One of the things I’ve been thinking about lately is how I can be a better citizen of the world and to put my beliefs into actions. One of the main ways I feel I can do that is to be a better consumer. If I am honest I haven’t always thought about where my food comes from and the impact my consumption has on people at home and around the world. As a financially stable person I’ve never had to think about where my next meal was coming from or the way in which my decisions could harm others. I’m not an expert yet but I’ve started thinking about these issues more and doing research. For me the starting point has been not wasting food and consuming less and these are the things that I’ve been doing to meet that goal.
1.) Do Research
I often hear that people don’t have time to research but I honestly feel that we can’t afford not to. It can be something as small as taking 10 minutes a week/month to read an article. But for those of us who are affluent and live in Europe or North America, for example, many of our food practices directly affect those living in less affluent countries and even those who produce our food in our own countries. If we want to be better citizens we have to develop practices that do not harm others and benefit everyone. Reading science based articles about food production and distribution arms us with the knowledge to buy wisely and not be led astray by gimics and health and diet fads which come and go.
2.) Use Pinterest
Besides having recipes and strange DIYs, Pinterest is full of good ideas about how to use leftovers, whether it’s some crusty bread or half of a chicken. There are also handy graphics of what produce is in season, measurement conversions and how to halve recipes.
3.) Check Your Fridge Every Morning
I’ve heard that you should check your bank account every morning but I have also started checking my fridge every morning that way I can see what leftovers have to be used up immediately. I can also see what needs to be added to my shopping list, see what we are and aren’t eating and make a plan to use up leftovers for lunches, dinners or snacks.
4.)Freeze It Right Away
I’ve often put something in the fridge hoping that I’d use it up that week and then not done so. Since there are only 2 of us and we aren’t big eaters I have started putting stuff in the freezer immediately. As soon as I am home from the store I divide up loaves of bread, for example and put half in the freezer. Homemade pasta sauce, chili, and many other dishes can go in the freezer and if we want to eat it in 2 days it can easily be defrosted but if we don’t eat it for a month we haven’t thrown anything out.
5.) Make a shopping list
I’ve started planning my meals ahead of time and writing down the ingredients I’ll need. We’ve saved money and thrown out less food because we aren’t buying food we don’t need or won’t use that week.
This is just the starting point but I hope that doing these things makes the world a better place, even if only in a small way.