What times those in which buying food did not imply a constant ethical exercise, when we did not value if what we bought was fair, local, ecological and without child labor. Today it is time to do an exercise of reflection to ensure that each food that we acquire does not worsen the ecological situation, and if possible, improves the life of those who have produced it.
It happens to us when we have to decide whether to buy a mango from Brazil and not some apples that come from Asturias, because of the zero kilometer consumption. Aren’t we contributing to climate change with the long journey this fruit has made? Although we like to have some variety on the table, we also have to think that everyone has to live, but wouldn’t it be enough for them to sell the mangoes in Brazil and we eat what we have nearby? Why do we tend to focus these reasonable ethical questions on food and not on clothes or furniture? How easy it was to buy before we knew about climate change!
How easy it was to buy before we knew about climate change!
These reflections are the daily bread of many people when it comes to consuming, and more so in these times. The world food system is facing the perfect storm: expensive oil, scarce fertilizers and two of the great grain exporters at war. The World Food Program (WFP) announces an unprecedented disaster for the population at risk of hunger: “The rises in food and oil prices are raising the WFP’s monthly operating costs by up to 71 million US dollars per month (66 million euros). ), which reduces their ability to respond to hunger crises around the world.”
The number of people in food crisis has doubled between 2016 and 2021, going from 94 million to 180 in the 39 countries that have usually been in food crisis during these years. Climate change threatens to worsen the situation in the medium term, with decreases in agricultural yields announced already for the next decade.
What part of these problems can be solved with our consumption decisions? Is local consumption a good decision? How much does it help reduce carbon emissions? Who benefits and who harms? Under what conditions is it worth promoting? We explain it in this video, the first of a series of three that aims to help us better understand the food system, in order to make the right personal decisions.
Our purchasing decisions have an impact, but it is not what we sometimes think. It is not about assessing where the food comes from, but what we eat. The climate impact occurs above all in production and not in transport. And even if that were the case, there is something that we will always have to keep in mind: the majority of less developed countries live from agricultural production for export. Their urban markets are too small compared to the percentage of the rural population to be a significant outlet for their production. They need to export to live. And their carbon footprint, let’s keep it in mind, is always much less than ours in rich countries, so they have every right to send their exports by plane, if they wish.
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