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Curbing Global Warming And Other Things To Do In The Kitchen

What and how we eat impact greatly on global warming

Dr Padma Garvey/Plant-Based Doctor Mom

Curbing Global Warming And Other Things To Do In The Kitchen

Small frozen lake in the Adirondacks

A few years ago, I read an op ed piece written by an author who grew up in Massachusetts.  He described how , as a young boy, he and his friends would go ice skating on one of innumerable lakes and ponds in the area that where frozen over for the winter.  The ice was hard and thick.  The skating was free and outdoors.  He and his friends just had to walk down the road a bit.  He commented that he didn’t see any frozen lakes and ponds anymore.  It saddened him that his children wouldn’t experience this wintertime activity the way he had done so growing up. 

Though we tend to view climate based on our day to day, singular experiences with weather, we really need to view it from a much longer span of time.  Decades and centuries show us more about climate than one day or even one year.  More and more information is surfacing about the overall increase in global temperatures.  I remember as a kid, we did not have central air conditioning in our house.  Even on the hottest summer days, we and most of my friends’ families managed.  We used fans.  We went to the community pool every day.  We sat out under a shade-providing tree in our backyard.  There was one single window air conditioning unit in my bedroom, left by the previous owners.  My sister, brother, and I would sleep in the same room on the few summer nights when we used the unit.  They brought their sleeping bags and camped out on my bedroom floor while I slept in the bed.  My parents had the bedroom upstairs.  All the heat in the house travelled to their room.  But they, having grown up in India, knew how to make the most of cross ventilation and fans in the right places.  Nowadays I feel like a policeman in my own home, limiting our air conditioning usage to a few weeks if possible.  The tendency is to use it since we have it.  But globally, the use of air conditioning is going up.  Air conditioning is starting to surpass heating in fossil fuel consumption.  The rise in air conditioning usage is only going to make the earth hotter. 

Many of the solutions for global warming need a broad-based, global effort.  But if we each make specific changes as individuals, then a billion of us individuals or a million even, can change the world.  Decreasing fossil fuel consumption can start with what’s on your plate, with what’s for dinner, with what happens in your kitchen and when you eat out.  Eating higher up on the food chain means consuming more fossil fuels than  eating lower on the food chain.  Eating locally whenever possible means less fossil fuel consumption and it also means supporting local businesses and farmers.  Eating a plant-based diet, decreasing or eliminating  your consumption of animal products like meat and dairy will ABSOLUTELY go a long way towards helping with global warming.  It is just as impactful, if not more so, at the individual level than buying an electric car or putting solar panels on your house.  

Whether we decide to make changes or not may be irrelevant.  As unpredictable events happen such as tornados and hurricanes, floods and ecoli contamination, drought and flooding, the ecomomic toll of global warming will start to affect each of us.  There is only a little time left for meaningful changes to have any effect on temperatures.  I am the ultimate optimist and am confident that science will save us and that people will change their lifestyles.  We will curb global warming.  I am doing it with what I eat.

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