Have you ever gone a day or a week without eating meat? Give it a try as part of the Cool Davis Low Impact Challenge; you may be surprised. Many delicious meals contain no meat or animal products at all.
“The Low Impact Challenge is an invitation to all Davis citizens to reduce their carbon impact by taking a simple step each day for a week to reduce their carbon emissions and ease into a sustainable, greener, more satisfying way of life,” says Lynne Nittler of the Cool Davis Initiative.
Adds Judy Moores, “Today, we invite you to think about the food you eat and its relationship to your health. Try one or more of these steps”:
* Try to eat no meat today: Be kind to your heart and try some great vegetarian dishes.
* Buy groceries from the Davis Farmers Market, Davis Food Co-op or grocery stores that offer locally grown food and lower your carbon “food-print.”
* Eat organically grown foods and keep both you and our planet healthier.
Background: The average mouthful of food travels an estimated 1,500 miles to reach us, requiring a staggering amount of fossil fuel. Every time we eat food locally grown or produced, we reduce the need for these transportation costs.
The real costs of eating meat are much greater than the price tag. Vast swaths of forest are being cleared for pastures, robbing the planet of trees, which absorb carbon dioxide. Cattle and sheep also release huge amounts of methane, a potent greenhouse gas. A recent United Nations study found that meat production is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions — more than the entire transportation sector.
The advantages of buying local food are many: You receive fresh, delicious, nutritious food; the farmers stand a better chance of earning a decent living; and family farms are preserved. If you need recipes, check out http://www.vegetariantimes.com.
With regard to eating organic, you are reasonably assured that harmful substances will not get into the soil, food crops and your body. For community-supported agriculture programs and farms in Yolo County, see http://www.yolocounty.org/Index.aspx?page=1901.
Do you have a good idea to share with your neighbors? Add your comment to the Low Impact Challenge blog at http://www.cooldavis.org.
Whether or not you try any of the Cool Davis Low Impact Challenge steps, everyone is welcome at the celebratory potluck dinner at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the United Methodist Church of Davis, 1620 Anderson Road. Dinner will be followed by a discussion of the “No Impact Man” film, the Low Impact Challenge and additional programs to reduce your carbon footprint. Guests are asked to bring a veggie dish, salad or dessert to share.
The mission of the Cool Davis Initiative — created by a network of residents, businesses, the city of Davis and local groups — is to inspire the community to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, adapt to a changing climate and improve the quality of life for all, Nittler says.