Tuesday, May 15, 2012

voting with your stomach

   You'd think this might have occurred to me before. I know about how "voting with your money" is a good way of sending your ethical concerns to a company, but for some myopic reason it only just occurred to me that it is also a way of voicing environmental concerns.

   Perhaps the issue is that we are often told about the environmental sins of obvious polluters like oil conglomerates or companies that dump toxic wastes into water systems, whereas I feel the "footprint" of food companies is rarely addressed.

   But so — with trepidation given the implications — I would like to start digging into the environmental records of food companies. We know a number of them are stepping into the wide world of GMOs, which itself has arguably serious ramifications in terms of monoculture (think potato famine or Dutch elm disease) and loss of crop diversity (e-high-five to Svalbard!), but what about the direct damage food  companies are doing, say, in terms of deforestation, or waste, or water pollution, or energy usage?

   Here's a good place to start (sorry about the scale!):

...seeing how few companies actually control our food system means two main things to this discussion: holy crap! and also, in fact there are only basically a dozen companies to have a proper look at. yay.

   This feels like a very complex and multi-faceted topic, and the atmospheric pressure change is making my head explode. However, I'll try to do a few posts on these guys, and hopefully by the end there will still be good food to eat. maybe even some meat.


  1. I agree, the best way to choose is to buy or not buy. But this is not just with food or oil as you suggested.

    Some issues have more to do with sustainability than our society likes. For example, what is the footprint of our healthcare, education, pensions and welfare?

    Unanswered before, I guess you find it as hard as I do.

  2. can you lay out for me a bit how you think our healthcare has our footprint (are you talking drug companies?) or education (...stumped by this one) or pensions and welfare (is this a concern with where the money is invested or where it comes from or what?)? I have been thinking about these questions since you posted them, but I can't quite wrap my head around where you see the environmental impact.