What we eat has a tremendous ecological impact. The strategy? A diet that focuses on cutting carbon:
Buy Locally, Organically and Seasonally (With local and organic at the same time providing the most earth-friendly impact)
Grow Your Own (Even if you don't have a garden - think herbs or cherry tomatoes on the window sill)
Choose Your Drinks Wisely (Think coffee, tea and alcohol besides juices and milk - what's important is drinks produced sustainably without the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides)
Be Takeout Savvy (how about bringing your own container? Refuse paper napkins, plastic utensils and condiment packets)
Choose Whole Foods (The process of turning raw foods into the processed products that we find on supermarket shelves requires tremendous amounts of energy. Opting for a whole foods diet, rich in raw and unprocessed foods, will not only have an incredible impact on your health, it will also cut your food-related carbon footprint by almost one-third!)
Say No To Bottled Water (Only about 14% of the 70 million-plus water bottles used by Americans on a daily basis get recycled! The rest ends up in landfills, and even worse, in oceans. Plus, the production and shipping of bottled water consumes vast quantities of oil)
Eat Less Meat (One cow has to eat eight pounds of corn and soy (even though cows are not meant to eat those) to produce one pound of meat. Just think about the fertilizers and pesticides to produce the food for the animals! And the energy to produce, ship and process meats! Cutting (way) down on the meat consumption and opting for pasture-raised meat would help minimizing the food-related carbon footprint even more)
Eat Less Of Everything (Seriously, consuming less will reduce the carbon footprint (no matter how green the food we eat, it still has to be grown, packed, shipped - lots of energy) as well as our waistlines :-)
5.6 million tons of catalogs and other direct mail advertisements end up in U.S. landfills annually.
The average American household receives unsolicited junk mail equal to 1.5 trees every year—more than 100 million trees for all U.S. households combined.
44 percent of junk mail is thrown away unopened, but only half that much junk mail (22 percent) is recycled.
Americans pay $370 million annually to dispose of junk mail that doesn’t get recycled.
On average, Americans spend 8 months opening junk mail in the course of their lives.
(Source: Larry West)
Recycling is not the answer here, we have to solve the problem by stopping this. Too much energy, money, fuel goes into the production of the mailings, catalogs, coupons etc. that nobody wants and then again into the disposal of it. Totally unacceptable, both for the planet as well as our wallets!
In Germany I noticed that a lot of households have little stickers on their mailboxes saying "no catalogs, offers, coupons please" and the mailman won't put in local supermarket's offers. I saw this one online and am wondering whether it would help here as well.
Another step you can take to stop companies from sending you their offers is contacting them directly.
I know, it's inconvenient and takes some time, but it's worth it in the long run.
There are websites where you can register your name and address for a fee (www.mailstopper.tonic.com is one example), but there's ways to do it for free, too. Check out this online guide to stopping the junk coming into your life for some great ideas.