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Going Bananas Over Bananas - for Good Reasons!
The word ‘banan’ is an Arabic word meaning finger.
Given the stark reality of climate change and emission of greenhouse gases and their detrimental environmental impact, managing our carbon usage should become a part of our everyday life and we need to move towards a carbon-careful world.However most of us don't have sufficient understanding of carbon emissions to be able to engage in this intelligently.
But are we belabouring over the small stuff that doesn’t make much of a difference and missing out on the big issues? Are you being more environmentally friendly if you ride a bus or drive a hybrid car; or the paper towel instead of the air dryer in a public toilet?
Food adds up to around 20% of our carbon footprint in the UK and food waste, whether it lands in the compost bin or the landfill, adds to carbon footprint. We are a wasteful society and about a quarter of our food go to waste. Food is left on our plates, allowed to pass their expiry date in our fridges, isn’t scrapped off the cooking pan or picked off the carcass.
We need to do some serious thinking. Think about where our food comes from and where it ends up after we are finished with it. Think about what we can do without and with what we can’t, how we can adjust or compromise. We need to think about how, all that we do, no matter how small and insignificant is connected and part of a bigger picture.
Some helpful low-carbon food tips include:
- eat all that you buy – eat the skins of root vegetables;
- save leftovers for another meal or make soups/casseroles with them;
- reduce your meat and dairy intake;
- buy seasonal and local food;
- avoid buying food with excessive packaging and
- simple indulging in a banana - go bananas over bananas!
Going Bananas over bananas for good reasons.
What is the carbon footprint of bananas?
Each person in the UK, on the average eats 10g of bananas a year and that is about 100 bananas! Bananas are not grown locally and we get ours shipped all the way from South America.
But the carbon footprint of bananas is only 8ogCO2e each!
And the reasons why bananas have such small carbon footprints compared to their numerous benefits is because:
- they are grown in natural sunlight and hence no energy-intensive hot-house is used;
- though they travel thousands of miles to get to us, they are transported by boats which emit only 1% as much CO2 per kilo freight as planes do;
- they have their own natural packaging and if any are usually wrapped in light plastic bag or wrapper which pays for itself carbon-wise as it prevents consumers from splitting and ruining them. Furthermore, plastic bags actually produce less CO2 than their ‘noble’ paper rivals. No doubt plastics take longer to break down and are difficult and expensive to recycle. But paper is also not easy to recycle and if it ends up in the landfill and rot it produces methane gas which is a more potent greenhouse gas than CO Plastic packaging actually account for one thousandth of the foot print of the average weekly shop. There are other more deadly things lurking on the supermarket shelves than the often berated plastic packaging.
- Nutritional Value
It is a low-carbon food that is packed with calories as well as stacks of vitamin C, vitamin B6, potassium and dietary fibre. A medium-sized banana contains only 95 calories, and provides a quick and natural energy booster that is easily digestible with no fat, cholesterol or sodium
- Health Benefits
- Bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin which promotes relaxation and improves the mood. Bananas help you to feel happy.
- Bananas are good for blood pressure, constipation, heartburns and ulcers
- A banana a day keeps those excruciatingly painful leg cramps away. An average sized banana provides you with 422 milligrams of potassium.
Bananas are either not ripe to eat or before you know it have gone too ripe to enjoy. When they are very ripe, they make a perfect ingredient for some banana fritters - a favourite tea snack of the east. Just mash them, add some flour (a bit of baking powder to fluff them up) and sugar according to how battery or sugary you want it to be. How much or little sugar you add will not compromise the end product, so you can easily control the sugar content. Fry the batter by the spoonful in hot oil.
Whenever you want to do your bit for the environment and for yourself, do ‘go bananas’!