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The clouds began moving across the sky as old 2022 gave way to baby 2023. They grew steadily, gradually turning into giant jagged-edge rain clouds. The downpour was swift, bringing new life to small streams, and boosting the water level in the canals, while the lakes danced in a way that hadn’t been seen for so long. The early morning sun broke through the last of the clouds, reflecting on a land that was washed and ready to start a new year.
Annie took it all in from the kitchen window. She looked at LJ as he approached. “I’m predicting an epic 2023.”
“Well, we are off to a good start, that’s for sure,” he said, joining her and handing her a coffee mug.
She tasted its contents and looked at him. “This is interesting. What is it?”
“It’s a coffee alternative. Maybe we should try it since it is made from sustainable ingredients.”
“A coffee alternative?”
LJ nodded, “growing coffee beans is proving to be more and more challenging, mainly because of increasing consumer demand, which is placing an enormous burden on our planet’s health.
Coffee production is altering rainforest ecosystems, negatively affecting plant and animal species. Worldwide, mono-crop coffee production is leading to deforestation, soil erosion, and water pollution.–A Bitter Brew
The coffee alternative you are drinking is made without coffee beans. Over the past couple of years, new companies have been springing up that make bean-less coffee that looks, tastes, and smells like coffee but has a considerably smaller carbon footprint than current coffee farms.”
“It will be interesting to see how quickly bean-less coffee gains traction, especially if it’s made sustainably. What is sustainable and dramatically increasing in popularity are alcohol-free drinks. There’s anecdotal testimony that during the pandemic, many people were over-consuming alcohol, and now the interest in sober-curious is a personal course correction.”
“Hmm,” said LJ. I agree. Recent surveys show the shift is primarily due to more people prioritizing their health but not wanting to stop socializing. We’ve seen this amongst our friends, and I am glad places like Ruby’s promote sober-free happy hours. She says the no alcohol cocktail business is steadily increasing.”
“Cultivated meat, aka cultured meat, is another industry poised to take off for many reasons, one of which is its sustainability. The demand for beef and other meats continues to grow in some parts of the world, but the current method for raising animals for human consumption is detrimentally impacting the earth.
The livestock sector is already responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). This is more than all emissions from ships, planes, trucks, cars, and all other transport.”–Our Sustainable Future.
Although there is evidence that many are moving away from eating meat, some have tried veganism, which didn’t suit them. That meat provides more protein than a plant-based diet might have something to do with people trying veganism and then reverting. Cultivated meat as an environmentally sustainable alternative to animals raised for meat might not be an entirely faultless solution yet, but it shows promise. Singapore became the first country to make it available to the public this year,” Annie said.
“What do you think about Upcycled Foods?’ asked LJ.
“Do you mean like the gumbo we had at Ruby’s?” said Annie. “The stock was made using fish heads that would have otherwise been thrown away.”
“Upcycled food is food made from ingredients that otherwise would be wasted by human consumption, and are procured and produced using standard supply chains, and make a positive effect on our environment.“–Upcycled Food.
“Yes. Upcycling food is a practice that has been around for thousands of years. When it became easier to throw food away, upcycling fell out of favor. Now, as consumers are aware of its benefits, especially how environmentally friendly it is, and that food like the residue of milled wheat (wheat middling) can be added to cereals to boost their mineral and vitamin content, it makes upcycling practical and beneficial.”
Annie smiled at LJ, “While we’re on the subject of upcycling, kelp me to kelp, you add seaweed to your diet.”
“I knew we were going to get around to sea vegetables. I like nori seaweed used in sushi, but I’m not familiar with it otherwise. Although I recognize it is an upcycled food too since it is used as an ingredient including to flavor foods and as a thickener,” said LJ.
“Correct. Seaweed is growing in popularity as the millennials are the largest group enjoying its taste and seeing it as a sustainable, environmentally friendly food. It can be grown without fresh water or fertilizers and in the oceans, not on land. It’s also an excellent low-cal source of vitamins and minerals, including iodine and B12.” Annie continued, “the number of permits for kelp farms continues to grow as demand increases.”
“The market for plant-based also continues to increase.
“Choose a plant-based diet. Compared to diets rich in animal products, plant-based is far more sustainable because it uses significantly fewer natural resources and puts far less pressure on the environment.”- What’s Driving the Plant-Based Boom?
Plant-based eating means fewer natural resources are used, and global warming slows,” replied LJ. “I prefer a plant-based diet. We do pretty well with our garden. Eating from it provides many health benefits for us, our community, and the earth.”
Annie nodded. “I agree. What we’re talking about is a sustainable lifestyle. That means conserving resources, reducing pollution, and improving the public’s health and economic well-being. Sustainability is going mainstream in 2023. Years of increasing extreme weather events that have destroyed communities and decimated crops and freshwater sources worldwide are pointing to the need to take collective action to halt global warming and save our planet. By 2050, the world population is estimated to reach 9 billion. For that many people to live on earth, we must introduce sustainable practices now that provide economic, environmental, and social equity. We can each start now by:
Annie and LJ are a fictional couple. Their storyline promotes healthy eating and earth-friendly practices.
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