Falafel Friday or Veggie TacoTuesday? How Eating Less Meat Can Actually Save the Environment One Day at a Time

Photo Cred: Pop Sugar, “The Veggie Burger Taco”
There’s no denying the growing trend of plant-based eating. More than ever, people are considering the health benefits of eating less meat and responding to the climate-damaging effects of the meat industry. Whether you decide to cut meat out of your diet altogether or you’re looking for easy steps to eating less of it, there is much to be gained by elevating veggies from the side dish to the main dish.
With advances in environmental science, it has become apparent that the human appetite for animal flesh drives an industry linked to most categories of environmental destruction including poor air quality (more greenhouse gas emissions than transportation!), deforestation, erosion, fresh water scarcity, climate change, biodiversity loss and even the spread of disease. Per-capita meat consumption has more than doubled in the past fifty years, even as the population of the world has continues to increase. As a result, the overall demand for meat has increased five-fold. This has put more pressure and urgency on the availability of land, water, feed for animal agriculture, fuel, capacity for waste disposal, and key limited resources. Only in recent years have environmentalists acknowledged that meat consumption is a matter worthy of analysis for its impact on the environment. And individuals world-wide are taking notice and personal responsibility for changing the tide of food sustainability.
The meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide. Cutting out meat products even once a week can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Water requirements for livestock are formidable, far greater than those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into the production of a single pound of beef. By comparison, soy crops require 220 gallons of water per pound. Reducing personal meat consumption is a way to decrease fossil fuel demand. A plant-based diet consumes one and a half tons less than the average American diet and does more to reduce emissions than driving a hybrid car.
Commit. We are all, to some extent, creatures of habit. At times, you may be challenged by the inconvenience of sourcing out meat-free options, especially while travelling and attending social gatherings. It can help to let the people around you know of your commitment to reducing your meat consumption. It could very well
inspire them to take similar steps and their attention on the matter will help to keep you accountable!

Phase out meat. If you’re an avid meat-eater you can start out by replacing your smallest daily meal with a plant-based option once a week, for one month. The following month, trying upping the veg meals to twice a week, and so on. This approach will give your taste buds time to adjust.

Plan your meals. A simple search engine query for “easy vegan meals” (or vegan versions your favourite dishes) will guide your mission in the right direction. Don’t wait – none of us make good choices in the throes of hunger. Having a general idea of upcoming meals will allow you to shop and prepare accordingly. Worried about the exorbitant cost of trendy vegan fare? Stocking up fresh produce and quality flash-frozen fruits and vegetables will serve to sharpen your skills in the kitchen and save you money as you enjoy meals created just the way you like them.

With love and compassion,

Team Karunaki


What We Can Learn from Sustainable Farming – How to Start an Urban Farm


Did you know that Maya languages include almost one hundred words to differentiate soil types and roughly twice as many for different types of corn? Such precision allows for each kernel to be placed in the exact type of soil that will facilitate its growth. The forests in the Yucatán have been sustainably farmed by the people who inhabit the land for at least 5,000 years and, over time, have encouraged the survival of thousands of species that form the Yucatán biome.

Today many sustainable farming principles are still used to reduce the amount of land required for farming, thus saving many natural resources that might otherwise be used for production and transportation while eliminating conventional plowing, planting, and harvesting by farm machinery, protecting soil and reducing emissions. More than ever, people are turning to urban farming to address their needs and the needs of their community. Some desire a peaceful garden oasis and others view it as a practical and inexpensive means of food production. Increased biodiversity and improved air quality – even on a small scale – are environmental benefits that we can all get on board with when it comes to urban agriculture. Key to successful urban farming is the notion that every garden is unique and should be planned to suit your needs.

Ready to get started?:


Whether you’re a space-starved city dweller or not your first consideration in starting an urban farm will be planning a precise area for it. Visit a nursery for advice or do some research to be sure the space you choose will support the plant life you intend to have thrive in it. Consider optimal sunlight exposure, climate, and seasonal attributes. Keep it simple with basic materials you’ll need to accommodate a garden that suits the space:

i) Seedlings or plants – many vegetables, flower and herb varieties are easy to grow in urban spaces and should be selected by personal preference and size. Planting food? Plant things you already enjoy eating or varieties not easily found at the local supermarket.

ii) Planters – garden containers can be reused, repurposed and moved to follow the sun and make adjustments as your needs change.

iii) Acquire gravel for drainage and good quality soil – healthy soil means healthy plants! Go for organic soil to avoid pesticides and chemicals.

iv) Tools – a shovel, a hoe and good pruners are essential.


Your plants can be potted to thrive in a few simple steps with easy follow-up:

i) Planters should have small holes at the bottom for the escape of excess water; place gravel in the bottom for drainage and fill your planter with soil, tamping it a bit. Tamp the soil after the plants are in place and water gently.

ii) For small spaces, it is ideal to use vertical space to your advantage in laying out your garden. Check out this gallery of creative planters and uses of space: 40+ Ways to Maximize a Small Garden


Once you’ve been bitten by the urban garden bug, you may decide to expand your garden in size or invite others to contribute to a shared space. A community garden may take form in a vacant lot or a donated space and with planning it can be incredibly rewarding. First step, start the conversation with others to discover the possibilities for growth!

