ACCENTS By MELINDA ROOS
HAS anyone else noticed how scorching the heat was this week? You can almost inhale the suffocating heat rising up from the pavements as you walk.
It reminded me of a talk on climate change I attended late last year in The Hague during winter.
The speaker was Anna Farrenkopf, a climatologist who devoted a considerable amount of time waiting for oceans and river waters to rise so she could measure the level of changes within a particular place in a particular time.
After an hour listening to her talk, I understood climate change more clearly than the other time I got lost in Al Gore’s fiery red graphs while watching An Inconvenient Truth.
What she proposes is for us to have an intellectual conversation about climate change and look at the facts and most importantly, do something about it, instead of turning it into a political platform for elections, or a scientific argument between meteorologists and climatologists.
Here’s what I gleaned:
- Global warming is just one of the after-effects of climate change. This explains why we have extreme winters and El Niño happening at the same time in different parts of the world.
- If we were to shut down all CO2 emissions in the world right now where not a single car is driven, all airplanes are grounded, trains and ships are not in travel, no air-conditioning or heaters in use and still, the effects will not be seen for 10,000 years.
- Whatever we do now, our actions do have an impact. The responsibility to know more and get accurate fact-based information lies with us.
One area we can control is our buying habits when it comes to food consumption.
This means that as critical consumers, we have the power to change what big food and supermarket retailers put on their shelves just by taking the time to read labels and refuse to buy all the processed junk sold at bargain prices.
If you think it takes too much time to learn all these, think about the impact cheap processed foods have on your health.
There is no mystery to the rise of diseases like diabetes and ADHD in teenagers and children these days.
Take a closer look at what you serve your children on the dinner table.
Whenever you choose highly-processed, mass-produced food items and think you got a bargain, you also got a bargain on your well-being.
The money you saved by buying those cheap foods will end up getting spent on improving your health.
Those who have had to take care of a sick person or been ill themselves, know all too well that it takes so much time, effort and money.
It affects the entire physical and emotional dynamics of any family. To avoid going down that road and realise that you do have a choice on your health, do yourself and your family a favour by becoming aware of what you put into your bodies.
As Barbara Reale, a nutritionist, biochemist and naturopath doctor says, “If you don’t put diesel in a gas-driven car, why would you put chemicals in your body through unnatural foods?”
How much poison can your body take before it starts sputtering and conking out on you and landing you in hospital for long periods of time?
Here is a short list of doable things we can do as consumers that can create a better impact for our environment, our wallets and our health.
- Cut meat consumption to once a week. Mass meat production is responsible for 20% of the world’s CO2 emissions. And they are not healthy. Cutting our meat consumption to once a week has a huge impact on the planet and our bodies. Watch the film Food Inc. to understand the impact of mass meat production on our health and our planet.
- Buy seasonal and locally grown produce, and preferably from your local farmers’ markets. Locally grown fruits and vegetables don’t need pesticides and fertilisers to grow because all the nutrients they need in the natural environment are already present in the soil. Mother Nature provides and takes care of our needs. There is a reason that pumpkins and other orange colour produce grow in autumn and winter because they are good mood foods.
- Go organic when it comes to chicken, eggs and milk. Go organic all the way if you can. Processed foods contain chemical ingredients that are foreign to our body. These chemicals end up in our liver, and a constant deposit of toxic substances in our livers will cause it to give up on us.
- Reduce fish consumption. Our oceans are overfished. And fish poop can help save the oceans. The increase in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere not only advances global warming, but also raises the amount of CO2 dissolved in ocean water, making it more acidic, thus threatening sea life. Alkaline chemicals like calcium carbonate found in fish poop can help balance this acidity.
- Reduce or refuse plastic bags. Around Kuala Lumpur are supermarkets that promote “No Plastic Bag” days. This is a bright start. The ideal should be consumers bringing our own recyclable shopping bags every time we shop.
When you buy from the farmers’ markets, you are making a statement to all other food retailers that will hopefully influence them to rethink their retail strategy and give you, the consumers what you want so that you will keep on buying from them.
Here’s to a greener 2012!
Born and raised in the Philippines, Melinda is a marketing executive, entrepreneur and writer who just moved from the Netherlands to KL. This intrepid traveller loves scuba diving, good food and wine, and is happy to be back in the tropics with her Dutch husband and two daughters.