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Do you think about how your actions affect the environment?

2019 Mar Mon | A Practice For Winter

The Nature Relatedness Statement we’re working with this week is:

 I always think about how my actions affect the environment.

The stories we tell ourselves about how we see ourselves as a part of nature or as in a relationship with nature matter. Because our perceptions dictate how our actions impact nature. ALWAYS thinking about how our actions impact nature is a tall order for a human being, we are all a bit self- absorbed from time to time. Becoming ritualistic about trying to think about our actions, however, drives our awareness of the interconnectivity of everything begins to make regenerative or circular thinking our default.

In the video below we go more into this.

What part of a plant is this food?

This question is one of the staples of a nature relatedness practice with food.

Knowledge is power. To make decisions about your actions in relation to how your actions effect your environment, you must first build your knowledge. Watch the video below and have a think with us. 

Zero Waste Stock

Looking at something you normally think of as waste and seeing another use for it is a great way to build a nature relatedness habit of considering how your actions effect your environment. The United Nations calculation demonstrating that if global food waste were considered a country, it would be third to the United States and China in terms of greenhouse gas emissions has been widely reported as a motivation to get us to reduce the amount of food we waste. Those emissions come from every part of the agricultural process: tilling the soil and releasing carbon trapped within, chopping down carbon sink forests for more agriculture, energy used to produce fertilisers and pesticides (not to mention the ingredients of those products are often fossil fuel based),  fuel used for harvesting machinery, packaging, refrigeration, transport and the release of methane as wasted food breaks down in landfill are some of the emission sources of food waste.

During the lean season, when the leaves are bare and there is snow on the ground, it is not difficult for the mindful eater to connect to the notion that local and seasonal produce is rare and something to be cherished. I live in Copenhagen. Being this far north, our seasonal winter diet is full of foods like carrots, potatoes, onions, garlic and cabbage. These are foods that can be kept warm in the ground for winter harvest or store relatively well.  Instead of looking at the peels of those food as waste to go straight into my bio-fuel bin, I try to get further life out of them as the ritual of their reuse unto itself helps me to get in the habit of aligning thoughts about how my actions effect my environment with my actions. Here´s how to make a stock and soup out of lean season “waste”:

 

Find yourself a large air tight, freezer safe box. Every time your cutting board is full of broccoli stalks, outer leaves of cabbage, carrot peels, onion and garlic skins, leek stalks, herb stems, or anything else that as a fresh food is unappetizing, throw them into this box and call it your stock box. When it is full and contains at least one third garlic and onion remains, put your vegetables into a large pot and fill with water. You are aiming for a 1:1 ratio of water to vegetables, by volume. Add a generous pinch of salt, some peppercorns and bay leaves and bring it to a boil. Once your stock boils, reduce it to a low temperature and simmer for forty minutes. Drain the stock through a sieve and discard the vegetable bits. This time they are destined for your food waste bin, compost heap or perhaps an animal looking for a tasty snack.

You can use your stock immediately by adding a tin of beans, a tin of tomatoes and a few newly chopped carrots, onions and potatoes (the peels of which go towards the next round of stock) and make a simple soup.  Or, you can place it in your fridge for a week or two and use it to make a risotto, a savoury porridge or some couscous without reaching for an energy intensive industrial produced bullion cube. Your own stock of stock, lovingly produced in an effort to weave nature related rituals into your eating life helps you become more aware of the effect of your actions on your environment, all the time.