Experts' profiles - Ian Somerhalder
Ian Somerhalder
Thanks so much to all of my fans, ISF members and environmental activists for the thoughtful and interesting questions. I hope that I have covered a good bit of the information you have requested, much of which is in my bio if you click MORE, but we received so many questions that I have had to consolidate some together by subject matter. One of the frequently asked questions was what we can do individually to tackle food waste. So, I have provided a top 10 food waste tips list below from the thinkeatsave. Reduce your Foodprint site. The other was what my role as a UNEP Goodwill Ambassador entails. UNEP is the voice for the environment within the UN system globally. They have asked my support in amplifying messages that pertain to the issues they have identified as being most critical in moving our world towards a Green Economy.

Growing up in rural Louisiana, Ian Somerhalder was steeped in the magnificence of nature. So when the oil from the Deepwater Horizon spill came ashore in 2010 the star ofThe Vampire Diaries the son of a building contractor and massage therapist in the small town of Covington, close to the coastal wetlands and marshes was affected particularly strongly.

What I assimilated through that experience stays with me every single day, he told Our Planet, I remember my feet planted into the ground, as I surveyed the earth around me witnessing the unthinkable devastation caused by the spill, when it hit me: I was overcome with vulnerability. Everywhere around me echoed a sense of helplessness - from the creatures suffocating to the families drowning in debt and looking into their future with despair. I knew right then that I never wanted to feel this sense of absolute vulnerability again.

From that moment, I looked around and witnessed others with parallel sentiments who were ready to act. I watched countless people come together, entangling their networks, their own personal resources, time and energy, to commit to rescuing, cleaning, changing and activating. In the face of devastation, I recognized the power in collective action.
The experience led him, later that year on December 8th, his 32nd birthday to set up the non-profit Ian Somerhalder Foundation, whose mission, as he puts it, is as variable as the problems our plant, humans and its creatures face. He goes on: We know all the issues are interconnected and we believe the solutions are as well.

One such issue is food waste. Somerhalder, who won the award for the Most Responsible Celebrity in the 2012 International Green Awards, says; It is absolutely nuts that 30 per cent of all food is thrown away. That translates into $48.3 billion. Can you imagine what we could do with $48 billion. Can you imagine the decrease in pesticides, water and land use if we no longer needed to produce that 30 per cent that is just ending up in the bin?
It's not difficult to make a huge impact by make fairly small changes to our behaviour. Many environmental issues seem insurmountable because much of the damage is business-driven, but with food waste we just need to be aware and then adjust our lifestyles. Its as simple as making a pledge not to waste any food in your fridge: buying only what you need, versus only what you want, will help ensure you have what you need for the week ahead and, in turn, result in zero food waste.

For anyone interested in joining me and reducing food waste, here are a few tips.

1.Shop Smart-plan meals, use shopping lists and avoid impulse buys. Don't succumb to marketing tricks that lead you to buy more food than you need, particularly for perishable items. Though these may be less expensive per ounce, they can be more expensive overall if much of that food is discarded.

2.Buy Funny Fruit-many fruits and vegetables are thrown out because their size, shape, or color are not "right". Buying these perfectly good funny fruit, at the farmer's market or elsewhere, utilizes food that might otherwise go to waste.

3. Understand Expiration Dates- in the US, "sell-by" and "use-by" dates are not federally regulated and do not indicate safety, except on certain baby foods. Rather, they are manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. Most foods can be safely consumed well after their use-by dates. In the UK, "best before" dates are also generally manufacturer suggestions for peak quality. Likewise, most foods can be safely consumed well after these dates. The important date is "use-by" eat food by that date or check if you can freeze it.

4.Zero Down Your Fridge-eat food that is already in your fridge before buying more or making something new, which will save time and money. Follow storage guidance to keep food at its best. Websites such as lovefoodhatewaste can help you get creative with recipes to use up anything that might go bad soon. Make a zero fridge to waste pledge for WED.

5. Say Freeze and Use Your Freezer-frozen foods remain safe indefinitely. Freeze fresh produce and leftovers if you won't have the chance to eat them before they go bad. You can also do this with take-away or delivered food, if you know you will not feel like eating it the next day.

6. Request Smaller Portions-restaurants will often provide half-portions upon request at reduced prices.

7. Compost-composting food scraps can reduce climate impact while also recycling nutrients.

8. Use FIFO (First in First Out) as a kitchen rule. Check your pantry. Cook and eat first what you bought first. Store newly bought canned goods at the back of the cabinet. Keep older ones in front for easy access.

9. Love Leftovers -tonight's leftover chicken roast can be part of tomorrow's sandwich. Diced older bread can become croutons. Be creative! Ask your restaurant to pack up your extras so you can eat them later. Freeze them if you don't want to eat immediately. Very few of us take leftovers home from restaurants. Don't be embarrassed to do so!

10. Donate-non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries and shelters. Local and national programs frequently offer free pick-up and provide reusable containers to donors.




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