My most recent big change is to give up meat. I can’t be sure where most of the supermarket meat comes from, what hormones or chemicals were used in the rearing of the animals, how well they were looked after, or if large areas of wilderness were unscrupulously cleared and rendered infertile to make my steak. When there are billions who are starving, and other billions who waste incredible quantities of food, it no longer seems fair to continue eating meat, when it’s neither necessary nor guaranteed to be good for my health. Far more land is required to raise cattle than to grow food crops for human consumption. Most edible plants are far more nutrient rich and easier to digest for humans, than the meat which provides you with second-hand nutrients much depleted in value and tougher to process.
Of course that’s the simplified version of the argument. There are many methods of farming crops that are also harmful to the land with their use of man-made fertilisers and pesticides, overuse of water particularly in drought sensitive regions… and then there’s the question of how far your food travels before it gets to you, every mile reducing its quality and increasing its carbon footprint. Inferior quality food with fewer nutrients and more pollutants has become the norm, and high-quality organically produced food, a luxury. Higher prices for eco- and human-friendly food are often to do with economies of scale, but are also a result of greedy marketing. We must however, shift the demand for cheap, inferior and damaging produce to nutrient rich natural produce, for our own sake and that of the planet.
Smaller scale agriculture using no man-made chemicals, fully respecting the land and the consumer has to be the best way forward. If we have to pay a little more for it, then so be it, but if more of us make the decision to take control of our food choices, there will be increasingly affordable options that reflect that choice. I’ve just found a local source of organic vegetables, and as much as I can in my first floor apartment, I’m growing some of my own too.
It’s a question of taking responsibility. We cannot rely on the powers that be to make the decisions for us, they have too many other agendas, not always in favour of the people or the planet, and the changes are too slow coming. The solutions are ours to find, and in the words of the late great Michael Jackson, I’m starting with the man in the mirror.
Here are a couple of links that were of inspiration and very informative –