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The Future of Food, Food Inc, and Our Planet

I watched ‘The Future of Food’ a documentary by Deborah Koons Garcia with my kids this afternoon.  They weren’t very excited about it, but I find all the information interesting.  I watched ‘Food Inc’ last year and liked it much better.  Both are available streaming through Netflix.  I think everyone would benefit from watching Food Inc. 

Both talk about the industrialization of our food system and how much it is changing.  For example:

1. 95%-97% of the crops that we had in 1900 are now extinct

2. Farmers now cannot save their seeds from year to year on big crops due to patents (this is how people have done it … since … things were first farmed). In our ‘land of rights’ we now bairly have the right to control how we grow our own food.

3. Super weeds are coming up resistant to herbicides and are needing to be sprayed with more and more chemicals to kill them… all of which is being sprayed on our food.

4. Big farm crops (corn and soybeans and maybe others) are being genetically engineered and the companies claim it is different enough to be patented, but not any different from other varieties for labelling.  (Speaking out of both sides of their mouth).

The world is becoming a different place so quickly that it is frightening sometimes.  I don’t want to go back to covered wagons and pit toilets but it seems that life is changing so quickly now we don’t really have a chance to figure out if it is changing for the better or not.  One quote on the genetic engineering of seeds was “This is the biggest experiment the world has ever taken”,  once it is out and cross pollinating, there is no pulling it back if we figure out it is a bad idea.

I am upset that there isn’t labeling.  I don’t think that labeling genetic engineered food says it is worse, or cheap or anything specifically, but it does tell the customer what they are eating and buying.  I think people have a right to know about their food and where it comes from.  I have read a bunch on this in ” The Food Revolution” by John Robbins.  This is a great book with lots of  information organized very well. 

This idea also fits under the umbrella of the environment and how we are changing it.  I believe we are in a bunch of trouble.  There are arguments back and forth about what science says about what is happening and how bad it is, but, science aside how do we logically think we can change the air structure and use up drinking water and all the other changes we are introducing into the environment and not expect change in the plant. And the planet is super fragile, change isn’t good. Our science in trying to figure out the earth is like an ant looking at a computer.  We can come up with theories but we don’t really have a real, complete understanding of what we are looking at and if we screw it up we have no hope of fixing it.

So we are changing the air and messing with the weather which puts people in danger, we are using up the water and we are messing with food at the gene level.   This is shelter, food and water… everything we need to survive.

 

Somehow, with all our ancestors fighting and dying for freedom and for the pursuit of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we, during this age, are letting much more dangerous changes slip through the cracks. 

I listened to most of ‘Getting Green Done’ by Auden Schendler last week.  It is one of the better green books for perspective.  Basically he says that you can carry fabric bags and recycle bean cans all you want and it isn’t going to save the earth.  Energy consumption and pollution is going up so fast that even to get it to level off at this level would be a huge feet and trying to go to using less, as the population and industrialization grow, is near impossible.  He isn’t completely a pessimist.  He believes that governments need to make drastic changes and make drastic laws to change society.  I am not big on ‘big’ government but I don’t have a better option. (My theory on government is that someone has to do it, but hopefully they won’t screw to much up). 

I believe that green change needs to be much more dramatic with individuals and thinking.  It isn’t about bringing a ‘green’ bag shopping it is about not buying tons of cheap disposable stuff in the first place.  It isn’t about a ‘Energy Star’ appliance as much as it is living in a much smaller place and needing less energy.  

On that note with food, we should not be eating animal products (as controversial as that is) because they are the leading cause of air pollution, water pollution, land destruction, and the list goes on.  (Lots of this information is in ‘The Food Revolution’ by John Robbins as mentioned above as well)  We need to learn to live with and in the environment instead of figuring out ways to ruin it slower.