"Climate, meet Food. Food, Climate, meet Eco-Equity."
I think it’s safe to say that for many, Thanksgiving is such a beloved holiday because of how much time we get to spend thinking about food. But in that lazy down time, there are climate connections to food and environmental justice to let circle thoughtfully through your tryptophan-induced state.
Thanksgiving is most certainly an exception to the following (so no need to feel lazy as you veg.), but it’s worth knowing what health experts are saying these days about food and climate: Diet and driving habits both have implications on your weight and the climate.
So say you start to get pro-active about the food you consume, what other climate connections are there? Are what does it matter to equality?
In recent years, we’ve seen a trend in people caring much more about their food’s story – how it got to their table, how it was grown, whether it was processed, and its general social impact. It’s one form of an eco-movement that has swept our country, er, mostly our country’s white demographic, and it has implications for how the climate movement should proceed.
Van Jones, President of the Ella Baker Center in Oakland, CA (and most recently, also a fellow at the Center for American Progress), is one of the most outspoken voices on the issue of race, class and the environmental movement. A good example of his work is Beyond Eco-Apartheid, which I highly recommend reading.
It’s a quick history of environmentalism in the U.S. through a social lens and is abundantly informative for the present day. Jones scrutinizes what is an often overlooked privilege for white people in the U.S. – the ability to make environmentally conscious decisions, like eating organic or being able to afford homes close to public transportation hubs.
Like it or not, accurate or not, intentional or not, the green movement has historically seen color and class. But Jones (and many others) say – No Longer. It’s time to move from ‘eco-apartheid’ to eco-equity.
Green-collar jobs are emerging as the progressive face of unifying all Americans behind a clean energy economy. Creating new, green jobs not only provides employment and constructs the necessary infrastructure (solar panel installation), but it’s an environmentally conscious way for the climate movement to move forward without excluding demographics.
And for some, no matter how successful organic food, biking for transportation, or energy efficient light bulbs become, unless the climate movement has a base unified across race, class, party line, et cetera, it will ultimately fail to reach the height it needs (and could and should reach).