We know that the plants grown to be put on our tables are tied to climate disruption. Stories about individual dishes, though, can remind us how interwoven they are into other aspects of our lives. Those aspects include large- and small-scale livelihoods and cultures, local and world trade, poverty and consumption, scientific research, and details of weather and climate. Here are some especially illuminating (dare we say delicious?) examples.
Wild rice, or manoomin: “Climate Change Threatens the Ancient Wild Rice Traditions of the Ojibwe,” Daniel Cusick, E&E News and Scientific American. To go with this thorough piece, check the Northeast Indigenous Resilience Network’s website about this culturally important food.
French fries: “Climate and French Fries,” Michon Scott, Climate.gov. Who knew so many details about potatoes mattered for this American staple?
Chocolate: “Climate and Chocolate,” Michon Scott, Climate.gov. Complement this overview with two stories about ongoing research into solutions for the cacao tree’s looming problems, here and here.
And this carry-over from the now-past Thanksgiving holiday, still relevant for the holiday season going forward.
Cranberries: “How Climate Change is Complicating a Thanksgiving Staple,” Tatiana Schlossberg, Washington Post. A rich story just right for this holiday season.
Cut Flowers: Late in 2019, the BBC began a series called “Made on Earth: Global Trade Defined in Eight Everyday Items,” one of which was cut flowers. After the pandemic shut down nearly all trade, that series had to change, and the earlier article and later video about flowers shows the difference. Climate and carbon footprints play a small overt role in the print version (and virtually none in the video), but it’s not hard to see the connections, and the visuals in both are an indulgent pleasure.
This series is curated and written by retired Colorado State University English professor and close climate change watcher SueEllen Campbell of Colorado. To flag works you think warrant attention, send an e-mail to her any time. Let us hear from you.