Food Movement Helps Address Climate Crisis

Just finished J Purdy’s After Nature: A Politics for the Anthropocene – which makes clear that a sharp distinction between humans and “nature” is no longer useful or accurate. 

Our world is increasingly one we’ve made – in which politics, economy and ecology are all in near-perpetual crisis.  Purdy suggests that these crises, as revealed by climate change, are also opportunities for taking shared global responsibility.  He sees the current food movement, including locally oriented agriculture, as offering a way to make abstract ecological values (e.g., interdependence, integration, humility) concrete, and part of our daily lives.  Some question include:

How does or could the food movement help address crises of politics, economy and ecology?
What incentives could move industrial agriculture toward lower fossil fuel intensity?  Which incentives could increase the share of locally-oriented farms?
What would best communicate the climate implications of people’s food choices and encourage them to move to a more climate-friendly diet?
Any thoughts about these questions?  What questions do you have?




There's no shortage of

There's no shortage of research on how a reduction in the consumption of animal protein - specifically beef - would substantially reduce global methane emissions, as well as free up land

and resources for other agricultural endeavors. A good place to begin is with the 2006 publication Livestock's Long Shadow

It seems like plant-based diets are most often adopted for their health benefits, and not their environmentally friendly status. It makes me wonder: are people more inclined to make food choices knowing it will benefit themselves personally over benefitting the planet? I suppose if a person's aim is to improve his or her health, the results of eating a plant-based diet are far easier to notice than if making the choice for the planet. How could both messages be combined to garner more awareness about the impact of dietary choices?

Laura Howells's picture

I think one of the big issues

I think one of the big issues here is that people simply aren't aware of the impact the food they eat (and where it has come from) has on the environment.

I love - which lets you see how far your food has traveled. This could be an interesting thing to teach in schools in food class.

The difficulty with local farms is that they are usually on the more expensive end and therefore are only available to more affluent pockets of society. I'd be interested to know how you think we could make locally farmed food more available, David?