Sustainability buzzwords

Have you ever found yourself liking a product more because it says that it's recyclable or biodegradable, without actually knowing what it means? Sometimes product descriptions get confusing because they are full of "green" buzzwords to attract you. Well, from now on we are going to get to know the different words, so that you can make the right choice when you pick up a new product.

Eco-friendly/environmentally-friendly

Eco/environmentally-friendly is a loose term for something that's not harmful to the environment. It is not a protected title. If you are curios about what is eco/environmentally friendly about the product, use your consumer power and ask the producer or retailer.

Organic

Organic is a term used for food and products that have been made without artificial chemicals such as pesticides. There are various control organs such as Debio, Ecocert, and USDA Organic that certify products, and you will find their certification stamp on the product. This is a protected title.

Sustainable

Sustainability has been defined many different ways by different people. Something is said to be sustainable if it can continue over a period of time, causing little or no damage to the environment (1).Sustainable development was defined by Norway's first female prime minister Gro Harlem Brundtland as "(...) development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs"(2).

Biodegradable

If something is biodegradable, it can be degraded by microorganisms such as fungi and bacteria after a certain amount of years. The object will be entirely or partially converted to water, carbon dioxide, methane, energy, and new biomass (3). Some types of plastics can biodegrade, but what may come as a surprise is that plastic that is marked as biodegradable (cups, take away containers, bags) may only degrade when they are exposed to over 50 degrees for a long period of time (!). This will definitely not happen if it ends up in the ocean (4).

"Some types of plastics can biodegrade, but what may come as a surprise is that plastic that is marked as biodegradable (cups, take away containers, bags) may only degrade when they are exposed to over 50 degrees for a long period of time (!). This will definitely not happen if it ends up in the ocean."

Compostable

Compostable products are those that either will break down in a home compost or in an industrial compost system. These products are therefore also biodegradable, but the difference is that the compostable contain valuable nutrients for the soil - such as food waste. In Norway, the compost turns into valuable biofuel for the garbage trucks and the Ruter buses, so don't forget to compost.

Recyclable

Products that are recyclable can be turned into something new.

Vegan

Vegan refers to either a person who does not eat or use any animal products or a product/food that does not contain animal products. AKA a no-go to leather, fur, honey, milk, meat, or other things that belong to the animal kingdom.

Vegetarian

A person is vegetarian if they don't eat meat or fish. Vegetarians usually do eat eggs and other dairy products.Leave a comment if there are more definitions that should be included!

The #1 environmental solution isn't what you think

Who saves the world? Plant based, non food-wasting, educated girls 

Can we actually combat climate change at this point, and how do the things we do in our daily lives even matter? Here is the most up to date, science based list of actions that really give a bang for the buck.A group of scientists, geologists, engineers, biologists, economists, architects, NGOs, activists, entrepreneurs and scholars already asked this exact question, and together they wrote the amazing book "The Drawdown - The most comprehensive plan ever proposed to reverse global warming", edited by Paul Hawken. The book maps, measures, and describes the 100 most impactful solutions to global warming. There are reasons to get excited, because half of the top 20 solutions involve food on our plates and educating girls.The goal of the research behind the book is to determine if we can reverse the buildup of atmospheric carbon within thirty years. (Breakdown: atmospheric carbon is the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, which has increased over the past years due to burning of fossile fuels like coal, oil and natural gas. When greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide (CO2) go into the atmosphere they act as the glass in a greenhouse, trapping heat below the atmosphere. Scientists believe that this contributes to global warming (1)).The Drawdown list of climate change solutions consists of actions recommended to take regardless, since they benefit communities and economies. It is ranked according to total atmospheric CO2-eq reduction (breakdown: when calculating the warming effect of a specific gas, it is measured in CO2 equivalents, called CO2-eq, which is a unit describing the effect a given amount of CO2 has on global warming for a fixed period of time), net cost and savings (billions US$).We want to highlight the Drawdown-inspired actions that you can do from the comfort of your own home!

