While living in Washington, DC, I had the opportunity to interview Ana, who grew up on a farm in Honduras, where 1.37 million people work in the agricultural sector. Many Hondurans depend on the earth for everything, for their livelihood, and in poor, rural areas, even for their life. Ana’s family has felt the difficulties of climate change. The extreme heat and recent droughts have made working conditions more difficult for her brothers, who live near the family farm. “It doesn’t rain a lot there,” Ana told me, “They have a lot of droughts. They can’t grow the crops they used to grow every year.”
The United States is important to Honduras economically—exports to the US are 30% of GDP and remittances are 20%, creating a reliance on the US. The United States also directly affects Honduras with respect to climate change. Though the US comprises only 5% of the world’s population, it produces 25% of the total annual greenhouse gas emissions. The world’s poorest countries—like Honduras, where 60% of people are living in poverty—disproportionately feel the adverse effects of climate change.
With this is mind, I asked Ana why many people in the United States do not seem too worried about climate change. She answered, “I think some people just don’t want to deal with it, but I think we have done so much to our environment; it is affecting a lot of people in other countries. So many people in Honduras don’t have anything. They even have to borrow land to plant corn and beans and whatever they can. But if there is no rain, they suffer.”
Several months later, I find myself living in a townhouse in Cutler Bay, Florida, USA (just south of Miami), with two other Global Mission Fellow US-2s, Caitlin and Drew, and a Young Adult Missional Fellow from the Florida Annual Conference’s Young Adult Missional Movement, Sarah. Because of our combined experiences, including my interview with Ana, we recognize the real human and environmental impacts of unsustainable living, including our food production/eating practices, and we have decided to begin to seek justice by eating more sustainably:
- Our first brilliant idea was composting. Of course, composting has environmental benefits, but it is also good (or really, really bad) for my sweet tooth, since we have to finish an entire bucket of chocolate ice cream before we can use that bucket to collect our food scraps, napkins, soiled cardboard, etc. and carry them to the backyard for composting.
- Most of our food in the United States has to travel over 1,500 miles before we can eat it, using up fossil fuels and emitting greenhouse gases (which contribute to climate change). In order to address this, we joined Farm Fresh Miami, a subscription food delivery service that sells mostly locally-sourced and organic foods grown on small farms. We picked up our first produce box a few days ago.
- Finally, we almost always cook and eat together four nights a week, and we share all of our food, which has allowed us to purchase only what we need, reducing food waste.
We have a long way to go before we will truly be living (or even eating) in a fully sustainable way. I feel determined to continue to try, with special consideration for the lives that I may be indirectly harming through my daily practices, so that all of creation might share in the abundance that God has provided for us forever.
US-2, Class 2015