21 Actions For 2021

Sustainable living is important because it ensures future generations a habitable world they can enjoy. But what does it mean to live sustainably and what exactly are we trying to accomplish? 

A sustainable lifestyle attempts to reduce our impact on the environment by altering our methods of transportation, energy consumption, and diet to reduce our emissions; reducing the amount of waste we produce and throw away to conserve resources; and taking other actions to enhance and protect our remaining natural areas to preserve wildlife habitat and biodiversity.

Every little change we make as individuals adds up to big changes for the world. And these big changes are going to impact how future generations live here.

That’s why we have created a list of 21 Actions for 2021. These include steps we can all take in our individual lives as well as throughout our community that put us on a path to sustainable living.

Week 10 Recap: Reduce Food Waste

As part of this week’s discussion on reducing food waste, we shared resources, tips, and tricks that you can try at home. Head over to these two articles we posted if you haven’t seen them already!

Many Small Actions Can Lead to Big Changes

Start with your purchasing and buy only what you need and will realistically use. Before you even head to the store, shop your refrigerator and pantry first and use what you already have. Along with Meatless Monday, how about designating a “No Food Waste Friday…or Tuesday or Wednesday” or any day of the week to use up leftovers and other food you already have that is at risk of spoiling before you would otherwise use it.

Read this article from Foodprint.org to learn 15 small actions you can take to reduce food waste that can lead to big changes.

Rescue Imperfect Foods

Project Drawdown, an international team of scientists evaluating climate solutions, ranked Reduced Food Waste as the #3 solution. In low-income countries, the wastage is primarily due to infrastructure, but in high-income countries a lot of food is rejected for aesthetic reasons or is wasted because we simply buy too much. Ranked with countries, food waste would be the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the U.S. and China. You can help reduce food waste by being willing to buy “ugly” or imperfect produce. Decide not to overlook a piece of produce just because it has a small blemish. Use foods that are a little past their prime in soups, casseroles or smoothies. Vendors at the Blacksburg Farmers Market sometimes sell overripe peaches or imperfect apples at a discount. Stock up and preserve these items to enjoy when they’re out of season.

Image credit: The solutions to stop climate change exist today – Paul Hawken, Project Drawdown

Learn More About Food Labels

One of the issues identified by Project Drawdown as leading to unnecessary wasted food is a lack of consistency and understanding of food labels, leading to perfectly good food being thrown out. A solution they recommended is to recognize that a “best by” date is just that: “best by” that date and does not mean the food is spoiled or expired. Strive not to throw away food that is still safe to eat by paying attention to the condition of the food rather than a date printed on the packaging that may not be an indication of whether the food is still good.

And here’s another great animated short from the FDA on Understanding Date Labels on Food Packages

Don’t Waste. Share!

As you’re tackling your own habits to reduce wasted food in your household, you can also be more proactive to help local organizations like Share the Spare and the NRV Glean Team that are working to take surplus food that might otherwise go to waste and get it to people who are food insecure. Share the Spare will be back at the Blacksburg Farmers Market on Saturday ready to accept donations of surplus from your garden or food you purchase from farmers market vendors to help those less fortunate. We are excited to be partnering with Share the Spare and the YMCA at Virginia Tech to give away FREE (gently used but cleaned) reusable shopping bags.

Photo by adrianna geo on Unsplash

Get Involved

Virginia Tech students and staff are working to reduce wasted food from campus dining halls through the Campus Kitchen (CKVT), which works to increase food access and to reduce food waste by redirecting unserved food from on-campus dining centers to hunger relief agencies in the New River Valley. Since 2015, CKVT has diverted 239,000 pounds (and counting!) of quality, unserved food from campus to community. This article explains the work of CKVT from a student perspective and offers tips to reduce wasted food, starting with “Don’t put too much on your plate.” CKVT is always looking for student leaders, so if you’re interested in being part of the movement, contact Kas at kasc@vt.edu.

Find More Ways to Get Involved in Our Community:

Coming Up…

Week 11 starts tomorrow! Join us as we discuss ways to Cut Water Use and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook to see daily updates.

Read More
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

Done reading the most recent post on 21 Actions for 2021? Check out our archive of actions to continue learning and taking action!

Week 11 Recap: Cut Water Use

We are fortunate in our area to have access to abundant, clean water for household uses, agriculture and recreation, but that doesn’t mean we should …
Read More

Week 11: Cut Water Use

The Earth might seem like it has abundant water, but in fact less than 1 percent is available for human use. The rest is either …
Read More

Week 10: Reduce Food Waste

The FDA estimates that 30-40% of our food supply is wasted and the EPA estimates that in 2018 about 68% of this wasted food (that’s …
Read More

Week 9 Recap: Eat More Sustainably

Throughout the week we shared tips from Brenda Springer, Sustainable Blacksburg’s Treasurer and a member of the Blacksburg Farmers Market Board of Directors. Meatless Monday Go Meatless …
Read More

Week 9: Eat More Sustainably

While shopping for groceries, eating sustainably can often be one of the last things we think about. Our focus may be on getting the most …
Read More

Week 8 Recap: Buy Smarter

Since consumption is at the root of our environmental issues, our choices can make a difference. When we’re talking about “buying smarter,” we mean looking …
Read More

Week 8: Buy Smarter

When we initially hear the term “Buy Smarter” our minds tend to think about buying good quality products (at least mine does) but that is …
Read More

Resources for Sustainable Transportation

By Cat Woodson Sustainable Transportation Resources Carshare/pool RIDE Solutions A Transportation Demand Management (TDM) Agency dedicated to expanding the efficiency and life of the roadway network and reducing the …
Read More

Week 6: Sustainable Gift Giving

We all love to give and receive gifts, especially when they are presented to us in shiny paper and sparkly ribbon, but gift-giving creates millions …
Read More

Week 5: Spend Time Outdoors

Studies have shown over and over the immense benefits of spending time outdoors – both for us and also for the earth. However, according to …
Read More

Week 4 Recap: Volunteer

This week we highlighted many different ways you can volunteer around Blacksburg – activities that help the earth as well as activities that help each …
Read More

Week 4: Volunteer

This is a special week for us and for the Earth. Earth Day is this Thursday (April 22nd) and there are a lot of activities …
Read More

Native Tree Giveaway!

Plant SWVA Natives and Sustainable Blacksburg are partnering to distribute native oak and red bud trees in the New River Valley this spring. Both trees …
Read More

Week 3: Native Plants

We touched upon this briefly last week but Adding Native Plants to Your Landscape is such an important topic we want to dedicate week 3 …
Read More

Week 2: Lawn & Garden

Use Sustainable Practices in Your Lawn or Garden Photo by CDC on Unsplash It’s that time of year where we awake from our winter hibernation and head outside to start …
Read More

Week 1: Support Local Food Sources

Support Local Food Sources Photo by Katie Jowett on Unsplash We’re kicking off our 21 Actions for 2021 with Supporting Local Food Sources. One of the {many} awesome things about …
Read More
%d bloggers like this: