Chanterelle Season. Anne-Maria Yritys 2018.

What is The Climate Impact of Food Production and Agriculture?

When I first started to replace specific meat products in my regular diet many years ago, my decision was not based upon the impact of food (and meat) on the environment or the fact that the production of specific products (such as cheese and beef in particular) have a far greater impact on our environment than many other options of food that can replace an excessive consumption of food products with a heavier CO2 footprint. I moved away from using certain meat products due to the fact that I thought these would be healthier options, such as using textured soy protein granules instead of minced meat when cooking at home. As opposed to minced meat, the consistency of soy protein granules is far less fatty (0,8g fat/100g) and includes much more proteins (53g/100g).

It has been delightful to notice how the out-of-home and retail food markets for instance in Finland have developed in recent years, with more and more vegetarian or even vegan product launches from traditional “meat brands”. While meat consumption per capita in Finland and in Europe is still very high (Eurostat 2019), meat consumption per capita is slowly decreasing although the European Commission forecasts a growing world demand for meat by 2025 while at the same time seeing a slight decline in the GHG´s  (greenhouse gas emissions) caused by meat production and consumption in the EU.

According to both EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) in the USA and the EC (European Commission) in Europe, agriculture alone accounts for between 9-10% of all global greenhouse gas emissions such as carbon dioxide CO2 and methane CH4, whereas industry, electricity and transportation today all account for between 20-30% of all global greenhouse gas emissions. Although agriculture alone accounts for “only” around one tenth of all global greenhouse gas emissions as per today, it is a fact that industrial agriculture and animal farming require both electricity and transportation in addition to the fact that industrial agriculture/farming with poor land, waste and water management practices in reality cause far more harm to our environment leading to changes in not only landscapes around the world but also impoverishment and erosion of soils.

This is a far too complex issue to be addressed in one article, although an idealist could state that in an ideal (utopian) world we should all be growing our own food on small plots of land and give up the idea of any commercial food production or industrialized agriculture and farming. People would consume increasingly much fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds and less (or zero) animal products, including any dairy or meat.

With a growing number of vegetarians and vegans around the world and many developed countries focusing upon a growth of overall food consumption from close food production (i.e. a food chain whereby the food has been produced locally), urban farming and other ideological attempts to reduce one´s carbon footprint (or, more precisely: greenhouse gas footprint since carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas) through eating habits, this ideology of a utopia has become a reality for consumers who know better and who try to save the world or perhaps themselves through better choices both in terms of personal health, the well-being of animals and the well-being of our environment.

However naive idealists may be in their attempts of saving a collapsing world or a collapsing environment, it is a fact that our current way of living on this planet is unsustainable. People in developed countries are consuming at a rate where we would need at least three or more planet Earth´s although we actually live on the only planet of this capacity in our entire galaxy, and no one has yet managed to find another planet in the entire Universe where all of humanity can pack their bags and move if and when we manage to destroy our current ecosystem, a good and realistic possibility and a vision in the upcoming few decades if we keep destroying our home planet at this rate.

 

There is no Planet B.

If you are unsure about what actions you can take in terms of protecting the environment and our only home planet, start by searching “carbon footprint calculator” on the Internet. I would rename all existing carbon footprint calculators to “greenhouse gas emission footprint calculators” due to the somewhat misleading name, since carbon dioxide is not the only greenhouse gas that has a negative impact on our environment, causing us humans to change the Earth´s climate through the greenhouse effect, where all greenhouse gas emissions combined form an artificial greenhouse that is year by year warming the Earth´s atmosphere unless we manage to stop or even reverse this development and which is the reason behind the Paris Agreement from 2015.

