Why do we bite the hand that feeds us?
Posted on 10th May 2017 at 07:30
Scarcely a day passes without yet another horror story about the damage we’re doing to this beautiful planet of ours. The place we call “home.”
Sadly much of this is due to a simple lack of commonsense – a seemingly rare commodity these days – as well as good old fashioned arrogance and greed; both on an individual and collective level.
All too often the finger of blame is pointed elsewhere. To governments, multinational companies, other countries or whoever / whatever is the current scapegoat. However the unpalatable truth is that we each have a part to play in this.
It’s the decisions – and demands – we each make on a daily basis that keeps the train rolling. And which these various organisations are simply responding to. If we didn’t demand cheap and plentiful food / clothing / power / homes / fill in the blank then organisations wouldn’t spring up to meet that particular need. It really is that simple.
And with the focus these days being primarily on price – rather than quality and sustainability – is it any wonder that a blind eye is turned to the damage being done in the process?
Farming is an all too easy example of this, with it having become an industrial process threatening to implode on itself. By a supreme stroke of irony, the chemicals on which it relies are not only poisoning the earth itself but the crops it produces.
Even worse these chemicals are threatening to wipe out the bees – and other insects – on which it relies to pollinate and protect its crops. For the first time ever, a species of bee has been placed on the Endangered Species list in America, with those found in England also being a cause for concern.
And, in a final twist of fate, it’s been repeatedly shown that these chemicals don’t even provide the promised higher yields. Not only do organic methods provide higher yields, on a sustainable basis, but these are of significantly higher quality too. Even better they have been shown to reverse the damage caused by the conventional approach to farming and in a relatively short period of time.
Sadly all of this is proving the predications made in Rachel Carson’s book “The Silent Spring”, published in 1962, to be true. As she so eloquently put it:
“The road we have long been traveling is deceptively easy, a smooth superhighway on which we progress with great speed, but at its end lies disaster.”
“The most alarming of all man's assaults upon the environment is the contamination of air, earth, rivers, and sea with dangerous and even lethal materials. This pollution is for the most part irrecoverable; the chain of evil it initiates not only in the world that must support life but in living tissues is for the most part irreversible. In this now universal contamination of the environment, chemicals are the sinister and little-recognized partners of radiation in changing the very nature of the world-the very nature of its life.”
So how have we got into such a mess? Why is it that we have come to view ourselves as better – and separate – from nature? Never stopping to consider the consequences of our actions whether for us, our children or grandchildren. Let alone all the other living things that share this beautiful planet with us.
While the end results of our individual and collective behaviour are only now becoming glaringly obvious; the seeds of our own downfall were sown centuries ago. Many people trace it back to the Ancient Greeks with their love of classification, which created the so called “hierarchy of living things.”
Plato and Aristotle are credited with providing the ideas later to become known as the “Great Chain of Being”. This placed God and the Angelic Beings firmly at the top followed by man, animals and plants with minerals at the bottom.
Classification was based on the complexity of body structure, function and capacity of movement. Each level also reflected its so called “degree of perfection”. Hence God – being perfect – was placed at the top followed by Angelic Beings who were more perfect than man, animals than plants, etc.
With no account being taken of the place we call home – or the complex set of interactions within and between each level – this hierarchy unwittingly sowed the seeds for the problems we see today. And, in the process, went against the wisdom of every indigenous group of people ever found on the earth.
By classifying animals, plants and minerals as less important than man we became blind to the consequences of our own selfish actions. We were the only ones that mattered, the damage we did to other living beings in the process was ignored.
We forgot that we are part of a complex web of life, with each part connected to every other one. The so called “butterfly effect.” Where the consequences of one small action – or inaction – can be felt in many different ways and places; with most of these being impossible to predict with any accuracy beforehand.
So isn’t it about time that we each acknowledged the part we’ve played in creating the mess we now find ourselves in? But, equally, that we individually have the power to help turn the ship around. The rocks may be close but it’s never too late to make a course correction.
And, as we so often say, it’s the small things you do each day that make the difference. Change can only occur one person at a time, but it doesn’t take long for momentum to build and numbers to grow.
Why not start with the little things you do each day, the ones you usually do without thinking? Choosing to walk rather than take the car. To work and shop locally. To eat food in season, rather than expecting strawberries in winter and salad all year round. Growing some of your own food, even if it’s just sprouting seeds on the kitchen window sill. Putting on a jumper, rather than automatically turning on the heating. Using a jug filter to provide your own water in reusable glass bottles, rather than buying bottled water in plastic bottles that clogs up the oceans and landfills. These are just a few simple ideas to get you going.
It’s all about getting off the consumerist bandwagon once and for all. Repairing and reusing what you already have, rather than being on the endless treadmill of having to get the latest whatever it is. Not only will this remove a huge source of stress from your life, but free up your time – and money – to use on things that actually add real value to your life.
The question we’ll leave you with is what would YOU do differently if you stopped taking this beautiful planet of ours for granted?
As always, the choice is yours.
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