Things have changed.
The fork is now mightier than the ballot box.
Sounds crazy? Let’s look at some facts about climate change and our food.
1600-page National Climate Assessment concluded that climate change threatens our health by extreme weather, new diseases, more pests and insects, and damage to food and water supplies. The National Academy of Science estimates that for every degree the global thermostat rises, crop production decreases by at least 15%.
Washington rolled back 80 federal regulations protecting the environment, dropped out of the Paris Climate Accords, and signed an executive order for all federal agencies to loosen or eliminate regulations on fossil fuels – all major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.
The Orange Man in the White House claims, “I know much about climate change . . . and I don’t believe in it.”
A ban on the insecticide chlorpyrifos, produced by Dow Chemicals, was reversed. It’s used on fruits and vegetables. Even small exposure increases learning disabilities, developmental delays, and possible brain damage in fetuses and young children.
Dow donated $1 million to Mr. Trump.
The American Petroleum Institute (API), the premier lobby group of the oil and gas industry, funds people, politicians, organizations, and legislation that deny climate change.
Rex Tillerson, Trump’s former Secretary of State, was ExxonMobile’s CEO – a company that contributes $20 million each year to API.
Maine Republican Senator Susan Collins wrote about climate change that we should all “take a harder look at the consequences of inaction.”
“The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News,” tweeted Trump. “It’s Fake Science.”
What can you do?
Vote now! With your fork.
A quarter of global greenhouse emissions comes from food. You can make a difference by adjusting what’s on your dinner plate.
Sharon Palmer, nutritionist and sustainability expert notes, “research consistently shows that drastically reducing animal food intake and mostly eating plant foods is one of the most powerful things you can do to reduce your impact on the planet.”
Meet the laughing cows.
We all know Elsie, the Wall Street Bull, and Mrs. O’Leary’s infamous cow. These days, there’s a lot more to beef, dairy, and jumping over the moon.
Multiple studies have shown that when you replace animal foods with plant foods you can help save the planet. It’s not an all or nothing deal. Just adjust your choices.
Beef and other animal products make up over half of global greenhouse gas emissions from food. If you eat beef or animal products twice a week it’s equivalent to the same greenhouse gas emissions as driving 1500 miles a year.
There are many reasons – the cost of feed (which has to be grown), pastures, transportation to market, and the natural elimination of methane gases. Add manure, deforestation for more pastureland, and slow growth in comparison to crop proteins.
It’s estimated that the global demand for beef, by mid-century, will increase by 90%.
We need to do something! Try switching a few meals to burgers and sausages that taste and look like meat but don’t have a drop of critter in them.
The same for dairy. Try soy, almond, or cashew milk. Ever have ice cream made from coconut milk? How about soy cheese or almond yogurt? It’s waiting for you in the supermarket.
It’s a win-win. What’s good for the Earth is also good for you.
Researchers have found that these Earth-healthy changes are also important to human health. Here are a few tips:
- Eat less meat! Add a “meatless Monday.” Try Impossible and Beyond Burgers – you’ll love them. There’s also mushroom, quinoa, and vegan burgers.
- Use organic food (grown without chemicals that pollute the water and soil).
- Buy local foods to avoid shipping that depend on fossil fuels.
- Choose produce grown outside or in hi-tech greenhouses that don’t use fossil fuels.
- Stay away from all processed foods. Recent research has linked them to increased cancer rates.
- Make fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, seeds, and nuts a bigger part of your diet.
- Take action! Vote against climate change deniers, support environmental groups, and speak to your family and friends about voting with their forks!
It’s in your hands.