One local apple a day keeps Climate Change Anxiety away
Not all apples are the same, for sure. But we can try our best to pick a better one now than two Autumns away. After living through a very weird shopping experience during TwoThousandAndCovid, we all had to forgive ourselves about the number of things we just had to throw away; the eternal plastic bags and unrecyclable containers, not to mention the masks. Goddess-knows how far away deliveries were travelling, never questioning where they were coming from. Carbon footprint was not exactly the main concern during our survival mode couple of years; maybe now we can address Climate Change anxiety in a productive way. After all, we are also earthlings.
Inspired on the last A New Climate event promoted by the New York Times one week ago, I am sharing one troubleshooting idea today. By the way, I really want to thank journalist Cara Buckley, an agent for change, for being the vibrant soul who brought the debate to a personal level, bringing Diana Beresford-Kroeger to the panel. It was so transformative that it made me plan to research and write about how we can help the planet individually without having to make it complicated.
I will slice a very long story into small pieces of doable actions. If the current environmental crisis feels like too big of a problem for you to tackle individually, here is one of the easiest acts to make your life happier and meaningful. It’s time to embrace the notion that every little action counts in our current situation. I can guarantee you that it’s better than doing nothing. And the strategies I will propose won’t hurt!
I then chose the theme of this week: apple season is here, showing its beauty all over NYC stands. One of my favorite ways to spend time is to choose the most beautiful ones in the local farmer markets. With an empty cotton bag and an idea of how many we will eat or use until the next market, I joyfully hang out and visit as many stands as I can. Mostly, they all come from orchards not too far away.
Do you remember the last time you were looking at all the best-looking fruit options in the market and they all travelled continental distances to arrive there? I love Trader Joe’s, but It’s not difficult to find Chilean apples in the city while the high season is happening right around the corner, literally! Being an avid cook, sometimes I would fool myself and buy ingredients “from far away” just because they are already there on the grocery store shelves. If, instead, lots of people decide not to buy those far-away items, instead choosing the ones produced locally, the market will stop selling them. Chilean apples should probably stay closer to the Andes than the East River.
Here's a simple method to make choosing apples an environmentally sound decision:
1. How far did this travel to be here? Less than 200 miles by electric vehicle would be my dream. But certainly, if I live in NY and they are from New Zealand, I will leave them behind, even if they are organic and half of the price. They certainly didn’t arrive on foot.
2. Is this fruit or vegetable in season? If it’s in the farmer’s market, it probably is (unless they are using a hot house, which is good for productivity but bad for carbon emissions). But again, not all hot houses are created equal, so ask your farmer if they are planted on the soil.
3. Does it come in a plastic bag? Or can I just put it in my own reusable bag? I won’t even start about the surplus of plastic not being recycled on the planet.
4. How many can I really eat this week or use in a recipe? Buy what you will be able to eat and carry. Food waste is pollution, and I can write about it the whole day, and I will.
5. Did I walk, cycle, or take some other transportation here to buy it? Hopefully, by now you know what I mean…Burn some calories and replace with apples. How green is that?
When you have your checklist done, just make your wisest choice using common sense. To avoid getting entangled in the debate about how “carbon food-print” can be so complex, just do it. Over-information, questioning methods and numbers, can stop you and lead to inaction and depression. If you have spare money buy a couple of apples more to give away to the homeless person who is asking for food on your way home.
Food for thought:
New York Times Event: