Posted by: A Part of the Solution | April 14, 2011

Karma and the Low-Carbon Footprint Kitchen

I’ve said it before, and I’ll undoubtedly say it again: every dollar you spend is a vote for ‘your’ values. That candy bar in your bag, with HFCS in it, is a vote for Big Ag, Big Chemical (hello Monsanto, I’m talking to you), and poor health in later life. Sad, but true.

Your handheld knock-off from China is a vote for toxic manufacturing  and ugly human rights practices. Your dinner from Domino’s Pizza is a vote for removing a person’s right to self-determine how, when and under what conditions she may choose reproduction. Conscientious consumerism is tedious when it’s first adopted, but it does become easier over time.

Let’s talk a little about kitchen staples. There are lots of little choices in our diets which have the potential to add up to a strong message from the consumer to the producers. The impact of these choices can’t be overstated. Feeling confident in your purchasing decisions also allows you to be more comfortable helping others to see how changes in their shopping basket assortment can change the whole world.

Let’s look at herbs and spices first. We cook with them every week. Our food tastes better, and provides us with more health support (nutroceuticals), on account of them. Did you know that all non-organic, imported herbs and spices are irradiated? Did you know the USDA (and its lobbying clientele) ensured the legislation would be passed in such a way that labeling these products as ‘irradiated’ would NOT be a requirement under the law? Are many health benefits in food stuffs compromised by irradiation?

You may decide for yourself–but I would encourage you to find these products in an organic variant. I love, and trust, Frontier Herbs. Their full line is available on-line (and they really do carry just about everything in organic).

Coffee and chocolate grow in tropical highlands around the world. Grown commercially, they reduce native plant/wildlife/birdlife diversity. They use water at an astounding rate–whether their environment can sustain the drain on its resources or not. And they are sprayed with DDT and other persistent pesticides (i.e. those which do not breakdown rapidly and are broad spectrum–killing everything rather than targeting a specific pest). Yes, DDT is illegal in the US, and has been since 1972. Yes, it’s patent is held by US companies. Yes, in 1984 over 300 metric tonnes of the stuff was shipped overseas. And yes, most countries signed off on the Stockholm Convention in 2004, ratifying their agreement not to use it anymore.

So why does one hundred percent of the commercially grown chocolate tested for DDT come back positive (we’re talking over one hundred and fifty brands)? Will choosing organic coffee and chocolate make a huge impact on the fragile environments in which they’re grown? If we help through our shopping choices to reduce the application of all persistent pesticides at the tops of these ecosystems, the world we save may be our own.

And yes, we’ll be selecting for less heavy and toxic industrial activity all around the world if we choose organic–since herbicides, fungicides, pesticides and synthetic fertilizers are automatically excluded from the cultivation practice of a plant grown organically. Shrink your carbon-footprint. Enhance your position as a citizen of the world. Go organic, and watch your karma blossom in a good way.

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