Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@cfair.ca. Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@crfair.ca.

LOCAL FLAVOUR: How choosing food plays into the climate change war

Linda Geggie is the executive director with the CR-FAIR

Many have watched with interest the swell of climate activism this fall. Young spokespeople like Greta Thunberg and other young leaders across the globe have inspired people to bring more visibility to the growing concerns being raised by climate science in a series of climate strikes. Young Canadians are even taking the Canadian Government to court to drive home the need for action.

Often overlooked in climate conversations is the role that our food plays. Growing and distributing food globally is estimated to contribute to over one third of human greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The United Nations International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) points to agriculture as being responsible for 40 per cent of the Methane released into the atmosphere. This is important because as far as GHG’s go, Methane is a major bad ass gas, being 21 times more impactful than Co2 in its action to absorb energy in the atmosphere and cause temperature rise.

Since the 1800s, there has been a significant shift to industrial agriculture production systems. Over this period, a mere 200 years, in part due to increases in food supply, the earth’s population has grown from just over 1 billion to 7 billion. That is a lot of humans to feed. We are learning the impacts of the global food system on our resources are vast.

The UN IPCC’s report published in August of this year digs deep into the science of what is happening and provides some important strategies that could be put in place immediately to work to turn things around. The report also determines that “People currently use one quarter to one third of land’s potential net primary production for food, feed, fiber, timber and energy.” That is all for us. It does not include meeting the needs of the other 8 million species on the planet.

As a citizen the choices we make about what we eat are complex. Choices are associated with our income, culture, mobility, health, our food skills and other factors.

READ MORE: Farm Whisperer tackles tough subject of farm succession

Climate Connection in Manitoba provides some helpful guidelines they call the Rule of Five Ns.

1. Nearby: Buy food produced by farmers that live close by, to greatly reduce the pollution created from transporting food all around the world. We also know that farmers here are required to abide by a certain amount of environmental regulations that may not be present in other regions.

2. Naked: Choose food that doesn’t have a lot of packaging.

3. Nutritious: Put your dollars into food that is highly nutritious.

4. New now: Eat fruits and veggies at the time of year they grow or grow your own.

5. Natural: try to eat whole foods when you can and with less chemicals

These strategies are the tip of the iceberg in helping to navigate climate friendly foods.

There is a lot we can do both individually but also as businesses and governments. The District of Saanich is taking climate change seriously with goals to reduce carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. Through working with the District and the OnePlanet Saanich initiative, participants are also looking at regional food systems and what can be done to reach the 2030 targets (oneplanetsaanich.org).

To learn more about climate change and food systems you can attend the Climate Panel at the regional Good Food Summit held this November, more info at www.goodfoodnetwork.info/the-good-food-summit

Linda Geggie is the executive director with the Capital Region Food and Agriculture Initiatives Roundtable and can be reached at lgeggie@crfair.ca.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Motion for Saanich to stand with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in pipeline debate postponed

One week delay provides more time to build community support, councillor says

Rain Walk returns Saturday to raise funds for cancer support

Rain Walk group Team Teal indebted to Inspire Health

UPDATED: Pat Bay Highway blockade ends three hours later

About 80 people from four major Peninsula First Nations blocking major highway

Central Saanich Police prepared for afternoon shut-down of Highway 17

Sgt. Paul Brailey questions efficacy of protest

Saanich students get on board Walking School Bus

Rogers Elementary students led by teachers and Saanich Police in new initiative

VIDEO: Province promotes ‘lifting each other up’ on 13th annual Pink Shirt Day in Victoria

Students, MLAs, community members gathered at B.C. Parliament Buildings Wednesday

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Feb. 25

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Prepare for new coronavirus like an emergency, health minister advises

About 81,000 people around the world have now become ill with COVID-19

B.C. residents in Wet’suwet’en territory have right to police presence: Public Safety Minister

Nevertheless, Bill Blair said officials remain ‘very anxious’ for the barricades to come down

Winnipeg police investigating graffiti on RCMP and other buildings

Manitoba Justice Minister Cliff Cullen denounced the vandalism

B.C. seniors’ watchdog calls for better oversight after recent problems at Retirement Concepts care homes

‘There is no financial incentive right now to be a good operator’ - Isobel Mackenzie

Trucking company fined $175K for Kootenay creek fuel spill

Decision handed down last Friday in Nelson court

B.C. Liberals call for ban on foreign funds to pipeline protesters

Sierra Club, Wilderness Committee back Coastal GasLink blockades

Most Read