I was brought up, taught by both my parents and my school teachers, that we humans are at the top of the food chain. The idea of the food chain being that it a hierarchical structure where each organism, plant or animal in the chain is dependent on the next lower organism, plant or animal for its source of food. We humans are at the top of the food chain because we depend on all other organisms, plants and animals to provide us food. We can eat everything.
Or so we think. Of course, to me, anytime you start making things hierarchical, problems start to crop up. While we humans like to think that way, most everything, I find, is actually circular. And in the case of life itself, we are all living organisms wanting to live and to enjoy whatever time we have allotted to life. The squirrel in the forest has as much right to enjoy its day as I have for enjoying my day when I walk in the forest. We are all part of one ecology.
It's when we move out of that understanding, I think that we begin to reap destruction on ourselves and on the world around us. It's when we start to think we are superior to other living creatures. That's when our attitudes come back to bite us. They can come back to bite us in terms of our own health. Animal consumption, from everything I've learned, can come back to induce in us heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity and more. So, who is really at the top of the food chain when that happens? Is it us or is it some kind of revenge from the slaughterhouse grave?
Our food choices can negatively affect the environment we live in. Droughts caused by water shortages due to animal agriculture are possibly one such effect. Climate change has been linked to the production of foods that we eat. Degradation of the soil, fertilizer runoff, pesticide use and on and on. So, my question is, how is this natural?
It's not natural in my opinion. And because of the devastating effects that our food choices have on our well being, whether it's personal health, environmental or other, it doesn't seem like we are in control at all. And it doesn't seem to me like we can just eat anything and everything that we believe to be below us in the food chain. Perhaps the things that we believe to be below us in the food chain aren't really below us at all.
In a natural world, we would not think in a hierarchy. We would think more circular. We would think in terms of our food choices being foods that maintain our health and don't destroy the health of our planet. That is natural. I believe the foods that do that are the whole plant-based foods that I write so much about. The land needed to grow plant-based foods for human consumption is much less than for growing animal foods, especially when you consider how much land goes into growing agricultural feed for animals to consume and fatten up on.
I no longer think in terms of being at the top of the food chain. I think in terms of being part of the ecology. And the foods I choose to eat are not the foods that will destroy that ecology. They are the foods that are a natural part of the ecology in which I live.