Eating is activism!
The more aware we are of how our food choices impact our community and our habitat, the better activists we can be. One could easily make the case that right now there is no issue that looms larger on the horizon than climate change. Every bit of data points to the fact that our earth is warming – and, as it continues to warm, the navigation of future generations as we near the 22nd century, will be very different unless we make some important changes, and according to climate scientists, those changes need to begin immediately.
If you’re wanting to get involved and make a difference – the most powerful and impactful thing you can do is to eat local, organic, and sustainably raised food! There is no other form of activism that will have a greater impact on our community and its longevity.
The global climate is warming at an alarming rate, and our conventional agricultural system is a significant contributor to the earth’s warming, because it currently generates about 25% of total greenhouse gas emissions. Without action, that percentage will rise substantially as other sectors reduce their emissions. A major contributor to agricultural greenhouse emissions is pesticide use. Not only do pesticides affect our health and the environment, but they also play a part, both directly and indirectly, in climate change. When pesticides are made, three main greenhouse gases are emitted: carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. In addition to their release of damaging greenhouse gas emissions, it’s also well documented that pesticides can contaminate soil, water, turf, and other vegetation. In addition to killing insects or weeds, pesticides can be toxic to a host of other organisms including birds, fish, beneficial insects, and non-targeted plants.
Fossil fuels are used in the production of pesticides. The use of pesticides supports highly unsustainable food and farming systems, and they affect the soil’s ability to sequester carbon. The soil is one of our largest carbon sinks. However, over 30% of soils worldwide are degraded by unsustainable land management. In a vicious cycle, more fertilizers are then required to provide the soil’s missing nutrients and highly fertilized plants become more attractive to pests, leading farmers to apply even more pesticides. Global comparisons between organic and conventional farming systems show that organic farms hold more carbon in total and sequester at a rate approximately 14 times higher than with conventional farming practices.
Like sustainable agriculture, buying locally raised food also plays a critical role in mitigating the impact of climate change. Buying locally produced food saves on environmental costs like transportation and refrigeration which both take a great toll on the environment. It’s not just the food miles that are the problem (our typical food travels an average of 1,500 miles from farm to table, while locally raised food travels an average of only 50 miles from farm to table) – it’s that every one of those tractor trailers, filled with fresh produce and traveling from the west coast to the east coast, is refrigerated in order to maintain the quality of the food. Temperature-controlled transportation generates far more emissions than non-refrigerated transport because of the extra fuel requirements for cooling and because of leakage of refrigerant as they travel across the country.
Each time a diesel engine operates (and these refrigerated trucks run on diesel fuel), it emits air pollutants and exhaust particulates into the surrounding community. Diesel exhaust is a mixture of thousands of gases and fine particles that contains more than 40 toxic air contaminants. These include many known or suspected cancer-causing substances, such as benzene, arsenic, and formaldehyde. Our food transportation system puts millions of these diesel-burning refrigerated trucks on the road each year.
So, we have a choice. We can support our communities and protect our future by choosing to eat locally and sustainably raised food, or we can choose the well-worn path of our current conventional food system . . . one that seems easy and convenient but produces dire and irreversible outcomes. Choosing to eat locally raised, organic, certified naturally grown (CNG), regenerative, and sustainably raised foods is how you can make a difference. Put your activism to work!
Choose Local. Choose Organic. Choose Mother Earth Food.