Skip to content
Sustainability β€” Food β€” Climate

🍏 "Why Eating for Climate is so Complicated"


Photo by Pablo MerchΓ‘n Montes / Unsplash

Hosts: Tamar Haspel & Mike Grunwald
Category: 🍏 Sustainable Food | Eating for Climate

Subscribe now

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[7:45] MG: β€œWe already generate a third of all our greenhouse gas emissions from our food system, which I think a lot of people don't realize. A quarter of our emissions come from agriculture. […] Right now, if you want to think of the Earth, the built environment that we all hang out on is like 1% of it and the rest of it is agriculture and nature. And the basic problem is that now we're having too much agriculture and not enough nature. Deforestation is a 10th of our emissions and that is almost entirely driven by agriculture moving into forests. And as the population grows, and we need more food to feed the world, that's going to become an even bigger problem. So farmers are going to have to grow the calorie equivalent of 800 Olive Garden breadsticks for every human being alive every year. That's a lot of carbs.”

[9:38] TH: β€œWhile we're doing that, we also have to give people nutritious foods that they're actually going to eat. We have to make sure that people have access to foods that are culturally appropriate. We need to take care of animal welfare issues. We need to make sure that farm workers have decent conditions and appropriate compensation. I think it's super important to keep local agriculture afloat. How do we prioritize?”

[10:13] MG: β€œWe are currently on track to deforest another two Indias worth of land by 2050 in order to feed the world. And that would be game over for the climate. And we depend on the climate to keep this place habitable. This is the only planet we've got. […] It ought to be a priority. Because if you care about inequality, if you care about the plight of the poor, if you care about people eating nutritious food, an at least tolerable climate is a prerequisite.”

[21:18] MG: β€œThere are a lot of people who think they're doing right for the climate with their food, who don't necessarily know. It's a space, like so many in our current society, a lot of it is vibes based, a lot of it is ideology based. There's a feeling that a food is more natural, if it's more organic, if it's local, if you buy it at the farmers market, if it's colorful, people have all kinds of ideas about what makes good food.”

[22:37] TH: β€œA lot of climate friendliness when it comes to food doesn't come down to which choices individuals make. It comes down to how we produce those foods. And I know I said, it's totally different from energy, because it's a pull system and not a push system. But it's certainly true that some of the practices that go into growing the food that we eat, can mitigate some of the effects and can be virtually transparent to the end user. So it isn't all on eaters, there's a lot of stuff that can go on behind the scenes.”

[23:24] MG: β€œThere has been this move in the climate movement to sort of say, […] we're not here to tell you about your choices. Your choices don't matter. These are really systemic issues. It's corporate, it's the government. There's that famous statistic that 100 corporations produced two thirds of our emissions. […] It’s bullshit. First of all, those are all fossil fuel companies that they're talking about. […] But those fossil fuel companies, you know, whatever badnesses they're guilty of, they are not forcing anybody to drive their Ford Explorer to the mall. Our choices matter too. If we think that climate is a crisis, and it really is, then I think we have to treat it like a crisis. […] And that doesn't mean that we all have to be perfect. […] But we can at least have the knowledge of what better is.”

[24:48] TH: β€œBetter is better than worse. […] Food is all trade offs all the time. There's no one food that's going to be ideal for the environment, for animal welfare, for farmers.”

Rating: 🍏🍏🍏

πŸŽ™οΈ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
πŸ•°οΈ 28 min | πŸ—“οΈ 06/21/2022
βœ… Time saved: 26 min

Subscribe now