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What Does My Cooking Have To Do with Climate Change?

The following is an excerpt from Climate Change: Simple Things You Can Do to Make a Difference by Amanda Cuthbert and Jon Clift. It has been adapted for the web.

  • When you use natural gas or propane to cook with, carbon dioxide (CO2) is produced; this is the main cause of climate change.
  • When you use electricity to cook with, the power plant burned coal, gas, or oil to produce that electricity — emitting CO2 in the process.

What can I do about it?

  • Cut food into small pieces before cooking — it will cook more quickly.
  • Select the correct saucepan size for the heating element or gas flame.

  • Put a lid on top of the pan when you can; your meal will cook much more quickly and you won’t be wasting energy.
  • Turn down the heat when a saucepan comes to a boil. You don’t need as much heat to keep a pot boiling as you do to get it to boil, and the contents will cook just as quickly.
  • Only use sufficient water to cover vegetables when cooking them in saucepans.
  • Use a steamer for vegetables — you can cook two or three vegetables on one element or gas ring.
  • Consider using a pressure cooker for cooking some foods — it reduces cooking times dramatically.
  • Make one-pot meals that only need one element or gas ring.
  • Use your oven efficiently by filling up as much of the space as possible.
  • If you’re cooking a meal in the oven, don’t be tempted to keep on opening the oven door to see how it’s all going, as you lose a lot of heat doing this.

If you do just one thing: When boiling water, use only as much as you need.

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