All NYC Public Schools To Serve Vegan Lunch Options

Lately, the New York public school system has been on a roll with its feeding programs. Since its city council decided to offer free cafeteria lunches, there are now also options for vegans.

The upcoming vegan food options range from Mexicali Chili to Lentil Stew, to Zesty BBQ Crunchy Tofu — all which sounds pretty like a big improvement from conventional school lunches which are often highly processed meats or fried food.

Behind the movement is the Coalition for Health School Food, which has also helped three NYC schools go completely vegetarian. The vegan choices will allow food autonomy to children as well as lower their carbon footprint. While many parents have expressed concern over vegan diets, research can put their minds at ease.

The British Dietetic Association (BDA) have recently confirmed that “they believe a well-planned vegan diet ‘supports healthy living in people of all ages’ including ‘during pregnancy and breastfeeding.’”

Of course, students will be given the freedom to choose their own meals. Though a typical second-grader may be more privy to chicken nuggets, encouraging a side of vegetables may not be too difficult.

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London Opens First Waste-Free Shop

In the past few months alone, the zero-waste community has grown exponentially. Environmental enthusiasts are ever going as far as hosting sustainable wedding receptions. Waste-free shops are manifesting across all seven continents, including this charming boutique in London.

“I created a shop that I wish existed. I wanted to cut packaging, I wanted to cut my footprint, and found it very difficult as supermarkets pack everything.” [said shop owner Ingrid Caldironi]

The shop, dubbed Bulk Market, boasts a wide range of organic products. Home essentials, including fresh produce, chocolates, and hair products, rest comfortably on its shelves. Caldironi’s ultimate goal is to prevent excessive buying and packaging waste.

“Why can’t we shop with smaller exact portions – 1-2 carrots, 1-2 eggs; why big packets with the environmental waste that goes with it?”

As an avid lover of omelettes, I’m not entirely sure 2 eggs would get the job done. However, the initiative is more than commendable, especially for environmental aficionados on a budget.

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Be King Of The Jungle: Easy Ways To Help Wildlife

While it’s up to high-profile activists like Leo to rehabilitate the world’s most endangered species, we, too can be wildlife warriors. Ordinary citizens have been doing what they can to keep animal populations afloat. Some have gone as far as fending off wildfires for an entire sanctuary — and despite how heroic it may sound, isn’t always necessary in becoming a true environmentalist. In fact, there are many different and simple ways to help wildlife.

Contrary to popular belief, being involved in animal conservation doesn’t always entail direct contact. You can start you journey (and continue it) within the comfort of your home. A great way to set the scene is to reduce your carbon footprint. This can be as simple as recycling, researching, and making eco-friendly choices. Carbon emissions are unforgiving when it comes to marine life in particular. Slowing the pace of climate change will do wonders for all species.

If you are more of a people person but still have a soft spot for nature’s greatest, share your knowledge. Spread awareness. Use your own strengths to get the word out. If you are an illustrator, infographics are popular on social media. Writing about the state of our wildlife is also important. Anything that will paint a clear picture of the current goings-on may also encourage others to participate. For go-getters, visit an animal preserve. Learning more about how certain species function may help you understand how to approach them.

Believe it or not, your shopping habits can also make a difference. Faux fur may be all the craze, but will often encourage many to purchase real fur. To set an example, buy responsibly. Ivory keychains may look charming, but are never worth the suffering an elephant goes through. In fact, elephant poaching has surpassed its limits in that some calves are being born without tusks. Refraining from purchasing leather may not revive the animal it was taken from, but it will allow the industry to dwindle in popularity. After all, if nobody is buying your product, why go through the trouble of making it?

Many wildlife conservation groups are big fans of hefty donations. But pledging your time is also just as valuable. If you have a weekend to spare, volunteer. There are a profusion of non-profit organizations that will almost always accommodate a number of volunteers. Figure out where your skills will be most useful. Are you looking for a hands-on experience caring for injured or abandoned animals? Perhaps you are also keen on hosting fundraisers. Whatever the case, there will likely be a place for you.

If you are eager to get up close and personal, you can choose to adopt an animal. Of course, these adoptions are symbolic — a Bengal tiger won’t be curling up on your sofa. However, you’d be remotely caring for an animal you can truly develop a bond with by learning about it and providing for it.

Many interested in keeping our wildlife safe often believe that the only way to do so is to walk right into the fire. But most of the time, that isn’t the case. Doing what you can wherever in the world you are is always enough. Trust me — like in a zoo, bears, lions, and monkeys enjoy admiring you from a distance.

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Carbon Calculator Helps Reduce Harmful Footprints

The rise of eco-friendly household devices is allowing people to become less wasteful within the comfort of their home. You can host a guilt-free barbecue with a biodegradable grill. You can even sustain a high-tech home garden. Some of our actions, however, aren’t always considerate towards the environment. This carbon calculator by Conservation International allows you to adjust every aspect of your lifestyle for the benefit of the planet.

Using [the device], you can calculate your carbon footprint based on a number of personal behaviors and find how much or how little carbon you are producing – and how you make that number smaller and, therefore, better for the planet.

Don’t let the extent of climate change fool you — our individual contributions are capable of making a difference. In fact, the carbon calculator suggests that simply reducing the consumption of animal-based products can be highly impactful. It works using a simple mechanism.

Once you calculate your carbon footprint and find your offset option, the tool also gives you a comparison of your footprint to the averages by country and quick tips on how to decrease the number, for example, related to your fuel economy, clothing choices, and thermostat settings.

Nowadays, it seems we are more equipped to maintain our planet than ever. We are tackling challenges head-on, one app at a time.

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Lego Is Going Eco-Conscious With Bio-Plastics

Like most kids, I grew up hoarding various sets of Lego. While they may seem indestructible, surviving generations worth  of hand-me-down rituals, they don’t actually last forever. I don’t mean this in the Lego-is-no-longer-cool sense (because kids can now use toys to program). A lot of Lego gets tossed and it’s pretty environmentally damaging. But not to worry — Lego is taking action by revamping their materials into bio-plastics.

Lego announced it would invest the equivalent of $155 million into finding a non-oil, smaller-footprint source for the various plastic they need to make all those tires, trees, and movie stars.

This is a big move for Lego, considering making and disposing of them is quite negatively impactful. For scale, Lego produces 19 billion pieces a year, but it is also looking for ways to offset waste.

The Lego company has also been reducing its carbon footprint through other means as well, including investing in an offshore wind farm. In fact, it recently met a 100% renewable energy milestone.

Lego’s ultimate goal is to work with at least 20 plastic alternatives by 2030. Until then, we’ll be off building castles and spaceships.

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