5 helpful vegetarian diet tips for meat-free newbies

Cutting back on red meat and dairy can be one of the biggest steps to reduce your carbon footprint. While Greenpeace campaign for renewable energy and a transition from fossil fuels, we’re also looking at other ways we can protect ourselves and the environment.

Ecological produce at Raspail Market in central Paris.Ecological produce at Raspail Market in central Paris.

Just like a fossil fuel transport system, the meat industry has an impact on the environment. When we eat red meat every day, it has an effect on our water use and carbon footprints.

According to the US Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee’s scientific report:

“Consistent evidence indicates that, in general, a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact (GHG emissions and energy, land, and water use) than is the current average US diet.”

So why start a low-carbon diet, and where do you begin making changes? Check out these great tips on how to cut back on meat.

Food illustration of a farm created by Instagram food artist and enthusiast Ida SkivenesFood illustration of a farm created by Instagram food artist and enthusiast Ida Skivenes.

1. Your diet, your rules

Your diet is a very personal part of your life. That means you don’t need to follow the rules and trends of other herbivores – just the advice of your doctor (and maybe your mother). Some vegetarians choose to eat sustainably caught seafood, and some vegans eat eggs from their own chickens. Others – called ‘freegans’ – eat meat and dairy that would otherwise be thrown out to avoid food waste. As long as you’re safe, healthy, and making the decisions you want for yourself and the world, you’re all good.

arm workers pack organic produce with their child at Shared Harvest Farm in Tongzhou, China.Farm workers pack organic produce with their child at Shared Harvest Farm in Tongzhou, China.

2. It’s okay to start slow

If dropping meat from your diet right now sounds daunting, you can try phasing it out over time. Initiatives like Meatless Mondays, where people stop eating meat one day of the week, are a great place to start (not to mention you’ll be alongside people like Sir Paul McCartney and Chris Martin). You could also make an effort to choose the vegetarian option when eating out, or start by cutting the most resource-intensive meats like beef from your diet.

Francesca Kitheka from Kenya holds pigeon peas. In Kenya, farmers are effectively applying ecological farming practices that are increasing their ability to build resilience to and cope with climate change.Francesca Kitheka from Kenya holds pigeon peas. In Kenya, farmers are effectively applying ecological farming practices that are increasing their ability to build resilience to and cope with climate change.

3. Talk to friends and loved ones

Sometimes our diets affect the people we live with or see a lot. If you’re sharing food preparation duties with someone, make sure you talk to them about your decision and make an effort to work out a plan. Maybe some nights you’ll cook separately, or you’ll make dishes with the meat on the side – or they might even make a change with you!

If you’re visiting friends or family for a meal, let them know about your new diet. You might want to bring a vegetarian dish or two to share, or offer to come early to help cook and prepare. Your diet doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying your life.

Farmer's markets like this one in Slovakia, sell produce made with love for the nature and environment, without using chemicals.Farmer’s markets like this one in Slovakia, sell produce made with love for the nature and environment, without using chemicals.

4. The internet is your best friend

From nutritional information, to vegetarian recipes, to helping you find the perfect ingredient substitutes – the internet has everything a vegetarian needs.

If you’re a novice in the kitchen try Vegetarian Cooking Hacks Every Herbivore Should Know.

If you have a sweet tooth you’ll probably salivate over these Veganuary dessert recipes.

And if you’re not quite sure where to source that ‘egg’ that’s called for in an egg-free chocolate cake, try 17 Cooking Hacks Every Vegan Should Know.

You can have your (vegan) cake and eat it too!You can have your (vegan) cake and eat it too!

5. What if I can’t cut back on meat right now?

If you can’t stop eating meat, but still want to bite away at your food footprint, there’s still lots you can do. You might choose to buy local or organic produce, stop eating processed or packaged foods, or grow your own fruit and vegetables at home. There are even ways to make changes to how you consume meat and dairy to reduce your carbon food footprint, like choosing from more ecological farming methods such as buying grass-fed rather than grain-fed beef.

A farmer uses cattle to plow his field in Kammavaripalli Village, Bagepalli, IndiaA farmer uses cattle to plow his field in Kammavaripalli Village, Bagepalli, India.

Making the decision to commit to a new diet is difficult – but once you start it’s easy! But if you slip up or forget, be kind to yourself and keep at it.

