Sunday, April 26, 2009

What's Earth Day Got To Do With It?

I taped Oprah on Wednesday because a teaser, What happens to our garbage?, pulled me in.

As it turns out, an astounding amount of paper (71.6 million tons) ends up in our landfills. I recently weaned myself off of bottled water and I will try to do the same with napkins and such.

Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, was one of several guests on the show and is an advocate of meatless Mondays. Pollan claims that if everyone went meatless for one day of the week, it would be the equivalent of taking 20 million mid-size sedans off the road.

Pollan also said that people are not aware of the carbon footprint of food and that agriculture changes the landscape more than anything else that we do. This statement was my favorite:

When we sit down to eat, that's our most profound engagement with nature.
I also like Pollan's advice to shop the periphery of the store where the real food is at. In the middle, he said, is the food that never goes bad.

Pollan's rule of thumb is to only eat things that his grandmother would recognize which does not include items like portable yogurt. Expanding on the grandmother rule, Pollan advised people not to eat anything that won't eventually rot. It's not real food, he surmised. This advice reminds me of Morgan Spurlock's documentary, Super Size Me, in which he did several experiments with food and the composition of McDonald's french fries never changed.

Some nice stores were featured on Oprah's Earth Day show, including:




As you can imagine, since the organizations have been mentioned on Oprah, increased traffic has affected the websites. Whole Foods is also giving away tote bags for free but the coupon expires today.

Whole Foods Coupon

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