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Nature Nuggets

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MAKE YOUR PLATE PLANET-FRIENDLY

What’s your favorite meal? What we eat has direct effects on our health. But did you know that our food choices affect our planet’s health too? Read on to find out more.

The food we eat and the way it is produced and consumed have far-reaching effects on the planet. And not all food produced is eaten by us either! In 2019 alone, almost a billion tonnes of food—that’s 17% of the food that reaches consumers like us—went to waste. Rethinking and changing our food choices and habits is a powerful action we can take individually to make the world more sustainable. In this edition of Nature Nuggets, we’ve put together some questions you can ask yourself to assess how planet-friendly your plate is, and tips on how to build a more sustainable diet.

What am I eating?

A balanced diet rich in plant-based foods leaves a lesser carbon footprint. Eating a variety of foods not only gives our bodies a variety of nutrients, but it also ensures diverse crops are cultivated. That’s good for the agricultural ecosystem! Avoid processed foods as processing them leads to a loss of nutrients and adds to greenhouse gas emissions. Watch this video to learn more about planet-based diets.

Where does my food come from?

The systems involved in our food’s journey from the farm to our plate account for around a third of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reduce the carbon footprint of your meals by choosing locally grown and seasonal vegetables and fruits. Organic foods grown without using chemical pesticides and fertilisers are also better for the environment and our health.

How am I cooking my food?

We use fuel to cook our food—either to power our electric appliances or to burn for heat. You can save energy by making sure your stove and electrical appliances are energy-efficient. Did you know that you can cook using the sun’s energy? Build a solar oven and give it a go!

How do I clean up after my plate?

Wasted food is a waste of the resources that were used to produce, transport, and prepare it. And when food waste ends up in a landfill, its rotting releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. You can reduce food waste by planning the meals for the week in advance with your family and buying only those groceries you will need. Use up stored foods before their expiration dates. Leftovers can be used to make new dishes, such as stuffed parathas or sandwiches.

Common Name: Blue Whale

Scientific name: Balaenoptera musculus

Did you know that the largest animal on Earth is a sustainable consumer? Blue whales are filter-feeders that strain tiny animals called krill from the ocean. But the method they use helps them take in enough food to supply 90 times more energy than they use in feeding, making them ultra-efficient feeders!

By swimming vast distances and diving to great depths and feeding but releasing waste at the water’s surface, whales like the blue whale help circulate important nutrients in the ocean. Their waste is nutrient-rich and feeds phytoplankton, the microscopic organisms that krill and other marine organisms feed on, and that give out most of the oxygen in our atmosphere! Whales are wonderful, don’t you agree?

Time to check your Nature Quotient!

QUIZ

Congratulations to everyone who guessed it right!

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