I'm reading this novel; fiction, but more like non-fiction when you consider that the premise is based upon humanity's overconsumption of the Earth's resources. Descriptions in the book highlight the barren wasteland that used to be flush with green, and which is now described as an eerie purple from pollution and a landscape that is raging with storms. Food and supplies are all "vintage" (i.e. - from today or early times) and the world is crumbling.
There are other interesting social dilemmas in the book which are underscored by the backdrop described above. But, as I hear the latest statistics and studies about our dwindling supplies, our lack of "care" for how we interact with this world leading to an overpopulation of human greed, I can't help but know that the backdrop, this imaginary and desolate future, is not far from the one we will face; and soon.
Sustainability Spotlight: How many of you see the headlines for a loss of plankton in the oceans and believe "it's not real, it hasn't been properly peer reviewed"? How many of you heard about the latest ice calving from Greenland and think, "it's not as bad as 2009, so we should be okay"? How many of you have heard about the fact that half way through this year, humans have consumed more resources than the Earth can fulfill in a full year and think "it's fine, we can always do x, y, z to help"? And, how many of you have heard that Las Vegas will run out of fresh water in about 50 days and think "well, we can just have them tap into the mighty Mississippi"?
See, we excuse away the glaring truth that is in every pathway to our future - we aren't listening to the science, and we are not hearing the death throws of the Earth even as they rage around us at the highest volume imaginable. We.are.running.out.of.time.
But...I have to have hope; hope for a future because that's the only way forward for my kids, and their kids. I want them to have a future; one that isn't saddled with only burden, but one that is already looking brighter because of what I (and my fellow generations of adults - young and old) have chosen to do differently, instead of what we have always done before. They see my choices, and my beliefs, and they are already thinking of ways to make this future better. Those choices though HAVE to be (and the Earth is begging you here) they HAVE to be choices to reduce consumption.
Only by reducing our overall consumption of resources - energy, food, and water, can we possibly find a way forward into a future that still supports life on this planet. Our population cannot continue to expand without collapsing at this rate. It just cannot. If we are going to live on this planet, then we must find ways to live within our means.
What can you do? Try vegan (at least some days if not forever!). Take short showers and take them every other day (not kidding here). Use what we have in season for produce and what looks good, vs. a plan we had when we went to the store because "it sounds good and we really want it." Stop, for goodness sake, stop buying and using non-reusable bags, table ware, plastics, and brands which layer on the packaging. And please, stop agreeing by complacency with the pathway we are on as a species - just because you CAN order your (insert item you seem to not be able to live without here) online and have it delivered, doesn't mean you SHOULD. Do something different; that's the only way forward. Change.
Start small - chose to make this recipe forgoing any animal products and that make a "large batch" for tonight's dinner and a few lunches this week. Plan, be bold, and remember, we are fighting for our lives and the future of humanity every day. Don't give up; the new future is out there for us - we just have to choose it!
1 cup bulgur
1 cup boiling water
1 whole bunch (with stems) fresh parsley
1/4 cup fresh mint
1 small handful cilantro
3-5 green onions (3 if large; 5 if small)
3-4 kale leaves (de-stemmed)
2 firm tomatoes (diced)
1 cucumber (diced)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lemon (zested & juiced)
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp hemp hearts
Crispy Middle Eastern Chickpeas
1/2 tsp each of the following:
Hot Madras curry powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
2 cans chickpeas - rinsed, drained and "peeled" of casings (rub in clean towel very well to remove)
Combine bulgur and boiling water in a bowl - let sit 1 hour; then proceed
Combine all ingredients parsley through hemp hearts into a bowl with prepared bulgur. Place in fridge for at least 1 hour to meld flavors and chill.
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
Toss olive oil & chickpeas together and spread onto a silpat lined (or parchment paper lined) jelly roll (lipped baking) pan.
Slide pan in oven and roast for ~20 minutes. Remove pan (Carefully! it's hot) and shake vigorously to roll chickpeas.
Place pan back in oven for another ~15 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine all ingredients of Crispy Middle Eastern Chickpeas into a medium bowl. Once chickpeas are done roasting and nice and crisp, immediately toss in the spice mixture of the bowl to coat all pieces.
Serve chilled bowls of tabbouleh topped with spiced chickpeas immediately.
With love & hope for a better future for all of us - Jamie