The World Is What the World Eats

Recently, I was involved in a Facebook discussion with someone from my local community. That person made the statement that there were a lot of important issues in the world that were worthy of discussion. But he felt that what someone chooses to eat for dinner was not an important issue.

I have to disagree with that thought. As Wendall Barry once said, "If you eat, then you are involved in agriculture." I would carry that thought even further. I would say that if you eat, then you are involved in a whole host of things and the decisions you make will impact a whole host of things, including:
  • The cost and size of the overall health care system and its impact on national and global economic systems
  • The effects of pollution on both our personal health and the health of the planet from use of pesticides to runoff of fertilizers
  • The availability of clean water, which is particularly an issue in the western United States where farmers and the rest of the population compete for clean water resources
  • The effect of agricultural systems on climate change, not just from cow farts, but also from clearing of rain forests and transportation of foods
  • Food security and sustainability, including the ability of poorer populations and third world citizens to come into the middle class and enjoy good, nutritious food
  • The impact that our food choices have on animal welfare and how animals are treated
  • The impact that our food choices have on our own personal health and on the lives of our families and loved ones who also live with the consequences of our decisions.
In other words, the world that we will live in now and going forward is highly dependent on what we eat. And because of that, I consider that what we eat to be one of the most important issues facing us today.

I believe that because of these issues, which are significant, we as a people will have to change. We will have no choice. The only question is, will we do it proactively so that we can be in control of how we change or will we do it in a "fire fighting" scenario racing from one crisis to another trying to put out the flames? That in my mind is the real question. Of course, the smart answer is that we will be proactive. By doing so, we will not only stay in control, but we may just avoid some of the more disastrous consequences from staying the course.

The world we live in, now and in the future, is very much governed by the foods we eat. I'm hoping we can make the right choices.