Me, My Food & Climate Change

A topic that connects global concerns with our daily food; the way we live and eat has a direct impact on climate change. Around 50% of all greenhouse gas emissions come from animal agriculture, to consume one burger-patty needs up to 2500 liters of water. Knowing that the availability of drinking water is getting short, only as one example, everyone is challenged to think on a personal and collective level about how to contribute to mitigating the destruction of the foundation of life – our planet.

Organized by the Heinrich Boell Foundation, the Innovation Centre Kosovo, and GoBeyond, four panelists from diverse backgrounds shared and contributed with insights and learnings related to their experience. The event started with a joyful energizer by Karsten Klapp – singing and playing on guitar a traditional song from a German village about the essential importance of food and its availability.

The first panelist, Xhevdet Gegollaj from Fondacioni Jeshil, highlighted the importance of thoughtful action through permaculture principles. On a personal level, these principles reflect in raising awareness for conscious consumption, strengthening collaboration, and education from an early age.

Vernesa Podramej, a photographer, shared her personal story of why she decided and was inspired to become vegan and portrayed her experience during this journey in Kosovo. Granit Gashi of the Heinrich Boell Foundation, moderating the panel, added that awareness of climate change requires that we need to leave our comfort zone, which for all of us is not easy. The third panelist, Egzona Lami of Gobyond, emphasized how agriculture is affecting directly the health of the planet and that urgently we need to rethink how food is produced and which food we consume. Finally, Virtyt Gacaferi, an entrepreneur in eco-tourism, promoted the concept of consuming local food produced in a responsible way. Everything needs to be balanced.

In the second part of the morning, the panelists hosted workshops discussing the topic of food and climate change with a focus on how can overcome mental barriers, what can we do as an individual, as a family, and as a society. It showed that the main issue discussed was “mentality” as the workshops presented their outcomes. This panel workshop made all participants – panelists and audience – active contributors to a lively discourse on food, which no doubt, is quite personal. Even though there were different perspectives everyone felt united in one purpose: we need to do something together in order to preserve and heal our planet for future generations.”