More than 20,000 people demonstrated for the climate in Swiss cities at the beginning of February. The movement has spread throughout the country: Not only in Zurich and Bern, but also in western Switzerland and Ticino, schoolchildren and adults took to the streets with self-designed posters. They demand that politicians “declare a climate emergency” and net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

From Sweden to the WEF

It all started during the 2018 heat wave when 16-year-old Swedish Greta Thunberg stayed away from school in protest. With her sign “Skolstrejk för klimatet” (school strike for the climate) she drew attention to herself in front of the Reichstag in Stockholm. Since then, the climate protection movement has gained a foothold not only in Sweden, Belgium and France, but also in Switzerland. “You steal our future” or “cheap flights are too tempting” is written on the banners. Greta Thunberg was even present at the WEF in Davos and took part in a discussion forum on climate policy. While the helicopter taxis were circling over the snow-covered city, she managed the journey from Sweden to Switzerland by train – over 30 hours each way.

Better train than airplane

Speaking of air traffic, did you know that the outward flight from Zurich to New York generates more than 1 tonne of CO2 per person? To offset this environmental impact, you would have to do without beef (approx. 50kg) for 1 year or poultry (approx. 150kg) for 2.5 years. And only if you stay in New York and don’t fly back, otherwise it’s twice as much. And if you also want a new smartphone every year, you can accelerate the degradation of precious metals and the so-called rare earths, which are promoted with harmful chemicals. According to Greenpeace, smartphone production alone consumed 968 terawatt hours of electricity worldwide in the last ten years, which corresponds to India’s annual energy supply.

New Zealand Aapples and greenhouse cucumbers

Not too often New Zealand fruits are found on the shelves of our grocers, from the other side of the world. The reasons are many and varied, ranging from the season to imported pests or extreme weather conditions that have largely destroyed the Swiss harvest. It is obvious that air transport around half the globe is not exactly environmentally friendly. At this point, however, it must also be said that Swiss food can also be very harmful, namely if it comes from greenhouses heated with fossil fuels. It is therefore not only important to pay attention to the country of origin of the food, but also to always keep the seasonal table in mind. And what could be nicer than buying food for our bodies directly from the producer? So you see the business with people and animals, do something good for your health with seasonal vitamin bombs and promote the independence of the farmer, who can finally achieve fair prices without the excessive margins of the retailers.

We as consumers decide

Global warming is here. We cannot prevent it completely, but we can slow it down, because with every degree the weather extremes increase, glaciers become ice streams and native plants disappear. It can be assumed that in the future the quality of food will decrease, but at the same time prices will rise. This is not only due to increasing crop failures due to weather extremes or new pests, but also because the fertile soil is becoming increasingly scarce (see also blog article “Healthy soil for healthy food”). And because the powerful politicians in the world often prefer to talk rather than act, it may not be so bad if schoolgirls like Greta Thunberg become active and bring about a movement whose consequences for the world and the climate are still in the stars. In the end, however, it is important that we as consumers not only take to the streets, but also live climate-friendly lives in our everyday lives. This also includes not eating non-seasonal food or accepting price increases. Let us hope that others will do the same for us and not wait too long until it is too late.

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