I get it. You love how the patty sizzles in the pan, how the fat seeps out of the meat, how the smell is an anticipation of the first bite, which gives the eater a glimpse of what’s beyond: heaven. At least, if I have to believe some of my carnivorous friends –I’m vegetarian– who get slightly poetic when defending their eating habits. And it’s not that I just happen to have very weird friends. Not a surprise that many vegetarian brands have tried to win meat lovers over with alternatives that promise to bring the full meat experience in a vegetarian or vegan version. Although most purists will claim we’re not yet there, some are admitting it’s getting pretty close.
This Wednesday is Valentine’s day. Chances are high your thoughts are already floating off to your date night. Although it might seem as if there are few things further apart than love and climate change, I figured out they can affect each other in (sometimes scarily) significant ways.
You might not give a damn about rising seas and melting permafrost, but beware: hotter temperatures might affect action in the bedroom. What a bummer! In a study from the National Bureau of Economic Research in the US a couple years back, three researchers found indications that exceptionally hot days lead to a reduction in birth rates nine months later. To put it in the authors own words: “Extreme heat could raise the physiological cost of coitus on a given fertile day, leading to a shift in coital frequency to some subsequent day(s).” In layman’s words: when it’s too hot to bang, people usually catch up later. But postponing the sex doesn’t make up entirely for the decline, as the study of US birth rates between 1931 and 2010 suggests.
2017: Devastating fires in Portugal, Hurricane Maria kicking Puerto Rico KO, record temperatures in Sydney, an iceberg as big as Delaware braking of the Antarctic Larsen-C ice-shelf, a wildfire season spanning 6 months in California, accelerated melting of Greenland’s glaciers, streets turned into rivers in… I could go on and on. As bloggers and journalists on climate change we used to write in the future tense to describe a warmer world. That has changed.
I have the feeling the last year gave us a look into the future. As you might know, it is difficult to prove the relationship between one particular extreme weather event and the rise of average global temperatures. Yet, we do know as a fact that the intensity and frequency of weather events like those scourging the planet the previous 12 months will increase. What do I say, are increasing. You see, I haven’t got used to the change of tenses myself yet.
There once were 4 Dutchmen with a dream. Their dream was to revolutionize the poultry industry. They envisioned happy hens, healthy eggs, and a healthy planet. Keeping the conventional practices in mind – laying batteries with hens that produce eggs of doubtful quality and eating corn that could have been used to feed people – this dream could have been called as naive as believing you will understand the Belgian political system when asking me to explain it. Nonetheless, those 4 gentlemen took it upon themselves to figure out how to make their dream come true. And so they did.
It’s holiday season! Thanks for taking a break from your hunt for presents and non-ending stream of Christmas markets, receptions, and dinners, to read what will be one of the last posts of the year. In this period, I can’t help but feeling I am spending a lot of money — too much money — on stuff that actually doesn’t really matter. We live in a society where we express our appreciation with things we buy. Weird. But okay, there are more weird things in our society. Nonetheless, if we could at least turn our gift into something that helps live a more sustainable lifestyle, wouldn’t that be amazing? What if I told you there are already a lot of products out there that can exactly do that?