One very simple way of individual climate and environment action is to start eating and consuming for instance food products in a wiser manner. Cut down on (red) meat consumption, and cut down your overall consumption of dairy products. Eat more locally produced food. Eat at least half a kilogram of fruits and vegetables every day (good for your personal health too). Replace some of your meat consumption with vegetarian or vegan alternatives. Eat a handful of nuts or seeds (unless you have an allergy of course) on a daily basis. Do not throw away food or if you do, please see if you can place it in the biodegradable waste. Improve your overall recycling habits. If recycling in your home city/country is at a poor or non-existing level, do something about it! There are many business opportunities involved within for instance the recycling sector, such as using certain waste materials to produce energy and heat.

Anne-Maria Yritys 16.2.2019.

All rights reserved.

 

Chanterelle. A-M. Yritys 2017

What Do You Know About Climate-Friendly Food Production?

Suomessa kauppojen hyllyt pursuavat mitä erilaisempia riisituotteita samalla kun kotimainen ohra on jäänyt ihmisiltä lähes unohduksiin. Ohra on edullinen, kotimainen, maukas ja ympäristöystävällinen vaihtoehto riisille, jonka tuotanto/viljely yksin tutkitusti aiheuttaa ainakin 7% maailman metaanipäästöistä.

Riisin syönnin korvaaminen ohralla on siis ilmastoteko.

Suomessa on arvokkaita elintarvikkeita, joita voidaan markkinoida maailmallekin. Miksi maksamme maltaita esim. ulkomaisista supermarjoista samalla kun omat metsämme joka vuosi pursuavat omista vitamiinipommeista?

Ymmärrämmekö omien elintarvikkeidemme päälle? Suomesta viedään jo nyt esim. tonneittain herkkutatteja Italiaan joka vuosi.

A-M. Yritys 29.12.2018

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In Finland supermarkets are selling plenty of different rice products while at the same time, our domestic barley has nearly been forgotten. Barley is an inexpensive, domestic, tasty and climate-friendly alternative to rice, the cultivation of which according to research, alone causes at least seven (7) percent of all methane emissions worldwide.

Replacing rice consumption with barley is thus an environmentally friendly act.

Finland is home to valuable foodstuff that can be marketed not only in Finland, but to the rest of the world. Why do we, for instance, pay high prices for foreign superberries while our own forests each year produce our own vitamin bombs?

Do we understand the value of our own (natural) food products? At the time being, Finland already exports tons of porcini to e.g. Italy each year.

A-M. Yritys 29.12.2018

Chanterelle. A-M. Yritys 2017
Chanterelle. A-M. Yritys 2017
Organic apples by Anne-Maria Yritys

What is The Future of Agriculture and Food Production?

As a holder of the WSET Advanced certificate and a student of the WSET Diploma in and since 2007, I grew tired of the alcohol politics and Alko´s wholesale monopoly of wines in Finland. I spent thousands of euros of my own money to study for this program, just to realize that despite of my passion for wines and viticulture, there are far more important problems to be solved in our world.
 
Viticulture is nevertheless an important tradition and part of culture in many countries worldwide, but seeing how vulnerable the whole industry is to annual weather patterns I realized that humanity faces much larger problems and that my true professional calling is something else than marketing and promoting wines for sale in a country marked by a monopolized alcohol industry.
 
While studying viticulture I came to realize how fragile our local and global ecosystems are, with (micro) climates influencing local and global agriculture in a way that leaves many farmers with huge problems to just being able to survive financially. Like in much of agriculture around the world, the markets are dominated by a specific number of huge brands that buy much of the crop from small growers through co-operatives. Without these co-operatives many small farmers and wine growers would not be able to survive.
 
I have visited many wine regions during my life, including most of France, Hungary, and Northern Italy. In October 2010 I visited Napa and Sonoma Valleys in California. 2010 was a disastrous year for Californian vineyards due to excess downfall (rain) that destroyed most of the crop.
 
From viticulture to farming in general, Finland lost around 40% of all crops in 2017 due to too much rainfall. This year the reason for loss of crop has been excess drought, which will affect the prices of for instance bread. Farmers in Finland have for long already been dependent upon EU subsidiaries, with farming overall being seen as a strategic necessity for a country like Finland. A strategic necessity despite of the fact that most food consumed in Finland is actually also being produced here, since population favors and prioritizes close production and domestic food production.
 