With love and compassion,
Team Karunaki

Picture – Urban Farm, Ryerson University – 
History of Sustainable Farming –
Urban Farming –



Keeping Your Community Clean – How to Organize a Community Cleanup

Ever wonder what more you can do for the sustainability movement?  One way to do this is to give back to your community.  Let’s dive right in on how you can organize a community clean up.

Step 1: Choose an inspiring project for your community

The right project fixes a community problem and inspires people to get involved.  Is there a specific area, location or landmark in your community that needs cleaning up?  Here are some examples of project areas to focus on:

  • Waterways, rivers, and beach cleanups
  • Beautification, flower and tree planting initiatives
  • Litter, junk and trash collections

Step 2: Create a detailed event plan

Every successful event has, at the very least, a date, time and location.  Be sure to include the area of focus, the project’s objective, minimum # of volunteers required, appropriate attire to wear, list of supplies to bring, local permits required, and a celebration event for the volunteers.

  • Plan your work and work your plan

Step 3: Invite and share to recruit friends, family and neighbours

Create a public event page on Facebook and share, share, share.  This will gain traction on the number of people interested in joining the cleanup initiative.  Post flyers in local businesses’ community boards, share in community groups on Facebook, and other social media channels, ask your friends and family to share the event on their social media channels.  

  • Invite, invite, invite
  • Share, share, share
  • Bonus opportunity: ask the local community paper to write an article about your project and ending the article with a call to action, which is to commit as a volunteer for the cleanup initiative.

Step 4: Ask your community members and local businesses to donate supplies for the cleanup

Inherent in many people is a want to help another.  You will often find that people are willing to lend a hand when the project is inspiring and is for the greater good.  Ask community members to donate supplies if they cannot volunteer themselves.  Local businesses are usually willing to support in this area as well.  Some examples of supplies needed:

  • Trash bags
  • Gloves, goggles
  • Shovels and rakes
  • Gardening supplies
  • Garbage and recycling bins

Step 5: Execute the cleanup event and celebrate after

Executing the cleanup successfully means that every single volunteer knows how to perform their specific task and follows instructions thoroughly.  Enroll leaders from the volunteer group to be master trainers and group leaders.  This way, the job gets done fast, and efficiently.  Most importantly, after the neighbourhood cleanup is done, be sure to celebrate with the volunteers after the event.

  • Empower group leaders to lead small groups of volunteers
  • Celebrate the difference your project has made

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Much love and compassion,

Team Karunaki

Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash
Photo by Rubén Bagüés on Unsplash
Photo by Madison Nickel on Unsplash


Tips for Eco-conscious Living

What is eco-conscious living? To live an eco-conscious life is to live an eco-friendly, environmentally-friendly life; one whose purpose for living is to make a social and environmental impact, benefitting the planet, animals, and people. To be eco-conscious is to be aware of the environmental impact of your everyday living.

Here are 10 tips for you to begin living an eco-conscious life:

  1. Begin to become aware of the everyday products you use, where they come from and their environmental impact.
  2. Use eco-friendly products and replace them with products that are reusable, recyclable, biodegradable and/or compostable.
  3. Start commuting in an eco-friendly way.  Make use of public transit, cycling, walking, and ride-sharing when commuting from one location to the next.
  4. Eat more whole foods and fewer meat products.  Processed foods and animal meat consumption have a direct impact on the environment and “win-win” diets “help tackle two of the most urgent challenges of today: securing good nutrition for all and protecting the environment”, as quoted by the United Nations.  Studies by the Food and Agriculture Organization have shown high levels of emissions from global livestock.
  5. Become involved in your community.  Join a local community garden and grow your own vegetables, or join groups that help clean green spaces in your neighbourhood.
  6. Use canvas, cloth or other reusable shopping bags.  Plastics harm the environment.  For example, any time that you go out shopping at the grocery store, opt for a friendly alternative such as reusable bags.
  7. Organize a clothing swap party.  Instead of shopping for new clothes, swap gently used clothes with your friends or neighbours in exchange for a different and new wardrobe.
  8. Clean your home with green products.  Harmful chemicals are not only unhealthy for you and your family, they are also toxic to the environment.  Opt for cleaning products that are environmentally friendly and toxic-free.
  9. Reduce water waste.  If you tend to a home garden, collect rainwater with a large bin or a number of large buckets and use the collected water to water your plants.  After it rains, keep the bin or buckets covered so that the water does not evaporate quickly.
  10. Start a compost bin for your garden.  Some eco-conscious cities have made it mandatory for its citizens to compost waste, whether they have a garden or not.  If you don’t already compost, start composting organic waste to turn it into a valuable organic fertilizer for your garden.

We hope you’ve enjoyed these tips for Eco-conscious Living.  Take on any of these tips that resonate with you the most.  Remember, small actions can lead to a big, beautiful impact.  Be sure to share this post with your friends and spread the Eco-love!

With love and compassion,
Team Karunaki

Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash