20 March 2023
I read a powerful Opinion piece in the Washington Post this week, “”. In it, Rebecca Solnit suggests that our problem with climate change is perspective. I agree. True abundance is how you see the world around you.
When scientists started talking about cow farts and greenhouse gases, skeptics responded, “don’t take away our burgers!” (scarcity). We know meat consumption is a risk factor for heart disease...what if we were to reframe the conversation? Focus on the abundance of colorful and delicious vegetables we could add to our diet, and we naturally “crowd out” some of that meat. Suddenly, we’re talking about eating less meat, less often; now we can afford to buy good quality humanely raised beef and truly appreciate it.
As avian flu led to the culling of 50 million hens in the US, market pressure pushed up prices. Did this change our behavior? Updating our food choices can eventually help improve the food system. It’s easy and economical to replace eggs with plant-based foods (tofu in my breakfast scramble and ground flaxseed in my baked goods). Reducing pressure on the poultry industry would ease demand for cheap eggs and chicken (produced in a way that harms animals, factory workers and the planet). Health is a form of abundance too, and adding soy and flax to your day will likely reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
The suggested that, to feed 10 billion people, we need to transform our eating habits, improve food production and reduce food waste. Growing up in a family that was both Jewish and Italian, I am quite familiar with traditions involving a bounty of food. The re-frame here might be “enough” is more abundant, especially if it means we avoid an excess of calories (which might restrict future activities) and protect our planet for the benefit of all.
Choosing a plant forward diet can be the opposite of restriction. There are over 20,000 edible plants in the world. Consuming a diversity of them daily (30 different plants per week is recommended for gut health) brings us abundance - through exploration, variety, good health and longevity.
And who couldn’t use more time?