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Introducing Aliah Galanga's "My Fantasy Environment: A Narrative Cartography Project"

All Things Bread

Having been raised in America and the Philippines, both countries have something in common: bread is a staple in a household. Pandesal is the most common type of bread and is made in the Philippines. The Philippines relies heavily on the importation of wheat from America in order to make pandesal since the weather in the Philippines does not permit wheat being grown. From there, I decided to make a map between the countries I call home, America and the Philippines. I did not include any important landscapes because I wanted to focus solely on the general area where wheat is grown along with where mills are located in America and in the Philippines. Therefore, I included the symbols of wheat and mills and placed them where they are generally located around America and in the Philippines. I included the capitals of both countries to further build the countries' relationship since they both import goods to each other by placing a map pointer. I also wanted to include the travel of wheat from America to the Philippines. I did this by placing an arrow in between the two countries to symbolize the distance to import wheat. I also decided to include “fun” facts about wheat and bread on my map by including bread and wheat symbols.

When quarantine started, many people and me included started to cultivate a hobby or activity to learn how to make bread to pass time by. For me, it was learning how to make pandesal which I grew up eating fresh out of the oven in the Philippines. The scent of fresh-baked bread coming out of the oven and the anticipation of whether or not it would be better than the last batch was what got many to make a batch of bread one after the other. Although we consume bread, we do not really consider the environmental impacts that the production of wheat and mills has on the environment. When we think of environmental issues, we picture pollution, smog, deforestation; but we do not consider what we eat can also contribute to environmental issues. The fertilizers that are used for crops heavily contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions. “Up to 60% of cops are grown with the use of fertilizers, made up of chemicals such as methane, carbon dioxide, ammonia, and nitrogen” (Bread’s Environmental Costs, Briggs). Because fertilizers are made up of these chemicals, “some of the nitrogen goes back into the atmosphere as nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas” (What’s The Environmental Footprint, Chatterjee). Mills require energy in order to grind the wheat which also increases the emission levels. While bread is delicious and considered a staple in households across the globe, this is deserving of attention since it not many people consider and is void in our common conversations today of how wheat production and mills cause greenhouse gas emissions and high energy emissions around the world which will only get worse if no alternatives are considered.

My map focuses on a global scale as how wheat is produced from America and is imported to the Philippines. It also represents the process of wheat production from agriculture to wheat mills based on their location on the map. Wheat is imported around the world to various countries, but I focused on two countries that I grew up in. I also focused on the relationship between my two homes. The significance of my map in introducing a new, unconventional perspective on how bread is a staple in households around the world and brings comfort to those who miss the traditional breads they eat from home. Another perspective is how countries who cannot grow wheat due to weather conditions, rely on countries which people do not consider as much.

According to Wikipedia, environmental studies focuses on the effects of human interaction with the environment. While my map and topic is similar to that idea, my main focus was on a type of food that two countries that I grew up in consider bread as a staple in a household and how there are countries that rely on other countries to supply them one ingredient in order to make what is seen as simple food. My map shows how the Philippines relies on the wheat grown in America to make their pandesal. Overall, my map focuses on how the process to make wheat for bread is not considered as a contributor to greenhouse gas emissions while also focusing on the trade relationship between two countries.

Works Cited

“Environmental Studies.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 14 Feb. 2021,

Briggs, Helen. “Bread's Environmental Costs Are Counted.” BBC News, BBC, 27 Feb. 2017,

Chatterjee, Rhitu. “What's The Environmental Footprint Of A Loaf Of Bread? Now We Know.” NPR, NPR, 27 Feb. 2017,

“Consumption of Selected Agricultural Commodities In The Philippines.” Philippines Statistics Authority , Republic of The Philippines, 2017,

Sustainable Food Trust -. “The Most Sustainable Bread in the World.” Sustainable Food Trust, 20 Sept. 2015,

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