Food Waste: Healthy Ways to Help Our Planet

Food Waste: A Pressing Concern 

by Tigress 

When you think about conserving energy you usually just think to turn off your lights or drive your car less, don’t you? Well, there are a lot more waste factors that have been contributing huge amounts to the increase of global climate change. One of those things is wasted food. It’s not just the food itself, either: by wasting the food you are wasting the energy that went into making it. Consider that 30% of the world’s available energy goes into making food, and a lot of it is lost or wasted. This has become a problem due to the increasing demand for food products worldwide which is increasing the amount of food being splurged (using too much too quickly).

Out of all the food produced in a year, ⅓ of it is either thrown away, lost, or doesn’t even get transported to a store. According to WWF this is approximately 1.3 billion tons of food–and that’s per year. This is enough to feed millions of people deprived of proper amounts of food. Of course, that is not the only problem with food waste. The food left rotting away in landfills produces massive amounts of methane, or greenhouse gas emissions. These toxic gasses (along with others) are dangerous to the health of the planet, especially if they keep increasing. These chemicals are harmful to not only the environment but the atmosphere as well. When they damage the atmosphere it allows the invisible energy that comes from the sun––ultraviolet light, or UV rays––to heat up the planet, (basically the invisible energy that comes from the sun to keep us warm comes down from the sun and heats up the planet.)

The Food Production System 

The process people go through to make meat produces the biggest greenhouse gas emissions. In order to raise the animals that are to be used for meat it is necessary to clear away large patches of land by cutting down forests of trees. This increases the carbon dioxide levels in that area. Furthermore, the cattle and other animals they raise leave behind large amounts of methane and nitrous oxide (other forms of greenhouse gasses) that is produced from their waste and bowel functions!

illustration by Callisto 

     The same problems arise in the production of dairy products and certain oils which are in very high demand. On a side note, big industries like this don’t usually treat their animals well, and they live in confined living conditions until they are ready to be slaughtered for their meat.

It is not just animal products that use up a large energy footprint, but vegetables and fruit as well, however not as large. The space needed to grow large crops also requires lots of space which results in more forest clearing and increases carbon dioxide. In addition to that, the fertilizers and chemicals sprayed on the crops are high in nitrous oxide, which is harmful to not only the environment, but to the food as well. (Who wants to eat chemical food? Bleh!)

Graph of Greenhouse Emissions Produced From Food

Image Credit: United Nations: Climate action

Why This Waste is Not a Sustainable or Renewable Resource 

While it’s true that burning waste is a form of fuel and is also a way to get rid of the waste, it is not sustainable. This is because it produces a toxic gas which is hazardous to the health of nearby ecosystems. Not only that, but the CO2 emissions coming from wasted food are so large they are contributing to the overall effect of global warming, and if they keep increasing at their current rate (which would be up to 30% more due to predicted demand) then the earth’s temperatures could go up by 1.5% Fahrenheit in the years between 2030 and 2050.

From a business perspective, the amount of money that goes into food production as well is also unsustainable. The money is wasted along with the food and the energy, which is just as destructive to the economy (the amount of money our country has) as it is to the environment.

