysis you copied is that, for example, you can pasture (feed) cows on land you can't grow row or cereal crops on, well-managed pasture is arguably much better for the 'environment' than monoculture farmed cereal grains, and that cows can digest plants and parts of plants that we couldn't use otherwise and would go to waste.

              1. re: xanadude

                It would be great if we all ate pastured cows. Unfortunately, the demand far exceeds the supply of cows grown on poor, non-crop lands. A great article on the exponential growth in the demand of beef and its impact on the environment (and other bad things!):


          2. re: adamshoe

            Cow burps, not farts, are the problem. Monogastrics (chickens, pigs, rabbits...) don't burp..

        2. Use those cloth or "green" bags at the grocery store or re-use paper bags til they start falling apart...99 cents goes a long way...I've been using them for about 3 or 4 years now..and I'm sure others have done it for even longer...where I live in SWFL, Publix seems to put each item in its own plastic bag for customers...really bad!

          1 Reply
          1. re: Val

            I love my cloth bags! Living in an urban area and not having a car, I have to carry my groceries home. Not only will a whole shopping basket of food fit in one bag, it doesn't dig into my hands like those horrible plastic ones.

          2. The original comment has been removed
            1. As regards food miles, check out this thread to click through to a piece at Mother Jones discussing them, in part.

              It isn't as simple as shop and eat locally. alwayscooking hit on a key that I've seen universal agreement about: if you eat less food from animals (which I'm using instead of "meat" to include poultry, fish, beef, pork, etc and so on) and more food from plants it will dramatically reduce the amount of energy used on your food in terms of production.

              The tip then, if your primary concern is to reduce energy use overall, is eat less meat and dairy.

              If your concern is to reduce energy used when cooking and shopping, I guess you should walk to where you shop, use your microwave instead of your oven wherever possible and keep your refrigerator full even if you need to use random containers of water as a full refrigerator will maintain its temperature more effectively when the door is open and require less energy to cool it back down each time.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ccbweb

                yes eating less meat and dairy is a very helpful, autralians can help by eating more kangaroo instead f traditional meat staff its more ecological

                1. re: ccbweb

                  Exactly. Even eating and shopping locally has its caveats. As an extreme example, it would cost more energy for someone in Alaska to grow his own pineapple than to buy it from the right climate. And, as you've pointed out, driving to the grocery store (which is the only way some of us can shop) uses more energy, from everyone doing it, than it does to ship the product from far away. The answers aren't that easy. Even giving up meat only makes sense if you're replacing it with something grown locally that's native, etc. Giving up meat to eat cheetos, or papaya might not be a better choice, environmentlaly. And, for me on the east coast, the energy cost is less to buy wine from France that's been brought in on a freighter than wine from California that's been trucked across the country. It takes education, not just reading a clippet here and there. Ideally, I should give up my coffee and wine altogether...