Sustainability Tip #17

The importance of eating local produce: earth, economy, longevity

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables of Portugal

I saw this interesting poster hanging in a small neighborhood grocery store in Portugal. It reminds us of which fresh vegetables and fruit are in season. This chart, in turn, helps us with our meal planning. For multiple reasons, eating local seasonal produce is a more sustainable way to live. 

The obvious ones are the reduction of CO2 emissions by not transporting food to far distant locations (but as technology improves, future transpiration may be carbon-free and sustainable). Produce transported long distances are typically picked under-ripe and artificially ripened with ethylene gas. In contrast, local produce can plant ripen and develop as nature intended. When picked at peak ripeness, produce is fresher, tastier, and more nutritious. More people are likely to prefer whole natural food over junk food when produce is fresher and more flavorful. 

As you can see from the chart, eating what is in season encourages us to eat a wider variety of foods throughout the year. By consuming a wider variety of foods, we get a wider variety of nutrients. By buying locally, we help sustain our local economy too.

Furthermore, there are longevity benefits to eating what grows locally. During each season, plants receive seasonal energy from the sun and incorporate that energy into food. We humans also receive that very same energy from the sun through our eyes and skin. This energy synchronizes our internal clock.

Consuming food that mirrors our energy for that particulate time and space could provide energy that is in line with our bodies, creating a synergistic healthier dynamic flow down to the level of our DNA. 

How does this affect those who live in climates where winters are too cold to sustain plant production for consumption? 

Could this explain why all the Blue Zones are located in areas where produce can be grown all year round?  Does eating food in tune with our sun’s energy keep our bodies functioning optimally? Is it a coincidence that a higher concentration of centenarians live in climates with moderate winters? 

Besides weather, the Blue Zones share many other common factors that can be mimicked in colder climates. Expanding these factors may be necessary to compensate for the lack of fresh local produce. These others factors are a community of friends and family in a healthy environment, exercise, low stress, a sense of purpose, and eating until you are only 80% full. A variety of frozen plus transported whole foods is a necessary compromise to maintain much-needed nutrition during colder months.  

Ingredients of a “Personal Blue Zone”

So if you can’t have fresh local produce all year round, compensate by increasing the other sections of the pie chart to keep your circle at 100% complete.

The benefactor of living sustainability is you.


Sustainability Tip #16


Greenwashing is misleading or giving false information to consumers or investors about the negative environmental impact of a company’s products and operations. It’s a form of false advertising.

This blog aims to alert consumers who want to be sustainability responsible and prevent being duped by false claims. If you are paying extra for something, make sure the claims are legitimate.

I was greenwashed in 2021 by Home Depot. They claimed by 2018, they would have completed phasing-out of neonicotinoids (neonics) in their plants. Yet in 2021, they were still selling plants with neonics (which I regret purchasing). The state of California is partly to blame because they have not, like some other states, banned neonics.

Another company that Greenwashes is Ikea. Their plastic packaging, illegal logging, over dependence on particle board use, and the disposable quality of their furniture need to be improved.

The little triangle with the number in the center imprinted on plastic products (e.g. ♶) is greenwashing. Currently, 95% of all single-use plastic ends up in landfills and oceans. The plastics industry uses these tricks to make consumers feel better about buying plastic.

Other examples of Greenwashing companies are: Volkswagen, BP, Nestlé, Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Major Banks, Major Airlines, H&M;

The fishing Industry false claims of sustainability. According to Netflix documentary, Seaspiracy, the sustainability certifications used by the fishing industry are a farce.

Check out this comprehensive list of Greenwashing companies from Truth in Advertising.

On a positive note, five brands that are not Greenwashing: Patagonia, Ben and Anna, Lucy and Yak, Dr Bonner’s, Pela Case, Fjall Raven.

This list will grow with increased consumer demand, education, and legislation.

Knowledge is power.


Home Depot Announces Phase Out of Bee-Toxic Pesticides


Sustainability Tip #14

Time to clean up your in-box.

Composing, sending, receiving, and storing emails leaves a carbon footprint.

Even though email energy usage is 1/60th of paper mail, we send many more emails. If you take a long time to compose or read your emails or send pictures and videos, these all take additional energy.

In a year, for example, say you send and or receive 100 emails daily. This estimate includes spam and all those work emails you are cc’ed on. This level of emailing per day is equivalent to the CO2e* of driving a gasoline-powered 2020 Camry 260 miles or 1% of your total annual CO2e production.

According to The Good Planet, “nearly 107 billion spam emails were sent and received a day in 2019. If every person only deleted 10 of those emails, they could save 1,725,00 gigabytes of storage space and around 55.2 million kilowatts of power”. 

Checking my own situation, I have several different email addresses, each serving an assigned purpose. I had to separate incoming emails to various addresses. There were so many every day that, if not categorized, important emails were easily overlooked amongst the multitude of spam. I have an email address dedicated to personal emails from friends and family, another for personal business like health, banking, bills, etc., one for shopping and politics and finally, several for work.

Summing up my many years of undeleted emails, I am embarrassed to admit, that I have 100,000+ unread emails. It is impossible to keep up with my emails; literally out of control. Since learning about emails having a carbon footprint, I have been reviewing old emails and then deleting them if they no longer serve a purpose. If I delete 20 a day, it will take more than 13 years to clean up my in-boxes! Plus, more spam comes in every day. I feel like I will never catch up in my lifetime and, in the interim, will likely develop Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Lucky, I can offset my email carbon footprint by not consuming beef or dairy.

Each year, a single cow will belch about 220 pounds of methane. This amount is approximately 3.3 tons of CO2e, equivalent to driving 2020 Camry 7000 miles. In contrast, my 100,000 emails represent 70 miles of driving and hoping for less each day.

Additionally, we need to

  1. Produce electricity using sustainable technology
  2. Clean out our in-boxes by deleting read or unnecessary emails
  3. Unsubscribe and report and block spam emails
  4. Tech companies need to make #2 and 3 easier to complete
  5. Stop consuming cattle-related products
You’ve Got Mail To Delete
2020 Camry CO2e

*CO₂ equivalent (CO₂e) is a unit of measurement that is used to standardize the climate effects of various greenhouse gases.

Calculate the carbon dioxide equivalent quantity of an F gas › guidance › calculate-the-carbon-dio…

 How do you calculate CO2 equivalent?

kilogram of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilogram – Wikidata › wiki


Sustainability Tip # 9

Change your diet to a plant-based. You can do this slowly, one meal a day or one day a week (meatless Mondays or at least avoid sugar, red meat, and dairy). Or jump right in and change 100% to a plant-based diet overnight like I did. It is good for your health, the planet, and the animals.

Eating whole foods, unprocessed plant-based diet will reduce your body’s overall inflammation. This will help clear up your skin, reduce pain and improve your cognition, amongst other things.

I will be posted some favorite plant-based dishes that my friends and I enjoy eating. I encourage you to buy organic for the same reasons – fewer chemicals, which is better for you, the planet, and the farmers.

My next few posts will be family tested recipes. Bon Appetit. Bonne Santé.