Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Social Responsibility - A New Post Series

Over the past year or so, a lot has happened in my life. I've gotten married and started building a life with my wife. I've found myself in the role of primary cook for our new "family," having to make choices about what we purchase and eat and setting habits that will ultimately educate our children. We've found ourselves in hard times, unemployed with very little discretionary income. And, I've spent quite a bit of time learning about food related topics such as healthier choices, organic food production, eating and buying locally, where our food comes from, and how our food is produced.

Perhaps most sadly, we've seen young celebrities and one of our own family members die abruptly of ailments like cancer and heart disease. These and many other conditions are increasingly a problem in this country and science and common sense are suggesting strongly that the problem might be attributed to what we put into our bodies and the environment.

All of these experiences and the learning that I've done have caused me to look at my interactions with the world around us and the food we eat quite differently:
  • I'm saddened that we, as a country, have allowed our food choices to get to where they are and that we're in a limited position to choose better products because so few control so much and the better choices out there have become unaffordable.
  • I'm saddened that we pay good money for what we buy and accept poor quality and terrible customer service as the norm.
  • I'm saddened that, after over two decades of knowing better, we still recycle very little, preserve compostable refuse in sealed landfills that are growing in size at an exponential rate, and we dump thousands of pounds of airborne "crap" into our atmosphere and oceans each year because the companies that provide basic services and products like cars, electric power, etc., choose to be irresponsible and we feel like we don't have the power to change it.
  • It bothers me that every day I'm ingesting and breathing things that work against my efforts to live a healthy and long life and that other people and corporations beyond my direct control are at fault.
  • As an omnivore, I'm disgusted with the way we "manufacture" our meat, poultry, dairy, and fish products in this country. Not only is it unhealthy and inhumane for the animals, but I'm growing convinced that it is unhealthy for us. There is a better way (and no, the answer isn't to go Vegan or become a card-carrying PETA member).
All that said, I have faith and hope and the knowledge that we live in America. If we could put the first black man into Presidential office this year against all odds, we have the power to fix the things I've listed above. We need that old America--the one that cares and that fought for freedom and rights. We, the younger generation, need to stop staring at our toes and doing what people or corporations tell us to do and stop accepting things because they're the only choice or the easy choice. We need to demand change and I truly think we can.

With this in mind, I've decided to write a series of posts focused on what I like to call "Social Responsibility Through Food." I'll be taking a look at and musing to myself and others about the relationship between food and the environment, between food choices and our health, and other related topics. I hope you find them interesting and I hope they inspire some open dialogue, some thought, and maybe even some change in your life. Feel free to comment when you feel the passion to do so and please be kind to those who have views other than your own. Everyone has something good to say.

I look forward to the discussion.

Now, let's eat!

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