Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Cheap food? High price

Lately we've talked a lot about food in class. Food is a fundamental necessity. We can't live without it. In America, more and more people eat fast food. Here is where the McDonalds symptom: Burgers! Fries! Soda! We love them! But how come they are so cheap? Meat is, after all, at the top of the food production pyramid. How can we afford a burger with fries and soda @ McDonalds and refuse to buy vegetables at Publix? Why are so addicted to fast food? Why is America -in general- so obese?
There's a way of problematizing what we eat while learning better habits. Let's call it nutri/conomics, that is to say, how much nutrition habits are interrelated with net profits by the food industry.

Check out this revealing article in TIME MAGAZINE about the kind of food we eat. It boils down to a thought experiment: Is it worth spending so many resources to raise animals for food, when doing so is more detrimental in the long run?
Somewhere in Iowa, a pig is being raised in a confined pen, packed in so tightly with other swine that their curly tails have been chopped off so they won't bite one another. To prevent him from getting sick in such close quarters, he is dosed with antibiotics. The waste produced by the pig and his thousands of pen mates on the factory farm where they live goes into manure lagoons that blanket neighboring communities with air pollution and a stomach-churning stench. He's fed on American corn that was grown with the help of government subsidies and millions of tons of chemical fertilizer. When the pig is slaughtered, at about 5 months of age, he'll become sausage or bacon that will sell cheap, feeding an American addiction to meat that has contributed to an obesity epidemic currently afflicting more than two-thirds of the population. And when the rains come, the excess fertilizer that coaxed so much corn from the ground will be washed into the Mississippi River and down into the Gulf of Mexico, where it will help kill fish for miles and miles around. That's the state of your bacon — circa 2009.
I recently talked about this problem insofar it applies to our relationship with animals. But this is a different matter altogether.  Animals, that is to say, the ethical issues related with our present treatment of animals is a problem we need to confromt and I'll do it during the semester.

The question here is one of environmental depletion and (ultimately, since we live on this earth with animals) of human self-destruction.

What do we do about it? Through advertising, the BIG COMPANIES brainwash our appetite into consuming cheap food (by cheap I mean BAD).

Can we do something about it? Of course we can. Modifying eating habits, improving our diets, making choices as to what and what not to eat, teaching our children and friends that a hamburger at McDonalds cannot be our lunch staple.

I'll close this post this Sunday at 11pm.