As an industry, of course we’re keenly focused on COVID-19. As people are prioritizing their wellbeing, we’re spending our time and energy helping them maintain their health. But with COVID consuming the nation’s collective attention, other concerns have fallen lower on our priority lists. Consider this news from the University of Colorado at Boulder: Last September, web searches for “climate change” soared after Greta Thunberg challenged world leaders at the United Nations Climate Action Summit in New York City with “People are suffering. People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing…How dare you continue to look away.”
Then COVID hit, and as CU Boulder Senior Science Editor Lisa Marshall reports, Google analytics shows that searches around environmental issues dropped to new lows in the summer of 2020 (1).
That’s understandable, but there’s a reason CU Boulder is shining a light on this shift: New research from the university, published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, suggests that waning attention to climate change amid the pandemic could have lasting effects. Senior author Leaf Van Boven, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, explained in a press release that when we aren’t actively paying attention to an issue, the risk seems less dangerous. Read more about the study on www.colorado.edu, and consider this “good news” takeaway from Van Boven: Even the subtlest shift in attention, such as a news story or reminder from a friend, may be enough to make people see the importance. “You don’t need to be loud or overwhelming, you just have to be persistent,” Van Boven said, adding: “Are we wrong to be worried about COVID? Absolutely not. But we should not forget about these other threats, and we should be careful not to let our environmental laws be jeopardized while we’re not paying attention.”
With that in mind, see our coverage of regenerative agriculture here for important insights. Rodale Institute CEO Jeff Moyer stresses, “As we return to a new normal, it is imperative that we stay vigilant about maintaining our health…We cannot return to our industrial, chemical food system as the crisis recedes—a food system that is harming both people and the planet—and expect positive impacts on our personal health.”
Though none of us really want to give anyone yet another thing to worry about, our experts explain how regenerative agriculture is part of the solution to the negative effects of climate change on both people and the planet—and they discuss beneficial actions that are being taken right now. This coverage can also be found on www.WholeFoodsMagazine.com, so you can share on socials and be part of that persistent message that CU Boulder researchers say can make the difference.
Beyond raising our voices, there is much that can be done. Indeed, an international study led by the University of Leeds, published in Nature Climate Change, suggests that an economic recovery tilted towards green stimulus and reductions in fossil fuel investments would make it possible to avoid future warming of 0.3 °C by 2050. “The lasting effect of COVID-19 on climate will not depend on what happens during the crisis, but what comes after,” said study co-author Matthew Gidden from Climate Analytics, Berlin, in a press release. “Stimulus focused on green recovery and low-carbon investment can provide the economic kickstart needed while putting the world on track to meet climate pledges.”
Taking a closer look at what our industry is doing, leaders and changemakers from throughout the supply chain will gather virtually on August 26-27 to discuss sustainability issue at Driving Value Through Sustainability Across the Supply Chain, a #NaturallyInformed Virtual Event powered by WholeFoods Magazine and Trust Transparency Center. If you weren’t able to join us, on-demand recordings of the sessions will be available at https://naturallyinformed.net/. Tune in to learn about the steps that are being taken by farmers, suppliers, brands, and independent natural products retailers. Some of those steps are major, but some are small acts that can be implemented easily. And as Mark Hyman, M.D., recently shared on Instagram, “with each small step of activism we take, we send positive ripples out into our communities and the rest of the world.” Let’s get to it.
Save the Date!
On October 21-22, 2020, join us for our next virtual event in the #NaturallyInformed series powered by WholeFoods Magazine and Trust Transparency Center: Driving Opportunities in the Microbiome Space. The microbiome continues to be of the hottest categories, with probiotics, prebiotics and fermented foods topping trends lists and firmly in the sights of investors, FMCG, and retailers. But how do you get to play in this complex but lucrative space, and what does it take to create a winning product, brand or retail strategy centered around the microbiome? This Naturally Informed event will provide expert insights on the latest science and technologies driving development, and the inside scoop on what will drive new opportunities in the market. Register today.
- “Waning attention to climate change amid pandemic could have lasting effects” colorado.edu/today/2020/08/04/waning-attention-climate-change-amid-pandemic-could-have-lasting-effects