Before It's Gone is a podcast about climate change and things that are threatened. Interviews and stories about what we might lose, and how we might save it.
BIG007: Maple Syrup
Bad news: Maple syrup is definitely being affected by climate change. Good news: Producers and scientists are innovating and making more maple syrup than ever. In this episode of Before It's Gone, we talk to Dr. Lisa Chase, a University of Vermont researcher about how maple producers are adapting to and dealing with climate change.
BIG006 - A Livable Future
In the second part of our interview with activist Dineen O'Rourke we talk about how young people are a front-line community when it comes to climate change, fighting for their own livable future. To address that, Dineen will be leading a youth delegation to the next COP conference to help raise the voices of young people and other front-line communities around the world.
More about the podcast: http://beforeitsgone.show
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BIG005: College Activism
"In most of my organizing, I'm the youngest by 50 years," Hampshire College senior Dineen O'Rourke told me. She may be young, but Dineen is an experienced activist, and she plans to continue to be one long after graduation. In this episode we talk about her work with Climate Action Now to stop the Kinder Morgan NED pipeline, and why people age out of activism.
Produced by: Video4Good
BIG004 - Homesteading, to Prevent and Prepare for Climate Change
Self-sufficiency may be more and more necessary in a climate-changed world. But most of us don't have the skills we need to take care of ourselves and our needs. In this episode we talk to Melody Figge, of Revival Homestead Supply, about the homesteading lifestyle and teaching people skills that our grandmothers took for granted.
More Info: http://www.beforeitsgone.show
BIG003 - Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream
A conversation with Chris Miller, Ben & Jerry's Social Mission Activism Manager, about how climate change is impacting my favorite ice cream flavors.
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"Climate change sucks. You know, we're a food company, right. We're sourcing ingredients from all over the world. We're sourcing milk and dairy products from thirty miles north of here, from the northwestern corner of Vermont, and we're sourcing things like vanilla, cocoa and coffee from the global south. So, many of the products that we put into a pint that create people's favorite flavors, you know, come from places that could be profoundly impacted by climate change. In fact, we're already beginning to see some impact on a certain aspects of the supply chain. So, if you look at things like coffee or you look at things like vanilla or cocoa, these are commodities that are already being impacted by changing climate patterns."
"What we try and do is not to source just commodities. We seek to build long-term relationships with our supply chain partners. So for example we've been working with a coffee cooperative in Mexico in a region called Huatusco. It’s about fifteen hundred farmers that grow coffee, and we've been sourcing coffee from them for a number of years. So what we like about that approach is it allows us to build better, more deeper relationships with the communities that are growing the things we're putting into our pints. It allows us to really invest more in these communities over time. And we think all of that helps create a, you know, better tasting ingredients, so that's the approach we like to take."
"I think our flavor gurus are sort of sitting back here in the lab thinking about great new flavors. And I think, you know, we are concerned about the changes that we're seeing globally and in regions where sourcing ingredients."
"Our hope is that through action at a macro level, as a planet, you know, The Paris Climate Agreement, the idea that we are really beginning to see a break in the link between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. That's a really important sign. I think you know, the rapid uptake that we are seeing in renewables, the innovation in things like electric vehicles all give us hope that over time, you know, we could avoid the worst impacts of climate change. I think the other thing that we need to be doing and that we're beginning to do, is investing in these communities, these communities that are growing ingredients for us, to do two things. One, help them diversifying a their economy so they're not just focus on growing a single commodity that can wipe the community out if there's of an extreme weather event. And the second is to invest a bit in climate resilience. So it’s our hope that, you know, we will still have access to great cocoa, vanilla and coffee. But you know there are risks."
"We don't want people to avoid purchasing these flavors. Right. The point here is to put on the table what’s at risk, but we want people to continue to support the coffee-growing regions, the coca-growing regions, the vanilla-growing regions of the world. And so I think by highlighting their vulnerability hopefully we can motivate people to support the kinds of policies and actions that will save these communities and their favorite flavors."
"Yeah, I mean if you think about our sort of impact, and what’s in a pint - we’re a dairy company. I mean, we buy a whole bunch of milk and cream and that’s, obviously, our single biggest purchase from an ingredient perspective. It's also where our largest impact is."
BIG002: Coffee and Climate Change
Before It's Gone explores the impact of climate change on coffee with Dean Cycon of Dean's Beans. We talk about environmental and economic issues, and the problems farmers face when their coffee crops fail.
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When you take climate change down to its impact on families and environments on a local level, it's profound and it's here right now. The statistic I’ve read is about fifty percent. Of all coffee land will disappear by 2050 - and that's a profound impact on people, on the environment, and on economics. Coffee is a profitable marketplace. And everybody involved in coffee can be doing a lot more to ensure that climate change doesn't destroy not only the planet, but coffee farmers’ lives that we depend on.
What will happen is the destruction of coffee crops leads to the loss of livelihood for farmers, that leads to environmental refugees of several million people worldwide, will happen in a very short time.
It’s this cascading effect of climate change can change the environment, and then you have a choice - you can try to make the environment better, or try to increase coffee production. If you make environment better your yields may be lower for a couple of years, but you're creating a healthy environment and long-term sustainability for your coffee farm. If you go for the short-term fix of just planting more coffee trees, cutting down trees, in the short amount of a couple of years you may have some more coffee. But in the long run, you’re only exacerbating the problems of climate change.
These are the two-paths forward. On one hand we have the Fairtrade and organic movement that is trying to assist farmers towards healthier plants. And on the other hand we've got the movement towards more coffee, let's get more coffee out there.
There's a tension in the industry, is it going to be high-quality, small producer, environmentally sensitive coffee, or is it gonna be mass-produced, get it out there so we can keep the big companies in business coffee?
It's up to the consumers, roasters, the farmers to work together to address these issues on a micro level. Such as, learning dry land techniques. Such as, alternative income for coffee farmers.
Every cup of coffee you buy, you can be either helping a coffee family for driving them deeper into poverty.
For me, I think that the word sustainable should be banned. Just like all natural. It has no legal meaning. Anybody can say it, and every coffee company I know is saying that their coffee is sustainable. Well, that's really interesting. Considering coffee is not sustainable right now given climate change.
Before it's Gone is produced by Video4Good and hosted by Gretchen Siegchrist