I am currently reading two books: Eaarth by Bill McKibben and Diet for a Hot Planet by Anna Lappe. Both talk about climate change: the first explains how climate change has already happened and inexorably continues changing the planet we have known as our only home. The second shows the dual relationship between climate change and the way we eat (or not) and how food production and type of food create more emissions, which equal more climate change.
Watch this excellent video about the connection between Climate Change and Food Security:
I am also designing an online course about food security using Moodle (unfortunately, the course won’t be available for the public because the shell I’m using was given to me by the institution, but I’ll try my best to share it after graduating, I may need to rent a server…) and juggling a second course on climate change impacts in BC and Canada.
The more I read and learn, the more I understand the facts that we won’t stop or change our lifestyles and that the climate will continue changing…
(If you don’t believe me, read this article on the status of current negotiations: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-zeller-jr/global-climate-negotiations_b_3428796.html )
But the overwhelming facts and trends, the articles and the books just the tip of the iceberg: the problem is way more complex: we live among deniers, wishful thinkers, opportunistic, nihilists and daydreamers…
In the meantime, nothing gets done…
Do we still have time for mitigation? No. Wake up, climate change is already here (it is affecting people around the world through rising sea levels, floods, fires and desertification, increase on storms, hurricanes and tornadoes, changing harvest seasons, insects and animals livelihoods, behaviours and habitat, it is creating “environmental refugees”, destroying city sewage systems and affecting insurance…); does this mean we should stop working on mitigation efforts such as changing what we eat, how we move through the city, where an how we live or what we buy? Again, the response to this is no; we should continue making changes, looking for those who want to change but don’t know where to start and providing support to each other for this difficult transition.
But we also (and urgently) have to start working on mitigation: mitigate the impacts climate change will have in our communities, families and us as individuals.
And what are those changes we have to prepare for? Nobody knows for sure, but one of the key pieces that will be affected is food security: did you know that BC imports 95% of the fruits, 75% of the vegetables and 65% of the fish we consume? (Check here: http://www.phsa.ca/NR/rdonlyres/4530CBF6-1F06-4DD8-8FC6-304D52EB9F47/0/ClimatechangeinfosheetFINAL.pdf )
Other areas we will be impacted are water (through water scarcity and contamination), housing (fires, floods, storms) and health ( hot waves and dry seasons, increase of alien insects and rodents as they move to areas where the soil and the air have became warmer, and due to water contamination and food scarcity).
How can one prepare for all this?
This is what I am doing:
- Becoming certified First Aid trainer (this way, I can help others to deliver first aid and do it myself, the more people we have with these skills, the better)
- Becoming fully aware of the available resources and initiatives around food security and providing them a helping hand ( projects such as community gardens in every neighbourhood and community kitchens among friends or neighbours are great examples, but some of these are institutionalized and run by non-profits)
- Learning Permaculture: the more I learn about it, the more I love it. It is not a panacea, but can help healing the soil and adapting to a changing climate that will require crop diversity for us to survive)
- Teaching about Emergency Preparedness: it is said that if you are truly prepared for an earthquake, you are prepared for anything. And it is true: because the changes you have to do, the plans and the preparation for home, family and neighbours help to face almost anything, from storms to wars.
- Learning how to save seeds; this week I’m saving my first seeds. When biodiversity is at stake and seeds become a commodity, you better grow your own food (or in community gardens with your neighbours) and learn how to save the seeds, because they may become too expensive or just disappear.
- Learning how to preserve the harvest when is in season: you can save money and have fun, but also make sure that you have for when is none around.
- Buying from local farmers’ markets and joining a CSA (mine is Sun Dog veggies http://sundogveggies.wordpress.com/about/ two blocks from my house )
There are many more things one can do, but we do what we can with the time and resources we have. What are you doing to prepare for mitigation?
Food Security BC:
Food Skills for families: http://www.foodskillsforfamilies.ca/
Food Preservation: http://www.preserveproduce.ca/workshops
BC Farmers markets: http://www.bcfarmersmarket.org/
BC Food Security Gateway: http://www.bcfoodsecuritygateway.ca/
Videos on how to preserve food: http://www.preserveproduce.ca/resources?page=1
Farm to School resources: http://www.phabc.org/modules.php?name=Farmtoschool&pa=showpage&pid=288#.Ubu-wJy0Qw9
Food Security and Climate Change: http://www.whyhunger.org/portfolio?topicId=21