food for thought

I usually don't blog about politics, because the internet is a big room full of people who aren't going to get me, and I don't think people should change their minds to my position just because I make a great argument. I hold them to the high standard of doing their own thinking.

However, I'll make today's topic a vague exception:

We drove by "Occupy Cleveland" today to see what that was like... I was sad, because the face of it was a bunch of hippy kids. I think that the watered down message of general malaise regarding our turbulent economic time that they are trying to convey is one that everyone (left and right) can identify with. And I also think it is important to embrace the message and evoke some personal changes and discipline surrounding our lifestyles and demand our social infrastructure to do the same. But it is easily dismissed by the uninformed when it looks like it's just a swath of the fringe unwashed out asking for a hand out.

From the book I'm reading (referenced in the side bar) "Owing to this industrialized global food production system, over the last 100 years, 75% of plant genetic diversity has been lost and 30% of livestock breeds are at risk of extinction. 75% of the worlds food comes from twelve plants and only 5 animal species, making our global food supply highly vulnerable to disease and famine" ... "Six companies control 98% of the world's seed sales, 4 companies slaughter 81% of American beef, and 4 companies control 70% of American milk sales." The book also cites that between 1967 and 2006 the production of high fructose corn syrup per capital in the U.S. went from 0.03 pounds per year to 58.2 pounds per year and that our weight gain is the source of $275 million dollar increases in airline fuel costs each year. And that studies on life satisfaction over economic ranges shows that the really poor are pretty bummed, as you would expect. The people just barely meeting their needs (10k per person in the house) are just as satisfied with their lives and in certain measures (e.g. treatment for depression/anxiety, addictions to anesthetizations like shopping, gambling, and alcohol/drugs) are actually happier than households with higher incomes.

(The book has citations referencing all the studies, sources, etc. It's not a hard-science academic book, but it's not a soft Oprah self-improvement read either.)

I already knew we had a global food supply, highly industrialized in it's production. And that seed manufacturers genetically alter plants to not re-seed at the end of the season so producers have to continually buy seed every year. And that shipping, preservation, packaging, etc are creating an unsustainable food market. However, I was disturbed by the central planning, consolidation, etc. I guess I didn't really know that stuff.

And I knew we're fatter than any other generation. And that mental illness is an epidemic we now think of as normal. Everyone has "something," even our kids.

Anyway... I'm done ranting.

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