My First #Fastfortheclimate

Today I fasted for the climate. On the first of every month, thousands of people around the world choose not to eat in order to raise awareness of climate change and to demand our leaders take action this year.

From the Fast for the Climate website:

When Typhoon Haiyan had just devastated the Philippines in November last year, climate commissioner Yeb Saño was at the UN climate talks in Warsaw. His own family was caught up in the disaster that killed thousands and destroyed homes and livelihoods across the country.

In a moving speech he said he would not eat until countries at the Warsaw conference delivered actions that would ‘stop the madness’ of the climate crisis.

Hundreds of others from around the world chose to fast with him in solidarity.

Why would a food blogger fast?

I love to shop for food, cook food and of course, eat food. If you don’t like discussing food and food politics, you will find me incredibly annoying. When Annie, writer of the wonderful Kitchen-Counter-Culture food blog, recently wrote about her first Fast for the Climate and asked other food bloggers to join her, I jumped right on it. As food bloggers, I believe we have a wonderful opportunity to shine a spotlight on a more sustainable way to eat and live.

Currently, the vast majority of us depends on an incredibly unsustainable industrial food system, responsible for about half of all carbon emissions spewed into the atmosphere. In addition to the obvious problems there, in America we throw out about 40 percent of the food we produce. It’s downright madness to waste limited resources to grow food that we don’t eat. Even worse, once that food decomposes in a landfill, it releases greenhouse gases. I won’t even start with the obscene amount of packaging found in a typical American grocery store nor will I rant about how packaged, processed food makes us sick…

The problem of climate change can leave me feeling helpless. But people are fed up. The People’s Climate March has invigorated the environmental movement. Hundreds of thousands of people marched two weeks ago and today, thousands of people joined in the fast. I found fasting difficult (I’m happy this long day has almost ended) but as I sat here alone at my desk working from home today (I kept my day low-key), I felt a solidarity with all the fasters out there and those already affected by climate change. I felt a connection.

dried bread

The results?

I allowed myself to drink tea without any milk (I never add sweetener). I don’t think I could have fasted all day without it. In the morning, I didn’t initially feel hungry, but I did feel anxious knowing I would not eat all day, even though I had chosen not to eat. I cannot fathom what my life would be like if I had no choice.

Around 2pm I broke down and ate a little hunk of the sourdough bread I’ve been drying out to make kvass. It was hard as a rock, so I dunked it in my tea to soften it. Even then I had to chew slowly to avoid breaking a tooth and believe me I enjoyed every morsel. Surprisingly, that little hunk of bread satisfied me. Later I made granola as we had eaten all of the previous batch. I did taste a few minuscule bits of it to test its crunch. It turned out really well this time—with raw honey to sweeten it and coconut oil to toast it—but knowing I had pledged to fast, I was able to resist it.

Tomorrow morning, I’ll eat granola for breakfast. From a pile of apples in a hanging basket in the kitchen, I’ve already chosen the one I will eat when I wake up and I’ve set it on the bare kitchen counter.

One of the best personal results to come from this fast is a heightened sense of appreciation, not just for food, but for abundance in general. Last week I quit my best-paying writing gig in order to pursue some more meaningful projects. I’ll have to scrape by for a little while but right now—hungry—I think everything will work out. I have granola in my kitchen.

granola fast

25 Comment

  1. Awesome post! I will join the fast when I have finished nursing my baby. I’m sure everything will work out and meaningful opportunities will come knocking. Your my food/sustainability/zero waste hero. 🙂

    1. Thank you for the compliment and your support. I really appreciate it. I have two projects I’m very excited about and I think they will eventually lead to something, maybe even sooner rather than later! That’s wonderful you want to take part when you are able 🙂

  2. Michelle Snarr says: Reply

    inspiring

  3. I haven’t heard of this concept, but it’s an interesting one. Interesting to read about it 🙂

  4. This is very interesting. It’s good for us to sit back and realize all of the excess in our lives. Thanks for bringing this to light!

    1. You’re welcome. Thank you for checking it out. It was a very eye-opening experience.

  5. Oh I laughed so hard at the moment when you nibbled desperately on the stale sourdough! A wonderful post. I am glad to be sharing this #fastfortheclimate with you. <3

    1. Thank you! Stale sourdough never tasted so delicious. I’m so happy to share this fast with you too. Thank you so much for letting me know about it. I found it difficult but transformative too. I’ve marked my calendar for November 1st 🙂

  6. My stomach was asking me all day what I was trying to prove. I did make it through 24 hours w/out eating. However I felt like a a jackass by the end of it, b/c I asked my husband to go out and get me some carrot cake from the super market. It came in plastic and was probably full of GMOs. Not my usual way of doing things.

