INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FORESTS
I hear that March 21 is the day to celebrate our oxygen givers. Another UN establishment, International Day of Forests was launched in 2012 to raise awareness about the importance of not only green spaces but biodiversity in all the ecosystems that inhabit our beautiful planet.
Man (yes, Donald) is destroying planet Earth – or what at least remains of it. And despite the generating effort for a more respectful environment, there is still a lot that needs to be done. And as a young, privileged woman, I am well aware of my involvement in this process. Of how deep we are involved in this. Without forcing my ideology onto your head, I just want to use this post to help you understand that some habits that we have, harmless at first sight, can have the impact of an earthquake on local economies, far far away from our concrete towers and #firstworldproblems.
What does my breakfast have to do with deforestation, you’re gonna ask. Everything, my dear. Just everything. Food has become a major aspect of lifestyle, and like every lifestyle niche it is now seriously ruled by the appearing and disappearing of trends. These trends, when guiding a globalized audience who apparently can’t make a decision without the directions of strangers, reach further and wider than a few morning plates. Avocado and quinoa are great examples of what feeding our obsessions actually costs to producers and land. In Mexico, illegal deforestation cases increased in the past few years due to the never-stopping popularity of the green superfood. With an increasing demand, and coincidentally a decrease of production due to climate, prices keep rising. At the end of the day, avocado is so expensive that the person who cultivates it won’t even be able to purchase it. And the quinoa song goes the same beat. The gluten-free tribe (I mean, not the intolerants, the others) are partly responsible for this situation. It is always easy to point fingers at big groups, pictured as the great Lucifers of our time but sitting on a chair eating this quinoa and avocado salade while requesting that they do the job of reducing production and trade by themselves is a bit too much of a dream. Do something (if you care) and even if not for the harvesting lady do it for your planet as chemicals used throughout the process are not our best friends.
Palm oil is also another big problem although less recent than the craze for avocado and quinoa. We are slowly, very little step by little step, evolving towards a consumer’s society that take in consideration the planet and its forests. With entire forests in Indonesia completely burnt down just to make room for palm oil plants, it wasn’t an easy task for activists to incept a notion of guilt in the mind of the industrials. And to paraphrase Nicole Ferroni, there was so much pressure that the latter do write it in bold capital letter on potato chip bags that they’re not murderers. Of little orangutans. Deforestation is, besides being a smart word to express the killing of trees, an everything-but-smart process that destroys dozens of other species’ accommodation. And the orangutan is one of them: the population is now critically endangered. I know that palm oil is nearly everywhere (even shampoos), but I made it a way of life not to consume it anymore. So doing my grocery shopping has gotten a lot longer as I rigorously check every ingredient on each box that I consider bringing home, and I also had to give up on a few of my favorite things (Kinder). But being responsible and standing up for your actions, trying to make a change, was never easy.
I know that to reduce our consumption of avocados until it finds peace and balance again, of palm oil too, is the only way for money-obsessed groups (and who blames them for that, you never start a business with the pursuit of debt in mind) to reflect on their action. The commercial weapon is much more powerful than you think, it’s their little game and we can play it smoother: let’s use their thirst for profits at our and more importantly our planet’s forests’ advantage. And between you and me, you know well that this is the right time to start a new project: only New Year resolutions fail.
Were you aware of these issues? What do you think of the impact of food trends on local producers and populations? Share your thoughts in the comment section and subscribe to get daily contents. You can also join me on my palm-oil-free journey on Instagram too.