Combat Climate Change & Promote Equity by Improving our Food System
by Bruce Wiggins, Earth Justice Ministry.
Our food system exacerbates climate change and inequality. Here are ideas for addressing these issues. Our Earth Justice Ministry urges you to consider these for Thanksgiving.
Author and activist Paul Hawken started the Drawdown Project, identifying 100 actions that can reverse global warming. Among them: renewable energy, educating girls, family planning, and public transportation. The single biggest sector for effective change is our food system, with 17 solutions identified – many of which will actually produce financial savings. The two with the biggest savings in greenhouse gas emissions are reducing food waste and adopting a plant-rich diet. You can read about all 100 solutions at www.Drawdown.org.
Inequality in our Food System
Our food system is killing too many of us. Food writer Michael Pollan says our food is creating health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. And these are precisely the health problems that predispose people to death from COVID-19. These health effects are affecting poor people and people of color disproportionately. See here: https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2020/06/11/covid-19-sickness-food-supply/.
Promoting the Local Food Economy, Reducing Food Miles
One of the easily understood concepts related to climate change is “food miles” – the distance our food travels. Greenhouse gas emissions come from transporting our food. Supporting our local economy reduces food miles, helps address climate change, and provides local jobs.
Emergency Food System Support
Our emergency food system is a network of homeless shelters and “food banks.” They provide critical services and are being overwhelmed by the need during this pandemic. You can provide vital support with our church programs to deliver food at the Guest House and Cathedral Center. The Interchange Food Pantry, of which First Church is a member, provides food to hungry people. Other food pantries are throughout the city, and nonprofits such as Hunger Task Force and Feeding America provide vital services.