Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Caveman Complex

Inside one of the chapters from the book to the left: “For perhaps 100,000 years Homo sapiens were successful hunters and gatherers, living in small bands, part of larger social and political alliances. Their material worlds were surely limited.... Then, between twenty thousand and ten thousand years ago, people began to organize their practical lives differently, sometimes exploiting plentiful food resources in a way that allowed less mobility, more stability, perhaps more possessions. Finally, from ten thousand years onward, food production – as against food gathering – became more common, villages sprang up, small towns, cities, city-states, and eventually nation states.” What this means is progress for human societies and culture! However, as humans have progressed there have been misguided attempts in food distribution. Particularly what I’m concerned about is food dependency and bioregionalism issues. One solution to both: be like a primitive human being – be a caveman.

I was inspired to write this blog after reading an article: “'Evolutionary Fitness' diet is so easy, even a caveman can do it.”
It can be summarized by the following comic:

What cavemen did and eat is most speculated or researched by specialists who “see” the diet in bone construction and tidbits of culture found throughout the ages, but another article [Geoff Tansey and Tony Worsley, “Modern Food: Where did it come from?”], as described by a classmate in an earlier blog entry [“How foods development has changed us” on Tuesday, March 23rd of 2010], creates a vision of the past. Our control of Mother Nature has resulted in a dependency on a specific food, as explained by a video also posted by a classmate in an earlier blog entry (Tuesday, March 16th of 2010).

Bioregionalism, on the other hand, is the ecological-social idea of sustainability. “Bioregionalism” was a term coined by Peter Berg in the 1970s to define “an environmental perspective that emphasizes action over protest, lifestyle over legislation.” His term was meant to educate folks that natural systems on Earth should be maintained and eventually restored to help repopulate natural species. Today, as indicated by the “Modern Food” article, humans have “gained control over the production of food” through multiple regimes that have resulted in a corporation regime where a few people have control of many food resources.

So consider: The “average plate of food travels about 1500 miles” and a “Hawaiian sugar packet – 10,000 miles (for packaging, despite the fact that sugar cane might be grown nearby).” [This information was provided by classmate’s presentation.] Bioregionalism raises awareness about the true cost of our food (GHG emissions on top of the cost you, as the consumer, pays for), whose responsibility it is to consider that cost (AKA the current food system), and to help promote change to humans don’t destroy the only world we have so far.

As I mentioned before my solution is to return back to the caveman. Though this article doesn’t mention it, there is another term for what cavemen used to do: “locavorism”. This means that a person eats within a 100 mile radius so that the money stays within the community and strengthens the bioregional community. Therefore, the money would go to the farmers in the region. This diet would mostly keep up with the seasons – so the consumer would eat foods that are fresh and not shipped from other climates – and would encourage a healthier diet that does not consist of mostly high fructose corn syrup.

One family has succeeded in following this diet! In Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barabara Kingsolver farmed their own food and bought from 100 mi radius. (Though each family member had one “cheat” food.) Within this book she discusses several flaws to bioregionalism: that it wasn’t ideal to follow the localvorism diet in Virginia due to urban sprawl; that farming experience would be difficult for average population who would need to educate themselves prior to attempting this diet. [I would like to thank another classmate in part for using this as an example in his presentation for bioregionalism!]

So what’s the only other alternative? One classmate stated: there is “only change [when there’s] a complete disruption in the system.” The overhaul for the existing food system would be difficult, especially to implement another system since some regions cannot support a bioregionalism system. On top of that there’s no incentive to change.
With rising gas prices and increasing eco-social awareness the consumer can change the current food system to work for you, but first, we, as the consumer, need to not support the current system. Will you help the new movement grow in strength or should you?

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