How can anyone, sensible or otherwise, suggest that our very civilisation is under serious threat when the facts are indisputably that the world’s population is growing inexorably (80 million annaually and a seven fold increase in the past 200 years!)? Therein lays precisely the answer – the food resources of the World cannot sustain the existing population and most certainly cannot cope with its ever growing expansion – that is why millions of the most vulnerable souls, particularly children, are condemned to an early death each and every year (at least one and a half billion people are living in ABSOLUTE poverty – the absence of every basic human needs). Oh yes, we pretend that it is all down to another disaster – a famine in a far off land, a natural disaster like an earthquake, a once in a lifetime volcanic eruption, a civil war, a totally unpredictable meteor strike, a plague of locusts, a pandemic, an act of god, or any other excuse you can think of, don’t we?
The truth though is that half the World with impoverished needy people is threatened with extinction because of hunger – lack of FOOD! The opposite side of the coin is that the other half of the World is also facing an equal extinction, but not by hunger but precisely the opposite – a glut of FOOD! How bizarre is that then?
If you go to a poor deprived country (like say Malaysia or Congo, or Vietnam, or Liberia, or China, or sub-Saharan Africa) you will find a population that tends to be small in stature, carrying very little body weight, very little fat, and often of course very little muscle. Contrast that with sizing-up the more affluent nations (perhaps America, or Mexico, or Australia, or Britain, or South Pacific islands) to see people who are taller, massively sized, excessively muscular and increasingly medically obese (the leading cause of avoidable death!).
Can these differences be explained by state populations having different jean and DNA chromosome pools, different food diets, different cultures, different lifestyles, different jobs, different hobbies, and different interests, different sunshine’s? Oh yes, of course such items can play a part in the resulting physical form of humans, but they are relatively minor aspects within the total scope of things, aren’t they? The real difference comes in the amount of food that either people don’t have available to eat, or at the other end of the scale, can stuff into their eager mouths during their wakening hours.
Even in the poorest penniless lands you will come across the ‘bloated ones’, both men and women, but they will be the rich ones, the ones who have access to wealth, alcoholic drink, and untold amounts of quality food – with adequate medical help obviously to keep them and their offspring alive. Equally in the affluent kingdoms like ours in Britain, you will find the poor and impoverished, the thin ones, the ones isolated, the ones who make bad choices perhaps, the ones living on low quality food, the sick ones unable to access necessary healthcare, or the ones who have fallen between the cracks of their communities and face early death as a consequence.
While the unfortunate poverty stricken parts of the World see their children die and then respond, by animal instinct, by having even more and more children (to the distress of us others), in the Western ‘well off’ world the cost of food has been escalating dramatically over the last decade . Why is that? Because producers are gathering a better reward for their efforts (an extremely good reason), production has increasingly relied on fertilisation, mechanisation and use of ever-escalating & more expensive oil, and notwithstanding that, mankind has powerfully abused the basic availability of nature’s resources, land, forest, oceans, skies, rivers, and even down to the basic level of fresh water (unsustainable depleted supplies in some places) – with scorching and drought situations, deserts are now being created out of previously fertile farmland by overuse [America the renowned ‘breadbasket of the World’ suffering perhaps?]. Major growers like Australia and Russia have also saw yields fall by half. Oh yes, with mankind’s determined abuse of the planet there is sadly more to come!
Nowadays, in a generally impoverished nation like India they stopped exports and are stockpiling their rice (often to the extent of rotting it!) to ensure they will remain self sufficient in supplying their peoples (a worthwhile cause surely?), but artificially forcing worldwide prices to double – but the affluent one’s like us with 6 million people, don’t really notice and still rush down the path to over indulgence, sickness, heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and death, don’t we? [A quarter of the World lives on rice].
The poorest hapless & wretched lands of the World are beset with conflicts and climatic setbacks that deny their populations a rosy future, But what is wrong with us ultra rich ‘food users’? It is that we are all individually and collectively stupid – a total lack of common sense and we are lead by other idiots. There isn’t really any secret in sustainable eating habits are there? Surely all we need to understand is that all kinds of food should be consumed in moderation? Are we prepared to do that? Dream on everybody!
At least fifty years ago the studiers were warning us about the dramatic increased intake incurring those days (since the 1920s even) of salt and sugar, which was said to present key ‘untested’ risks – despite regular & repeated reports since then, did society take any notice? Don’t be silly – producers were allowed to increasingly flood our foodstuffs with massive quantities of both – you can’t buy any product these days without them being one of the unsuspected if not secretive ingredients – oh yes, governments constantly threaten legislation to reduce usage and then producers of processed foodstuffs repeatedly commit to a ‘voluntary codes of conduct’, and subsequently drive a coach & horses through all agreements and constantly increase salt & sugar content (to increase sales – stuff the health of consumers). We still, even this year, get ineffective lukewarm warnings from the likes of the World Health Organisation about sugar intake! [TV celebrity chefs can’t resist throwing in a handful of salt into every dish they prepare can they?].
Oh no, we didn’t stop there did we? In the new lenient ‘conveyance’ world, we have set our sights on over-indulging on all and everything, ignoring the impact on our resilient human frame – we, including our children, nowadays devour excessive amounts of say meat (even past Kings & Queens would be amazed how much we peasants can polish-off!), or milk, or butter & fat products, or biscuits & cake, or for that matter even bread, potatoes, rice, noodles, or pasta. All so readily available in the twenty first century you see, and we have to partake of it to prove we have a good enjoyable life – whatever damage it does to our kids’ health and our lifespan.
And what don’t we eat these days? Essential vegetables & fruit of course – historically the sustenance of human life. In the UK we can grow wonderful healthy vegetables and scrumptious apples and pears – but we have abandoned that kind of food and import unripe stuff from thousands of miles away at substantial cost and planetary impact (then we hardly eat enough of it)! Unbelievably the UK used to be able to feed its population, but now we import half of our food (including our supposedly established basic & essential food item grain wheat!) – how can that be responsible behaviour and beneficial to the rest of the World?
In Britain women in particular are on repetitive diets – that means that time & time again they recognise that they are overweight and are prepared to spent nugatory pound after pound moneywise to lose weight; what they are never prepared to do though is to stop eating so much food – they think even that a surgically fitted ‘gastric-band’ is proof of their mental commitment to weight loss (or mental incapacity?)! Men of course rarely diet, or for that matter consider their weight whatsoever, however excessive – psychologically convinced somehow that a fat face, arms & legs, and bulging belly is somehow manly & attractive to the opposite sex!
[Is there any hope for any of us high income ‘unlucky’ countries in the western world? Not a lot. Production of cocoa is in decline as growers find that other products are more profitable (like rubber production for god’s sake!) – so our comfort extravaganza of chocolate is going to be denied us in the future! A disaster in the making surely?].