Our food system and changing climate

Sound Consumer January 2018

Our food system and changing climate

Climate change is among the greatest threats to our generation and future generations — impacting public health, ecosystems and economies around the world.

The food system — including food production, transportation and waste — produces a significant source of the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to climate change.

In the long run, climate change will reduce food supplies and raise food prices. Many regions already suffering from high rates of hunger and food insecurity, including parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, will likely be the hardest hit.

Receding glaciers and reduced snowpack hurt the farmers who depend on melting water for irrigation. Rising sea levels heighten flood dangers for coastal farms and increase saltwater intrusion in coastal freshwater aquifers.

Changes in rainfall patterns are predicted to cause more floods and droughts, both of which can destroy crops. Shifting climates are expected to impact the long-term survival of many natural pollinators and wild plant species.

Scientists and world leaders have called for immediate and dramatic action to reduce GHG emissions. Food is one area where urgent interventions are needed most.

PCC is a leader

Our co-op has long advocated for local and national government policies that support sustainable food systems. Our biggest opportunity to effect environmental change is through our supply chain — supporting the farmers, ranchers, producers and vendors who fill our stores with sustainable products.

As a retailer, we also work daily to conserve resources when we build and operate our stores. In 2006 Redmond PCC was the first grocery store in the country built to LEED Gold specifications, raising expectations for grocers. Today, we build each new store with environmentally sustainable materials and methods. By continuing to monitor our energy use, and implementing re-lamping and efficiency programs in all our stores, we hope to see an overall decrease in energy used next year.

This Sound Consumer issue explores the many ways that climate change is impacting our food system and what we can all do about it. Together.

Related Reading

Hot buzz on a chilling future for coffee

Productive land for growing coffee in Latin America could shrink as much as 88 percent by 2050. The loss of productive land, researchers say, is due to climate change and bee health.

News bites, January 2018

A letter written on behalf of approximately 700,000 women working in agricultural fields and packing operations across the United States expressed the solidarity of Latina farmworkers with the women in Hollywood who have come forward with stories of sexual harassment and assault. The letter also highlights the high degree of harassment faced by female farmworkers in the United States and the risks they face in taking a stand.

Organic certification of hydroponics continues

In a controversial meeting the National Organic Program (NOP) failed to pass a ban that would limit hydroponics from organic certification, causing concern in the organic community.