Food Justice And The Environment


I’ve been on a bit of a Food Justice and environmental kick. To put it bluntly, the environment was never high on my list of priorities for social justice as oppressions and inequalities with regard to class, race, gender and more always took center stage. But that’s changed as I’ve become more and more educated about climate change. And in the last year, I’ve come to see that all other inequalities fall far behind what we are doing to our environment.

It’s easy to despair about climate change and our lack of response as a species to deal with it. I know I often do. Carbon emissions keep rising. We keep extracting more and more oil from the ground. The ocean’s acidifying. All coral reef in the ocean and much of sea life will probably be completely gone in the next 50-60 years. It’s not great.

But I still have hope. I realize that hope is quite possibly a delusional hope. But despair doesn’t feel like an answer to me. I prefer an absurd humanism akin to Camus’s philosophy. It might all be meaningless and hopeless for the human race, but I feel a moral urge to live in a sustainable way because the other option is choosing inaction and apathy.

Anyway, this has led me to food justice. What is food justice? Well, that answer depends on who you ask. My personal definition: eating and growing food that is sustainable and doesn’t contribute to global warming; shopping locally; fighting to correct the inequalities in price and quality in organic, healthy products compared to cheaper processed foods, which contribute to a number of health problems such as obesity and most often target poor people especially of color.; and fighting for better wages for those work and farm our food.

How do we do that a species? I’m not 100% sure to be honest. I’ve read a lot in recent weeks, but I still have a lot to figure out. But there are many inspirational movements out there pushing a food justice message. I’m trying to make sense of it all. But I do know this: all of these movements are interconnected whether it’s food justice, economic justice or racial justice. They are all a part of an unequal helped spawn by capitalism. And if there is to be any hope, we will all have to be in this together.