A cake with a lighter carbon footprint…?

As a follow on from my carbon footprint of Nigella Lawson’s Madeira cake, I took some of the excellent recommendations to find a new favourite cake.

Replacing the butter with sunflower oil, and replacing a single cake with individual cup cakes led me to try Nigella’s carrot muffins…

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How carbon-heavy is my favourite cake?

One of the recipes I go to time and again is Nigella Lawson’s Madeira cake (turned in to a lemon and poppyseed cake with some additions), in How to be a Domestic Goddess. A domestic goddess I may be, but am I a domestic carbon sinner too? Firstly, set the oven to gas mark 3, or 170 degrees celsius. Continue reading

Influencing industry: How to bank for the climate

If your political involvement extends no further than turning up to vote, then you are missing a significant lever for influencing change.

Your money does not sit idly in a bank vault somewhere waiting for you to take it out. Giving your money to a bank means they can be sending it off to do all sorts of mischief on your behalf. By choosing your bank and your pension, you are also voting for what your money invests in. Banks invest in warrainforest destruction or anything else that will make them money such as those shown in the video below.

To make financial investment and banking decisions, visit Ethical Consumer for the best advice. As the concept of ‘ethical’ can mean different things to different people, you can choose what areas of ‘ethical’ are most important to you. They also filter through the greenwash to help understand how a company has come up with the term ‘ethical’.

And as a further prompt, if you still bank with the big high street banks, take a look at this video…

Reduce Waste: Take your own Tupperware

For years, I have been going with a group of friends every week to eat at our favourite restaurant. The food was superb, but the volume of food was so huge, it was wasteful leaving it, so I ate till it hurt. To avoid this, I started taking half home each week, with the resultant foil boxes and cardboard lids and plastic bags going in the bin. After a few weeks deciding if food waste or packaging waste was worse, we all decided to take our own plastic boxes. The restaurants prefer not dealing with excessive food waste, I don’t overeat in the evening, I get a free lunch the next day, and there is no packaging waste.

You may think this is weird, but try it (just ask as you’re doing it). Restaurants would prefer you to enjoy your meal and come back than go out for food rarely.

As an alternative, if you know you are not going to eat it all and won’t take it home, ask for a smaller portion.

Reduce demand: Join the library

I owned a Kindle for my train ride to work, but unfortunately it was trod on. I had to decide whether to buy a new one, or go back to a more dependable book.

There are opposing arguments for ebooks, see here. In the end, I decided to avoid all the discussions of ewaste, so I joined the library instead.

There are varying carbon footprint assessments for paperback books. 2.71kg CO2 for a book sold in America. I read a book a week on average, so by sharing my books in a library rather than buying, I could be Continue reading

Being vegetarian will not necessarily help…

My top priority for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has always been my vegetarian diet, as meat is one of the biggest causes of global warming, and inequality across the world. If you were going to give anything up, in order of preference for GHG emissions….

  1. Beef consumption – estimated at 32 kg CO2e/kg of beef, if you are choosing random bits of beef from anywhere in the world, and a lot of our beef eaten in Britain comes from Argentina. British beef is still one of the worst things you can choose to eat, at around 12.14 kg CO2e/kg.
  2. Lamb consumption – estimated at 14.61 kg CO2e/kg for UK lamb, this is still producing methane.
  3. Pig products – 4.45 kg CO2e/kg, so lower carbon than the beef or lamb, and it is improved when they are battery farmed.
  4. Turkey – 3.76 kgCO2e/kg
  5. Chicken – 2.84 kg CO2e/kg, so lowest of most meat products.

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