The people that will suffer the most by climate change will have had the least to do with causing it… that is a truly disappointing and sad reality. It is difficult to think about how to place myself within that spectrum from cause to effect, responsibility and helplessness. I try to make ethically sound decisions and support initiatives to address global concerns of the environment, but I also can only go so far within the constraints (and let’s face it, that’s really what they are) of my life as an American citizen. I am not going to go completely off-grid and drop out of society. How can I as an individual truly change the inevitable rapid depletion of our environmental health (for that is what seems will be the case)? My personal choices as a resident of planet earth, sharing it with every other person… All I can do is be mindful and do the best I can, and be grateful for what I have and for what the earth provides. I can support and promote sustainable best practices and hope that if enough like-minded people do the same, there’s at least hope of significantly slowing the process of humans destroying the planet.
How do I employ the same mindfulness and proactivity when it comes to the food I eat and my choices as a consumer? Do my choices of buying local and organic, and not eating very much red meat, really even affect the global food system’s impact of climate change?
I guess I have a lot more questions than answers. As it is right now, there seems to be no feasible way to feed the human population in a way that does not exacerbate the problem of climate change. The hydrocarbons and chlorofluorocarbons involved in the production, transportation, and storage of food cannot easily be curbed. I see no chance whatsoever of petroleum use ceasing until the earth has been totally sucked dry, and even after that humans will undoubtedly find ways to keep reusing and burning all the already existent petroleum-based things in the world. People will also not stop eating meat, no matter how vocal the vegan warriors are, so environmental pollutants from livestock production will not likely see any decline. Grain crops remain the foundation of food for all humans, and for most farmed animals; the equipment and fertilizers and water needed to grow all of it stands no chance of decrease.
The best we can hope for is simply less–and less rapid–climate change. The right thing to do (that is, being eco-conscious and making what effort one can on the individual level, which [hopefully] continues to inspire governmental policy reform) will remain the right thing to do. That is a constant.