Sustainable Sundays

Introducing #SustainableSundays

There is opportunity in everyday decisions to make choices which advance sustainability, environmental quality, and justice. Sustainable Sundays is a collaboration between Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and the Office of Sustainability to help unravel the implications of daily choices and provide the necessary information to make more informed sustainable choices. Follow Gumbo Limbo Nature Center on social media for posts and follow them back here or to Gumbo Limbo's blog to learn more about each topic.

Make your holidays a little more sustainable in 2020!

November 15, 2020 - Introducing #SustainableSundays

This year for the holidays Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and the Office of Sustainability are working together to help residents and followers make their holidays more sustainable. In July, the City discussed going beyond the bag in terms of plastic use, but did you know that what you put into your bags has a bigger environmental impact than the bag itself?

#SustainableSundays will be rooted in sharing delicious recipes with a sustainability twist. Why will we focus around food?

Food is a major way we interact with the environment.

  • Growing food requires land and is a major cause of habitat loss.
  • Growing food often requires fertilizers and pesticides which may impact soil and water.
  • Livestock require feed crops (land, fertilizers, pesticides), land, water, as well as produce waste. 
  • Food distribution requires fuel for transportation and energy for storage.
  • People are needed to produce our food and labor practices and wages vary widely globally.
  • Agriculture represents around a quarter of global GHG emissions.

As the series continues, we will pair delicious recipes with thoughtful information such as:

  • What are the climate and environmental benefits of organic vs conventional diets?
  • How can we use eco-labels to know our food is sustainable and ethically sourced?
  • Are cow burps really that bad and how to pick more climate-friendly protein sources?
  • How can we improve access to healthy and sustainable food for all members of our community?
  • What are strategies to reduce food waste and packaging waste?

In between recipe posts #SustainableSundays will share other sustainable lifestyle information around reducing waste, caring for the community, and much more.

November 22, 2020 - Let them eat pie. . . and reduce food waste!

This pie recipe shared this week isn't only plant-based but it also helps fight food waste. Globally, around one quarter of the food we produce is wasted and in the United States that number is closer to 30-40%. What this means is that a large portion of the emissions, land use, and water use related to agriculture are from food that doesn't even make it to anyone's table. Food waste represents approximately 6% of global emissions, more than any country in the world other than the United States and China. Reducing food waste is one of the easiest and most impactful ways to make your diet more sustainable.
 
How does this pie reduce food waste and food associated waste? While it may seem counter intuitive to use a canned food product to reduce waste, there are actually some real sustainability wins from doing so. Pumpkin packing operations want to maximize the use of their product, so all quality pumpkin flesh makes it into the cans and other byproducts such as stems, rind, and seeds are burned for energy or used for compost in the fields. What you end up with is an in-season crop perfectly preserved in non-perishable pie-perfect proportions within an infinitely recyclable package! Plus, when was the last time you saw pie go to waste?
 
Around this time of year it is also important to remember that while we may have a food waste problem in our community, we also have a food access problem. No diet is sustainable if it doesn't get enough calories and nutrients to those who need them. Want to help in your community? Look to your local food banks and kitchens for opportunities to donate or volunteer.

November 29, 2020 – Make your gifts sustainable inside and out.

This week’s #SustainableSunday post should get you thinking about how you can give sustainable gifts, but what about the wrapping? Did you know that according to the EPA American household trash increases by 25% between Thanksgiving and New Years day? To reduce the amount of trash related to gift wrapping, try some of these creative low waste wrapping ideas:

  1. Save wrapping paper, bags, bows, and ribbons year to year and reuse them.
  2. Wrap gifts in paper grocery bags, packing paper, newspaper or other repurposed papers.
  3. Wrap gifts in fabric or cloth gift bags which can be used year after year.

Lots of low-waste blogs provide other ideas, some of which are great creative crafts! Check out some of the ideas in these:

December 13, 2020 - Sustainable diets for all!

As we are in the Holiday season it is important to remember that no diet is sustainable when there are people in our communities without access to food. A healthy and sustainable diet is one that would provide enough calories and nutrients for the whole human population and a sustainable food system provides access to food to all people.

Even in the United States, more than 49 million people struggle to eat nutritious food and in Palm Beach County more than 300,000 residents, many of them children, do not have enough to eat each day.

You can learn more about how food access relates to eating a climate diet and local opportunities to either help or receive help in this webinar, hosted by the Junior League of Boca Raton.

 Hunger statistics from the United Way of Palm Beach County

December 20, 2020 - Plastic Free July at the Holidays!

We've all heard about Christmas in July, how about Plastic Free July at the Holidays? With all the events that happen between the end of November and the beginning of January, we are wrapping and exchanging gifts and eating more than usual even in a year as different as 2020. All of this can add up to an bit of an uptick in plastic waste making it a great time to revisit some of what we learn over the summer during Plastic Free July

Head over to the City's Plastic Free July page for webinars and conversations about what you and the City can do to reduce plastic waste.

January 3, 2021 - New Year's Goals

2020 is finally over (woohoo!) and there is some reason to be optimistic that things may start to return to normal. As we enter the new year, perhaps we should ask ourselves if the previous “normal” is what we want?

If 2020 taught us anything it is that the previous “normal” left many of us vulnerable. Perhaps our 2021 resolutions can help us build resiliency in our personal lives and build more resilient and sustainable lives and communities.

As you set your 2021 goals, here are a few questions to ask:

  1. What adaptations did I make in 2020 that I want to keep moving forward?
  2. What is important to bring back once the pandemic is over?
  3. If I were in charge, how would I “build back better” at different scales? (Think household, neighborhood, City, nation, or world)

Once you’ve considered these three questions, set your resolutions that support that better, more resilient, and more sustainable future in #3. Make sure they are SMART (Specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.) Follow #sustainablesundays for inspiration and don’t forget that the Boca Libraries are great resources for knowledge and tools for anyone’s goals.

January 17, 2021 - Compost 101

With the cool Florida "winter" weather we have been having, soup sounds like the perfect warm and comforting meal. This week's butternut squash recipe has all the climate benefits of a plant-based meal as well as the food waste reducing bonus of roasted squash seeds on top. However, with any home-cooked meal there will be some food waste in the form of peels, stems, or other inedible or unappetizing plant parts. When that is the case, one option is to put that food waste to good use by composting. 
 
Learn how to compost like the gardeners at the Junior League's Boca Raton Community Garden on the City's Composting 101 page.