Climate Basecamp, Rainn Wilson and Gail Whiteman melt for saving the flavors

Rainn Wilson and Gail Whiteman for Climate Basecamp, photo provided by Climate Basecamp
Rainn Wilson and Gail Whiteman for Climate Basecamp, photo provided by Climate Basecamp /

From the backyard to the Great Barrier Reed, climate change impacts all aspects of people’s lives. While the concept is known, it often does not take hold until the effect is seen with the food, flavors, and items that people enjoy on a daily basis. Recently, Climate Basecamp, along with Rainn Wilson and Gail Whiteman, put that concept into people’s hands and the melting impact had people realizing a change needs to be made.

As a kickoff to Climate Change Week, Climate Basecamp hosted a “Save the Flavors” event where those favorite ice cream cones held more than just scoops of vanilla, chocolate, coffee, and mango flavors. In some ways, people might want to enjoy those treats before they disappear, both literally and figuratively. What some people may not realize is that the dire environmental situation will impact the favorite foods that people enjoy every day.

Prior to the event, FoodSided spoke with Rainn Wilson, a Climate Basecamp Founder, and Professor Gail Whiteman about the cause, how these types of events make the concern tangible, and which ice cream flavor they would miss most.

Although these planned events create a visual that cannot be denied, Wilson explained that it is more than just a moment in time. He said, the event “draws attention to a serious cause in fun and unique ways. Melting ice cream cones filled with flavors that are at risk due to climate change is a fascinating way to get people to thinking a little differently about climate change.”

Whiteman put it in clear, definable terms. She explained, “Climate Basecamp uses cultural arenas where science will be digested in that way that hasn’t been historically done. By making science understandable for all different types of audiences makes the subject accessible. The storyline is complicated, and certainly the science methodology is complicated, but the actual impacts for people are kind of simple.”

Overall, the organization targets the “moveable middle.” While that term is adaptable to many situations, the reality is that this segment is willing and wanting to listen, process, and change. They see these activations, appreciate the issue, and take the meaningful action to do better. More importantly, they keep the conversation moving forward.

Through this one moment, the idea taking a food and an image that sparks joy and layers another story on top of it, people have to pause. This scenario is not the empty shelf in the grocery store which will be filled in a day or two. If the mango trees do not grow, that fruit will never be on the table.

Although the situation is dire, no one wants to be served all the gloom and doom in a single setting. These types of creative, yet slightly lighthearted moments, can compel change. It is a digestible way to better understand, appreciate and adapt behavior going forward.

Rainn Wilson and Gail Whiteman for Climate Basecamp
Rainn Wilson and Gail Whiteman for Climate Basecamp, photo provided by Climate Basecamp /

When asked for some simple way to make a positive impact, Wilson suggests eating one plant based meal a day, supporting local farmers, and just get educated. He mentioned that no one can just be an ostrich and just bury their head in the sand, but there are ways to make it fit. It can be as simple as going to the Climate Basecamp website to learn a new fact every day.

The organization will continue to do these special events as a way to put the conversation in a servable way that can get people motivated to not just learn but to do more. The idea of a world without a favorite ice cream flavor would not be very sweet.

And, which ice cream flavors would Rainn Wilson and Gail Whiteman miss the most. Wilson said, “what’s a world without chocolate? I would miss the great cocoa bean. It is very open to climate impact because of increased pests due to shorter winters, shorter cool periods, which allow pests to grow and spread more rapidly. Life without chocolate would be an abomination.”

Whiteman said, “It would be vanilla. I’m a big fan of really good vanilla and the vanilla bean, which comes from an orchid. It’s only grown in a very few places around the world, including Madagascar which is extremely climate vulnerable. For lots of reasons, extreme weather, temperature changes, changes in precipitation, as well as those pesty bugs and fungi, it is not a good thing. Can you imagine a world without vanilla?”

Open the refrigerator, freezer and pantry and envision it mostly empty. Without meaningful action, that visual will become reality. Ready to join Climate Basecamp and make a difference?

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