EATING FOR THE PLANET – A SERIES
OK guys, don’t panic, but we kind of have to save the world. Or maybe do panic a little bit. I know I have been. It’s one of the (many) reasons that this blog has been quiet for a long time now. Because as well as working and travelling and lots of other things, I’ve been having a slowly escalating, time-and-energy-consuming epiphany (breakdown? No, let’s stick with epiphany) about how serious this whole climate crisis really is.
Growing up a millennial, the words “global warming” have been bandied around for as long as I can remember, with varying degrees (no pun intended) of seriousness or scorn. As a kid, I always thought it was a big problem that would have to be dealt with by big powerful agencies and governments – but nothing really to do with me. Scientists would fix it. Even as a young adult, I thought that if I recycled and didn’t litter, then I was generally doing my bit. To be really honest with you, climate change was just never at the forefront of my concerns. It lurked somewhere in the back of my head like other uneasy concepts like poverty and inequality, in a box marked “Too Big To Handle Right Now”.
We can’t live like that any more. Shit has well and truly hit the fan, and the possibility of a non-liveable planet is becoming more real every single day. We just had the hottest June in recorded history. And while it is very tempting to go on living my very nice life in wilful ignorance, I just can’t anymore. Reading articles like the UN report that almost one million species are on the brink of extinction , NASA’s continuous very alarming findings, school strikes champion Greta Thunberg’s latest address at the Brilliant Minds conference and seeing global darling David Attenborough call us all to arms has really made me realise: it’s got to be us. There are no superheroes coming to save a world in danger. We’d better find some capes, stat.
There are people doing incredible things already. If you need an injection of hope and positivity, I urge you to go and see Damon Gameau’s brilliant film 2040 that is in Australian cinemas right now. Or have a look at the Zero Waste Chef, who brilliantly said “The world doesn’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, it needs millions of people doing it imperfectly”. Check out the Extinction Rebellion movement, look at the School Strikes, have a peep at Climate for Change. There are so many amazing resources and community groups that it can be a bit overwhelming – where to begin? Well hold my hand, friends, because I’m going to try and figure that out and I hope you’ll come along for the ride.
I’ve been thinking about what I can do – and have decided, amongst other things, that I am going to use this blog to explore and discover the ways we can change our eating habits to help the planet. I want to find out more about waste reduction and food miles and regenerative farming and carbon sequestering and how we can intertwine the eco movement with the foodie movement. So this is the introduction to a series of articles I intend to write exploring all of these things and more. They’re going to be more difficult to write than my past endeavours, as I will need to research things, rather than just have a couple of glasses of wine and spout opinions (my usual writing technique). But I will keep them true to the values of this blog: looking at issues from a food-loving perspective, and having a laugh while we’re at it. Because life is short no matter which way you look at it, and while saving the world is probably going to be a bit bloody hard, I reckon we can have some fun while we’re doing it. (Shout out to my very talented artist brother Max for the logo modifications!).
I’m not an expert in anything. Not climate science, not politics, not economics, not even cooking. I’m just an ordinary gal who loves to eat, makes a bloody good curry and knows all the lyrics to Lin Manuel Miranda’s smash hit hop hop musical Hamilton. But that doesn’t mean I can’t help, or be part of creating change. People talk about “top down” (i.e. government led) and “bottom up” (i.e. grassroots movements) solutions to climate change, but I’m firmly of the belief that this issue is so big we’ve got to come at it from both ways. Heck, if we can find a way to come at it sideways we should probably do that too.
We can’t all do everything at once. But if we all start making the changes we can, I really do think we might have a shot at saving the world. So… you with me?
While you’re digesting all that – how about a colourful plate of warm winter goodness to go with it?
RECIPE – LOADED MEXICAN SWEET POTATOES
- Sweet potatoes x 4. Not the gargantuan ones. Bigger isn’t always better – you heard it from me first.
- 1 x large onion
- 3 x capsicum, one of each colour, nice big ones if possible
- Smokey paprika, roughly 4 tablespoons (yep, TABLEspoons. Go hard or go home).
- 2 x tsp cumin
- 2 x tins red kidney beans
- 3 x cloves garlic
- Olive oil, salt and pepper
- 2 x ripe avocados
- 1 x red onion
- 2 x tomatoes (QUESTION. Why is tomatoes with an e but avocados without? Desperate to know. Hit me up if you’ve got the goss.)
- 1 x lemon
- Corn chips
- Cheese and sour cream (vegan if you’re doing that! Or just skip them altogether)
- Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Cut the sweet potatoes in half lengthways and throw onto a non-stick tray, cut side down. Prick them all several times with a fork. Use baking paper if you must (but I feel like this is something we may be jettisoning in our waste reduction journey). Sling ‘em in the oven. Set a timer for 30 mins.
- Dice the brown onion and capsicums and cook with a generous slug of olive oil over a medium heat until soft and fragrant. (I hope people think of me as soft and fragrant. In a nice way).
- Crush the garlic, add to the frying pan with the paprika, cumin and some salt and pepper. Turn the heat down low and let it do its thing.
- Check on the potatoes by sticking a fork in them. They’re probably still hard as rocks but maybe you’re slow at chopping veggies and they’re done? If they are, whip them out.
- Finely dice the red onion and tomatoes. Mash the avocado and squeeze the lemon through it, along with some salt and pepper. Heap the onion and tomato attractively on top. Love an attractive heap.
- Five mins before serving, add the drained red kidney beans to the capsicum mix. Taste it (it should be delicious).
- To serve, place one or two potato halves on a plate and a scoopful of the bean mix on top. Serve with guac, cheese, sour cream and corn chips. Try not to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the world’s problems while you eat it. I find a good sitcom helps.