I am building a vocabulary of A-words: awareness, appreciation, action, attitude and activism. I just got back from Madison where my family walked in a fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. Yesterday, we saw the film “Think Global Act Rural” (“Solutions Locales Pour un Desordres Global”) in a showing by the Milwaukee Film Festival. Go to the website at http://www.thinkglobalactrural.com to see more about it. I recommend it for its intense presentation of the failure of the Green Revolution and its depiction of organic farming solutions. I can’t recommend its artistry, though. The jumpy, out-of-focus camera handling is distracting to me, and the sequence of segments is a bit disjointed as well. But the information is astonishing. Of course, these two events are interconnected. As a species, we have been poisoning ourselves and starving ourselves and getting further and further from being able to maintain a healthy relationship with food and food production. Statistics can be eye-opening and misleading at the same time. Rather than throw some shocking numbers up, I’d like to challenge you to look deeply into a few questions:
1) Do you think that spending time and effort in obtaining food is something basic to life? Is that a right, a responsibility, a duty, or a privilege? How would you describe it? Is it something too “base” for beings as intelligent as we are? Or is it ennobling to use our intelligence to do it well and graciously? What do you think of farmers and their work?
2) How would you feel if you discovered that multinational corporations were purposely studying global food production to figure out ways to create monopolies on all aspects of it? How would you feel if you realized that because of that control, a change or break-down in their system would mean that access to food would be cut off entirely for the populations that had become dependent on them? And that, very likely, would include you.
3) How much do you know about the food web, how plants make food, how soil and sun deliver the necessary building blocks for plant life, etc? If you had only yourself and nature to depend on, how would you eat?
4) How much does the quality of a person’s health depend on their diet, do you think? Do you think that the medical industry creates a dependency on costly health care and de-emphasizes the importance of a naturally healthy lifestyle? Do you think about “the bottom line” and who may be making money on your lifestyle choices?
5) Are you satisfied with the way that you live? Do you think your neighbors are? Your nation? How about the people in other countries? How about the planet? Are you satisfied with the way that life on this planet is going? (Yeah, this is broad, but whatever you’re thinking, try to follow it out to that end. And do be serious. It’s far too easy to be clever.)