Ways You Can Help Food Waste and Food Waste Energy

  • Eat a Healthy and Sustainable Diet: Since animal products use the most energy, to help reduce your energy footprint you can eat a more plant, fruit and nut based diet. Still eating meat is fine, just in a way that is sustainable. You could even try eating more plant proteins rather than the meat itself to get the nutrition you need.
  • Attempt to Cut Down Your Food Waste: Instead of throwing out food at the first sign of spoiling you can find ways of reusing it. You can use softer fruit in things like smoothies and jams and you can use old leaves (vegetables) in things like soup stocks.
  • Be Conservative With the Food You Have: Try to use what you have at home before you go and get more food from the store. Conserve your food and eat your leftovers first so less goes bad since you didn’t eat it in time, requiring it to be thrown away.
  • Buy Local Products: Buying local food products can reduce the energy that is used in transportation and other methods used to produce out of season foods. Have you ever wondered how you could have strawberries in winter when it’s too cold to grow them? Well, it’s because those strawberries were grown and transported from a place where it’s warm enough! A lot more energy goes into out of season foods. Buying organic is also healthy because the food does not have dangerous pesticides and other chemicals sprayed on it. The process of organic farming also leaves a smaller carbon footprint because there are no unnatural fertilizers full of nitrous oxide.
  • Grow Your Own Food: Like buying local food, growing your own will also reduce your energy usage because you are not relying on the big industries that use all that energy.
  • If You Can, Donate to Charities Who Need Food: Part of the problem with wasting food is that the food that is wasted could have been used to feed those in need. So if we can find ways to use the large amounts of food we have and feed even more people, it can help reduce the food waste.

Wasted Energy in General 

Of course, it isn’t just food waste that is hurting the planet, there are many other resources that are wasted, such as oil, electricity, and waste. If we can be conservative in the use of all things, then energy can be reduced. But these types of goals only work if enough people are involved and want to make a difference. There is no Planet B for us to run off to after we have wasted all our planet’s resources, and it is not a sustainable way to live in general. If we are always relying on the big industries that use unsustainable methods to create their products then the problems at hand won’t get any better. If things are to change, the consumers (the people who use products – like us!) and the producers (the people who make them) have to be involved.

Works Cited: 

“Fight Climate Change by Reducing Food Waste.”  WWF.  Accessed 

     Dec 20, 2022.'t,more%20potent%20than%20carbon%20dioxide.

“Food and Climate Change: Healthy Diets for a Healthier Planet.”  United 

     Nations: Climate Action.  Accessed Dec 20, 2022.

Muznik, Sara.  “9 reasons why we better move away from waste-to-energy, and      embrace zero waste instead.”  Zero Waste Europe.  Published 

     Feb 27, 2018.  Accessed Dec 20, 2022.,without%20delivering%20what%20it%20promised.

“The Energy Loss.”  Save Food: Help the Planet.  Accessed Dec 

     20, 2022.

Tigress is a regular contributor to One Girl One Planet.

Evidence in The Ice

Have you ever found yourself wondering: “Maybe we didn’t cause Global Warming? Maybe it was just nature?”

If so, I don’t blame you. There’s tons of evidence of global climate change in the past, before we humans came on the scene and started using fossil fuels. 

For example, there have been changes in global temperature due to volcanic activity and other natural phenomena.

Here is a graph that shows this fact.

Image credit, NASA. (Data from ice-core samples in Antarctica.)


So, what makes scientists think that the present climate crisis is any different? 

The difference in this period of climate change isn’t just 1) how abrupt it is, or even 2) the fact that it started at the beginning of the industrial revolution, when people started burning fossil fuels.  (Although both these facts are proven, too).

What separates this period of climate change from natural ones in the past can be found in the coldest place on earth..

If you still doubt that humans are causing global warming, go to Antarctica. There, in a remote outpost, you will find scientists working in one of the harshest environments on earth. Why are they there? They are drilling into the ice. And not for oil—no! For… more ice.

You see, when snow falls in places as cold as the Arctic and Antarctic, it doesn’t melt. It just builds up, and gets heavier and heavier, until its own weight weighs it down so much that it compresses into ice.  Since snow is made up of 90% air (which is why it’s light and fluffy when it falls), this compression pushes the air out. But some of it stays inside the ice as little air bubbles. 

So as you can imagine, if the snow fell, say, two thousand years ago, never melted, and instead compressed into ice, wouldn’t some of the air bubbles trapped inside also be from ten thousand years ago? Yes!  And these are little samples of the air from that long-ago time.

The scientists in Antarctica are studying these air bubbles for that reason. They want to study the air from long ago. The air around the world is mostly the same at the same time, so if the air in Antarctica was composed of certain things, probably the air of the whole world at the time was composed of the same things—-giving the scientists the longest and best record they can get of what the climate was like throughout history.

