PATRICIA REMY – As time has gone by, I have become ever more irked at the suggestion that we as individual consumers can mitigate climate change.
First of all, I hate being designated as a “consumer”. Really, this is not how I self-identify. Each one of us is a lot of things which can be described with many different labels, but in the societal context, I prefer to identify as a citizen. Not as a consumptive parasite.
Good, got that one off my chest.
Given the choice, I would prefer, as we did in the past, to buy my beverages in bottles, which I could then put in the recycling. That choice is no longer widely available. We are damned to plastic. Don’t ask me to solve that problem; I do not have the wherewithal to set up my own bottling factory.
Given the choice, I would love to use public transit. Did it for decades in Europe. But no bus comes within a kilometer of where I live. Usually, I am lugging a ton of stuff anyway. Where do I put it once I get on the bus?
And what about diapers? I see moms hauling them home all the time. Once used, they go to the landfill. Almost a third of landfill garbage, I read recently, consists of diapers. They do not rot well. They do not burn. They contain yucky* chemicals. So we can build rockets which go to the moon, but fabricating a diaper which decomposes safely within a month eludes us. Really?
As a citizen, and like you, I want to do my part to alleviate climate change. My topic now is going to be coffee. I’m attaching a link. It shows how much greenhouse gas or more accurately, what greenhouse gas equivalent, is produced by our daily brew.
One option is to stop drinking coffee or tea or hot chocolate or any beverage prepared with imported plant parts. The other is to reduce and recycle.
The comparison of the various coffee-making methods is informative. That is where I, as an individual and attempting-to-be responsible citizen, can make a difference. The charts also make the equally important point that it is not just on us as individuals to solve the problem of greenhouse gasses.
It would be totally cool to be able to grow one’s own coffee. Then I could enjoy my morning cup of liquid comfort with a better conscience. Coffee is an extremely finicky crop, though. I did once look into importing fresh green coffee beans for planting or buying a young coffee plant. I had no luck, i.e. could find no supplier.
I reckon that if vegetables can be grown in greenhouses, coffee might be a candidate as well. Kawartha Koffee Inc.? Run the place on renewable energy??
*“yucky” here means PCDD, ethylene, benzene, xylene, toluene, polyacrylates, phthalates, none of which you would want to inhale or ingest. If you don’t believe me, look up their MSDSs (material safety data sheets).