MSP Ross Greer, “We have rights to our planet as well as responsibilities.”
I attended a youth event “Going Green Together” at Interfaith Scotland as part of Scottish Interfaith Week 2019 Eat Share Love #SIFW19. Ross Greer MSP gave a really inspirational talk, we saw a live cooking demo and played some interactive games. Below is what I took from the event.
Not only has the planet started to break itself down, but a shortage of essentials such as water are going to increase leading us into “resource wars”. In fact, some people may not know that climate change is even a factor causing people to be forced to leave their homes, if they can no longer work and live off their land and creates more refugees. We are in a climate crisis, and although we cannot change the damage, we have caused our planet we still can recognise the urgency in a need for change. Whilst individual changes are great, it is systematic changes that we will benefit from, and this is where faith groups can help.
Agriculture is the biggest net emitter of methane, a harmful gas destructive to the planet. Not only this, but if we continuously cut down the rainforests to make room for more land for produce, then we are eliminating the main source to help clear up these gases and protect the planet. When it comes down it, big corporations are a major force speeding up climate change. Their goal is ultimately to make profit by creating product. With an ever-increasing population and increase in demand, they are absolutely driving the climate crisis.
But there is still hope, if we work together to target systematic changes. For example, we need to push for laws to be made against trading, which will harm the rainforests. Furthermore, although veganism is not necessarily a solution, and often comes with its own set of harmful effects to the planet, a reduction in the amount of meat we eat would be beneficial. Therefore, having good quality tasting vegetarian and vegan options available in the place we eat is necessary and to have these options on menus should be made mandatory.
One strong solution that stood out, was to support local grown food. Whether that be supporting local farms or having more community gardens where people can grow food. All we need for this is a small piece of land and as most faith communities do have premises it is ideal. This is good in so many ways. Importantly, it will collectively change a system of large corporations dealing with produce demand and it also directly tackles poverty, even if that poverty is within one of the richest countries like the UK. Interestingly, enough as a person’s income rises so does their impact on the environment. This means that it is those of us with cars or who frequently fly abroad for holidays who make the most contributions to pollution and those of us with more food expectations that are creating a need to export foods from countries that we do not have and build heated greenhouses in which to grow them. Therefore, eating seasonally could help this demand as we would be eating foods (preferably produced locally) that naturally exist at certain times of the year and not only would we notice health improvements, but it would improve the stress we put on our planet. Frances Park, created a programme called Cook, Taste and Take Away which is great as she shows people how to cook with what we have, and how to make it last by transforming a few simple ingredients into many different meals. I personally feel that food is a very sociable thing, I love to eat with people but this way you get to cook as a community too and take the food away.
So, everyone, let’s stop stressing our planet out! Instead let us protect the rainforests, the immigrants who likely work for very very little under slave like conditions in these farms and help the poorest in our own communities by simply eating, local and seasonally.
Zahra Krndic – #SIFW19 Ambassador