So, scientists can get the ice and study it to find out, for example, how much carbon dioxide was in the atmosphere at a certain time. 


Now, here’s another thing I need to tell you: You know plants breathe in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen, right? Well…Plants are picky eaters. Yeah, you heard me right. Plants prefer one isotope*(See definition at bottom) of carbon dioxide over another. There are two main isotopes of CO2, carbon 13 and carbon 12. Carbon 12 is the lighter type, and it’s the type all plants prefer… even the plants, say in the time of the dinosaurs.

So, when those prehistoric plants died, they kept the carbon 12 in their remains, and over time those remains became fossils. Now, we’re pumping them back up as fossil fuels. Hence the name, right? 

Well, since those plants mostly contained carbon 12, so do the fossil fuels. And when we use fossil fuels and release them into the atmosphere, changes happen:  the atmosphere’s level of carbon 12 goes up, and the level of carbon 13 goes down.  And that’s measurable.

Image credit:


As you can see in this graph, the level of lighter carbon (carbon 12) went up, while the level of carbon 13 (mostly caused by volcanic activity) went down. 

This is incredibly substantial evidence that humans, who released the carbon 12, are the culprits of our current climate change.


*Isotopes are like types of atoms. Atoms, which are the building blocks of all things,  are made of different compositions (amounts) of their own building blocks––electrons, neutrons, and protons––depending on what they are part of or what they are creating. Carbon 12 contains six neutrons, six protons, and six electrons, giving it an atomic mass (size or weight- amount) of twelve. Carbon 13 contains six protons, six electrons and seven neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 13.


Writing About Climate Change | Part 1

You, Too, Can Write About Climate Change!

During the pandemic, it has been frustrating that I haven’t been able to go out to protests. I really want to make a difference, but without being able to go anywhere…it’s been a challenge.

But now it occurs to me that, even while I’ve had to stay home, writing about the climate is one way I’m still making a difference!

A different way to make a difference

Have YOU ever wanted to do what I do: make a difference by writing about climate change? 

Well, here are some tips––things I learned in the making of this website––and ideas to do just that!

Somewhere to post or publish 

No, you don’t have to start a website.  The first and most obvious way to publish a piece on climate change is to send it to a newsletter, newspaper, magazine, or other publication in your school or community. You can simply write a letter to the editor, or talk to the editor about writing a longer piece.  And who knows? Maybe it will even become a regular feature in your school or community newspaper!  

There are many writing contests where you may enter your writing, too. There may even be websites or nonprofits that are climate-focused and specifically looking for earth-loving contributions! 

The blank page…

You sit down, blank page before you, and poise your fingers above the keyboard…then, oh, no!  Your mind had gone just as blank as the sheet! What do you do?

I work best when I plan it out beforehand. With my stories, I make outlines––or I never get past the first page! With posts, which are a bit simpler, I just write down the idea, then write about it; although it often needs to be edited later, I have at least gotten the ideas onto the page. Sometimes I write down the different stages for the post. For example, for this one it would be something like: introduction, “Starting,” “Editing,” “Submitting,”conclusion. 

When I’m having trouble deciding what I should even write about, I jot down all the possibilities––from the vague, to the silly, to the extremely complicated. Eventually, I get a good one, and I use it!

To copy, or not to copy…?  Plagiarism (copying someone else’s writing) is bad news...a form of lying. But don’t worry; it’s not plagiarizing unless you copy someone else’s words without giving them credit––that is, without stating who wrote it, and where you read it.  Write, “According to (writer’s name) in (name of the publication/website),” then tell what they’ve said. Paraphrasing (changing the words around a bit) can be okay, but credit should still be given even if you don’t use quotation marks...after all, where did you get that idea from? Copying or reprinting entire articles or long sections from them––even with credit––also need permission from the writer: “reprinted with permission from (source).”  Always, always give credit for original content to the writers who created’s the right thing to do. 

