Episode #
8
Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Alexis Cromer: Climate Solutions Require Creativity

In this Episode
Alexis Cromer
she/they
Program Director, Food Recovery
412 Food Rescue
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement
“Don’t worry so much about the end point. There are so many chapters, you want to go for the basics and really pursue things that make you happy in mind, body, and soul.”
In this Episode
Alexis Cromer
she/they
Program Director, Food Recovery
412 Food Rescue
Matt Scott
he/him
Manager, Storytelling & Engagement

Alexis’ Story

Wasted food is a major contributor to climate change. It means wasting the enormous amounts of water and energy that go into growing, harvesting, processing, transporting, and cooking our food. Additionally, food waste ends up in our landfills, and as it breaks down it produces planet-warming greenhouse gases like methane. Alexis Cromer is the food operations director at 412 Food Rescue and is part of the climate solution by recovering and rescuing excess foods from places that would otherwise throw it away, and getting it to people who need it in the Pittsburgh area. Alexis is helping to create a better world by addressing multiple issues: reducing food waste, fighting hunger, and addressing climate change through the inspiring work of 412 Food Rescue.  

Discussion Questions

One of the most important things you can do when it comes to climate change is talk about it.

  • Alexis describes the work at 412 Food Rescue as having an immediate and constant impact. How can efforts to reduce our food waste help people and the planet at the same time? 

  • According to the Environmental Protection Agency, over 97 percent of food waste generated ends up in a landfill, and as it rots, it releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. In the U.S alone, our food waste generates 32.6 million cars’ worth of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, there are many people in our communities who are experiencing hunger. One in seven people go hungry every day, yet nearly one-third of our food is wasted. The problem is not that we do not have enough food, it’s that the food isn’t necessarily being distributed in a way that reaches everyone. According to the United Nations, if we recover all the food that is lost or wasted, we will have enough to feed all those who are hungry, four times over. Were you aware of the connections between food waste and climate change? Where have you noticed food waste in your life? What are things you can do to help reduce food waste at home or school?

  • Thousands of volunteers, called “Food Rescue Heroes,” power the work of 412 Food Rescue, picking up perfectly good food and delivering it to the homes of people who are experiencing food insecurity. This results in millions of pounds of food being rescued, millions of meals provided and millions of pounds of CO2 emissions prevented. What is the role that volunteers can play to mobilize and build stronger communities? Why is it important to join with others to address big issues like community hunger and climate change? What is a time that you have experienced making a bigger impact, by joining others?

  • As a child, Alexis wanted to be an artist. They describe how writing and poetry created a foundation that prompted them to be curious and listen to people’s stories. This helped Alexis to care and think critically about the problems we face as a society, and how to create an impact. Think of a time that art (music, writing, poetry, painting, dance, etc.) inspired you to think about the world around you in new ways. What is the role that art can play in finding creative solutions to complex problems like climate change? 

  • Regardless of what other people think, Alexis believes that “making a difference on this planet, to make people's lives better is necessary and makes for a beautiful life…. There are things in life that make you wealthy that do not have to do with money. The connections we have with each other, … [and] with the planet.” Alexis credits confidence and bravery as being critical for staying encouraged. What is a time that you felt confident and brave, regardless of discouragement, and what was the result?

Learn More

Learn about the solutions in this story.

Explore Climate Solutions 101, the world's first major educational effort focused solely on solutions. This video series combines Project Drawdown’s trusted resources with the expertise of inspiring voices from around the world: drawdown.org/climate-solutions-101.

Take Action