Like many people this time of year, we’re gathering together with family and friends to share food and love. And that makes us feel conflicted. Not about our loved ones, but about how our actions are part of the global climate crisis. Travel and food are two of the major drivers of climate change.
We know catastrophic climate change is coming and we can change how bad it gets. If you need more info on this, We are the Weather by Jonathan Safran Foer is a great and moving place to learn more. We know that we, personally and collectively, aren’t doing enough to stop it. And that is overwhelming. It’s hard to know where to start. How can we get our actions to line up with our beliefs? How do we act with urgency, instead of being paralyzed by the size of the problem? Even writing this feels scary. Are people going to stop reading as soon as we mention climate change?
We hope you’ll read on, because we hope we can offer a path towards more action, more community, and more connection.
The most effective ways to make long-term change start with small changes and building habits. It’s really hard to be perfect. It’s tempting to either avoid or catastrophize, but neither tends to be very helpful. So start by choosing a small action that you feel comfortable taking and build it into a habit. We have some practical suggestions for this with food and travel
Food is a big deal. It’s such a major part of holidays, and our daily lives. A lot of us have complicated relationships with food. It’s also a major driver in climate change.
According to Worldwatch Institute, over half of climate-impacting emissions come from food production. Other sources, like a study published by the National Institutes of Health, put that percentage at “~21-37%”, which is lower, but still a huge proportion of the climate crisis. We need to get to Net Zero, and that means changing how we eat. The foods that have the biggest climate impact are animal products. We really like this article on BBC and the charts at Our World in Data to help understand which foods have the highest costs in emissions.
We want to acknowledge that food is personal and complicated for many people. This is meant to be a starting place for thinking about change, not one more way to shame people about food. Ask the questions that are right for you and listen to what your body needs. If you haven’t thought much about your diet before, now is a great time to start. If it’s been way too much of what you’ve been thinking about for way too long, we hope we don’t add to your burden. We wish you grace and food that meets your needs.
A couple of notes:
Especially after years of being in a pandemic, we want to see our loved ones. Unfortunately, traveling has a huge cost in terms of carbon emissions. Instead of thinking it’s all or nothing, let’s look at ways to start small in reducing your travel carbon footprint.
The hard truth is that we need to change because we don’t want the planet to change in truly catastrophic ways.
We aren’t putting this post out there to be holier than thou. This isn’t a list of things we are doing that you should start doing. We’ve been working on our own baby steps and we want to share what we’ve learned. Some of these we are doing, and have been for a long time. Some of these we aren’t doing yet, or aren’t doing consistently. The point isn’t to guilt or shame anyone. The point is that we all need to start moving in the ways we can. We need to get creative. We need to be supportive. We need to stop seeing attempts to make the world better as attacks on us or our ways of life and start seeing them as what we can do to protect ourselves, our families, and our world.
Reprioritizing takes time. Adjusting your habits takes time. Give yourself some grace, pick something to start with and take a step. We’ll do it together. We love you and we want to share this world with you for as long as we can.
And please let us know if you have any awesome vegan recipes! Here’s one from us: Roasted Vegetables with Tahini, Lemon & Za’atar