It's the Environment, Stupid.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Food Security Must Read

If you don't know who Michael Pollan is google him. Then read his books, specifically his most recent, An Omnivores Dilemma and In Defense of Food.

If you're not a book reader, you should be. But if you want the abbreviated version of these books as well as Pollan's well thought out proposals to remediate the current food crisis we're in (yes there is a food crisis) read his contribution in this Sunday's New York Times Magazine.

It is a letter addressed to the president elect, warning the lucky winner that food will be forefront on the agenda, even though it hasn't once been mentioned during the campaign trail. Pollan's propsed strategies of a revised food policy make sense. They are smart, logical, are in all probability sustainable, and they fly in the face of everything that's been in place for the past 50 years.

Pollan points out that business as usual in our current model of cheap fossil fueled, monocultured agriculture can not continue. Hopefully someone out there in governmental bodies and administrations will listen to reason more so than to lobbyists, as our food security may depend on it.


  • Leading our children down a patently unsustainable primrose path

    How could one generation go so wrong? Evidently, the leaders in my generation of elders wish to live without having to accept limits to growth of seemingly endless economic globalization, increasing per capita consumption, and skyrocketing human population numbers; our desires are insatiable. We choose to believe anything that is politically convenient, economically expedient and socially agreeable; our way of life is not negotiable. We dare anyone to question our values or behaviors. We religiously promote our widely shared and consensually-validated fantasies of 'real' endless economic growth and soon to become unsustainable overconsumption, overproduction and overpopulation activities, and in so doing deny that Earth has limited resources and frangible ecosystems upon which the survival of life as we know it and the success of any manmade economy depend. My not-so-great generation appears to be doing a disservice to everything and everyone but ourselves.

    Never in the course of human events have so few members of a single generation stolen, consumed and hoarded so much wealth at the expense of so many other people. We have mortgaged the future of our own children. We are the "what's in it for me generation". We demonstrate precious little regard for the maintenance of the integrity of Earth; shallow willingness to actually protect the environment from crippling degradation; lack of serious consideration for the preservation of biodiversity, wilderness, and a good enough future for our children and coming generations; and no appreciation of the vital understanding that humans are no more or less than magnificent living beings with "feet of clay".

    Perhaps my not-so-great generation does live in unsustainable ways in our planetary home; but we are proud of it nonetheless. Certainly, we will "have our cake and eat it, too." We own fleets of cars, fly around in thousands of private jets, live in McMansions, exchange secret handshakes, frequent exclusive clubs and distant hideouts, and risk nothing of value to us. We will live long, large and free. Please do not bother us with the problems of the world. We choose not to hear, see or speak of them. Remember, silence is golden. We are the economic powerbrokers, their bought-and-paid-for politicians and the many minions in the mass media. We hold the much of the world's wealth and the extraordinary power great wealth purchases. If left to our own devices, we will continue in the exercise of our 'inalienable rights' to outrageously consume Earth's limited resources; to recklessly expand economic globalization unto every corner of our natural world and, guess what, beyond; and to carelessly consent to the unbridled global growth of human numbers so that where there are now 6+ billion people, by 2050 we will have 9+ billion members of the human community and, guess what, even more people, perhaps billions more in the distant future, if that is what we desire. We never lie but also never tell the truth as we see it. The "thing" that matters most of all to us is "the only game in town". We are the reigning, self-proclaimed masters of the universe. We enjoy freedom and living without limits; of course, we adamantly eschew any talk of the personal responsibilities that come with the exercise of personal freedoms and any discussion of the existence of biophysical limitations a finite planet naturally imposes.

    We deny the existence of human limits and Earth's limitations. Please understand that we do not want anyone presenting us with scientific evidence that we could be living unsustainably in an artificially designed, temporary world of our own making....a manmade world filling up with gigantic enterprises, virtual mountains of material possessions, and boundless amounts of filthy lucre.

