The Planet Roll
What do you think is the biggest issue affecting the planet at the moment? Climate change? Or El Niño or to give it its full name, La Niña-Southern Oscillation, (ENSO) which according to Wikipedia causes extreme weather conditions like floods and droughts in many parts of the world? Nope. So, it must be the state of the economy with growing unemployment and the threat of interest rate rises and global economic meltdown? Well, I can see that may be a concern, but nope. Rising sea levels? HIV and Aids? Give up yet?
The issue, I believe, that has the planet all shook up – is food. Or to be precise, global food production, manufacture and transportation. Let’s look at this, bite by bite.
As a species, we have become so far removed from the ‘kill it, cook it, eat it’ notion that food has morphed into a two-headed dragon; either glaring at us grotesquely from every petrol station, corner shop and supermarket, or pouting, preening and demanding that we pay attention to e-numbers, calories to kilojoules, salt and percentages of daily allowance.
A whole generation of television programmes: ‘Supersize vs. Superskinny’, ‘Farm of Fussy Eaters’ and ‘The Biggest Loser’ have spewed forth, that ridicule, victimise and some would argue educate the participants whose relationship with food appears to have spiralled out of control. But there’s the nub.
Having a ‘relationship with food’ is surely not what we are here for? Our species needs food to sustain us and make us vital and healthy but surely it is a means to an end? We eat in order to live. As we have developed and civilised, wealthier nations seem to have turned that mantra on its head: we now live to eat.
‘Come Dine with Me’, ‘Masterchef’, Jamie’s something or other and the effin’ ‘F’ word! and other programmes in this genre, focus on eating well and dining on excellent food that has been prepared with skill and enthusiasm. Nowt wrong with that. And for entertainment value there isn’t.
But something happens in the twilight zone between Jamie’s Kitchen and The Biggest Loser. What is it? It’s called the food production industry. The business of food marketing – the psychology that creates the desire for food, even if it is out of season, at any time of day – is an efficient machine that winds many of us up into a zombied frenzy of food shopping.
We are lulled by the subtle and skilfully presented displays and colours, words, textures, as well as deep emotional triggers, that encourage us to buy food, in generous quantities that we neither want, or need. Even consuming a snack requires considerable cunning and self-control, as crisp packets and chocolate bars are bigger, and cheaper. Eating richly and frequently overeating, causes people to go from wellness to fullness to illness, while others still eat poorly to the point of fatality. This is not debatable, it’s proven.
I wonder if some of nature’s diseases like mad cow disease, foot and mouth as well as bacterial outbreaks amongst chicken are actually part of nature’s grand restoration plan for global food imbalance? The Planet rolling back into equilibrium?
There are lots of historical and biblical references to food: “Give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day, teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime?” (Chinese Proverb). Jesus’ last supper famously painted by Leonardo Da Vinci, which isn’t really about food; it’s a symbolic backdrop for revelations and predictions concerning all those who were at that table.
So what is being done? Well, civic leaders in the US city of San Francisco, have launched a campaign to ban plastic toys being given away with Happy Meals, unless the meals meet stringent nutritional standards. “Our children are sick,” said the San Fran Supervisor. “Rates of obesity in San Francisco are disturbingly high, especially among children of colour.” A local MacDonald’s owner told the San Francisco Chronicle that ‘they just took the happy out of Happy Meals’.
I think they just put it back in.
” With coarse rice to eat, with water to drink, and my bended arm for a pillow – I have still joy in the midst of these things.” Confucius
Another post you might find interesting, Get Rich and Feed the Poor: http://tinyurl.com/2wsr8as