Why foodies must also be environmentalists

Foodies and environmentalists don’t always get along. Environmentalists make compromises daily for sustainability. Foodies are known for being single-minded and ruthless in their search for the perfect meal.

But I argue: If you love food, you must appreciate and respect the environment in which it was grown. And that means you have to make green choices or risk losing the foods you love in the long run.

But it’s just food, you say, and everybody’s gotta eat, right? How much harm can it possibly do? As Bijal Trivedi points out in New Scientist, the answer is: quite a lot.

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The big fish in sustainable seafood

So here we are, my husband and I, standing in a busy Asian supermarket on a Saturday morning and I have two cuts of frozen fish in my hands. My husband and I are discussing which one to buy and we’re considering type of fish, cut, price and how far it’s traveled to our plate. Then I throw a spanner in the works: is it sustainable?

My husband sighs. He does this when I ask him to rinse out his disposable drink cup, and when I am dithering in the toilet paper aisle, trying to work out whether I care enough about the earth to spend an extra 9c a square. It’s the resigned sigh of a moderately green man who is married to an environmental zealot.

The good news – for my marriage and the line of people forming behind us in the supermarket – is that it’s becoming easier to find out what’s actually on your plate, where it came from and how sustainable the fish stocks are.

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Order the chef’s suggestion


Food for me is something of a love affair. The conflict of flavors, the impact of spices on my mouth and mind; and the ritual of breaking bread with loved ones – eating is about so much more than just providing energy to continue your day. But taste is different for everyone. What does it do and how does it affect what we put in our mouths?

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