    Most of our top rank experts appear not to have found adequate ways of communicating to the family of humanity what people somehow need to hear, see and understand: the rapacious dissipation of Earth's limited resources, the relentless degradation of the planet's environment, and the approaching destruction of the Earth as a fit place for habitation by the human species, when taken together, appear to be proceeding at breakneck speed toward the precipitation of a catastrophic ecological wreckage of some sort unless, of course, the world's colossal, ever expanding, artificially designed, manmade global political economy continues to speed headlong toward the monolithic 'wall' called "unsustainability" at which point the runaway economy crashes before Earth's ecology is collapsed. Who knows, perhaps we can realistically and hopefully hold onto the expectation that behavioral changes in the direction of sustainable production, per human consumption, and propagation are in the offing.....changes that save the global economy, life as we know it and Earth's body.

    Steven Earl Salmony
    AWAREness Campaign on The Human Population,
    established 2001

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 17:15  

  • Okay - so this comment does relate to it - but again, as I've said to other commenters, I appreciate your comments, but unless you're going to relate it to the post - and I mean this ever so kindly - don't use my blog as your soap box. Get your own. Now, back to Michael Pollan...

    By Blogger Amy Marpman, at 21:36  

  • If you thought wars over oil were bad, get ready for the battle over water and food. Crazy times. Might be time to cut down on my meat consumption.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 23:08  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Matthew Tripp, at 12:52  

  • How many times do I have to say - I delete spam comments... so stop leaving them. Thank you.

    By Blogger Amy Marpman, at 12:54  

  • This is a really intriguing article. Michael Pollan makes a very good point that our food system is in really big trouble. I agree completely with his point about going local and sustainable with our meat and produce production. It can help reduce some of the environmental problems caused by shipping food across the country and ensure you are getting better quality food. I think that the we also need to lower our meat consumption not only for healthier lives, but to reduce green house gases. Let's hope that our agriculture system as well as Americans can change their ways to ensure a more sustainable and healthier future.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 14:16  

  • Michael Pollan is a great writer and does a terrific job of clearly outlining the issues of food security, health and society.

    I don't know if the "City Folks" out there are witnessing much change in food awareness, but here in rural Virginia the farmer's markets are growing and thriving! Our locality has even started an online market to allow people to sell small quantities of locally grown/made goods.

    Most the people I know now have some degree of food independence (we garden, raise chickens, make our own beer & bread - other neighbors raise bees, garden, etc.).

    The most secure food source is the local food source!

    By Blogger Chris Sonne, PE, LEED AP, at 10:37  

  • I didn't read thi book. but i think that in this day is so difficult to verificate a food good quality. Because this is important not for all the people.i agree with Michael Pollan but i also think that in this day it's impossible to start new war about this thematic.
    Great blog!
    God job.

    By Anonymous marcof, at 06:01  

  • Looks an interesting guy.
    I have gained interest in
    reading his books and will
    read for sure..
    Thanks a lot for posting.
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  • By Anonymous Anonymous, at 13:03  

  • Yes I agree with this. i also use to read articles about food security. these are very essentials

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    By Blogger Anna Ashmore, at 00:35  

  • I will get back to you, once i finish reading this book! thanks for An Omnivores Dilemma..

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    By Blogger cv, at 04:26  

  • I am taking your advice and reading a little about this guy.

    Thanks friend... we need to realize about this topic.


    By Anonymous Waste Collection, at 02:53  

  • Thanks for the book suggestion. I will be looking to read it soon.

    By Anonymous Tim, at 21:24  

  • This article are interesting... You got a nice blog here... Keep it up.

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  • Right think i will actually start reading books, Thank you.

    By Anonymous Dan, at 10:45  

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    By Anonymous Übersetzungsbüro, at 08:35  

  • It is unrealistic to think that we will ever make choices that mean it is less likely that our children will not survive, but within that envelope there are so many things we can do to improve food security, and looking after trees, soil and water are all going to be high on the list - as is contraception.

    I'm starting to blog about some of these issues so feel free to have a look.

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  • Excellent article. Thanks, to sharing the information about food security. I think, everyone need to read this book, it includes a very useful information for everyone. Really, Michael Pollan takes a great topic regarding to the food security it is significantly challenger topic. I really, appreciated to choose your topic. It's help to our daily food suggestion and we get a better quality food. So, it's more help to our health. Market Research Report

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