It is rarely a headline story, but “climate change” has become a constant in our lives. It is a political conflict for sure, but more importantly, as many baby boomers believe, it is a threat. Climate activist Jeri Fink of Bellmore, New York (near New York City) certainly thinks so and in this Boomer Opinion piece, argues that if her wonton soup is endangered, climate change is even more threatening than we think.
When I was a kid we headed to the local Chinese restaurant to celebrate everything from good report cards to birthdays. I would feast on my favorite: wonton soup, topped with a fistful of crispy golden noodles.
Imagine a world without wonton soup.
Impossible? Think again. Our world is in trouble. Climate change is here, although according to some of our leaders, it’s a Chinese Hoax. Maybe they never ate wonton soup?
The truth is that the endangered species list is no longer reserved for tigers, pandas, and orangutans. It’s headed straight for my wonton soup.
Animal meats (wonton stuffing) are big contributors to greenhouse gases. The animals are expensive to raise and often the reason for clearing rainforests (the “lungs” of the planet”) for pasture land. The EPA says that animal agriculture contributes 9% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
The wheat used to make wontons isn’t doing much better. Experts say that wheat is the staple grain most vulnerable to climate change, which is why they are predicting smaller and less nutritious crops.
Add rising food prices, deforestation, crop failures from climate change disasters like droughts, floods, and extreme weather, and it’s clear that my wonton soup— in fact a lot of our food– is endangered.
Why do so many of our leaders deny climate change, encourage the use of fossil fuels, remove environmental protections, and claim that global warming is a myth? The answer is simple.
In other words, profit before planet. They don’t care that 97% of climate scientists believe climate change is human-caused, and seven out of ten Americans agree. It just doesn’t matter.
That leaves you, me, and the rest of us in the grassroots.
Look out the window. Temperatures are climbing, extreme weather is the new normal, and sea levels are rising. Fruit trees need cold, rice requires a lot of increasingly scarce fresh water, and marine animals are dying in acidic, oxygen-depleted waters. All of this when global population is increasing, estimated at ten billion people by mid-century.
Food fights take on a new meaning. Countries battle over the melting Arctic. One million animals face extinction.
In the sixties and seventies, as young baby boomers we protested and got the country out of Vietnam. Now we need to get us into a different war: fighting climate change. Like sixties revolutionary Abbie Hoffman said, “The only way to support a revolution is to make your own.”
It’s time to protest! You don’t have to march in the streets (if you don’t want to). You can protest 21st Century-style by using only reusable plastic bags, bottles, and straws. Eat less meat and more plant-based proteins– they’re in most supermarkets. Whenever possible, walk, bike, or use public transportation instead of driving. Buy local. Practice the three Rs: reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Vote for leaders who support climate action. Earth before profit.
There’s an old Native American proverb: We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.
Get going. Let’s make sure our grandkids have wonton soup.