New 'Good Cuisine' Movement
Dining Table Revolution
CommonWealth Magazine's New "Good Cuisine" Movement is off and running, calling on everyone to take the "40-mission" low-carbon diet challenge, to eat with greater value, conscience and environmental consciousness.
Dining Table RevolutionBy the CommonWealth Green Living Initiative team
From CommonWealth Magazine (vol. 519 )
"What's for dinner tonight?"
CommonWealth Magazine's 2013 "Green Living Initiative: The New 'Good Cuisine' Movement" seeks to reacquaint readers with the food they eat. Answering the question "What's for dinner tonight?" requires a reevaluation of how a query once so simple has now become so complicated.
Is Your Food 'Green' Enough?
First of all, the modern network of global trade means that food items from the other side of the planet are no longer out of reach. Walk into any supermarket, and you'll find asparagus from Thailand, apples from Japan and frozen squid from Argentina there for the taking. But while carting these foodstuffs across the seas from their far-flung points of origin may satisfy the appetite, food transportation is a major contributor to rising carbon emissions.
Second, our misguided eating habits are ruining the planet. People today typically eat meat at all three meals, but according to data compiled by the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organization, greenhouse gas emissions resulting from the raising of livestock account for 18 percent of total global human-induced greenhouse gas emissions, a higher proportion than even transport.
Aside from more meat and fewer vegetables, another problem plaguing the modern diet is overindulgence.
In Taiwan, "all you can eat" restaurants abound, and supermarkets frequently offer "special price promotions," encouraging consumers to buy more food than they really need.
Based on Environmental Protection Administration data, CommonWealth Magazine conservatively estimates that Taiwan generates more than 6,000 metric tons of kitchen waste on an average day, not only wasting the energy it took to produce that food, but also further contributing to environmental degradation when that waste is disposed of via incineration or landfill.
In an effort to promote energy conservation and reduce carbon emissions, CommonWealth Magazine and 27,000 others, including President Ma Ying-jeou, took part in the 2010 "Green Living Initiative" Internet campaign, resulting in a reduction of 730,000 kg of carbon emissions over 75 days. Even more impressive was the more than 2.05 million kg in cumulative carbon emissions reductions achieved over six weeks by the 220,000 participants in our "Crucial 45 Days: Virtual Carbon Reduction Study Network" last year.
This year, the "Green Living Initiative" takes off again in the form of our "Dining Table Revolution." The focus for this year is on the New "Good Cuisine" Movement, in hopes that people will be prompted to not only eat better and more healthily, but also that they will eat with greater value, conscience and environmental consciousness.
CommonWealth Magazine is appealing to more than a million participants from six city and county governments; primary, junior high and high school students from 4,000 schools nationwide; and employees of the nation's top 1,000 companies to answer the call of the "Dining Table Revolution."
The interactive Internet exercise "40 Low Carbon Dietary Missions" rests on the five ethical pillars of the new "good cuisine" movement: cherish your food, understand your food, eat locally, eat at home, and be environmentally friendly.
Users are asked to complete one ten-minute mission per day, during which they'll pick up the best low-carbon dietary ideas and even accumulate "enviro-points" for completing the mission, all set to cool tunes and rich visuals.
Since the "family dining table" is the point of origin of everybody's dietary habits, the exercise is scheduled to run from April 2 through May 12, spanning 40 days including Children's Day and Mother's Day. What's more, the "low-carbon missions" are offered in a "standard version" and a "kid's version," to encourage parents and kids to take part together.
CommonWealth Magazine has selected five agricultural products that are in high season during the exercise period (April-May) – bananas, pineapples, tomatoes, pumpkins and watermelons – and designed animated icons of each product – "agri-babies" that can be virtually "adopted." The goal is to remind people to "eat locally, select seasonally."
As each participant completes their "low-carbon missions," the "agri-baby" they have virtually adopted grows at the same pace that the participants reduce their carbon emissions, keeping things interesting.
Each Meal Could Change the World
Well-known writer Tom Wang has championed the notion of the low-carbon diet in his works.
"I look at every meal as an opportunity life has given me," he says.
As Wang puts it, people typically make a choice about what to eat three times a day, and that's three opportunities to make a more earth-friendly dietary choice. Through food, we can not only better know the world and experience life, but also improve our natural environment.
Readers are cordially invited to join the ranks of the New "Good Cuisine" Movement and put green living into practice on your dining table, starting today.
Translated from the Chinese by Brian Kennedy