Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sushi and Coffee

In thinking of this title I realized how terrible sushi and coffee would be if consumed together. But I do love each separately!

As ridiculous as it may sound, these two things are virtually essential parts of my diet. So, I decided that if I was going to consume or not consume certain products on behalf of human rights agency, I should choose something that would really mean something to me. I think some kind of personal sacrifice is necessary.

But: I do not believe it would be possible or even good for my health to start graduate school and cut out coffee cold turkey. As an alternative, and as a way to make more of a statement, I've decided that I will only consume fair trade coffee. This means Starbucks is mostly out. PJ's, as far as I know is out. Jazzman's in the Social Science building is out. Thankfully, my crucial time for coffee is in the morning and it is often easier to find fair trade coffee in a grocery store or farmers market.

As for sushi, I will have to cut it out completely. I do not know of any sushi place that only serves fish that are raised or caught in the wild sustainably. A book "Four Fish" is just one work that outlines the dangers and negative effects of unsustainable fishing. How does this have anything to do with human rights?

Well, perhaps much more than you may think. The problem is the future. Every human has the right to an adequate amount of food. And if the world continues to over-fish the ocean, we will be in big trouble. This is not "save the whales" though that is a commendable cause. This is about the amount of people in the world who are hungry growing at an exponential rate in the near future.

The sushi craze in the U.S.--something I have, admittedly, participated in--has added to the overfishing of tons of different kinds of fish. Tuna and grouper are among the most popular and most over-fished.

I ate my last bite of sushi a few weeks ago and I am headed to the grocery in the morning in search of fair trade coffee. I intend on enjoying one without the other, as before, but in a much different way. I hope these actions influence further actions of my own and possibly of others. If anything, they will serve as a testament and a trial run of changing my consumer habits as a way to affect human rights...maybe even help save the world a little.


  1. I encourage you to read further about your fair trade coffee as well. It may not be as fair as you think . . .

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Men, Richie! Coffee and Sushi are two of my favorites. Coffee is like a ritual and sushi is a way of sharing with my son because he loves it too.