I doubt this will come out correctly on the first try, but in the last year since I have started keeping this blog I have become increasingly aware of how interconnected the world is. This blog was designed to bring my two interests together: food production and wildlife. I am aware that there is little chance of preserving wild lands if there is not enough space to grow food to support the growing human population. The survival of animals will rarely, if ever, win out against human survival. So, I set out to prove to myself and education the world about ways that we can grow enough food and preserve the environment and you will see that a lot of the early posts do highlight this intersection of ideas. However, if you are a regular reader, you might have noticed that the blog as shifted away from wildlife in the recent months. This makes me a little sad, but I have noticed that food and wildlife are not the only two topics that intersect.
I’ve noticed that local farmers might reduce carbon footprints and use more sustainable practices – which are both great from the environment, but may believe that small and local businesses are the only way the world is going to recover from the terrible financial situation we currently find ourselves in. Local business continue to invest a lot of money in the community and do not remove the money and use it else where like large chains do. Also, workers are more invested in the company and clients know who they are supporting so they are more likely to continue to purchase goods from that company.
As I have spent more time working on childhood obesity projects at work, I have learned a lot about the issues surrounding childhood obesity and I believe that the causes are very complex. The factors leading to childhood obesity range from reduction in physical activity and increases in screen time. But they also include poor quality food served in our schools and a reduction in P.E. classes because of budget cuts. As well as lack of access to high quality and fresh foods. And the fact that no matter how terrible fast food or processed food might be for our bodies it is still the cheapest option and if you don’t have enough money you are going to buy what you can afford and deal with the consequences later. Finally, I believe that we are not investing enough in teaching children about the importance of eat healthy diets and what healthy foods are.
Then as the health care debate apexed at the end of the summer, I became more aware of the severity of the health care crisis in this country. And our diets are not helping the situation.
I don’t believe that there are easy fixes to any of these problems. Schools don’t have money and parents don’t want their children learning to grow basil during school. We can’t get rid of all fast food chains for a lot of reasons, we believe in free markets, people love them and most importantly what are people going to eat if we get rid of them. And I am sure you can check CNN to hear the different sides of the health care debate.
And then you have to add foreclosures and raising debt to the problem. Your mortgage is not going to change but if you have a fixed income and you need to cut costs somewhere why not choose cheaper food. You need a roof and you will still be full, but you will be less healthy and less productive- but those are tomorrow’s problems, just like a declining environment and a growing populations are tomorrows problems after you are fed, clothed and have a place to sleep.
Living in a city I can see it first hand. Panhandlers ask for money in front of McDonald’s because it is a cheap meal. I understand now, (or at least I am beginning to understand) how people rank their choices and how complex the system is and we need to start somewhere and we need to work together because this problem is much larger than a jaguar in the rainforest.
Maybe I have changed. Maybe I have given up on hoping to save all the critters in the world. My goals are no longer vet school- and hopefully I will be okay with that decision someday. And maybe my goals are no longer conservation – but I think there are a lot of problems that need to be fixed and this is a good place to start.