Friday, June 8, 2007

Yeah, When Hell Freezes Over...

The Washington Post yesterday confirmed what we've all been hearing: Greenland is melting.

According to the Post's front-page account, that could eventually mean people in Manhattan will someday be treading water. Or that we here overlooking the Nation's Capitol might someday be sitting on waterfront property.

But for now, the people in Greenland itself are pretty happy. Average temperatures have risen 11 degrees since the 1990s. The ships in the harbor aren't frozen in year-round any more. There's more pasture for more weeks out of the year to fatten sheep. The cod grounds, which hadn't seen any fish since the 1960s, are now teeming with cod again.

But why should a food blog care about what's happening in Greenland?

Writing for this blog almost daily the past several months I've learned less about food than about how we can't just eat our way through the next century. Even cooks have to consider themselves part of what's happening to Planet Earth. You wouldn't know it by reading the local food section, but we cooks do in fact play a role in global warming, rampant consumerism, environmental degradation...

You can't grill a piece of tuna without wondering where it was caught, how it was caught and whether there will be any left next year. How many miles did that out-of-season fruit salad travel before you picked it up in a neat little plastic container at the supermarket? Do we really need a 1,000-square-foot kitchen with wall-to-wall granite, Sub-Zero fridge and Viking stove? Or the under-the-cabinet, flat-screen TV to watch The News Hour while we're microwaving dinner?

Do we really need to eat so much?

In fact, we all need to take stock of what's happening globally and consider whether we can live simpler, more sustainable lives. So I was bound sooner or later to run across blogs such as No Impact Man and Simple Living. They represent the growing numbers of people who not only eat, but are adjusting their personal lives to the new reality of a shrinking, ailing planet. They are trying to do something about it by leading simpler, less consumer-driven lives.

So I've added a new feature to The Slow Cook, a listing called Treading Lighter on Planet Earth where you can link to the voices of all kinds of folk who are concerned about where we are headed as a civilization. They are showing us how we as individuals can become more aware and make a difference through our everyday choices. I hope you will take a look.

And this doesn't mean we can't eat well. Oh, no. We will definitely eat well. But we will do so a bit more consciously, with a lighter step.

4 comments:

Sara said...

A very thought provoking article.
You might be interested to read the www.peakfood.co.uk website which discusses issues relating to food production and climate change.
Sara from farmingfriends

Ed Bruske said...

Thanks for the link, Sara. That's a good website...

leanne.wilcox said...

The way things are going the human race certainly won't have enough to eat well. By 2025 there wil be 8 billion people on our planet and a lot less fish and good agricultural land than there is now. A massive 20,000 square miles of dry land that was productive in some way becomes desert each year. Added to that land is lost when it is turned into sites for housing, airport and industry. And, it's no good saying we can just knock down these things if we find we need the land again, because by that time it will have lost its fertility.

I believe there could be a Famine in the West by 2025 and have written an Ebook about it on www.peakfood.co.uk.

Ed Bruske said...

leanne, The Club of Rome was forecasting something along these lines 30 years ago, but most people chose not to listen. Now it seems to be unfolding faster than anyone anticipated.

At some point Wal-Mart's rolling warehouses will have ground to a halt and maybe we'll be digging up the parking lots to plant corn. We'll have chosen Cuba as our examplar for sustainable agriculture.

Meanwhile, maybe we should tune up our bicycles and learn how to make compost...Thanks for the link to your e-book.