Fighting Climate Change, One Cookie at a Time

Written and produced by Elise Goldstein and Cara Suplee

If the coronavirus pandemic has proven anything, it is that when lives are at stake, people can drastically and immediately alter their lifestyles for the preservation of human existence. Yet, when that option is presented in the case of climate change, the solution of veganism still leads to disagreement. 

A 2016 report by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America shows that the food system is responsible for more than a quarter of all greenhouse gas emissions, of which up to 80% are associated with livestock production.

Madison-based vegan food blogger Abby Bayatpour, otherwise known as @heartofabaker, has been cooking vegan for nine years. Although she is passionate about the environmental impact that veganism can have, she also enjoys veganism as simply an alternative eating habit.

“I love knowing that I’m providing people with recipes to make a delicious treat they can enjoy if they are avoiding dairy or have children with allergies,” Bayatpour says. “Vegan baking doesn’t necessarily mean healthy, it’s just a different option that’s still delicious!”

Long-time vegan and UW–Madison student Claire Girod is passionate about using her dietary choices as a form of climate change activism. She also respects that her lifestyle might not be for everyone.

“I think on one hand, if everyone went vegan, it would make a huge difference,” Girod says. “But it’s also not accessible for everyone, whether it’s financially or environmentally or healthwise.”

Our video showcases a recipe for vegan chocolate peppermint cookies, created by Bayatpour. Enjoy!

Recipe: Vegan Chocolate Peppermint Cookies by Heart of a Baker


2 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cocoa powder

1/3 cup ground flaxseed meal

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

3/4 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup + 1 tablespoon olive oil

1/3 cup water

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons peppermint extract

1 cup chocolate chips

12 peppermint candies (crushed)


Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, flaxseed meal, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, stir together the granulated sugar, brown sugar, olive oil, water, vanilla and peppermint extract.

Add the sugar mixture to the flour mixture and mix until combined, until no flour streaks remain. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the cookie batter out onto the prepared cookie sheets by the tablespoon. Bake for 10 minutes. Immediately after removing from the oven, press a teaspoon full of crushed peppermint candies into the middle of each cookie and allow to cool.

Store in a covered container for up to 5 days.