Sunday, April 22, 2007

earth day.

I guess it's something about April and people discussing the environment more that gets me thinking about my impact on the earth. I took the ecological footprint quiz again a few days ago, and one question in particular confused me a lot.

It reads: How much of the food that you eat is processed, packaged and not locally grown (from more than 200 miles away)?

[Now I'm going to ignore my minor quibbles with the way some of the questions are worded in the quiz, as I don't think all options are covered. They have to simplify it somehow, I suppose.]

I read it and thought..."I don't know." It's true, I've been trying to cut down my reliance on heavily processed foods. And I've been thinking more about buying local stuff, but thinking does not equal doing. Packaged? Huh? How does one buy milk if not in a package? The question left me flustered and I just shot for the middle and clicked "half."

So in an attempt to really figure this out, I decided that for one week I would meticulously record everything I eat and see my food's environmental impact. Yes, this is inspired by Michael Pollan. No, I am not going to buy a cow or slaughter a chicken. My reasons are mostly dorky curiosity.

[Many hours later....] After day 1, I am not doing so well in terms of impact. The good news: most of my food today wasn't processed and a good amount of it was organic. The bad news: nothing was produced locally and the only thing that didn't come in some sort of packaging was the garlic for my pasta. Oh well, this is what reflection is about. (Also, I thought about taking pictures and making a list of everything I ate but then I realized that is pretty boring.)

My other big change I want to make is to start using reusable bags when I shop. I already hate getting a mountain of plastic bags as it is, and I cringe when cashiers wrap my stuff way more than necessary. No more!

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