Coyote Mercury

words, birds and whatever else by James Brush

Greenin’ Up the Country

It’s week three of the Slate/Treehugger Green Challenge. I’m workin’ out, pumpin’ iron at the carbon gym, shedding that carbon flab and getting myself leaner and greener.

This week’s focus area is food. I eat a mostly organic mostly vegetarian diet, and I readily admit that I eat this way because the food tastes better, and I just don’t trust the chemicals that are put into so much food. Call it enlightened self-interest. Anyway, there’s not much else I can do here except change a few shopping habits.

The first topic was beef. I hardly eat any beef as it is, only the occasional hamburger three or four times a year. I have pledged to cut my beef consumption in half, which means I’ll just get a single when I get those burgers.

I could have pledged to buy only local apples, and I try for local when available, but this isn’t really apple country so most of mine come from elsewhere.

Letting hot food cool before putting it in the fridge is smart. I’ve always done that, so I can’t change my ways there.

I’m already in the habit of buying products with less or reusable packaging so I’ll continue with that.

I’ve been meaning to start using reusable bags at the grocery store or at least reuse the ones I have. But I always forget to bring bags. Maybe this week. I mean, with the fate of the world hanging on this, you’d think I could remember. Perhaps it is some consolation, though, that I usually refuse to have my purchases bagged when I’m only buying a small amount of things. Cashiers look at me funny when I ask them not to bag a book or CD, but you have to live with that when you’re a terrorist-loving America-hating liberal moderate anyway.

According to the results page on my pledge/quiz thing:

  • Cutting beef out of your diet saves approximately 1,000 pounds of CO2 emissions per year.
  • Bringing your own bags to the grocery store saves about 17 pounds of carbon-dioxide emissions a year.
  • Buying food and other products with minimal packaging saves about 230 pounds of carbon dioxide a year.
  • Becoming a vegetarian saves 3,000 pounds of CO2 a year.

If I keep my pledges on food, such that they are, I will reduce my carbon footprint by 637 lbs or .07 cars. This brings my total reduction to 4995 lbs, which is a 27% decrease in my original carbon footprint.

I’m practically wasting away.

On another note, I just learned that Montana’s new senator, Jon Tester, is an organic farmer. How cool is that?


  1. Hello James,
    Your attempts at reducing your not-so-terrible footprint remind me of the old joke about a person going in to the doctor, because he’s not feeling well. The doctor successivly advises giving up smoking, then drinking and then sex… none of which the patient does anyway. With no obvious vices to attack, the doctor just gives up.

    There’s slightly different stuff about Jon Tester over at one of my hangouts, Garden Rant:

    Annie the Austin Garden Blogger

  2. James, IKEA sells a great, big, blue shopping bag (similar to the yellow ones customers carry in the store). One bag usually houses all of my groceries so we keep one bag in each of our cars folded up under the seat. The sackers at our market are always excited when they see me coming because they know where everything goes – in one bag – no worries. Plus, with a toddler in tow I don’t have time to make multiple trips to and from the car for groceries.

  3. Interestingly, they just opened an IKEA not far from our house. Someday I’ll brave the traffic to get there.

  4. ‘Brave the traffic’

    Walk, cut your carbon footprint even more!

  5. Wish I could, but I live too far for that work. That’s the one area where I can’t be as green as I want.

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