When I think of Earth Day so many things come to mind … what we are doing to the Earth, HOW can we be better … but I couldn’t think of a better person to ask to guest blog and share all of her knowledge with me and all of you, other than Erin Ireland herself. I have learned so much from her and am so inspired by the way she lives and the way she treats our planet. She is one of the reasons I want to learn more and be better. If you don’t already know Erin, I recommend you follow along in her journey and better yet, her dedicated Earth Day Blog below …
Of all the many things we have to celebrate, Mother Nature might just be the most amazing of them all. Through food and water, she provides our livelihood. I can’t think of a reason to be more thankful for anything or anyone.
So, how can we be kinder to her? How can we help our incredibly diverse and beautiful planet thrive, so we can continue to as well? These are important questions to ask ourselves every day…and especially today, Earth Day.
For the same reasons we take great joy in giving our moms and dads an extra big hug on their special day, Earth Day should be the day we give Mother Nature a little extra love too. Here is how I try to do that…
I don’t believe we truly show love for our planet by taking shorter showers, ensuring to turn off the lights or recycling our juice bottles. These actions show that we are caring for our planet. But to show true love, requires more meaningful action…
How do I show my love and commitment to Mother Nature? By eating more plants. Cutting back on meat consumption in favour of plants is perhaps the single, most impactful thing we can all do to be kinder to our environment.
While working on this post, I compiled a big list of facts to support this claim. But earlier this week, I came across this post in The Economist, which sums things up so perfectly, so I’m sharing it instead. It’s full of well-sourced information and explains why plants have a much lower carbon footprint than animal-based foods. Here’s a quote that gets right to the heart of the matter, “Following a modest meat diet, global greenhouse gas emissions were found only to increase 7% by 2050 (compared with an expected increase of 51% according to projections from the status quo). A widespread switch to vegetarianism could curb emissions by nearly two-thirds and veganism by 70%.”
But here’s the thing. You don’t need to become a vegan overnight to show Mother Nature you love her. If you’re focused on reducing your meat consumption, you’ve already taken a huge step forward. Imagine if we ALL kept our Mondays meatless? What if we ordered a juicy veggie burger instead of a beef burger every now and then, or replaced our daily latte with a creamy almond milk latte instead? These little changes in our individual consumption may seem small, but they add up. And when you add them up, you get something big—a collective of conscious consumers that will put a lot of pressure on the corporations that don’t share our love for the planet. Fifty years from now, Mother Nature will thank us.
If you need a little nudge, give this clip featuring Julia Roberts as the voice of Mother Nature a listen. It does a great job of putting her power into perspective (and leaves me in tears every time).
“I’ve been here for over 4.5 billion years. 22,500 times longer than you. I don’t really need people. But people need me. Yes, your future depends on me. When I thrive, you thrive. When I falter, you falter. Or worse. But I’ve been here for eons. I’ve fed species greater than you, and I’ve starved species greater than you. My oceans. My soil. My flowing streams. My forests. They all can take you…or leave you. How you choose to live each day whether you regard or disregard me, doesn’t really matter to me. One way or the other your actions will determine your fate, not mine. I am nature. I will go on. I am prepared to evolve. Are you?”
Finally, to help you take one of the small steps I describe above and to celebrate Earth Day here’s a plant-based dessert recipe that is just as satisfying as its dairy counterpart: Vegan Ice Cream Snickers Bars. Enjoy!
For the base layer:
1 tub vegan ice cream (I used Luna & Larry’s – available at most grocery stores)
For the caramel layer:
2 c. dates
4 tbsp vegan butter
3/4 c. + 2 tbsp warm almond mylk
1 ½ tsp himalayan salt
¾ c. cashews (you can sub in your nut of choice)
For the chocolate coating:
¾ c. coconut oil
¾ c. cocoa powder
3 tbsp maple syrup (or more if you like it sweet)
½ tsp Himalayan salt
1. Line a medium-sized baking dish with parchment paper and remove ice cream from the freezer to soften. My dish was 7”x3”.
2. With a spoon, scoop softened ice cream into the base of your baking dish to create the first layer of your ice cream bar — you can make this as thin or thick as you like (mine was about one inch high). Place your baking dish in the freezer when done.
3. Time to make your caramel: if your dates are firm, soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes. Add dates, butter, almond mylk and salt to your high-powered blender and mix until super smooth. Set aside to cool.
4. Remove baking dish from freezer and add the cooled caramel as the second layer (you’ll have leftovers – enjoy on oatmeal or with fruit). Mine caramel layer measured about 5mm. Cover this layer completely with nuts of your choice. Press down lightly so they stick into the caramel. Replace baking dish in freezer.
5. Now, make your chocolate. In a medium bowl, melt your coconut oil (you can do this on the stovetop in a double broiler, if you prefer). Once liquid, add in your coconut oil, maple syrup and salt. Whisk until smooth and set aside to cool.
6. Once your ice cream caramel mixture is rock solid (this may take up to four hours), remove from freezer and gently pull the ice cream out of the baking dish, onto a cutting board. With a sharp knife, cut your “loaf” into bars of your desired size. Transfer bars to a parchment lined baking sheet.
7. Now, using tongs, dip each ice cream bar into your chocolate mixture until fully coated. Set the coated bars back onto your baking sheet and place them in the freezer. If you want to double coat them, you’ll have to double your chocolate mixture. Enjoy!!
What will YOU do today for Earth Day!?
Jilly & Erin