This is Part 1 in “Food Choices we can make to Counter Climate Change – a blog in progress.” [Sorry for the delay folks, work has been a killer.] Here are some thoughts that I and folks in the Climate Steps Facebook Group have pulled together. These will form the core of a continuously evolving page here in this blog that pulls together ideas for food choices and other actions that impact climate.
To counter climate change, the 7+ billion of us on the planet have to make choices about our food – including many that will no doubt suck for some folks, but quite a few that, in my personal opinion, will make our food more delicious, in a climate-friendly way. Eating organic, fair trade Brazil nuts, cashews, and peanuts for one (http://grist.org/food/what-are-the-most-eco-friendly-nuts/).
The key thing, however, is not just to do this yourself, but to make other people aware during the process – spread the word, instigate change. It’s the only way to make a true impact. We’re still working on ideas regarding that part for the following subject, but do have some ideas scattered here and there. In the meantime, we all have to do our part.
Chocolate, Coffee, and Climate.
- Incredibly frightening fact. Let’s start with the first thing we think about in the morning. You may think of coffee, but I think of chocolate. Did you know that both chocolate and coffee are severely threatened by climate change? (www.scientificamerican.com…climate-change-could-melt-chocolate-production; www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/…impacts-of-climate-on-coffee). Chocolate! My skin shivers at the thought. Can we do without? Should we do without?
- Chocolate and coffee are perennial plants and can protect understory plants and wildlife (www.climate.gov…climate-chocolate; https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2011/oct/04/green-coffee), although that’s more true with traditional coffee growing methods and not for “sun cultivation.” The Rainforest Alliance provides certification for ecologically-friendly growing methods, so look for that.
- Chocolate makes many of us sane, and coffee makes the world more efficient (www.npr.org…coffee..caffeine). There’s definitely proof in my daily routine that chocolate and coffee make humans civil (I wonder if besides becoming efficient, we became less grouchy, and that is one of the reasons war has been less frequent.) Plus, all parts, including coffee grounds, make great compost. Tea does the same thing.
- But let’s be frank, the drinks and candy bars provide little nutrition – they mostly 1) taste great; and 2) serve as drug delivery devices (DDDs). I do like the fact they make us better humans – for the most part (they have led to market crashes, and other things.) But besides making us more efficient, they helped create a better place for many people, as coffee helped get the Muppets started. http://guff.com/14-historical-events-that-might-not-have-happened-without-coffee/the-muppets.
Incredibly delicious counters
What can we do to make these DDDs counter climate change?
- Mix chocolate with nuts and fruits to make them go farther, and make healthier. Eat dark chocolate, which is also healthier (and usually vegan). Use as a sauce, and not as an end-all-and-be-all. I know that is hard. I am incredibly addicted to chocolate. A chocolate-deprived warlord comes out if I don’t have it. But mixing dark chocolate with a handful of nuts each night, and I’m happy. Or with a banana over frozen yogurt. Just saying – a delicious counter.
- Continue to buy these DDDs – as it helps sustain forest (more scrub) ecosystems, but only if the chocolate and coffee that is labeled (and certified hopefully) sustainable. If you make a coffee chocolate cake, then use organic sugar as well.
- I am wracking my brain on how to help spread the word on this, without making folks sound like pretentious trendies – e.g., being at Starbucks announcing so that all can hear “I only want organic coffee!” Perhaps instead one can announce to a friend/stranger in line, “Isn’t it awful how climate change is impacting coffee?” or “I dread the day that coffee becomes far less available due to the heat.” Then leave them wondering, thinking, and perhaps researching. Either that or they’ll have a heart attack and there’ll be one less person on the planet.
- Definitely minimize transport – buy from sources that are closer to the US. Puerto Rico grows cocoa, and they could certainly use the money. Where you buy influences the market. But I’ll do a bit more research on the closest places to buy eco-friendly chocolate.
- And of course none of us would ever waste coffee or chocolate. But do think about putting those coffee grounds in the garden! (more on composting in a blog within the month).
- Check out these actions being taken for coffee sustainability. Some present options for investing. http://globalwa.org/issues/coffee/ (although there is some debate about the impact of fair trade coffee: www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-wydick/10-reasons-fair-trade-coffee-doesnt-work).
- Other ideas will come and will be listed over time via this blog.
- P.S. If you invest in alpine land (already farmed, not virgin forest), then as the need to move coffee farmlands up higher to cooler land increases, your investment may increase. Hint, hint. Then use that money to fight climate change.
Any other ideas to add folks? Next up – seafood.