    1. I jotted down little impressions as the day progressed. Just before noon, I wrote, “OMG this is useless. Is this going to make any difference? I want to go back to sleep. Ppl must think I’m insane, not eating for 24 hours. I want almonds.” But later in the day I felt better and grew very appreciative and grateful by the end of it. We have plastic/GMO-filled disasters occasionally too. It happens. You should be proud of yourself for completing the fast! I’m so glad you joined in. I found it easier knowing other people were fasting.

  7. Zero Waste Chef, you are so inspiring! What a wonderful post.

    1. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it 🙂

  8. […] My First Fast For The Climate by Zero Waste Chef […]

  9. Really great post. I like how movingly you describe going a whole day without food, yet being grateful that you will be able to eat tomorrow. This was definitely inspiring to me 🙂

    1. Thanks so much. I really appreciate it 🙂

  10. Wow, I had no idea that we waste 40% of our food on average. Food is so incredibly expensive these days that I hate to waste anything. We have chickens, so every time I clean abandoned food out of my fridge, I feel a little better about it than I would if I were sending it to the landfill or even composting.

    1. Sorry, I thought I had responded to this…Yes, 40%! It makes you wonder how much people waste at the high end. Do they just steer their shopping carts directly to the grocery store parking lot dumpsters and toss everything? It would save a few trips to the curb at home. I bet the chickens are happy too when you clean out your fridge 🙂 I have been trying to cut down on my composting by using everything. Compost beats landfill, but it’s still waste. Thanks for the comment.

  11. It does seem crazy to keep focusing on growing more food in dubious ways when we’re already throwing out so much. Thanks for highlighting the importance of conservation and thoughtful consumption in general. Every day can be a day to choose wisely and enjoy deeply, I think. 🙂

    1. Well said! Thank you for the comment 🙂

  12. This blog post has sat in the bottom of my “to read” piles, and today I finally got a chance in peace and quiet to read it and take in the meaning behind your gesture of fasting for the climate. A fantastic idea, and certainly a way to find greater appreciation of food and our reliance on it for daily survival. As I am currently not working, I have taken up the challenge to reduce costs associated with eating, and find that I appreciate far more what I do have, and think far less of what I could have (if there was more $$ available). I set aside times where I pledge to eat nothing except what is in the pantry and in the vegie garden, until supplies have run dry (of pantry staples). This stops me from buying more stock than I need, and from buying things cause I feel like something different. At the end of the day I am truly grateful for what little I do need to feed myself and my 11 year old son. Long gone are the days where I casually went out to dinner at a restaurant and ate the value of a weeks worth of groceries in one sitting! Thanks for sharing the concept of fasting for climate change and ultimately for our planet 🙂

    1. On the weekend, I gave a fermentation demo at Feeding the 5000, an event to raise awareness about food waste. This has been going on in Europe since 2009, but this was the first time for the US. Volunteers fed thousands of people delicious soup made from perfectly good, yet ugly or too large, vegetables that would otherwise have gone to landfill. In the US, we throw out about 40% of our food. Meanwhile about 1 in 6 Americans goes hungry. So after participating in that, I’ve decided to do more of what you’re doing, and eat what I have, even if I would prefer to eat something else, before buying more food. I was so exhausted yesterday after Saturday’s event, that I was too tired to go to the farmer’s market. But I still have a bit of produce from the week before, plus eight avocados my daughter and her dad brought over the other day from the backyard tree and a large spaghetti squash my neighbor gave me. It’s actually quite a bit of food really. I have some sourdough tortillas in the freezer, which I made last week, sour cream I recently cultured AND fermented tomatoes, and I’ll combine all of that with the avocados (and whatever else I find) for dinner tonight and have some other fresh vegetables and another ferment on the side. I’ll be stuffed! I agree with you, we just buy all this food and really likely don’t need so much to sustain ourselves. Thanks for reading my post and for your comment 🙂

      1. Always a pleasure and an inspiration to read your blog posts 🙂

      2. Thank you so much! I enjoy reading yours too 🙂

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