Climate Change and YOU Can Make a Difference!

I returned from a wonderful time in Costa Rica with Molly Meehan and her group, Centro Ashe. It was certainly life affirming. The experience reminded me again why I am so passionate about my work with Rural Coalition and about the consumer choices I make every day that affects millions around the world. It was really amazing to see the parallel issues affecting Costa Rica and the United States. Molly took us to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica and we learned of the racial tensions that remain and the struggle for the region’s indigenous farmers. It was unreal talking to farmers who have watched climate change in the past 10 years drastically affect their lives. The indigenous farmers at each farm we went to were all concerned because the Chinese fruit was blooming in January when it should be dormant. Each farmer we visited was sure to tell us that climate change is at the top of his or her concerns. For me the parallels were summed up when one farmer said, "I was told I could only grow bananas and survive as a farmer." It made me think of my family being told, "You have to grow corn to survive." This farmer went against the grain and was growing anything but bananas!! He even had carrots.... in Costa Rica!!!!

However, we were constantly given hope that we could make a difference here in the states each day with our purchasing power. I learned first-hand that buying co-operative coffee, chocolate, bananas, and other products really helps small farmers stay on their land. We met a group of 1,200 producers who grow organic/sustainable chocolate they sell to Switzerland and banana puree to Gerber! It made me realize I can have a direct impact on the market and world with my money. I am now eager to educate others on this.

If you all ever have a chance to join Centro Ashe for the trip it is an amazing experience and a side of Costa Rica most will never experience. It was like I knew a secret after spending a week in a village of 250 who only got electricity in the '90's! I would have blissfully stayed forever growing my organic bananas!!