Science Event Picks: The Low Carbon Diet, August 9 and 10

Amazing what foods you can find in your own-- and your neighbor's-- backyard. Photo credit: Iso Rabins of ForageSF "What happens on your plates represents your most important engagement with the natural world and the biggest impact you have on climate change." - Michael Pollan

Considering that I work from home, don't fly very often, and walk or take mass transit most places, I bet Michael Pollan is especially right for me. Last June, QUEST had a radio piece on a low carbon diet with tips to lower your CO2 impact, but my inner scientist needs some data. That's when I found the Carbon Foodprint Calculator.

Here's what I ate yesterday:

My wife usually nags me about my diet, but I think I did pretty well yesterday! (excepting those diet cokes) My carbon foodprint was 2641 CO2e points. Each point represents 1 gram of CO2e equivalent or in my case 5.8 lbs of CO2e. Now this is calculator certainly has limitations (mentioned in their FAQ section), but it is a satisfying comparison study. The site claims that most Americans have room to cut their carbon foodprint 25%. Not easily done, but luckily we have help in the Bay Area.

This weekend, Iso Rabins, founder of ForageSF, is taking an intrepid crew out to learn about foraged foods (virtually zero in carbon foodprint if foraged locally). He'll teach you how to identify wild edibles all around you, from wild fennel to mallow to nettle. Many of the plants we see everyday can be consumed on the spot (although better after a quick rinse). After taking a collecting walk, he'll cook up some snacks that includes some of what was foraged.


On Monday, Chef Laura Stec and climatologist Eugene Cordero cook up some Cool Cuisine, with a discussion of their new cookbook focusing on low carbon recipes. Cordero presents research on the energy efficiency of our food system and the relationship to our changing climate and then Chef Laura provides some practical cooking tips for low carbon foods without sacrificing flavor. For those who can't make the event, you can watch their presentation last month at the PARC Forum.

Guided Foraging Tour with ForageSF & TransportedSF

When: Sunday, August 9th 12 PM - 7 PM

Where: Meet at Papa Toby's Revolution Café, 3248 22nd St, SF

Cost: $35, Tickets

Environmental Action through Eating: Best Bang for the Buck

When: Monday, August 10th 6 PM - 730 PM

Where: Commonwealth Club, 595 Market St, 2nd Floor, SF

Cost: $8 members, $15 non-members, Tickets

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