Rashini Suriyaarachchi is the Digital Communications Officer at Greenpeace Australia Pacific. This article originally appeared on the Greenpeace Australia Pacific’s website here.

Ready to change your diet and impact on the Earth? Take one of the I Know Who Grew It pledges today.

via Greenpeace news http://ift.tt/1SQtmMv http://ift.tt/eA8V8J

Recycling in Russia: The second life of old things

Overconsumption is a big problem for some people in Russia. But they don’t have access to a proper recycling system. Once a month, people have to carry their separate recyclables to a collection point that’s run entirely by volunteers. There is no state-run recycling programme.

They find collection points near them with this map, created with the help of Greenpeace Russia volunteers.

Here are some of our stories:

Violetta, 27 years old, and Anastasia, 35 years, both journalists. We've been recycling for the last three and a half years. © Yelena LukyanovaVioletta, 27 years old, and Anastasia, 35 years, both journalists. We’ve been recycling for the last three and a half years. © Yelena Lukyanova

Violetta: “I decided to not only take my recycling to the collection points, using recyclemap.ru, but also to reduce the amount of packaging I buy. I try to take containers to the store with me and fill them with what I want to buy, like my own bags for fruit and vegetables.

“At first, it was awkward. A saleswoman once asked why I do it. I told her about how long plastic takes to decompose and how many animals die from plastic pollution. ‘We all have our quirks’, was her response. But now it seems like more and more people are asking stores to stop selling products in plastic packaging.”

Anna, 24, works in advertising and has been using the scheme for two years now. © Yelena LukyanovaAnna, 24, works in advertising and has been using the scheme for two years now. © Yelena Lukyanova

“Since childhood, I’ve made use of unwanted materials, like making papier-maché out of receipts. This Wonder Woman costume is made from medical shoe-covers with red tape from bread packaging for the corset.”

Dmitry, 35, an agronomist, has been recycling for one year and is one of the volunteers who helps to coordinate the monthly collection schemes. © Yelena LukyanovaDmitry, 35, an agronomist, has been recycling for one year and is one of the volunteers who helps to coordinate the monthly collection schemes. © Yelena Lukyanova

“The majority of our visitors are people under 40, many with children. There is always someone who will ask: is this all really is processed? It’s not just sent to a common landfill site? And I explain: we are not spending our days off here for nothing – yes, it all gets recycled.”

Dmitry, 39, manager, Lena, 31, accountant, and Lesch, 5 years old. The family has been recycling for 14 years. © Yelena LukyanovaDmitry, 39, manager, Lena, 31, accountant, and Lesch, 5 years old. The family has been recycling for 14 years. © Yelena Lukyanova

Dmitry: “I have a funny story about recycling in Russia. Greenpeace were hosting an event to inform people about separating their waste. We were approached by a man who said, ‘You, Greenpeace, you work for the CIA!’ We asked, ‘What’s the CIA?’ The man said ‘You collect all our garbage in those boxes and their contents determine how our people live. You’ll pass all this information on.’ We didn’t know what to say to that.

“My dream is to get Californian worms, which make compost from food waste. They convert waste into something useful. It’ll be nice to have new animals in the house that aren’t cats.”

Veronika, 32, and Andrei, 47. Tasya, is 7 years old. They both work at a recycling collection point. © Yelena LukyanovaVeronika, 32, and Andrei, 47. Tasya, is 7 years old. They both work at a recycling collection point. © Yelena Lukyanova

Veronika: “Sometimes we come across quite amazing things at the point. One of my favourites was a pre-revolutionary bottle of arsenic. Another find was beautiful Argentinian maté teacup, which I found out from an antiquarian was from the 1940s.”


Greenpeace Russia has been leading a project about recycling waste since October 2014. Now, thousands of people are demanding an adequate local recycling system from the government.

More than 170,000 people have signed Greenpeace’s petition to their regional government. In some towns, local governments have already started recycling projects with local businesses.

Violetta Ryabko is a Media Coordinator at Greenpeace Russia.

