The way humans eat affects the globe in many ways. The balanced ecosystem requires a homeostatic process that achieves cooperation and will allow the environment to thrive. It is possible that humanity may very well eat its way into extinction if certain practices are not curtailed. Smil (2013) wrote " this increased demand was met by a combination of expanded traditional meat production in mixed farming operations (above all in the EU and China), extensive conversion of tropical forests to new pastures (Brazil being the leader) and the rise of concentrated animal feeding facilities (for beef mostly in North America, for pork and chicken in all densely populated countries)."
The purpose of this essay is to address the finer aspects of pastorilism as a reasonable means to address the eating problems that appear dire. This paper will suggest that new approaches are necessary that address the elitist attitudes that often distort the more important aspects of this subject. A call to action will also be presented that suggests that this new idea must be cooperative in nature and transcends current ideas about economics, farming, agriculture and social interaction.
Harming the Environment
Human beings have created a unique situation where in their attempts to survive, they are actually killing themselves to live. Pollan (2006 ) wrote about this dilemma. He understood the problem to be more complicated than simple sustainability, and that the problems were rooted in the attitudes and behaviors of society. He wrote about the industrialization of the food supply and how it as harming the environment in costly ways
Big agribusiness has Washington in its pocket. The reason its titans want to keep corn cheap and plentiful, Pollan explained, is that they value it, above all, as a remarkably inexpensive industrial raw material. Not only does it fatten up a beef steer more quickly than pasture does This comes at a cost to ourselves and cattle, which haven't evolved to digest corn, and are therefore preemptively fed antibiotics to offset the stresses caused by their unnatural diet. Once milled, refined and decompounded, corn can become any number of things, from ethanol for the gas tank to dozens of edible, if not nutritious, products, like the thickener in a milkshake, the hydrogenated oil in margarine, the modified cornstarch that binds the pulverized meat in a McNugget and, most disastrously, the ubiquitous sweetener known as high-fructose corn syrup.
Food Is Being Wasted And Is Too Expensive
Another problem with our eating habits is that food is too expensive and is being wasted as well. There is plenty of food in the world, but getting it to the right people is the real culprit in this dilemma. Somehow food has become a very profitable commodity that can be used to control large groups of people for political and other nefarious means. Food has been weaponized in some sense by being used in this fashion. Large corporate food producers have bullied out the famer who cares about the land and its place within the ecosystem. Rather, fertile ground is treated with perversion and profits by those who wield this power.
Just forgiving meat will not help this problem. Niman agreed with this statement when she reported " It's true that food production is an important contributor to climate change. And the claim that meat (especially beef) is closely linked to global warming has received some credible backing, including by the United Nations and University of Chicago. Both institutions have issued reports that have been widely summarized as condemning meat-eating. But that's an overly simplistic conclusion to draw from the research. It could be, in fact, that a conscientious meat eater may have a more environmentally friendly diet than your average vegetarian." This hints that the problem is not what we eat but how we eat.
Solving this dilemma requires addressing the problem from many different angles including the economic one. People who are concerned about this problem must take it upon themselves to change their behavior and find ways to buy local products that escape the mighty corporate net. This approach can place the leverage back into the community and individual's hands by making them responsible for their own livelihood and in essence restore the balance to the eco system.
Smil agreed to this and also suggested that cooperation is also required to help promote this new approach to consuming food. He wrote " opportunities for higher efficiency can be found all along the meat production -- consumption chain. Agronomic improvements -- above all reduced tillage and varieties of precision cropping (including optimized irrigation) -- can reduce both the overall demand for natural resources and energy inputs required for feed production while, at the same time, improving yields, reducing soil erosion, increasing biodiversity and minimizing nitrogen leakage."
As stated before, the ignorance surrounding this problem is one of hubris and elitism. A new solution to this devastating problem must include some reasonable and rational approaches to the consumption of food. A deep and sincere appreciation for our energy supply must be adopted to reach a level of understanding about this problem that can help move humanity forward and begin concentrating on more important issues that requires even more global cooperation.
Niedner (2012) wrote " that approximately 40% of the food the United States produces goes to waste. A second statistic, that one of every six Americans hasn't enough to eat, compounds the disgrace of our scraping 35 million tons of food into the garbage every year. We needn't ship it overseas, but merely share it with neighbors in our own communities." To address such wanton wastefulness, a ground roots approach must be taken and understood by those willing to assist in this solution. Those with educational resources and monetary resources need to adopt this cause and help promote the dangers of these elite attitudes.
There are simple steps that average everyday people around the world can do to help minimize this threat and take this problem on from the bottom up. Some companies are addressing consumers' concerns about wasted food by offering appliances or gadgetry that may help keep foods fresher longer. New storage techniques can also help by keeping food fresher for longer periods of time. Leftover food should be used as much as possible and what is considered garbage should be reconsidered whenever possible for other alternative uses.
Perhaps the most comprehensive and efficient manner of solving this problem with our food requires a new understanding of the logistical trail that food must travel before it hits our bellies. Local buying provides many solutions to the problems faced today with sustainable food. Many elitists believe that imported food is better and comes with a certain status symbol. This trend is dangerous and needs to be corrected. Local buying practices provide a way out from this trap and can literally change the way we eat.
Locally grown food tastes and looks better. The crops are picked at their peak, and farmstead products like cheeses and are hand-crafted for best flavor. Livestock products are processed in nearby facilities and typically the farmer has direct relationship with processors, unlike animals processed in large industrial facilities. Local food is better nutritionally. The shorter the time between the farm and the dining room table, the less likely it is that nutrients will be lost from fresh food. Food imported from far away is older and has traveled on trucks or planes, and sat in warehouses before it gets to the customer.
Local food builds community. When you buy direct from a farmer, you're engaging in a time-honored connection between eater and grower. Knowing farmers gives important insight into the seasons, the land, and the food itself. In many cases, it gives access to a place where…