Charities do a lot for the environment. Your funding goes a long way when used by effective organizations like those on our Top Environmental Charities list. But there are other, smaller scale changes you can make that help the planet as well. For instance, changing how you eat. We’ve collected a few of our favourite, environmentally-friendly recipes to get you started on your journey toward culinary caring.
One of the most effective ways to reduce your environmental impact is to reduce your consumption of meat. The carbon footprint of a vegetarian diet is about half that of a meat-heavy diet. This lasagna is as satisfying as the traditional version but without the pork or beef.
Another great way to reduce that carbon footprint is to buy local produce. Shorter transportation distances reduce emissions and fruits and vegetables are fresher and last longer in the fridge, reducing wastage. This vegetable risotto combines the benefits of a vegetarian dish with delicious seasonal produce from British Columbia. Don’t live in BC? Look for similar items at your local farmer’s market or CSA. For a truly vegetarian/vegan dish, replace the chicken stock with vegetable stock.
Maybe you’re a bodybuilder and you need a denser source of protein. Fish is a great source of protein but it can be difficult to determine if the species you’ve chosen is raised or caught in a sustainable way. Luckily, Oceanwise (a program from the Vancouver Aquarium) is used across North America to indicate to consumers which seafood items are planet-friendly. One such item is sablefish, a delicious white fish that is easy to make and good for ecosystems when caught on a long line.
Wild game can be an ethical and environmentally friendly option if you want to reduce your impact but still intend to eat meat. Raising animals in a ranch or farm setting emits large amounts of carbon from farm machinery, requires inputs of hormones and chemicals that can enter the water supply, and concentrates animal waste in a small area, potentially polluting the air, soil and water. Hunting reduces or eliminates these problems, and allows our delicious friends to live free until just before dinner time.
A great way to eat more ethically without changing your shopping habits is to use what you might normally throw away. Making your own chicken stock is a great way to use bones and vegetable trimmings before they hit the trash heap or compost. Homemade stock tastes a lot better than canned stock from the store, uses no chemicals, is low in salt, and it gets every bit of useful food value out of that chicken.
So now that the cooking is done, how are you going to clean up? Conventional cleaning supplies tend to be made from harsh chemicals and petroleum products that can end up in natural bodies of water after you rinse the dishes. Homemade cleaning supplies often use ingredients that you can find around the house, are non-toxic, and still leave your home smelling fresh and germ-free. Be sure to stock up on white vinegar and baking soda.
Eating in a more environmentally friendly way is a great step toward helping preserve our natural environment. If you would like to go a step further, there are many highly-rated charities devoted to safeguarding the planet who could use your donations to fund important projects in Canada and around the world.