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Monday, January 29, 2007

Food miles debate

I just read this about food miles campaigns hurting African suppliers.

The truth is there is no way to determine all the consequences of all that we do, I don';t mean we shouldnt think about it but perhaps it works best if we just do what we feel like. The thing about eating is that no matter what way you cut it, we are taking something. Something has to die, usually, except in the case of salt which isn't really food. And although plants arent said to feel pain they are still dying for our plates. And also the space they take up is space that could be used by some wild creatures instead but we use the space for our own purposes.

The point is, by existing, we are bound to deplete other being's resources. We kind of just have to have faith that there is a general balance maintained, and I suppose you can also try not to be really deliberately selfish and greedy. But beyond that, I really dont think that you can base your actions on whether someone or something else might lose out. Of course it will - that is the nature of life and the universe. Dont beat yourself up over it. Just show some respect, and when its your turn to give yourself up to the universe, give thanks that you had your turn and offer yourself freely to the next lot.

Not that I particularly want to do that you understand. I am sure I will wriggle (am wriggling) as much as possible to get out of it. But I guess that is in the nature of life - it is a bit savage and one thing does well generally at the expense of another.

Seems to me you can only try to minimise the damage and take what you need not what you want.

Regarding the problem of emissions i do agree with the point in the article about the fact that a few beans from Africa dont add up to much compared to all the local driving and holidays we take for example. I have also heard elsewhere that (its fairly obvious actually) food transportation is much more efficient when done in huge bulk via supermarkets than for lots of people to drive round the countryside looking for bits of food here and there.

I dont actually think this local food campaign is just about food miles although that is what people might think is what it is about. I think there are nationalistic threads to it and also in a more positive light, it's about people wanting to feel a connection with their land and local communities. There is probably some nostalgia and romanticism thrown in and a dose of food fear.

Anyway - more on this later

x

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:36 pm

    A noble cause I'm sure. I subscribe to the ethics 100%.
    I do however, think that the 100 mile challenge in reality is not practical in today's world as most average folks don't seem to care or would argue that they don't have time. At the same time the Chinese, Indians etc are evolving into industrial behemoths who are unlikely to accept our view that they should reel back when the West has had made hay at their expense for so long.
    Apathy will eventually be the solution to the planet's problems.
    We should put ourselves in context. The damage to our environment won't destroy the planet, it will destroy mankind and then return to a natural balance of its own accord

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  2. Well one reason for doing this challenge is to test whether it can be a practical reality.
    I can report that it is actually quite easy once you have located a few basics. It would also work well on a bigger scale, if there was demand for local producers to scale up their enterprises.
    Of course some people in China and India will want to get a piece of the action but I dont think they are all going to reject the idea of 'reeling back'. In fact I think its a lot of westerners are doing very well out these revolutions anyway. They still have plenty of slave labour and poor people to feed the expansion.
    It is true that no matter what, the natural laws of the world and universe will intervene, waqy beyond anything we can control. That is one reason why I advocate doing as you feel, in this case, the diet is about connecting with the land we occupy, not meant to be a way of influencing the world but of changing ourselves.

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