This story originally appeared on Greenpeace Russia’s site here.

via Greenpeace news http://ift.tt/1SOL2I6 http://ift.tt/eA8V8J

New CDM10V – Compact and Highly Integrated Dimming Interface IC

The compact and highly integrated LED light- ing interface IC allows designers to replace many of the discrete components used in conventional dimming schemes with a single device. Thus, it can reduce the compo- nent count and PCB space needed for dimming circuitry in LED lighting applications by up to 70 percent. Infineon’s CDM10V is the industry’s first single-chip lighting in- terface IC capable of transforming an analog 0-10V input into a PWM or dimming input signal required by a lighting controller IC. The signal is delivered as 5 mA opto- coupler-ready PWM signal with 0 to 100 percent duty cycle.

via LED-professional http://ift.tt/26zDdNF

Memorandum of Understanding between European Photonics Industry Consortium and LUX Photonics Consortium

Prof. Tjin Swee Chuan, Chairman of the LUX Photonics Consortium in Singapore, and Carlos Lee, Director General of EPIC (European Photonics Industry Consortium) signed a collaboration agreement on April 22, 2016. The signature was witnessed by George Loh, Programmes Director at the National Research Foundation of Singapore’s Prime Minister’s Office.

via LED-professional http://ift.tt/24ok8vU

Farmers of the future need healthy land

Brecht Goussey is an organic farmer and runs a community-supported agriculture (CSA) farm in the area of Leuven, Belgium. What he struggles with most is access to healthy soil and affordable land to grow food for his local community. Together with thousands of people, Greenpeace Belgium is crowdfunding a direct support network for farmers just like Brecht.

Doing what I love most: farming

I’d been working as a social worker for years but, ever since I was a boy, I dreamed of becoming a farmer. Two years ago, I made up my mind. It was time to start doing what I loved the most: cultivating land!

Today, I grow vegetables for approximately 320 people on a 1.5 hectare plot. Those people harvest the vegetables themselves. But I have bigger plans: three colleagues and I aim to cultivate an integrated farm with vegetables, fruits, cereals, potatoes and flowers, as well as cows, sheep and other animals. The manure of the cattle is used to fertilise the soil and we close the cycle on our company, which results in more biodiversity, flowers, wild plants and bees.

Land is more expensive than what can be produced on it in one farmer’s career

But we’re not quite there yet. It’s uncertain for how long and under what conditions I can keep using my current plot. In a situation like this, it’s pointless to invest in permanent crops like rhubarb and fruits or in landscape measures like hedges. How will I ever be able to turn this into a real sustainable farm?

I would like to buy the land myself but, just like many young would-be organic farmers, I don’t have enough money to buy agricultural land in Belgium. Speculation, shortage and scaling-up have dramatically increased prices. Oddly enough, land is becoming more expensive than what you can produce on it in an entire career.

Luckily, I’m not alone. I’m being supported by ‘De Landgenoten’ (‘The Countrymen’), a cooperative that buys farmland and rents it to organic farmers. Together, we’re looking for people, organisations and companies who would like to invest in this programme. If we collect enough money to buy ‘my’ plot of land, I will be able to cultivate it for the rest of my life. Thereafter, ‘De Landgenoten’ make the land available for other farmers.

This method suits my philosophy perfectly. Agricultural land must not stay in the hands of only a few big companies or rich individuals. We have to return our land to our local communities. Furthermore, we need more organic farmers who, instead of impoverishing the soil, embrace it and protect it for generations to come. And not with artificial manure, which only improves the fertility for the short term, but with crop rotation, compost and diversity. We need farmers who improve the ecosystem and stimulate an increase of biodiversity.

Together with Greenpeace Belgium, you can directly support the work of ‘De Landgenoten’ in Flanders, and ‘Terre-en-vue’ in Wallonia, and the dozens of ecological farmers they provide with affordable land. For me, these first square metres mean one I am step closer to renting my 1.5 hectare plot. This cooperative understood that we – all together – need to improve access to ecological farmland and healthy soil. This will be key to determine the future of farming across Belgium – and further afield.

