Our changing menu

Our changing menu

Using multiple communication methods we are helping people better understand the challenges posed by climate change using the foods they love and need

New York | Started on 15/04/2021

To reach the widest audience possible we are using food to tell the climate change story — everyone eats and it is all changing because of climate change. Food is integral to cultures, family histories, it brings people together, and it’s enjoyable. We see it as ultimate messenger to raise awareness and action on climate change. The foundation of our effort is, Our Changing Menu: Climate Change and the Foods we Love and Need (Cornell Press 2021), which uses an imaginary dinner menu to describe what is happening to our food from before dinner drinks to desserts and coffee. It also describes the efforts underway globally and what we can all do to keep the menu stocked and coincidentally help keep the planet livable. We also created a companion website (ourchangingmenu.com) that includes a searchable database of potentially hundreds of food ingredients and how they are changing.

In addition to the book and website we are using a multitude of means to tell this story, including social media (Twitter & Instagram), publishing relevant opinion pieces in the press, giving podcasts and public presentations including keynotes, and even tapping humor to tell this story. We are also in the early stages of a documentary film and will soon offer a new course at Cornell University, both focused on climate change and food. The course may be adopted by many other campuses. Finally, we continue to build and strengthen partnerships with chefs and many others in the business of food.

To determine if our communication approach has potential to make a difference, we conducted a national survey and learned that people are concerned about how climate effects their food choices and they want to learn more about the effects of climate change on their food. We also learned that food could help overcome the political divide in the US. Most everyone cares about food regardless of politics. These and other survey results affirmed that we are on the right path. A receptive audience awaits.

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Editor’s Note: All information published as submitted by the author(s). Minor edits may have been made to increase readability and understanding.