Save the Earth In One (Not-So-Easy) Step
I have often noticed where my food comes from. The navel orange that my grandfather gave to me the other day was from South Africa, the garlic at the grocery store comes from China, my avocados are a product of Peru and the honey for my tea is from Argentina! Many highly processed foods require preservative products that are chemicals in nature or may come from foreign countries.
These practices are detrimental to societal values for two main reasons. First, it is overly consumptive of our natural energy supplies. Think about how much jet fuel it takes to transport a constant supply of fruit, perishable items, to the United States from South Africa, China, Peru or Argentina on a daily or weekly basis. Secondly, consuming food from other parts of the world contributes to the demise of communities.
Relocalization Is Best
Large scale agriculture has negative environmental health implications including pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, preservatives and synthetic fertilizers. The use of these products also contributes to an energy intensive, de-localized food system. For example, a common food preservative is palm oil. Palm oil is grown on plantations that are created by clearing natural habitat in the coastal regions of Africa. This widely used preservative contributes to biodiversity loss by removing natural habitat.
Our dependence on foods that require long shelf lives are directly contributing to negative environmental and societal implications. Habitat loss means loss of exotic flora and fauna. Secondly, consumption of these “dead” foods removes human beings from a relationship with our life-generating land. Many people are not aware of the contents of these foods, the effects and consequences that they have on their bodies and become indifferent to the disconnect between man, nature, preservation and ethical behavior towards our Mother Earth.
The Cash Register Is Your Daily Voting Machine
By spending money on products that contain damaging products, we are voting in favor of a system that wreaks havoc on ecosystems and our all providing entities. Foods that require great deals of energy contribute to global climate change, species diversity loss, cultural monism and globalization. I believe that we must have a new reverence and awakening for life where we celebrate and promote peace, health, prosperity and culture.
The time of the lone wolf is over. Gather yourselves! Banish the word “struggle” from your vocabulary. All that we do now must be done in a sacred manner and in celebration. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.
–The Elders, Oraibi, Arizona, Hopi Nation
Buy Local When Possible, Fair Trade When Not
Local economies and communities can only serve to be enhanced by a movement towards a localized food system. Local food is not only fresher and better tasting; it provides us with a sense of place, aligning us with the seasons. Commodities such as spices, coffee, chocolate and bananas can be sourced as “fair trade” products, meaning that farmers are fairly compensated for their products and that working conditions are safe and appropriate. The Fair Trade Federation and Global Exchange employs stringent regulations in order for businesses to be certified as “fair trade” so we are better able to trust when foods and products are labeled as so.
Developing Culture and Community
Research shows that almost 16,000 children of the world die annually from hunger-related illness-or one child every five seconds. 963 million people around the world are hungry and chronically malnourished. Impoverished and hungry people of Haiti often eat mud cakes baked in the sun so they can provide themselves and their families with minerals for nourishment.
Circumstances like these exist all over the world, yet storehouses of packaged and preserved food are filled to the brim. Elimination of the frantic food system that preserves, stores, ships and pollutes will help to eliminate the hunger atrocities from the world. The global food production system is well equipped to feed all people of the world; the problem therein lies in distribution. If less effort was spent on shipping out of season strawberries to stock supermarkets in Manhattan, for example, energy would remain in order to provide for all citizens of the world. It is projected that the number of the world’s hungry will reach 1.2 billion by 2025.
The Food Sovereignty Movement seeks to enhance the rights of communities and people through the elimination of a purely profit seeking agricultural system.
“The best way to tell whether we are moving in the direction of a greater well-being is by listening to our inner messages of comfort or distress. Our highest evolutionary path is the one that generates the least resistance and the most joy.”
–David Simon, M.D.
Our daily choices affect heavily the well being of other people and cultures all over the world. Although this may not be obviously evident, it is our social and moral responsibility to recognize this reality and act accordingly. By choosing a simpler food system, one that moves with the seasons, provides fresh foods sourced from local vendors and rejects highly processed and preserved items, we can influence a balancing effect on the equal distribution of food for people all over the world and one which values and nourishes our life giving planet.