Over the last several blogs, we’ve been revealing how our food choices affect the environmental health of the planet. Most are linked to the substantial growth of animal agriculture over the last generation. This growth is a major contributor to the over-exploitation of world fisheries, the creation of oceanic dead zones, soil erosion, and global warming—just to name a few. Taken together, these problems seem practically insurmountable. But take heart, folks. There are many smart, committed people working on all these problems, and many of them already have solutions—if only we would implement them.
This brings up the issue of leadership—or more accurately—the lack of leadership, especially from our elected officials. Most of these folks depend on the financial support of special interests to obtain and maintain their positions. And many of the most powerful special interests are agribusiness, chemical and energy conglomerates; in short, industries that contribute to, if not cause, our environmental problems in the first place. These businesses have helped create the present environmental status quo and have absolutely no incentive to change it; therefore neither do the elected officials they help to maintain in office.
There are at least a couple of options to fix this sad state of affairs. The first is for all of us to give our elected representatives a strong push (or swift kick, if you’d rather), letting them know that we’re mad as hell and we’re not gonna take this anymore! Or, we can cause the change ourselves with bottom-up, grassroots social action. How? Just look at the crusade for civil rights in the 1960s, the mass movement that obtained independence for India from the British Empire, or the end of apartheid in South Africa. Who will be our Martin Luther King, our Gandhi, or our Nelson Mandela in this struggle? Admittedly, those are big shoes to fill, and perhaps they are impossible to fill. But perhaps this will be a movement that does not depend on a single person, or even a small group of people. Perhaps by raising our collective voices as one, we can do it.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.
I try not to be overly dramatic in my writing, but I think most of us would agree we live in troubled times. We might define these troubles differently, but most of us have this sense. Most distressing in my view, however, are not the actual problems we face, but our inability to work together to find their solutions.
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