Discover more on the project page of the crowdfunding (in Dutch and French)

Brecht Goussey is an organic farmer in Leuven, Belgium.

via Greenpeace news http://ift.tt/1N2Yc5m http://ift.tt/eA8V8J

Bluetooth Mesh-Controlled Light Engine

San Jose, CA, USA – 26 April 2016: At LIGHTFAIR International (LFI 2016), LED Engin, Inc. will demonstrate its LuxiTune™ linear dynamic light engine – the world’s first Bluetooth® low energy (BLE) mesh-controlled tuneable white solution for linear luminaires. Adding a comprehensive BLE interface enables end users to wirelessly configure, control and manage linear luminaires to produce dynamic, coherent and fully tuneable lighting schemes seamlessly.

via LED-professional http://ift.tt/26whshI

Dimming Interface IC Delivers up to 70% Reduction in Component Count

Munich, Germany – April 26, 2016 – Infineon Technologies AG (FSE: IFX / OTCQX: IFNNY) today launched the CDM10V. The compact and highly integrated LED lighting interface IC allows designers to replace many of the discrete components used in conventional dimming schemes with a single device. Thus, it can reduce the component count and PCB space needed for dimming circuitry in LED lighting applications by up to 70 percent. Infineon’s CDM10V is the industry’s first single-chip lighting interface IC capable of transforming an analog 0-10V input into a PWM or dimming input signal required by a lighting controller IC. The signal is delivered as 5 mA optocoupler-ready PWM signal with 0 to 100 percent duty cycle.

via LED-professional http://ift.tt/24lzTnf

From the heart of the Amazon to the heart of corporate power: how Indigenous activists are fighting a mega dam

Munduruku Indigenous leaders participate in General Electric’s (GE) Annual General Meeting in Jacksonville, Florida. 27 Apr, 2016, © Fran Ruchalski / Greenpeace

Today, Munduruku Indigenous representatives and activists traveled thousands of kilometres from the heart of the Brazilian Amazon to the annual shareholder’s meeting of General Electric (GE) in the United States. Their goal: to confront the company on its involvement in destructive hydroelectric mega dams in the Amazon.

The Munduruku are fighting a massive hydroelectric project – the São Luiz do Tapajós mega dam – along the Tapajós River in the Amazon Rainforest that would displace entire villages and destroy livelihoods. As Munduruku leader Adalto Jair Munduruku explains, “We journeyed here to speak to the leadership of GE and meet those that would consider profiting off the displacement of thousands of people from our traditional lands against our will, destroying our natural environment. The traditional population uses very well this territory. When we are forced out of our land, we lose our traditional livelihoods.”

Aerial view of the Belo Monte Dam construction site in in Para State, Brazil.  17 Sep, 2013,   © Daniel Beltrá / Greenpeace

Why GE?

Munduruku leaders, together with their allies, are showing up to speak directly to corporate decision makers around the world – from Austrian engineering company Andritz, to Siemens in Germany, to GE today – because these corporations make massive hydropower projects possible. Some have even been involved in devastating mega dam projects before.

GE recently acquired the hydropower business of the French company Alstom who supplied equipment to the another massive Amazon dam project – called Belo Monte. Alstom, prior to being merged with GE, had reportedly been in discussions to supply the São Luiz do Tapajós dam.

Austrian company Andritz was also involved in the construction of the Belo Monte dam, as well as another massive dam called Ilisu in Turkey. Both projects destroyed biodiversity and the homes of thousands of people.

Siemens, too, has a history of involvement in such projects. The company also provided turbines and generators for the Belo Monte dam.

At GE’s meeting today, Antonia Melo – the leader of Xingu Vivo, a Brazilian organisation resisting Belo Monte – joined the Munduruku. Antonia has been displaced by Belo Monte, watched her river get destroyed and witnessed the environmental consequences of the project firsthand. As detailed in a recent Greenpeace Brazil report, the infamous Belo Monte dam displaced thousands like Antonia, and is even embroiled in a corruption scandal.

We must make sure none of these companies choose to be involved in the São Luiz do Tapajós dam.

Greenpeace activists protest in front of the German Siemens headquarter in Munich. 13 Apr, 2016,  © Oliver Soulas / Greenpeace

Standing up against the São Luiz do Tapajós project

The Munduruku have been adamantly fighting against damming the Tapajós River for over a decade. They have called on Siemens not to destroy their home. They have stood in front of Andritz’s front door and demanded the company keep its hands off the Amazon.

Symbolic Dam Protest at Andritz annual general meeting (AGM) in Graz, Austria. 30 Mar, 2016,  © Greenpeace

Now they are here at GE’s annual meeting, and GE is at crossroads. The company needs to listen to the Munduruku leaders. GE is already the largest supplier of wind power in Brazil. It can stop contributing to destructive, wasteful mega dam projects and instead contribute to the growth of Brazil’s clean energy solutions.

