What do oatmeal chocolate chip cookies have in common with the Hurricane Sandy and global climate change? Let me explain.

I live in Northern New Jersey, in an area that has been affected by the recent hurricane Sandy.

I’m grateful that my family has not been greatly affected by this disaster, even though our area got a lot of flooding and trees had been broken.

Our storage compartment and our parking area got completely flooded, but we had moved our cars to safe locations prior to the storm, so the only things we lost is our AC unit that is located in the storage is not functioning, and our Christmas tree decorations getting completely soaked – so we had to discard them.

These are not devastating losses, I know, many people were not as lucky, losing their homes to water and fire.

As we recover from the disaster, I hear that now over 60% of people in the New York City area now believe in human-caused climate change, so the number of climate-change deniers is going down.

But does it mean we are taking the actions that are needed to reverse the damage that has been done and prevent any further damage?


As the Eastern coast recovers from Sandy, I listen to the Democracy Now! broadcasting from the annual U.N. Climate Change Summit, as it convenes in Doha, Qatar.

A shocking new report commissioned by the World Bank is warning temperatures could rise by 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, causing devastating food shortages, rising sea levels, cyclones and drought — even if countries meet their current pledges to reduce emissions.

If these promises are not met, the increase could happen even sooner. Meanwhile, scientists say it is still not too late to minimize the devastating impact of climate change. A separate report by the Climate Action Tracker says global warming could be kept below 2 degrees.

“This is an imminent risk that will affect every living person on the planet if we push the ecosystems of the world into a major extinction crisis, says Bill Hare, a leading physicist and environmental scientist who helped produce both of these latest reports.

I believe we should all get educated about what is happening in the world today. We all seem to be living in a bubble, not realizing what is going on around us, or – as Mary Robinson said in her interview for Democracy Now! “We’re all in a kind of sinking ship together, going into a 4-degree-or-plus world. ”

Well, climate change is very real and it is an imminent risk that will affect all of us – every living being on the planet. It will push the ecosystems of the world into a major extinction crisis. It will cause massive problems for us humans.

Listen to the full interview here. You can also download it to your iPod or mp3 player and listen whenever you can. I also listen to it at Pacifica WBAI.

So we need to get educated, but education is just the first step. The second is start taking action.  We all need to become activists in the modern world.

And, even though, there is no easy way out of this horrific situation, and it’s easy to feel powerless and overwhelmed, there are certain easy-to-implement things that each and everyone of us can do – beginning today – but more about this later.

Post Hurricane Sandy

As I took a walk around my neighborhood with my son Adam assessing the damage (I live in a condominium complex) – he was happy and running around excited (no school for the whole week!) – I couldn’t help but wonder what will the world be like for him in 20, 40, or 60 years.

What will the future bring?

What kind of world will it be when we have far more weather shocks, far more drought, far more food insecurity and water stress?

After Sandy - Taking a walk in my neighborhood

After Sandy – Taking a walk with my son around our neighborhood

After Sandy - Taking a walk in my neighborhood

After Sandy – despite the disasters – the moods are high

After Sandy - Taking a walk in my neighborhood

After Sandy – Fallen trees and broken branches

After Sandy - Taking a walk in my neighborhood

My son hiding under a fallen tree

After Sandy - Taking a walk in my neighborhood

After Sandy – Taking a walk in my neighborhood – flooded deck

After Sandy - Taking a walk in my neighborhood

After Sandy – flooded parking lots and destroyed marina (in the back)

In the Wake Of Hurricane Sandy

It easy to feel frightened and powerless in the face of such disaster.

But what can an individual do?

Do individual actions even matter?

Will individual actions be enough?

Of course, an individual cannot reverse the damage that has already happened. Individually, we can only do so much.

But, does it mean we should just give up?

There is still a lot each of us can do – without impacting our lives too dramatically or causing too much hardship.

“Don’t do nothing because you can’t do everything. Do something. Anything.” says Colleen Patrick Goudreau on one of my favorite podcasts  “Food For Thought” at CompassionateCooks.com

One thing we can do easily do is to change our diet.

So my action for the day following Sandy – after taking a stroll around my neighborhood – was to make vegan oatmeal chocolate cookies.

Why make vegan cookies? I wrote about the benefits of switching to vegan diet here.  People do it for health or ethical reasons.

But you can also do it for the environment.

Did you know that our entire food production system – from growing crops and raising livestock, through distribution, and waste removal – is responsible for approximately one-third of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions?

While most people are well aware that meat and dairy consumption are associated with heart disease, cancer and diabetes; few of us realize that raising animals for food is one of the top contributors to the worst environmental problems around the planet at every level – from local to global.

Here are a few more facts for you it’s worth to know about:

– Livestock production alone is responsible for as much as 18 percent of the global climate change.

– Animal agriculture is a greater contributor to global warming than transportation, according to the United Nations. And due to their high methane output, cattle are one of the worst offenders of all farmed animals.

– The livestock sector is responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, about 40 percent more than the entire transport sector – cars, trucks, planes, trains and ships – combined (according to the UN).

– Nearly 10.2 billion land animals were raised and killed for food in the US in 2010. Globally, the number of land animals killed each year for food has exceeded 65 billion. Approximately 53 billion aquatic animals were killed for food in the U.S. in 2010.

– Animal agriculture uses enormous quantities of water, monopolizes land that could be more productive for crops, and contributes to deforestation of critical rainforest and other habitats.

– It takes over 5,000 gallons of water to produce one pound of meat.

– 55% of our fresh water is being given to livestock.

– Over 70 percent of the grain in the US is fed to livestock.

– 70% of rainforests have been slashed and burned in order to raise livestock.

– One acre of land, if used for vegetables, grain, and/or legumes, yields 10-20 times the amount of food in pounds than if devoted to meat production.

– Omnivores contribute seven times the volume of greenhouse gases that vegans do.

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe For the Changing World

So here is a vegan oatmeal chocolate cookies recipe for you.

I’m making the cookies dairy and egg-free. Making egg free and dairy-free cookies is actually very easy and fast once you learn about some good egg substitutes for baking and cooking (check out this easy pancake recipe too!).

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 2 cups quick-cooking oats
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup nondairy milk
  • 1 tablespoon ground flax seeds
  • 1 cup chopped pecan pieces
  • ½ cup vegan chocolate chips (or more 🙂
  • ½ cup shredded coconut
  • Additional nuts and chocolate chips for decorating tops of cookies (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line tow baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium size bowl mix oats, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat together oil, nondairy milk, sugar, flax seeds, and vanilla. Fold in the flour mixture, and add chocolate chunks, and pecans. Don't overmix. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  4. For each cookie, drop 1/4 cup dough onto cookie sheets. Flatten slightly. Bake at 350F for 15 to 20 minutes, until edges begin to brown. Let the cookies rest for 5 minutes. Enjoy!
  5. Yield: 2 to 3 dozen.

Making Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

As I’m making cookies with my son, I find it hard not to think about what will future bring for him in the next 20, 40, 60 years…

Making Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Making faces – mostly happy, smiling, but some sad and angry, too.

Making Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Tasting Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (my son, Adam)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


chocolate chip cookies

Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

If you have a favorite recipe, why not submit it here in the comment section of this blog for others to enjoy too!

I also welcome any comments, questions and suggestions. Thanks!