Do you, like, care about the environment? Yeah, cool, me too. And you eat organic, yeah? Right, right. But sometimes you just want a burrito, man, like, a big fat flour roll of stuff, and Chipotle's the place, yeah? Oh hey, did you see the news yesterday? Global warming may ruin their guacamole!
Chipotle—the 800-pound burrito in the room that somehow manages to ingratiate itself to campus hacky-sack kickers, competitive eaters, Sbarro-eating teens, and fake liberal pseudo-economists alike—got viral publicity yesterday after the corporate chain announced that it agrees with settled science and every branding analyst that global warming is, like, totally a thing, according to a
press release post by ThinkProgress:
"Increasing weather volatility or other long-term changes in global weather patterns, including any changes associated with global climate change, could have a significant impact on the price or availability of some of our ingredients," the popular chain, whose Sofritas vegan tofu dish recently went national, said in its annual report released last month. "In the event of cost increases with respect to one or more of our raw ingredients we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost for the ingredients."...
Chipotle's commitment to organic, local, and sustainable farming practices is also one of the reasons why it may be more susceptible to unexpected climate shifts. As the company notes, its food markets "are generally smaller and more concentrated than the markets for commodity food products," meaning Chipotle buys from producers that are less able to survive bad farming conditions without raising prices.
Oh, the tragic humanity. The rise in aggregate temperatures from people's runaway mass consumption may doom organic local agriculture and the growers whose livelihoods depend on it. AND THAT MAY MEAN I CAN'T HAVE GUAC ON MY SEVEN-DOLLAR FREE-RANGE CHICKEN BURRITO.
There is a school of economic and cultural thought that says the way you get people to care about issues of great global import is to personalize them: This isn't just bad, it's bad for you and the things you like. But it's not really much of a social revolution if the things you like are provided by mass-producers, like $3.2 billion-a-year fast-food companies in any one of their 900-plus stores—even "benign" fast-food companies "with integrity."
Note that Chipotle isn't actually saying it will take additional affirmative measures to reverse man-made climate change. It isn't looking for a new way to bolster local growing. It's not hinting that the company will reduce its carbon-coughing transportation volumes, or ratchet back its energy consumption, or stop serving corporate soda.
It is simply saying: Environmental degradation may make produce harder to grow, which might make it more expensive, and at the point where our consumers won't pay more for that commodified dirt-grown sustenance, we'll simply stopping buying and selling it.
Ball's in your court, Empowered Consumer. Eat a corporate burrito, or don't. You may not get any guacamole on it. But rest assured, there will be quirky life-affirming messages just for you on your mass-produced soda cup!
[Photo credit: AP]