Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Are the Green Movement and the Food Movement Really Two Different Things?

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Earlier this week, I read an article in response to Saturday's TED event in Manhattan on Changing the Way We Eat, that claimed the Food Movement may be exactly what the Green Movement has needed (here is my post from the Changing the Way We Eat event). The article was in TIME and is called How Foodies Can Eclipse (and Save) the Green Movement and it begins with the line, "These are dark days for the environmental movement." Are they? Really?

The claim in the article is that, politically speaking, climate change has not been making too many waves in Washington as of late, the EPA is now under the thumb of a Republican majority, and that environmentalist have come "to accept the fact that the chance of national and international action on climate change has become more remote than ever." I am not really sure I agree.

In my eyes this is equivalent to saying modern medicine has failed and the chance for optimal health has become more remote than ever because medicine has still not found a cure for the common cold. That is a ridiculous claim, is it not? And why? Because the field of medicine is so broad and has so many successes along the way, that although we haven't cured cancer or AIDS, or tons of other diseases (my two included!), there is still hope!

We understand that it takes time, resources, community awareness and ACTION to make these things priorities for the world around us. If you pay attention to these things you see that it is niche groups that rally support for research for their cause that, oftentimes, in turn, reveal new information for another niche - one discovery in the long fight and well-funded research against cancer, may help doctors learn more about the way the entire body works, therefore helping patients with other diseases (maybe even, one day, unlocking the cure for the common cold!).

And so it goes with the green movement. This is a long fight. And just like the field of medicine, there are a great number of subgroups within the green movement that can help the entire cause move forward. The Food Movement is just one example. Many foodies are motivated to take certain food actions for no other reason than their inner environmentalist. Let's look at some examples:
  • Eating Local Foods because they travel less, therefore diminishing carbon emissions and overall carbon footprint.
  • Eating Less Packaged Foods because the packages themselves create too much waste, or the process used to make the foods is not environmentally sound.
  • Eating Less Animal Product because the waste created from the CAFOs are destroying the environments around them.
  • Avoiding GMOs in order to preserve the natural vegetation.
I am sure there are plenty more, but you get the idea. I am not quite sure that one can claim the "The food movement will save the green movement" - I think the foodies have always been a part of the green movement.  And, ironically, it was I who said that exact statement in the comments section of the article, while wrapped up in a bit of a rant. Here's a piece of me talking about why food is SO relevant...

"This topic is so relevant to so many of us in a stronger sense than the green movement on its own because we ALL, undeniably, have to eat to survive. The actual source of our survival is on the table in a VERY tangible way. The clear air, water, limited resources and all of the other environmental needs seem to exist as supporting actors in our play - definitely part of our tale and, if we stop to truly admit it, VERY IMPORTANT for each and every one of our acts, but we SWEAR we can get along with only our leads! Food plays the leading role, I think, in most people's lives and only when that comes into question do people start to look around to say, "Well what else do we have here?" ...and THEN it hits them, "WHOA! We are in trouble! This whole thing is a mess!"

The food movement will save the green movement. The food movement IS the green movement. And this time, we are organizing for some positive action. Our children deserve it, our Earth deserves it and WE deserve it." 

 I did not mean the statement as blatantly as it came out there, but, alas, that is the curse of the printed word. It has plagued me since I wrote it so I wrote this post. I stand firmly behind the statement that follows,
The food movement IS the green movement.
That's my take, anyway.
...What's yours?

To read the complete TIME article by Bryan Walsh:,8599,2049255,00.html#ixzz1E8q7o9kt

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