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Eat Green, Be Green

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In honor of our Earth, today is the special day where we all are encouraged to "be green." While there seems to be a holiday now for everything imaginable, this day rolls every eco, animal and biodiversity day up into one neat package that allows us to celebrate the beauty of our Earth and to honor the sustenance it provides for us by treating it with respect (shockingly, this day wasn't created by Hallmark, but they probably do sell recycled post-consumer cards for it). This is a special day that asks us to be greener than we normally are.

I don't want to be too much of a cynic, but trying to be extra green on this one-designated day is a nice way to raise awareness, but how about making every day Earth Day? Today is a good day to start to make those permanent changes in our lives. Today is a reminder to us all that global warming is the single greatest threat to our planet. We can all do our part to save energy. However, it's time to expand the climate change discussion from one that is overwhelmingly focused solely on energy sources and consumption to one that also includes our food system. It's time to be green by eating green.

This doesn't mean downing glasses of spinach like Popeye (though that would be helpful) but about eating more sustainable foods. Our food choices have dramatic impacts on the planet and are a major contributor to global warming. A shocking 1/3 of all of the world's greenhouse gas emissions come from food and agriculture.

Here's a quick survey of some food-global warming facts:

1. Livestock is one of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the agriculture sector. These animals also emit tons (literally) of methane and nitrous oxide, which are even worse greenhouse gases than carbon dioxide. In total, they spew 2/3 of the world's methane emissions, 9% of carbon dioxide emissions and 65% of all nitrous oxide emissions.

2. Synthetic fertilizers contribute 647 million pounds of nitrous oxide (another greenhouse gas) annually.

3. In fact, 83% of agriculture's greenhouse emissions are spewed before anything has even left the farm.

4. After leaving a farm, the average American meal travels a whopping 1500 miles to reach your plate.

Don't be discouraged! There's a lot of easy things you can do to green your plate and the planet (and eat lots of delicious, fresh, sustainable foods).

1. Buy local and cut your carbon footprint. Discover the beautiful, bountiful produce available within 200 miles of your community.

2. Buy organic. If everyone switched just 10% of their diet to organic food, it would be the equivalent of taking 2 million cars off the road annually.

3. Meatless Mondays! Reduce or eliminate your dairy and meat consumption at least one day per week.

4. Skip packaged foods. The food processing and packing industry is one of the top energy generators in the nation and use a whopping 14 billion gallons of gasoline.

5. Sign the Cool Foods pledge.

6. Go low carb(on)!: Calculate your carbon foodprint. Today can be the first day of your new food lifestyle.

7. Stay informed and involved with the Cool Foods Campaign and Take a Bite Out of Climate Change.

The original version of Sarah's Social Action Snapshot originally appeared on Takepart.com

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