Tend­ing to a change

The Compass - - NEWS -

While per­form­ing th­ese es­sen­tial roles in our lives, com­mu­nity gar­dens also of­fer a lo­cal way to counter the glob­ally rel­e­vant chal­lenge of cli­mate change.

Dear Ed­i­tor:

Who would have thought that plant­ing pota­toes or parsnips could have such a great ef­fect on our world?

Over time, the tie be­tween food se­cu­rity and cli­mate change has grown. The United Na­tions (UN) has pro­vided a fo­rum where mem­ber coun­tries can agree to in­sti­tute poli­cies and treaties that will ad­dress cli­mate change. This will be the case in De­cem­ber when coun­tries meet in Copen­hagen for the United Na­tions Cli­mate Change Con­fer­ence (see http://en.cop15.dk).

For food se­cu­rity in par­tic­u­lar, the idea is to en­sure that peo­ple have ac­cess to se­cure and nu­tri­tious food that ben­e­fit their health and well­ness. We hear the ax­iom that a global prob­lem must of­ten find a lo­cal so­lu­tion. Of course, con­fronting the chal­lenges of cli­mate change does not hinge solely on a sin­gle lo­cal so­lu­tion.

More­over, poli­cies that bind and re­flect the will of re­gional, pro­vin­cial, na­tional and in­ter­na­tional gov­ern­ing bodies are im­per­a­tive. Still, all those lo­cal ac­tions that you and I do daily, weekly or yearly are also piv­otal. And while there are dif­fer­ent ways we can make a dif­fer­ence and ad­dress the ties be­tween cli­mate change and food se­cu­rity, one of the ways lies at our feet. That boun­ti­ful har­vest of beets, cab­bage or turnips that we cul­ti­vate in our gar­dens and also our com­mu­nity gar­dens, make a dif­fer­ence.

Mu­tu­ally ben­e­fit

For good rea­sons, com­mu­nity gar­dens are touted for their in­te­gral con­tri­bu­tions to the health and well­ness of in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties. They of­fer a means by which peo­ple and other mem­bers of the en­vi­ron­ment – liv­ing and non-liv­ing – can mu­tu­ally ben­e­fit as a whole. Com­mu­nity gar­dens also en­gen­der and strengthen such things as our sense of place, qual­ity of life and so­cial sup­port net­works, the lat­ter be­ing a spe­cific de­ter­mi­nant of health (see Achiev­ing Health and Well­ness: Pro­vin­cial Well­ness Plan for New­found­land and Labrador). While per­form­ing th­ese es­sen­tial roles in our lives, com­mu­nity gar­dens also of­fer a lo­cal way to counter the glob­ally rel­e­vant chal­lenge of cli­mate change.

Cli­mate change

How­ever we look at it, cli­mate change is clearly on the front-burner. Many ac­knowl­edge that we are al­ready ex­pe­ri­enc­ing changes to our cli­mate, en­hanced and ac­cel­er­ated by hu­man ac­tions. For New­found­land and Labrador, this means changes to sea level, ero­sion, pre­cip­i­ta­tion as well as the re­sul­tant ef­fects on our health and well­ness. Re­gard­ing the tie with food se­cu­rity, “Cli­mate Change and Food Se­cu­rity: A Frame­work Doc­u­ment” (see Food and Agri­cul­ture Or­ga­ni­za­tion of the United

‘While there are dif­fer­ent ways we can make a dif­fer­ence and ad­dress the ties be­tween cli­mate change and food se­cu­rity, one of the ways lies at our feet.’

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