#1. Materials refrigerant management

Okay, what?!This might be new to many, but refrigerators and air conditioners contain something called chemical refrigerants, which basically absorbs and releases heat to enable chilling. There are different types of chemical refrigerants, where the most dangerous one for the environment are the CFCs and the HCFCs (ozone depleting chemicals). However, due to the 1987 Montreal Protocol, they have been gradually phased out (2). Today, the most common refrigerant is HFC, which is said to be better than its predecessors, but harms the environment by its global warming effect. It has 1,000-9,000 times greater capacity to warm the atmosphere than CO2, and is said to add a potentially disastrous 0.5 C to global temperatures if it's not phased out (3).So, whats the tip here? Check your old appliances for which refrigerants they are using, and when buying a fridge, freezer or air conditioner find out if they contain CFCs, HFC or HCFCs. Do not look for buying old, used appliances, as they definitely do more harm than good. Modern producers such as Miele, Siemens, Bosch etc. only make freezers and fridges that are CFC and HCF free (4). A modern, more eco-friendly alternative to the substances mentioned above is hydrocarbons (HC) (5).In short: Bad guys = CFC/HCHC/HCF. Good guy = HC.

#3. Reduce food waste 

As we have written about before, a third of the food produced never makes it to your plate. Greenhouse gases are released at each step of the production, causing food waste to be responsible for about 8% of global emissions (6). The sad thing about food waste is that in higher income countries the reasons for the waste are mostly superficial. We are served too much food, and we reject food based on its color, shape or bumps and bruises.

#4. Eating a plant-based diet 

Starting with your next meal you can already make a difference and transitioning to a plant based diet may be the most effective way an individual can stop climate change. Eating a plant based is easy and delicious, and you don't have to become a hard core vegan or vegetarian to reduce your meat consumption. Eating meat is the most expensive diet for the planet, and as the Drawdown points out, "if cattle were their own nation, they would be the world's third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases" (7). Plant based diets also tend to be healthier and reduces the risks of chronic disease. The study highlights:

Data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations shows that if 50 percent of the world’s population restricts their diet to a healthy 2,500 calories per day and reduces meat consumption overall, we estimate at least 26.7 giga tons of emissions could be avoided from dietary change alone. If avoided deforestation from land use change is included, an additional 39.3 giga tons of emissions could be avoided, making healthy, plant-rich diets one of the most impactful solutions at a total of 66 giga tons reduced (8).

Not only does the study find that emissions could be reduced by as much as 70 percent with a vegan diet, but $1 trillion in annual health-care costs and lost productivity would be saved....And what about the girls?

The effect of #6 and #7 combined tell us that educating girls is the number one most important measure. Better educated girls can have less children, which prevents over-population and enables more well informed financial and dietary choices.

Stay tuned for a new post on this topic.

Buckwheat bowl with avocado, cherry tomatoes and eggplant

Okay, maybe it's not so pretty, but haven't we all learned not to judge by the looks? This dish is really creamy with a risotto-like texture and rich taste. It's both a perfect main for vegans or vegetarians and great as a side dish. We have written about the great benefits of buckwheat before, and it's absolutely a great alternative to refined rice or pasta. It is naturally gluten-free (it actually has nothing to do with wheat, but it is a type of nut) and very friendly for the tummy :-) Buckwheat can be combined with so many things, such as sweet berries and dates in a porridge, or savory flavors such as avocado, mushrooms, and aubergine.This dinner was enjoyed on the sailboat after visiting a local, organic store where they had the best-tasting basil we have had in a long time! It really made a huge difference to the whole meal.Warm buckwheat bowl (2 people)

  • 1 eggplant
  • 1 cup buckwheat
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 handful fresh basil (preferably organic)
  • 1 tbs paprika spice
  • 1 pinch salt and pepper
  • coconut oil

Boil the buckwheat in water with a pinch of sea salt or Himalaya salt (remember to rinse it well before). Add some chopped basil, salt, pepper and paprika to the water. Let it boil until it becomes soft, you can easily taste if it's done or not. It takes about 10-20 minutes. Slice the aubergine into small bites and add them to a saucepan together with the coconut oil. Let it cook until it gets soft (it might take some time). Spice it up with salt, pepper, and paprika. Meanwhile, chop up the avocado and tomatoes. Add everything to a bowl, and voila! A really nourishing meal which will satisfy everyone.

