1. Action name
Low Carbon Footprint Diet Pamphlet
The creation of a small pamphlet that can be included in the agenda books that students receive when arriving to IES. This pamphlet will include brief information about the reasoning behind choosing a diet with a low carbon footprint and the benefits this diet presents to the environment. Reducing packaging waste not only in purchases but in consumption is one major way to decrease your carbon footprint. In addition, this pamphlet will include tips on how to form healthy eating habits which can reduce environmentally produced CO2 emissions. To make the ability to consume a diet with a low carbon footprint more realistic and a reality rather than just an idea, included will be resources conducive to living in Barcelona. A list of fresh food, organic, and fair trade markets/stores with addresses will be included as well as a list of a websites to further educate students about how to evaluate their individual carbon footprint.
Before taking this class I felt that I was somewhat aware of the debate regarding CO2 and whether or not humans are to blame for things such as global warming. However, through the various mediums that we have learned about sustainability (on-sites, video clips, readings, lectures, etc) I have come to realize that just having this new knowledge is useless if I do not implement it in some way. I believe since food is a basic human necessity as we all need food to survive, why not make available (in a concise easy to read format) key concepts that I have learned in this class with access to ways to incorpate these ideas in real life. This pamphlet will be a step in the right direction for awareness on issues that effect the environment, for students who may not have the opportunity to take a class on sustainability for example. This information and in turn this action is very much necessary because according to Bon Appétit Management Food Company, "our food system is actually responsible for 1/3 of the global green house emissions". Terra.org also states that, "Although the CO2 savings from a diet or another is more difficult to quantify the energy (it is not a direct conversion between consumption and emissions), it is estimated that some habits to adopt a sensible diet can reduce environmentally CO2 emissions associated with food by 40% or more, depending on personal habits".
- Change in Attitudes & "Cradle to Cradle Design"
Terra.org also sums up very accurately in terms of food that, "Environmental consequences depend on the amount of resources that are needed to produce it, how far the food comes from and how we buy it, how much we eat and throw away" (Terra.org). These are really key ideas here, the most important aspect of my pamphlet is to change the attitudes that people have on food and food consumption and to consider the "cradle to cradle" effect. On the contrary, the "cradle to grave" concept is a concept practiced nearly everyday when it comes to food. People buy or prepare more food than they need or can consume, resulting in a large amount of waste. Waste that is never created back into "food". We do not see excess waste in nature, an example being pine trees which when the pines fall from the tree they act as seeds to create more trees. Literally, in a low carbon footprint diet there simply needs to be emphasis put on using "waste" again as literal food. If a meal is not finished, save the left overs for another meal. Do not throw anything away if possible. Also, by purchasing food items with minimal packaging, energy and in turn CO2 emissions can be reduced.
- Reducing Dependency
By creating a pamphlet with information about a diet that can help in achieving a low carbon footprint, the goal is to spread knowledge about reducing dependency on aspects such as a diet based on excess quantities of meat as well as produce that takes a large amount of energy to reach Barcelona. In essence, my goal is to help reduce dependency on food products that promote a higher carbon footprint by creating awareness and providing resources as to where alternative food products can be purchased.
- CopyLeft (CC)
My action plan like all others unless specified by the creator are licensed under Creative Copy. This is very important for my action as a form of sustainable knowledge. I want other incoming students to be able to add/edit/fix whatever aspects of this plan and in turn the pamphlet, that they feel will make the components of a "Low Carbon Footprint Diet" better and more successful.
1.2.1. Potential Benefits
This action has the potential for a great deal of benefits. In the short term, students are made aware that they have the opportunity to lower their carbon footprints just by making changes in their eating habits. In the long term, if this pamphlet continues to be included in student agendas, knowledge as a sustainable entity regarding fair trade and organic products will be shared as well. Because foods that can not for example be purchased locally because they are "non-native small luxuries like chocolate or coffee", can be purchased through fair trade or by means of organic production. Terra.org explains rather well that, Agriculture and livestock demand "more intensive machinery and synthetic products that are nocicos for the environment and biodiversity but also require more energy to manufacture and apply that ecological systems or traditional". They estimate that, "agriculture and intensive farming are responsible for 7% of carbon from the atmosphere". Even considering pesticide use as we have discussed in class can be factored into a long term benefit of using this pamphlet. If we consider that "culture systems such as integrated pest also allow high productivity, reducing pesticide use and energy (for example, less tilling, using natural systems to improve soil and controlling pests and weeds)". Therefore, buying locally grown produce has the long term effect of reducing CO2 emissions because of the methods used to grow the produce. (Less pesticides, energy, etc)
1.2.2. Potential Costs
The amount of money it takes to print the pamphlet in the student agendas will have to be factored into this action. Also, a simple web address will be created that will connect students to an online version of the pamphlet. In terms of money, produce may potentially be more expensive than products that can be bought at commercial grocery stores. Time must also be factored as a cost of this action. Students may take more time in commuting to producers of locally grown produce, rather than simply buying products from places like Corte Ingles. The risk involved with this action is that not all students in IES Abroad live in independent housing. Therefore, not all students have complete say as to what they eat everyday. Food allergies/preferences are also a risk to a pamphlet regarding a food diet.
During the Student Council meeting I was informed that in the past an attempt was made at creating something similar to this pamphlet. However, by making an online version of the pamphlet as well, students who are more interested than others in pursuing a low carbon footprint diet have access to sharing these ideas with others and finding out more information. In a perfect world, this pamphlet will take up no more than 1-2 pages in the student agendas and will be printed to be handed out to students for the Fall semester. However, a link to an online version of the pamphlet may have to do for now, if not able to be printed in the agendas. The online version of the pamphlet will be available to view this coming week online and the hard copy or pamphlet in paper will be available to students during our class discussion/feedback time for action plans. Also, one of the ways that a student will be able to calculate a "Low Carbon" diet while in Barcelona and also when they are back in the United States will be through the website: eatlowcarbon.org that will be listed on the pamphlet. The website eatlowcarbon.org allows anyone to drag and drop various menu items, ingredients, and sample meals into a "virtual pan" where they then can calculate their carbon emissions. In turn after finding out this information they can decide what foods to eat less or more of to help reduce their carbon footprint. I will continue to follow up with Dawn regarding the status of my plan until I return to the States to ensure that access to my pamphlet is available well after I leave.
1.4. References & Links
Carbon Footprint Calculator-Food (eatlowcarbon.org)
Terra Organization Website (Terra.org)
Produce Markets/Stores Reference Site
1.5. Students involved in this action
Karley Chisim (Leader)
Contributions: Organized the action into the action format, added the statistic of how much food is responsible for carbon emissions and also the part about the how to calculate a low carbon food diet.
Contributions:Interviewed 16 people about their feelings of a pamphlet on a "Low-Carbon Footprint Diet". She also helped to find resources where students can buy food products similar to a "farmers market" promoting buying locally, here in Barcelona.
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