How have we come to a point where agriculture and food production are being treated as a strategic necessity and where industrialized food production damages both the environment, animals, and people?
 
Food as a basic necessity for survival, agriculture and food production should be valued more both in terms of environmental protection, animal protection and well-being and human well-being.
 
It is a shame that billions of tons of food is being thrown away and wasted each year worldwide, while certain states are being controlled or even controlling their population through withholding their citizens from receiving the very basic necessities for survival, such as fresh water and food, despite of the fact that our world produces an excess of food and that starving people to death is a matter of political manipulation worldwide.
 
Anne-Maria Yritys 16.9.2018
 
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WSET Advanced-diplomin suorittaneena ja WSET:n diplomiviinitutkinnon opiskelijana vuodesta 2007 kyllästyin Suomen alkoholipolitiikkaan ja Alkon viinien vähittäismyyntimonopoliin Suomessa. Käytin tuhansia euroja omia säästöjäni opiskelleksani tätä ohjelmaa, kunnes ymmärsin että huolimatta intohimostani viineihin ja viinien viljelyyn, maailmassamme riittää paljon suurempia ongelmia ratkottaviksi.
 
Viinien viljely on joka tapauksessa tärkeä perinne ja osa kulttuuria monissa maissa maailmanlaajuisesti, mutta nähtyäni kuinka haavoittuvainen koko ala on vuotuisille sääilmiöille ymmärsin, että ihmiskunta kohtaa paljon suurempia ongelmia ja että oma ammatillinen kutsumukseni on jossain ihan muualla kuin viinien markkinoinnin parissa maassa, jossa on alkoholijuomien vähittäismyyntimonopoli.
 
Opiskellessani viininviljelyä ja -tuotantoa opin ymmärtämään kuinka herkkiä paikalliset ja maailmanlaajuiset ekosysteemimme ovat, kun mikroilmastot vaikuttavat ylipäätään kaikkien maanviljelijöiden mahdollisuuksiin elättää itsensä maanviljelyllä. Viininviljelyssä, kuten kaikessa maanviljelyssä, markkinoita dominoivat tietty määrä suuria brändejä jotka ostavat suurimman osan sadosta pieniltä viljelijöiltä osuuskuntien kautta. Ilman näitä osuuskuntia monet pienet maan- tai viininviljelijät eivät selviäisi taloudellisesti hengissä.
 
Olen vieraillut monilla viinitiloilla ja -alueilla elämäni aikana, ml. suurin osa Ranskan viinitiloista, Unkari ja Pohjois-Italia. Lokakuussa 2010 vierailin Napa ja Sonoma-laaksoissa Kaliforniassa. 2010 oli katastrofaalisen huono vuosi Kalifornian viininviljelijöille johtuen runsaista sateista, jotka pilasivat suurimman osan sadosta.
 
Viininviljelystä maanviljelyyn yleisesti, Suomi menetti noin 40% kaikesta sadosta vuonna 2017 runsaiden sateiden vuoksi. Tänä vuonna liika kuivuus on pilannut suuren osan sadoista, mikä tulee vaikuttamaan esimerkiksi leivän hintaan. Suomessa maanviljelijät ovat jo pitkään olleet riippuvaisia EU-tuista, kun Suomen valtio pitää maanviljelyä yleisesti strategisena pakkona Suomen kaltaisessa maassa. Strateginen pakko siitäkin huolimatta, että itse asiassa suurin osa Suomessa kulutetuista elintarvikkeista myös valmistetaan täällä, koska Suomen väestö priorisoi lähituotantoa ja kotimaista ruoantuotantoa.
 
