In spite of the nature of their parody at least six years ago, the Yes Men, a group of culture-jamming rogues, ended up being eerily prophetic as Japanese scientists synthesized “beef” from human waste according to this link I saw <http://www.digitaltrends.com/international/japanese-scientists-creates-meat-out-of-feces/>.
Although some people might not be too interested in eating human excrement to satisfy their protein content, I’m happy we’re not at a point where our situation is similar to Charlton Heston’s nightmarish world of Soylent Green, where the only food source of food comes from rations that end up being derived from human remains, essentially making everyone unknowing cannibals. If anything, we’ll be eating insects for protein once animals are no longer an option.
Unfortunately, according to the latest issue of Foreign Policy magazine that I picked up, we’re in a food crisis, with prices at an all-time high.
Factors such as distribution, the alarming tendency for people to buy televisions and radios or other creature comforts as opposed to more staple foods when they have more money or food prices go down, and the global climate affecting the environment which in turn hurts crops, and we have but an inkling of just how ugly the planet looks right now.
Human waste just isn’t appetizing, but what’s in our shit isn’t good for the planet either. A recent article in Mother Jones <http://motherjones.com/environment/2011/04/is-it-okay-to-poop-outside> talked about how thanks to globalization and the chemicals in our food, we are literally dumping toxic everywhere: a traveler from Turkey eating McDonald’s and crapping in the woods while hiking takes up to one year to decompose. Then take in the fact that persistent organic pollutants dating back as late as 1979 from toxins creeping into our meat and being a potential cause for diabetes, and as detailed in the movie Food Inc., a full 1/3 of Americans born after 2000 are likely to contract diabetes thanks to our current diets.
This isn’t helped by the genetically modified organisms which seem to be all the rage in North America now, and at the current rate in which Monsanto corporation has a revolving door conspiracy of having its former executives get positions in the FDA and vice-versa, and things don’t look too good, either. Though Monsanto prides itself as protecting the global food supply with their research, I am hesitant to trust the same company that made DDT and Agent Orange with my food. Furthermore, when they patent a gene for their soybeans, thanks to the spread of crops puts the gene in an unassuming farmer’s crops, suddenly, Monsanto owns his crops, even if he never intended to use their soybeans, hurting small, independent producers in the process, and empowering the monopoly of Monsanto. Worse, if a virus wipes out Monsanto’s crops when they become dominant, thanks to a lack of crop diversity, we may have no food, period.
The damage extends even further: the pesticides are hurting the bees, which many fail to realize are responsible for pollinating crops, making them important for the food cycle–which is another reason we are in this food crisis. With the vanishing of the bees, we are not only damaging the fragile ecosystem, we are endangering our own survival. It’s a domino effect and the butterfly effect at once, and the worst part is the ignorance and apathy many I encounter have. For me, being an environmentalist is now equivalent with being a realist, because the survival of our species and others as well is at stake here.
There are some days when I and the rest of the world wish we could all eat better in the current financial and food crises. But if eating better means compromising my honor and integrity, I would rather starve, because even if many dishonest people eat better, at least I can sleep better.
So as the global situation rapidly unfolds, I see something like this dismissed now, but a few decades later, it may be our own Soylent Brown. Until then, I’m doing the best I can do minimize my damage to the planet and maximize my contribution to helping it heal, whether it’s by voting with my dollar and being cautious of where I shop and what I buy, my diet, informing others of these issues, and doing all I can to live sustainably at the individual level, while striving for a larger change on the social–and eventually–global levels.