3 Things You Can Do to Inspire the Green Revolution

Phillip Sharp, a board member of the Supporters for Agriculture Research Foundation and professor at MIT, writes in NYT today about the urgent need of a green revolution in the near future. The most interesting fact I took away from his article is that California continues to grow 66 different types of food corps–more than any other state in the U.S., even as it enters into it’s fourth year of drought. 

California cities already suffer from some of the worst air pollution levels (agriculture related, of course!). Coupled with its multi-year drought, it’s clear that we cannot continue on with business as usual. Agriculture practices of the past cannot sustainably feed our growing population and warming Earth. While we await technological advances in the way we grow our food, here are three things you can do to ensure food security in the future without over-burdening the Planet:

  1. Waste Less. In 2014, Americans threw away more food than plastic, paper, glass and metal. Food waste is clearly a huge problem and you can easily take steps against doing so. A little bit of meal planning and creative use of leftovers will go a long way in saving you from throwing away perfectly good food. You’ll save money, too.
  2. Eat Plant-Based. It may seem counter-intuitive to eat more plants to save the Earth but studies have shown that eating a plant-based diet is a powerful way to protect the Planet. Emissions from animal agriculture excessively strain the Earth.
  3. Cultivate a Green Thumb. No matter whether you live in an urban high rise or in sprawling suburbia, you can try your hand at growing you own food. Gather a few pots of herbs and place them along a sunny windowsill to get started. Growing what we can reduces the many thousands of miles our food needs to travel to reach our plate. As a bonus, live plants are powerful in creating a calm home environment.

 

 

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The Radical Radish

During Fruits and Vegetables month, and all year long, produce like avocados, strawberries, and kale always find a place in the spotlight. There’s no doubt about it: their acclaim is well-deserved given the powerful punch of nutrients they deliver. Today, though, I’d like to shine the limelight on an equally healthy yet decidedly an underdog in the produce department: the radish! Read on for 3 reasons the radish is totally radical:

It’s a root vegetable. This means that you’ll be able to find it year-round if you live in a temperate climate. In the right conditions, root vegetables grow at any season, which means you’ll have an easier time finding it in your local grocery store.

It’s packed with nutrients. In a one cup serving of radishes, you’ll get more than 25% of your daily Vitamin C needs.  The leaves of this root are also packed with anti-oxidants, so be sure to add those into your salad. Eating radish ensures you’ll have nothing to throw away because you can benefit from both the stem and root.

You're talking about us?

You’re talking about us?

It comes in many varieties. You’ll find white, purple, and red radishes, each with its own taste. I love radishes for their strong flavors. Dice a couple up and sprinkle throughout your favorite salad combination. There’s no need for much dressing when you’ve got radishes to spice up your salad.

The next time you’re looking for a flavorful side dish with no prep, slice up some radish! Though they may be the underdog, radishes are totally rad, dude!

Pura Vida: 3 Reasons Costa Rica is Leading the Global Environmental Movement

I was lucky enough to spend a semester abroad in Costa Rica my junior year of college. The friendliness of everyone I met—from my host family to street vendors immediately took me aback. The fresh fruits were unlike anything I found at home. And it was also in this most bio-diverse country, among the cloud forests and active volcanoes, where I experienced an environmental re-awakening.

Costa Rica has proven to be at the forefront of solving national environmental challenges, setting an example not just for developing countries, but for industrial nations as well. Here are three recent efforts that remind me of what I loved the most about Costa Rica—it’s commitment to celebrating and protecting our precious planet:

1. Clean Energy During the first 75 days of 2015, the country used 100% sustainable sources of energy. Even now, Costa Rica relies on wind turbines, solar panels and geothermal sources for more than two-thirds of its energy needs.

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Time.com

2. Ban on Hunting for Sport Costa Rica is the first country in Latin America to place a ban on hunting for sport. In light of the recent outrage over the killing of Cecil the Lion, organizations all over the world are taking steps to defend animals and their right to live.

3. Promoting Eco-Tourism Forget spending your precious vacation days shopping for more knickknacks. You probably don’t have room in your suitcase for them, either! Costa Rica is a phenomenal place to be an eco-tourist. You can relax in thermal waters heated by volcanoes, zip line through the rainforest, watch sea turtles nest on the bay, or hike along a national park while monkeys play in the canopy above.

Which countries do you think are doing a good job in protecting the planet?

Traveling like an Eco-Tourist

Last weekend I visited California with my parents for Independence Day. It’s been a while since I’ve spent time on the west coast, but I remembered quickly that California is a great place to visit as an eco-tourist–the beaches, mountains, deserts, all offer boundless opportunities to explore nature’s beauty.

Eco-tourism? What’s that? You might be wondering.

Eco-tourism asks us to visit new places in a way that celebrates the natural environment. Rather than making consumerism the focus of a vacation, you make it a priority to visit a local botanical garden, state park, or simply lounge on the beach.

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Sounds easy, right? I’ll be the first to admit that the allure of the local mall was too powerful for me to resist. I spent two hours roaming around various shops. Roaming around same stores we have in DC. Do you know how much I bought that day? Exactly nothing! While mindlessly looking through racks of clothes, it donned on me. I traveled all the way across the country only to waste my precious few days of vacation shopping for clothes I didn’t need? Right then, I decided that I wanted to spend the rest of my time taking in everything that makes California special: its outdoors.

My parents and I traveled to Catalina Island the next day. We walked around the island and watched deer playing in the trees. We splashed in the ocean and polished off scoops of homemade ice cream on the shoreline. And that truly felt like what a vacation should be: a time to relax and refresh. To spend time catching up with friends and family if you’re together. If you’re alone, a vacation should inspire you to invoke dreams lost in the quotidian.

And what better place to do so than in nature? Countless studies have shown us that spending time in nature increases our well-being. The novelty of spending time outdoors in a new place exponentially improves our happiness. You are far more likely to reminisce on that time you conquered (or got lost hiking) San Jacinto Mountain than you will remembering the pair of shoes you bought in the city.

The next time you travel this summer, or whenever it may be, travel like an eco-tourist. Take pleasure in the cacti or trees that surround you and you’ll be sure to have an unforgettable vacation.

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Meatless Monday: Gov. Brown on Veggie Burgers

You might have heard about the California drought in the news lately. California and neighboring states in the southwest (where I’m from) have been suffering years from a prolonged fresh water shortage.

Last week, Governor Brown took the time to talk with the LA Times about the water crisis.
You can watch it all here:

http://www.latimes.com/local/drought/la-me-water-in-the-west-live-htmlstory.html

Gov. Brown states that one of the best things we can do is to eat veggie burgers, rather than burgers made from beef. Producing a single burger requires thousands of gallons of water. Rather than pouring our all of our precious water into the beef industry, we can stretch it much farther by choosing a plant-based diet.