May 29, 2014
Connecting and Considering
There are times I find that daily living can exist in a vacuum of sorts. I take care of myself and my family with the resources that are available. I know that there are big issues out there in the world that need to be addressed like education, poverty, healthcare and the environment but who am I to tackle such huge issues? This past year has brought forth opportunities for me to consider and make some changes as I live on this earth.
My adult son and I were driving home as I noticed a billboard that stated, save the environment, stop eating beef. I cynically looked at my son and said what in world does eating beef have to do with the environment? My son proceeded to enlightened me of the impact upon the environment due to the grossly large stock yards necessary to provide beef and dairy products for today’s consumers. In order to provide the land necessary for livestock some countries have chosen to use forest lands and others have allowed over grazing. Livestock on an intensive scale in industrialized countries has become a major source of pollution of water and the atmosphere (FAO,2013). I had never really considered how the environment was being impacted by our food choices
A documentary was shown in a class, Food Inc. produced by Robert Kenner in 2008. It asked the question do you know what you are eating and where your food is coming from.The documentary talks about how food production has been impacted by the fast food industry. The modern food industry is about doing things faster, fatter, bigger and cheaper and no one is thinking about the impact it is having on our health system (Leake,2010). Wendall Berry states that people are fed by the food industry that pays no attention to health and are healed by the health industry that pays no attention to food (Eytan, 2013). I had never really considered how our food and health were being impacted by today’s efficient but not so effective lifestyles.
A customer comes into the store and tells me his story about the way his health has been impacted by the gluten in wheat that has been genetically modified. He tells me that the modifications were done to help wheat grow quicker and to be resistant to environmental harms. The new modified wheat has developed a protein that has impacted many in a negative manner. I start doing some research on my own and make some changes in the way we eat from the findings. I had never considered that efforts to resolve hunger may result in doing more harm than good.
A clip from the sci-fi movie Soylent Green (1973) shows a world in 2022 that has been depleted of all natural resources and what awful measures humanity will resort to, to survive. Today we still have many attempting to prophesy about future catastrophes as a result of misuse of the world’s resources or ways that the predicted population growth of nine billion by 2050 will not be sustainable (Rupp, 2014). These efforts are done to call others to wake up and purposely create fear. I do know that fear can cripple a person.
Fear evokes what is call survival brain and it can have three primary outcomes (Laton,2005). Freeze we become overwhelmed and feel we are paralyzed to do anything about the circumstances so we live as a victim of our circumstances. Flight we run away from the problem and find a small community were we can live making the best life we can without thinking about others. Or we can respond to the fear by fighting back. Fighting back seems to be the best response to the fear that is evoked but it must be a rational response to a real problem.
My ultimate goal of attending college is to attain a degree in mental health and/or human development. Issues of the environment and food supply are critical to our mental and physical health. Studies show that the impact of not having the basic needs of humanity met is grave for ones future and creates a high cost upon societies. This generation is responsible to address serious concerns and to do what we can to make sure future generations have the opportunity to live responsibly and well.
How do we responsibly respond to the fears for the future? First we need to recognize that were are not powerless to make changes. As consumers and citizens we have loud voice and industry will respond to persons who persevere in discussion for the good of humanity. David Platt in his book Radical Together uses this powerful illustration.
Atop the Andes Mountains, the rays of sun strike ice, a single drop of water forms gradually joining with other drops to become a steady stream. Hundreds of miles later, the mightiest river on earth: The Amazon, flowing in the Atlantic Ocean at a rate of seven million cubic feet per second, the Amazon is more powerful than the next ten largest rivers combined.
As we connect with others on the path set before us we become a mighty force for change. As we become aware of things to consider we need to respond to the circumstance by gaining knowledge and doing the things we can to impact for good. We are without excuse in today’s world to be ignorant of circumstances that cause concern. I am hopeful for the future even with all the concerns that arise because concerns do arise, and because people arise to speak and act on behalf of humanitarian issues.
Eytan, T. (2013) Comparing US food system and healthcare stats. Retrieved from: http://www.foodtechconnect.com/2013/11/12/comparison-us-food-sytem-health-care-stats/
Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO). (2013). World agricultural: towards 2015-2030, and FAO perspective. Retrieved from: http://www.fao.org/docrep/005/y4252e/y4252e05b.htm#TopOfPage
Layton, J. (2005). How Fear Works. HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved from:
29 May 2014
Leake, L. (2010). Some highlights from food inc. documentary. Retrieved from: http://www.100daysofrealfood.com/2010/04/28/some-highlights-from-the-food-inc-documentary/
Platt D. (2011). Radical Together. Multhomah Books. Colorado Springs, CO.