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    • Yep. If there's one thing that anyone should really strive for, its reducing food waste. Besides being literally throwing money away, it's probably the highest-impact change we can individually attain. Food production is incredibly energy and carbon-intensive. Couple less food waste with reduced meat intake and then you're really making a difference.

    • What’s one thing you could realistically do this year to save the planet?

      After mulling for 24's a great question but it was hard for me because I felt there was an implied that you're not doing on the end. I care so deeply about this miraculous blue orb I already do what I believe to be the #1 thing: avoiding animal foods.

      So that brings me to what I'm trying to do this year: avoid single-use plastics. It's hard because they have become such a part of life.

    • I started eating most of my main meals from meal box plans a couple of years ago - the raw ingredients are sent to me and then I cook the meals. Because I live on my own, 4 of these meals a week is just about right for me.

      This has had a *big* impact on how healthy my diet is (much more) as well as how much food I waste (much less). But I wonder if there is a net savings in energy use, since these meal plans are shipped and delivered...

    • Lots of practical and useful advice here

      While it's undoubtedly useful and practical, it is also very illustrative of what I'd like to point out - almost all advice in that article, as well as the majority of concerns in the conversation here, are very much skewed towards the situation and cultural situations and perceptions of the USA. Look at the article. It presupposes you are a home owner; it presupposes you drive a lot (and measures vehicle mileage in the imperial units). It talks about getting horizontal spin axis washing machine (last time I saw a top-loading washing machine outside of USA was in USSR in 1970s). It talks about energy efficient appliances and thermal insulation of your living space as if it was something non-obvious - and indeed it is a looming problem in the USA, mostly because of a combination of mostly very mild climate causing flimsy construction standards and relatively cheap energy. If you don't buy energy efficient appliances and especially if you don't climate-proof your residence in most of Europe, you'll either go broke on the utility bills or freeze to death. It's not like other places on the globe don't waste food, but it is rampant in USA. Israel has lots of inexplicable problems with residential solar, mostly because of the not yet fully dismantled socialist inefficiencies, but I believe that upward of 90% of households use sun-driven hot water systems.

      So, while the last thing I would want to do is any fingerpointing, as it would be the proverbial glass house, but it is an unfortunate fact that a lot of the "save the planet", "you are not doing enough" ("Uncle Sam wants you" style), "let's all stop eating meat ASAP" narratives are driven by very USA-biased cohorts (it applies to other hot social topics outside of this panel's scope as well). It is useful to be aware and attempt gaining wider perspective whenever possible.

    • That "refrigerant management" item is pretty interesting. It is number one because very many halogenated refrigerants have greenhouse warming potentials on the order of TEN THOUSAND times greater than carbon dioxide. Release the content of a one-pound can of R134a and there go the equivalent of five tons of carbon dioxide! There is talk of a carbon tax in various locations, but of course they're mostly making halogenated refrigerants exempt (because if they taxed them by CO2 equivalence, the price would make most consumer refrigeration and air conditioning/heat pumping unit cost way more.

      [edit: - well, not ALL are 10k worse but some are. A pound of R134a is only equal to half a ton of carbon dioxide - my bad.]

    • When my wife and I were traveling on a sailboat a decade ago, we spent some time in Cartagena, Colombia. We were in a supermarket there stocking up the boat for the next few months over in Panama, and my wife asked a young lady working at the store where to find canned tomatoes. The young lady looked at us confused and asked "why would anyone buy CANNED tomatoes?!" LOL, of course they did have some in the back on a dusty shelf for visiting sailors. But like you say, in the tropics there is fresh stuff year-round.

      I think that is going to be more common in temperate zones as some higher-value agriculture moves indoors - vertical agriculture factories with LED lighting and climate control and no pests having access. Maybe local will be easy and year-round everywhere some day.

    • Since my one thing is to stop using single-use plastics, I guess that means cans too...

    • One can hope. That is probably something which will require some thinking though. It seems the basic parameters are the addition of large heated indoor spaces and extra lighting. Meeting this extra energy demand will be the enabling factor. At my location, the solar resource in the winter is 1/3 of it's summer value. Perhaps wind will counter some of that. Hydro can't help much (the reservoir may still be liquid, but the precipitation is all frozen so it won't recharge.) It's tempting to think I could just dedicate a room in my already-heated house to the task, but I do not think that would produce quantities significant enough to become my primary source of nutrition...and I'd also have to find a green thumb...

    • Ha! Who knew?

      Changing billing envelopes is going to save 29,200lbs of wood, 109,000gals. of water, and prevent 77,600lbs of CO2.

    • or switch to electronic billing and eliminate envelopes altogether (including load on postal system and thus fuel expenditure and the whole chain) ;)

    • There are still areas with limited internet access, especially in rural areas and low income urban areas. A fine balance between serving mother earth or her children.

    • I’ve debated that with myself. I would end up printing a receipt for accounting purposes anyway, but I do already pay electronically. :)

    • Great panel, @apm! Thank you for bringing this discussion to Cake - it really got me thinking. 🙏🏼

      It would be interesting to see how the conversation changes if you invite the panelists again to comment on the same question next year. 😊

    • When I was first converted to the meal-in-a-box thing, I called my local grocer to see if they could do something similar using local products. They were already researching it! Unfortunately, they found it wouldn’t scale well and they would not be able to compete price-wise...

    • Responding to the much earlier theme of political activism...well that's a tough one for me. I usually avoid politics because it's...well...unappealing. Seems like if you're looking for the quickest way to get a bunch of adults to act like self-centered, needy, demanding two year olds, just introduce a political topic. This is especially true if you happen upon one of the many topics which inspire, shall we say, more passion than carefully considered thought (and yes, climate change is exactly that for a lot of people.) The point of politics appears to be perpetuating an almost religious sense of self-righteous moral outrage, and I just don't have the patience for it.

      Now having said that, I've found some resources for US-based issues (and clearly, politics and geography are linked.) They tend to focus on developing/supporting solutions which are less divisive than proposals which would propel candidates from either party into office--and hence less newsworthy. I'm currently using these resources as a way to keep tabs on what approaches have a chance of surviving a change in administrations. They're also a way for me to choose what to focus on and learn more about. Conversely, I almost automatically filter out proposals from individual candidates as self-serving noise. The big things need to be supported by well over half the country.

      Here are some links I've found helpful:

      And for data + statistical analysis on an almost haphazard collection of topics...

      I hope some of these links are helpful to others who find US politics distasteful. Feel free to share resources from your region or other resources for the US.