Have you finished your piece? Good! Now let’s go on to the next (and very important step: editing!

Although it may seem boring and tedious, editing is super important! And it’s not all checking your spelling (although, you do have to do that!). It’s choosing, rearranging, subtracting and sometimes adding. But most of all, it’s making your piece better!  I like editing, despite the difficulty, because I love looking back at my piece and thinking about how much more beautiful it is. 

When you’re editing, you cut out words, sentences, and even paragraphs. Why? Even if it makes your piece shorter, this is very important because you must have nothing that distracts from the goal of the piece.

But often there’s only so much you can do when editing on your own. You’ve submerged yourself in your piece and it’s hard to tell where you need to make it more clear. That’s when you ask for suggestions:  take your draft to someone you trust and show it to them. Help them along by asking “Is this the problem?” or “If I changed this, would it help?” 

If you don’t have someone to help, take a break. Come back to it when you’re fresh…you will see it with “new” eyes, and it can help to imagine you are someone else reading it.  You will soon realize what works and what doesn’t!  Changes will be much easier.

When editing, follow my editor’s (and my mother’s) golden rule: Make sure every word counts!

Wait for it…

You’ve written, edited, and maybe even submitted your writing! Now what?

Once you’ve submitted your piece, just…wait.  It’s understandable if you feel nervous—it happens to us all! If you’ve entered it into a contest and it doesn’t win, don’t feel bad! Use your piece for something else and in the meantime make it better! The possibilities are endless, and when it comes to the climate crisis, the need is great!

Now you know how to write a piece on climate change. I hope my tips are helpful—I’ve only been writing for a year about climate change, after all. But now you can, too…and I hope you will!

Interested in writing about the climate crisis?  Comment below!  

And look for next week’s post––Part Two––in which I offer tips on starting your own website like this one!

Picture This: Earth Day, Any Day

Original art by SolarBear

Happy Earth Daaaay!

Hi! SolarBear here.

Today’s post is going to be different then most posts. Because this is not a normal day. It’s…(drumroll, please)…EARTH DAY! 

*Cue worldwide activist parties!*

Since it’s Earth Day (my website’s first birthday! Sniff…they grow up so fast… remember that very first post on Earth Day last year?), and since we have so many wonderful people working on posts now, including Tigress and Callisto (here’s a link to Callisto’s Earthrise post about the beautiful photo below), this is going to be a little longer than usual. But we worked really hard on it, so you’ll really want to read this one!

Happy, happy Earth Day, my eco-friends!



Image credit: Unsplash

Callisto wrote a wonderful post about this famous photo, known as Earthrise (link above).

Picture This

Picture a world where everything…and everyone…is safe.

Picture a world where freedom––and a vote that counts––is considered a fundamental human right.

Picture a world where everyone––children and adults of all races, cultures, faiths, and gender identities––are treated respectfully, fairly, and equitably, with free access to education, to honest information, and to health support. (Including a vaccine, if they need one.)

Picture a world where beautiful trees grow thick, lush, unharmed by humans.

Picture a world where the rivers, seas, and oceans are crystal clear, except for the plankton and important algae that feed the creatures living in it.

Picture a world where you can go outside and breathe fresh, clean air without worry––even those living in cities.

Picture a world where islands, and the populations and cultures living on them, are not threatened by climate-driven sea rise.

Picture a world where rainforests stretch on and the very edge of the horizon…unharmed by humans.

Picture a world where your favorite––and the Earth’s most iconic––creatures are in no danger, but are safe in their natural habitats, which supply their needs.

Picture a world where our human footprints do not harm the rest of it.

We CAN have this world––picture it!––in which any day is an Earth Day.

If only we try.

Photo credit: Unsplash

The Power of Words

Have you ever wanted to do something about the climate crisis but have been too scared? Or maybe it’s just that you don’t exactly know how?

Well, I can help with that…a little, at least.