This past week the São Luiz do Tapajós project was stalled when its environmental licensing process was suspended – but not definitely cancelled. Now is the right moment for GE and all corporations considering involvement to publicly declare that they will have no part in São Luiz do Tapajós.

Stand with the Munduruku and help keep the Tapajós alive.

Daniel Brindis is a senior forest campaigner at Greenpeace USA.

Munduruku in Tapajós River in the Amazon Rainforest, 23 Feb, 2016,  © Valdemir Cunha / Greenpeace

via Greenpeace news http://ift.tt/1NUqNoa http://ift.tt/eA8V8J

How birdwatching helps stop Thai Union’s ocean destruction

“I have a visual at two o’clock!” We rush to the ‘monkey island’, the highest platform of the Greenpeace ship Esperanza, where watchers scan the ocean from sunrise to sunset. The ship changes course and heads towards the small floating construction of bamboo, nets and buoys. It’s day four of our expedition and our third catch.

Greenpeace campaigner searches for FADs (Fish Aggregation Devices) on the ship's monkey nest. 17 Apr, 2016 © Will Rose / GreenpeaceA Greenpeace campaigner scans the horizon for fish aggregating devices from the monkey nest of Greenpeace ship Esperanza.

The ‘catch’ we’re after are marine snares called FADs – fish aggregating devices – used by the industrial fishing industry. The simple, handmade rafts attract schools of tuna. But scores of other marine species, including sharks, are also drawn by the rafts and the small ecosystem growing beneath. These animals mostly end up indiscriminately caught, killed and dumped overboard.

Underwater view of a FAD (fish aggregating device). Greenpeace is in the Indian Ocean to document and peacefully oppose destructive fishing practices. 17 Apr, 2016 © Will Rose / GreenpeaceMarine life congregating under fish aggregating devices are often scooped up indiscriminately.

Greenpeace is in the Indian Ocean to document and protest this destructive fishing method used by Thai Union, the world’s largest tuna company, and to pull the FADs we find out of the ocean.

Follow that bird

Finding the FADs is a full time job. Luckily the whole crew is in. At least three people are on watch, looking for the harmful gear that comes disguised as an innocent raft of bamboo, old nets and buoys. Another way to detect FADs is to look up. The fish these marine snares attract swim quite close to the surface and attract birds. So when we see a bird circling around, all eyes track the bird.

Most fishing vessels use the same techniques to locate their small ‘honey traps’. Only they will have about five people on the lookout, and a GPS-signal transmitted by a beacon attached to their FAD. This gives them a pretty detailed idea of where to look. We have to rely on our eyes.

Two more tools in our box

To widen our visual range, we have two other tools. One is a small helicopter and a very enthusiastic heli-team. When weather allows and the area seems interesting, they fly out to scout. They’re also on the lookout for fishing vessels.

Secondly, we have three UAV (unmanned air vehicles) at our disposal and someone who knows how to fly them. They haven’t flown yet and it’s the first time we’re using them in the search for FADs, so fingers crossed.

Greenpeace RHIBs are deployed to investigate a possible FAD (fish aggregating device) sighting. Greenpeace is in the Indian Ocean to document and peacefully oppose destructive fishing practices. 20 Apr, 2016 © Will Rose / GreenpeaceA Greenpeace RHIB is deployed to investigate a fish aggregating device.

Tracing the tuna supply chain

With a FAD in our sights a RHIB (rigid-hulled inflatable boat) is sent out to the raft. After documenting the marine life swimming beneath it, we bring it on board the Esperanza. Then we track down the owner with the data written on the beacon. It’s from a French fishing company. Our earlier research reveals that this company supplies Thai Union. This is direct evidence that the fishing companies that Thai Union gets its tuna from still fish with FADs, despite the damage they do to our oceans.

The data is sent to the teams on shore, who work hard to put pressure on Thai Union from every part of this globe to stop supporting this unsustainable fishing method. Meanwhile, we start the engines and continue our search.

Join the wave of opposition to Thai Union’s destructive fishing.

François Chartier is an Oceans Campaign Leader for Greenpeace France.

via Greenpeace news http://ift.tt/23Z9HCk http://ift.tt/eA8V8J