White bean salad and green juice - to go

If you find yourself in the situation of going on a hike, to the beach, in the woods, for a picnic or to work without knowing what to bring for lunch, we have a very simple suggestion for a quick bite. This salad is mixed together in 5 minutes and contains healthy proteins in the form of white beans, together with fresh spinach, arugula, avocado, cherry tomatoes and cucumber.White bean salad (2 portions):

  • 2 packs of white beans (we used the ones from Go Green, which are also organic)
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 pack of cherry tomatoes
  • A mix of fresh greens - arugula (ruccola) and spinach
  • Cucumber (organic)
  • Tahini
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Rinse and drain the white beans. Slice up the rest og the veggies. Mix together and drizzle with a mixture of 1 tablespoon tahini and 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil plus a pinch of salt and pepper.Green juice (2 portions):

  • 4 stalks of cellery
  • 1 apple
  • 1 orange/grapegruit (depends on the sweetness you prefer)
  • Spinach
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 inch of fresh gingner

Enjoy your day!

Simple quinoa summer bowl

This light, tasty bowl of goodness is just a 10 minute prep away, and is really easy to make. All you need is quinoa, broccoli, avocado, pine nuts (optional), cherry tomatoes, good olive oil and some herbs. It's the perfect dish to just throw together if you are in a rush, for example in between work and work out in the middle of the week.Simple quinoa summer bowl (2 portions):

  • 1 avocado
  • 1 dl quinoa
  • 1/4 broccoli
  • 10 cherry tomatoes
  • Pine nuts (optional)
  • Fresh basil (preferably organic)
  • Salt, pepper and sweet paprika spice

Cook the quinoa with the double amount of water until it's boiling. Then, let it simmer until all the water is absorbed. Spice up the taste with a squeeze of lemon, fresh basil and spices. While it's simmering, cut the broccoli in small pieces and wok it until it's nice and tender. Slice the avocado and tomatoes. Lightly wok the pine nuts in a pan (no oil needed) until they get a nice tan. Bring it all together in a delicious dish and serve it with homemade guacamole. Celebrate that the summer has arrived with light, fresh, easy, yummy food!

Falafelsnacks

SONY DSCFalafel er en skikkelig lur middagsrett som opprinnelig kommer fra Midt-Østen. Det tar i underkant av ti minutter å lage, og ettersom de er laget av kikterter og spinat er de proppet med proteiner, og med de forskjellige krydderene er de fulle av smak. De kan spises som de med en deilig salat til. Andre forslag er å rulle dem inn i en tacolefse og spises som en wrap. Perfekt enkel og sunn mandags-middag, som blir like ypperlig lunsj dagen derpå.Falafel (ca 12 mellomstore - 2 porsjoner)

  • 2 bokser kikerter (ca 500 g)
  • 2 ss bokhvetemel (eller lignende)
  • 1 egg eller 1 ss no-egg
  • 1 håndfull spinat
  • 1 teskje gurkemeie
  • 1 teskje paprikakrydder
  • 1 teskje spisskummen
  • Smak til med salt og pepper (gjerne himalayasalt)
  • Kokosolje til steking

Hell av vannet på kikertene dersom du bruker de på boks, og skyll dem godt i en sil. Ha alle ingrediensene i en food prosessor eller bland med stavmikser. Stek i kokosolje på middels varme så de blir sprø og deilige utenpå, men også varme inni. Server de gjerne med hjemmelaget guacamole, en enkel salat og granateple for en ekstra knasende sprø smak. Håper det smaker!Hvordan skjære granateplet?Det kan være en liten utfordring i seg selv å skjære opp et granateple uten at det skal ende med et rødt kjøkken. Det lureste er å først skjære av topplokket forsiktig, slik at det blir seende ut slik som bildet under. Deretter skjærer du langs de hvite "veggene" på langs med granateplet. Til slutt kan man brette ut hver enkelt lille båt uten noe søl!SAMSUNG CSCSAMSUNG CSCEnkel delikat salat

  • 1 avokado
  • 2 tomater (økologiske)
  • Salat (økologisk - dette er noe av det som er mest sprøytet)
  • Granateple
  • Soltørkede tomater
  • Extra virgin olivenolje
  • Salt og pepper

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