Fighting Climate Change with Food
The warning signs are crystal clear: a global climate crisis is upon us. From hurricanes and heat waves to flooding and forest fires, the consequences are impacting every corner of our planet while increasing both in frequency and intensity.
Yet another alarm bell was recently rung by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world’s leading group of experts on the subject. The IPCC's Sixth Assessment Report is a catalog of the catastrophic influence of industrial activity, offering unequivocal evidence that our planet is collapsing under the immense strain of human impact.
The IPCC report indicates that emissions from human activities have “warmed the climate at a rate that is unprecedented in at least the last 2000 years.” The UN Secretary-General António Guterres called it a “code red for humanity.”
If we continue on this track, we will fail to meet the global temperature limits set by the 2015 Paris Agreement, an international climate treaty signed by nearly every nation in the world. Unless we radically slash our carbon emissions, the word “unprecedented” will become commonplace in reference to the extreme weather events taking place across the world.
The Context and Causes of the Climate Crisis
Climate change is a complex phenomenon with a myriad of contributing factors, but one thing is definite and undeniable: its main drivers are anthropogenic—that is, caused by human activity.
The biggest culprit? Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions including carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide which trap heat in the atmosphere. Most GHGs are generated by burning fossil fuels to power electricity, heat, transportation, and manufacturing.
Agriculture—and specifically industrial agriculture—is also a massive contributor to climate change. Our world’s dominant, degenerative methods of food production are a major source of GHGs and pollution, especially when it comes to animal agriculture. But even plants can be a problem since industrial methods of growing monocultures with synthetic fertilizers and pesticides are rapidly degrading soil health.
This is troubling given that soil has the unique capacity to sequester massive amounts of carbon. By eroding the health of our world’s soils, we not only release the carbon that they store but we also hinder their ability to capture carbon in the first place.
Deforestation is another major contributor to climate change since intact forests are also big carbon sinks. And, of course, industrial agriculture happens to be one of the leading causes of deforestation.
Fortunately, agriculture has the potential to be less of a problem and more of the solution to our climate crisis.
Seeking Solutions in the Food System
If the main causes of climate change are the increase in emissions and reduction in sequestration of GHGs, then the main solutions are to reduce emissions and increase sequestration. Pursuing these goals will involve a broad coalition of stakeholders advancing a diversity of strategies across nearly every industry, discipline, and dimension of human activity.
As much as agriculture is currently accelerating climate change, it can also be key to abating it. By changing the way we grow food, we can harness the power of nature’s innate technology to capture atmospheric carbon while reducing our reliance on fossil fuels.
This is precisely the goal of “regenerative agriculture,” an approach to “farming like nature” as it’s described in the movie Kiss the Ground. Regenerative agriculture unites scientific insight with indigenous wisdom to harness the photosynthetic power of plants and the carbon-storing capacity of healthy, living soils.
For a more in-depth overview about carbon sequestration through soil regeneration, check out our blog about Kiss the Ground, the movie that’s bringing the story of regenerative agriculture to a global audience via Netflix!
What Nutiva is Doing to Fight Climate Change
From Nutiva’s inception in 1999, we’ve been committed to revolutionizing the way the world eats. This commitment is fueled by our belief that a bright future for all is rooted in healthy food. We make sure our food is a force for good for the planet and your plate.
Trace our products to the source and you’ll find that the farms where they’re grown use regenerative methods, going beyond sustainability to improve the health of the surrounding ecosystems. Rather than releasing carbon emissions by monocropping, tilling and applying chemical fertilizers and pesticides, our organic certified farms are actively pulling carbon out of the atmosphere and into the soil where it belongs.
Taking care of the planet also means taking care of its people—especially the ones that grow our food. At Nutiva, we are dedicated to furthering farmer empowerment to help break the cycles of poverty and food insecurity that keep farmers dependent upon the agrochemical industry. We are proud to partner closely with our global network of farmers, from our coconut growers in the Philippines to our avocado growers in Ethiopia, to support their stewardship of the land.
On a local level, we’re also proud to be certified by the California Green Business Network which verifies our commitment to conserving energy, preventing pollution, saving water, and reducing waste. In fact, our warehouse and headquarters are also certified by the U.S. Zero Waste Business Council given that we track all waste generated onsite and divert at least 90% of it from landfill, meeting rigorous standards for waste management. Additionally, as a Climate Collaborative Leader in OSC² (One Step Closer to an Organic and Sustainable Community) we work in collaboration with other natural food brands to address the toughest sustainability problems facing our industry and our planet while leveraging the power of the natural products industry to reverse climate change.
Finally, we believe education and storytelling are powerful levers in the fight against climate change. To this end we partner with local community organizations like Common Vision and Planting Justice which are equipping rising generations of conscious eaters and activists with food and garden education. Meanwhile on a global scale, we’re proud supporters of Kiss the Ground, a film bringing the story of regenerative agriculture to a global audience via Netflix.
All in all, every Nutiva product purchased helps to fuel these efforts and further our mission to build a bright future for all.
What You Can Do to Fight Climate Change
We need all hands on deck to address climate change. As a global crisis it will take a global effort to make a difference. Here are some of the things you can do to take action as soon as today:
- Choose food consciously - By choosing foods that are grown sustainably and better yet regeneratively, you can help support farmers who are taking care of our planet on the frontlines of the climate crisis. Why not start with our regeneratively grown Avo-Conscious Organic Avocado Oil?
- Deep your understanding - Host a Kiss the Ground watch party, tune in to podcasts like How to Save a Planet and The Climate Question, or dive into books like Drawdown and All We Can Save.
- Get involved - Plug in to the movement as a volunteer through organizations like Extinction Rebellion or pursue a career in climate action with the help of platforms like Climatebase.