Miten olemme päätyneet tilanteeseen, jossa maanviljelyä ja ruoantuotantoa käsitellään valtion tasolla strategisena välttämättömyytenä kun teollinen ruokatuotanto vahingoittaa niin ympäristöä, eläimiä kuin ihmisiä?
 
Ruokaa välttämättömänä pakkona hengissä säilymiselle, maanviljelyä ja ruoan tuotantoa pitäisi arvostaa enemmän joka suhteessa, huomioiden niin ympäristön, eläinten ja ihmisten hyvinvointi.
 
On häpeä, että miljardeja tonneja ruokaa heitetään pois ja tuhlataan vuosittain maailmanlaajuisesti, kun tietyt valtiot kontrolloivat (tai niitä kontrolloidaan) väestöään pidättämällä heiltä mahdollisuuden saada edes välttämättömiä elintarvikkeita ja puhdasta vettä säilyäkseen hengissä huolimatta siitä, että maailmassa tuotetaan koko ajan niin paljon elintarvikkeita ja ruokaa, että niillä elättäisi ainakin 10 miljardia ihmistä (maailman väestömäärä on tällä hetkellä reilut 7 miljardia).
 
Ihmisten näännyttämisessä nälkään on kyseessä tahallinen ihmisten poliittinen manipulointi.
 
Anne-Maria Yritys 16.9.2018

Agriculture & Food Sectors Responsible For Climate Change

Global Climate Change (84).jpg

“FAO Strategy on Climate Change. Rome, July 2017. The food and agricultural sectors are central for human development; they need to be at the centre of the global response to climate change.”

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The agricultural, farming and food sector being due to a large part responsible for anthropogenic climate change, it is a requisite for these to take urgent action in terms of transformation into sustainable development.

Sustainable practices within agriculture, farming and food production include:

  • Using ethical and sustainable practices throughout the whole process, especially taking into consideration soil management and production processes.
  • Keeping in mind the future, considering completely different/new options, i.e. changing into more climate resistant varieties and/or innovating completely new solutions.
  • The availability of a sufficient amount of information to the public about sustainable practices and the food sector in general to ensure that awareness is increased and that people have access to climate change education.

Note from author: Here in Finland, INSECTS are soon to find their way to grocery shelves. In future, those who are not either e.g. vegetarian or vegan, may well include fried grasshoppers into their regular dietary plan. In fact, insects are commonly eaten almost everywhere in the world, except for Europe and the USA.

Watch TEDx Nagoya University – Sustainable Food – Let´s Start a Revolution!, speech Gerardo Urbina:

 

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys. For climate/environment-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank. Subscribe to Leading With Passion to receive my latest posts.

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Extreme Weather Events Increasing Due To Climate Change

Global Climate Change (51)

“European Commission. Climate Change Factsheet 2015: Extreme weather events are becoming more frequent or more severe. Their impacts include reduced water availability and crop yields, endangering food production.”

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Note from author: With a reference to my previously published posts about climate change and to everything we witness in our direct environment, through traveling, through contacts and friends all over the world, or through media in general, EXTREME weather events have become more frequent. In Finland, where I today live, we are still lucky not to have too extreme weather events, however, the climate here is changing too, making weather forecasts more unpredictable, increasing rainfall (and, snowfall – in 2017, we had snowfall several times in the month of May here in Southern Finland which is not usual), while when we earlier had Winter starting in November or December, we now rarely have snow until the month of January in southern Finland. Even in the north (in Lapland) snow in the early winter months has at times become so rare that artificial snow has to be used in order to make e.g. skiing possible. Even here in Finland, and in parts of the world where one might think that climate change is not a threat, changing weather patterns and too much rain risk crops and whole yields. We cannot afford to endanger agriculture and food production anywhere in the world, since these are at the core of our ability to thrive and to survive as human beings.

Connect with me on Twitter @annemariayritys – for climate-related posts only @GCCThinkActTank & to receive my newsletter delivered personally to you, subscribe to Leading With Passion