Have you ever thought about how things you use in your everyday life could affect weather patterns? Reading Anna Lappé’s book Diet for a Hot Planet, I had to ask myself questions like “Why would big companies that fill their food with high fructose corn syrup and other junk ignore the fact that they are a main reason why we are experiencing global warming?” I could only come up with two possibilities: Either all they care about is making money or they are ignorant beyond belief.
An example of the relationship between our food and our climate occurs in factory farms, where cows are crammed together and given hormones to make them grow faster and produce more milk, along with food (mainly corn) that upsets their stomachs and can cause E. coli. But they aren’t only producing milk; they are producing gas and poop that contains methane, an odorless gas that increases the greenhouse effect and traps heat twice as effectively as carbon dioxide – commonly referred to as CO2.
Despite the fact that we might not realize it, all the food that we eat causes some small part of global warming. Think of . . . pasta with vodka sauce, my favorite Italian dish. Would you think that global warming can be served in that small of a dish? The answer is, no, you wouldn’t think that possible, but it is. The wheat from the pasta is most likely fertilized with fossil fuel-based chemicals. The milk or cream in the vodka sauce is probably from a factory farmed cow (unless my mom made it, in which case it was probably organic). Even without chemical fertilizers or factory farms, if your food rides in a truck before it gets to you, it carries some sort of “carbon foodprint.”
Now, in my opinion, this book is an important piece of work that everyone should read. It offers a large amount of information that is enough to explain what I need to know about food and global warming, but not so much as to put me to sleep. Anna Lappé’s Diet for a Hot Planet does not seem like it is meant to make you feel guilty about the things you’ve done and eaten, but to make you realize what your actions are doing to the earth, and to help you correct them.