Greenhouse Gases from Your Broccoli – Buy Local – Support the Environment and the Community

Greenhouse Gases From Your Broccoli
“Buy Local”
Support the Environment and the Community
(Appearing in the Muslim Link newspaper – by Omar Mahfoudhi)

On average the fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat and poultry we consume travel between 2,400 to 4,000 kilometers from the farm to your home. This long-haul transportation of our food is quite energy intensive considering the volumes being transported and the required refrigeration of perishable goods during transport. This is referred to as the food carbon footprint.

The concept of reducing our food’s carbon footprint is becoming a commendable endeavor that communities can collaborate on to reduce greenhouse gas emission from their daily practices. The carbon footprint of our food is the amount of carbon dioxide produced from processing, transporting, and storing the food we eat. Buying local is a simple concept, but in practice it may not be that attainable on an individual level. Soon you will understand why this needs to be a community endeavor.

Buying local means committing to buying produce and meats cultivated within 100 kilometers of your city. Not only does this reduce environmentally harmful emissions, but it also reduces the waste generated from packaging, the food remains fresh, and of course reduces the cost, which is passed on to the consumer.

So why don’t we just buy from our local farms? Well this is where it gets interesting. On a broad scale the evil of globalization has masked the true cost of the food we eat, and most large cities are ecologically dead since they no longer produce the goods needed to sustain themselves. On a more manageable scale, there are challenges that can be addressed with social awareness and community collaboration, which is the case here in Ottawa. As it happens, Ottawa has the largest local agro-economy of any major Canadian city. But there are some hindrances to committing to a dynamic market of locally produced meat and vegetables. Some salient hindrances are:

• Inconvenience/not consistently available
• Lack of awareness – where/how to access the food
• Lack of variety
• Lack of consumer support/demand
• Labour and financial constraints

There are already local organizations who are committed to promoting and facilitating the distribution and sale of locally grown produce. Community Shared Agriculture (CAS) is an approach to growing and purchasing food products in which the farmer and consumer are working cooperatively. Along with CAS is the Ottawa Buy Local Project, which also supports and advertises the wholesale component of the Ottawa Farmers’ market with businesses. Moreover, the Ottawa Buy Local Project delivers “Buy Local” presentations that highlights what is needed for a healthy food system in Ottawa.
A quick survey of some of our local halal grocers yielded that most of the halal grocers already provide locally raised meats and some provide locally grown produce. There was also a willingness of grocers to place signs that their foods are locally cultivated.

Here is where this endeavor becomes a communal effort. Encourage your local grocer to buy locally grown produce, and make a commitment to buy your fruits, vegetables and meats from them. This way the grocers can offset the cost and effort it takes to seek out locally grown produce with a committed market for this environmentally righteous source of food we would be buying anyway. This will also, create this demand that will motivate other halal grocers to enter the market of locally cultivated foods.

In this way we can support both environmentally righteous consumerism and our local Muslim businesses.

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Air, Soil, Water, and Energy Conservation – Islamic Ecology

If you’ve been concerned, as many of us have been, about the state of the environment, you can learn more about it and how to become involved. I will be talking on the topic of Environmental Issues as seen from an Islamic perspective, and why it is important for Muslims to be concerned with this issue on Salam Ottawa 93.1FM radio. The second part of a four-part programme will be airing on Tuesday Jan 16 at 5PM for one hour. You can also listen on
http://www.ckcufm.com (click on “Listen Live” – you will need real player). Please email your questions, if you have any, and I will be happy to deal with them during the sessions to come ( salam_ottawa@yahoo.com). I will be posting the information provided on a Blog insha’Allah which I will announce later. Please pass on this message to your friends and family,

Thank you and Jazakum allahu khairan.
“Ruin has appeared on the land and sea, because of what the hands of man have earned, that (Allah) may give them a taste of some of their deeds: in order that they may turn back (from evil).” (Ar-Rum: verse 41)

What Is Ecology –> Okios (Greek) –> The House; Think of:

• Earth’s condition manifest in seasons, night and day, solar energy input, lunar forces, etc.
• Earth materials and any transformation they undergo; physical, chemical, biological
• Living creatures of the Earth and the interactions they have with other creatures and the materials around them, as well as changes they inevitably undergo.