First, are you too scared or anxious to say what you think?

This is nothing to be ashamed of. Even while I’m writing this, I’m wondering if it’s a good idea to write it: Am I making mistakes? What if someone thinks this is weird or stupid? What if no one sees this at all?

But I have to ignore these nagging feelings because…the Earth is worth it.

Imagine if every voice––smart or stupid, cool or weird––spoke out for what they believed in: stopping human-driven climate change. That would be so many voices that the world leaders and people who are preventing us from moving forward would have to listen.


Every drop in the bucket counts

But my voice is too small, you might think. What’s one less voice in a million?

As an answer to this question, one voice is everything.

Perhaps there are nine hundred thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine voices? Then that one extra voice would be the difference between several thousand and a million. And one more? From a million to more than a million. Whether it seems like it or not, it’s a measurable difference: it COUNTS.

Or, perhaps, and much more importantly, what if everyone thinks what you think–that their voice doesn’t count, either? That would make the difference between one million…and nothing. No one would ever give the climate crisis a second thought, since no one ever asked them to think about it twice.

Okay, so maybe you understand this now. But perhaps you’re still too scared. What do you do?

You push those feelings aside, and speak anyhow. You can still be cautious, but just realize there is a very fine line between caution and fear. No matter what everything seems to tell you, it’s more important to get your voice out there, to take the risk to help and hope, than to overanalyze what you say, attempting to make sure it’s what your friends, your relatives, your teachers, or even some YouTube celebrities want to hear. All that matters is that you speak up and you tell the truth. Someone, somewhere, will listen.

Perhaps your voice will be the turning point for someone; that one extra nudge that puts them on the right track. Or perhaps your voice can be more than a turning point: perhaps it will be someone’s inspiration. For me, I never know when a sentence, a stanza, or a single word, will make impact. Most of the time it’s the inspiring ones out there who make a difference, but, sometimes…it’s the little, quiet, less-heard voices who make that difference.


Now for the next step…how to start

Just don’t know how to start…? I get this feeling, too. For a long time I was thinking a lot but not saying anything. I just wasn’t quite sure how. Those little uncertainties bothered me–and stopped me from even trying.

But then I began to look, to learn, to listen, and I created a website–and now my voice is being heard! By you, if by no one else.

Now I know that I should have done something, whether I knew how to or not––our world is simply worth it.

My advice is just DO.

Do something meaningful, even if it feels awkward. As long as you’re doing something, saying something, it counts! You don’t even have to really “know how.”

But if you do want to know how, just ask! There’s no shame in being a beginner, in asking what to do or how to start. Chances are, you know or have heard of someone who can help you. The world is full of kind, clever people who are just waiting for the question, “Can you help me?” “How can I help?” “What can I DO?”

I asked my parents when it came to this. They were happy to help, and even helped me set up this website — and since I asked for this website as a gift, they even helped pay for it! Now my dad takes care of all the complicated tech stuff and my mom edits every post! And my sister started making On Thin Ice— which has really brought the site to life visually. And our good friend Tigress is now adding her voice to the mix, speaking out for endangered animals who have no voices of their own. Thanks, guys! I’m so grateful.

So, in summary:

Start where you are. DO what you can.

Don’t worry what other people might think.

If you want to know how to start, how to make a change, or what it all means, ASK.

Use your voice. Because every voice counts, no matter how small.

Photo credit: Unsplash

Be Inspired

This Earth Day, I’ve gathered a collection of quotes here that I hope will leave you inspired and enlightened as you do your little bit to help the Earth.

We should consider nature our home, not a place to visit.

Roxana Jones

What we see mainly depends on what we look for.

John Lubbock

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but rising every time we fall.


Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.

Albert Einstein

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.


The most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart.

Helen Keller

Nothing is ever impossible. The word itself says, “I’m possible!”

Audrey Hepburn

Teaser for my new graphic story, “Leopard’s Tree”~!

by Callisto