Why do we have to fight for sustainability?
01 Nov, 2010
Good people are making positive changes in the world today. It seems that many of humanity’s best and brightest have understood that we have been heading down a dangerous path. They observed the warning signs in our environment, in our food supply, in our health and the health of our children. They are rising to the occasion and, by their own efforts, helping alter our course from certain destruction to laying the foundation for a sustainable planet and sustainable living.
In Hollywood sci-fi disaster epics, whenever Earth is threatened the population pulls together for the sake of common survival. Why isn’t this the case now? Why aren’t we all pitching in to help create and be part of an enlightened, sustainable culture rising from the toxic legacy of the chemical-industrial profit-over-conscience system?
The answer is obvious but disheartening. We’re just not all on the same page. Some of us are trying to clean things up and get back to consuming fresh, local and organic food while others are hard at work perpetuating and promoting the unsustainable short-sightedness that got us in trouble.
There are too many toxins in our existing agricultural environment being applied every day. We certainly don’t need more. We need less. This particularly applies to the idea of genetically engineering foods. We don’t know the long-term effects of these patented alterations, nor what these genes will do in combination or how they will spread to other non-GE organisms. The Center for Food Safety has succeeded in halting the planting of genetically modified alfalfa and sugar beets pending full environmental impact studies. GE corn is being exported to Latin America. A fast-growing GE salmon has been developed and the company behind it wants FDA approval without the fish being labeled. These are just a few examples, but you can be sure others are in progress and more are on the drawing board.
Clearly, in some quarters sustainability is just something that stands in the way of corporate profits. Hire a PR firm for some greenwashing and make it go away, or at least create a distraction; meanwhile it’s business as usual. Isn’t that insane? In a word: yes, particularly when acting in self-interest actually harms the common interest.
So, for the rest of us, you and I do have to fight for sustainability. But isn’t the prize of our planet, our food, our health and future generations worth fighting for? We think so.