Specifically, the interactions of the living organisms on the earth with their respective environments (composed of living and non-living) with carful attention to the condition in which the Earth may persist. The complete state of the Earthly system with its various components in a balance of energy and matter.

As discussed, of all the creatures on the Earth that were presented the responsibility of the Earth it was mankind who chose to take that responsibility.

Allah says in the Qura’an: (and we presented or offered the “trust” (Amanah, responsibility, stewardship) to Heavens, and the Earth, and the mountains, but they declined to uphold it, so we had mercy upon them, so mankind upheld it” Al-Ahzab. 72

As stewards, and representatives we were given guidelines and rules to follow.

Generally, against thoughtless consumption; that is, wastefulness and extravagance.
Teaching justice, conserve, and preserve. “And don’t be wasteful” and “In deed those who are wasteful are the brethren of devils” etc. “Allah enjoins upon justice”

It is within God’s wisdom that His creatures be of service to one another. The balance and measure Allah has placed in everything, all of which with a purpose is above all legal reason to conserve the environment and the resources it contains. (Chines proverb) “We did not inherit this land from our fathers, we are borrowing it from our children”

How do these general laws and guidelines translate into our daily activities.

1. In water, energy, fuel, etc.
Allah reminds us of the value water: “Have you seen the water which you drink? Was it you who sent it down from the rain cloud , or did We send it? Were it Our will, We could have made it bitter; why then do you not give thanks?” , “and we have created from water everything living”

He also reminds us that the waters of the seas, oceans, lakes and rivers are habitat for other creatures of Allah’s creation that must be honored and not transgressed upon. “It is He Who has made the sea of service, that you may eat thereof flesh that is fresh and tender, and that you may bring forth from it ornaments to wear, and you see the ships therein that plough the waves, that you may seek of His bounty ,”

Realizing the value of water to life makes it clear that to fulfil our responsibility on this earth to honor Allah’s bounties and creatures we must also conserve and preserve this valuable asset.

Any action that obstructs or impairs the biological and social functions of this element, whether by destroying it or by polluting it with any substance that would make it an unsuitable environment for living things or otherwise impair its function as the basis of life; any such action necessarily leads to the impairment or ruin of life itself. And the juristic principle is,
“What leads to the prohibited is itself prohibited.”

The Prophet Mohammed peace be upon him said: ruin
“Do not waste! Even if you are at a flowing river”

Owing to the importance of water as the basis of life, God has made its use the common right of all living beings and all human beings. All are entitled to use it without monopoly, usurpation, despoilment, wastage, or abuse. The Prophet, upon him be blessings and peace, said, “Muslims are to share in these three things: water, pasture, and fire,”

2. Air,
Importance of “And we send the fertilizing winds. “ common use and right for all.

3. Soil and Land:
God has made the land a source of sustenance and livelihood for us and other living creatures: He has made the soil fertile to grow the vegetation upon which we and all animal life depend.

He has made the mountains to catch and store the rain and to perform a role in stabilizing the crust of the earth.

If we would truly give thanks to the Creator, we are required to maintain the productivity of the soil, and not expose it to erosion by wind and flood; in building, farming, grazing, forestry, and mining, we are required to follow practices which do not bring about its degradation but preserve and enhance its fertility.

For to cause the degradation of this gift of God, upon which so many forms of life depend, is to deny His tremendous favors. And because any act that leads to its destruction or degradation leads necessarily to the destruction and degradation of life on earth, such acts are categorically forbidden.

Finally, the Prophet Muhammad, God’s blessing and peace be upon him, declared that “The whole earth has been created as a place of worship for me, pure and clean.” Accordingly, we are charged with treating it with the respect due to a place of worship, and with keeping it pure and undefiled.
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