I have never walked so much recently being on holiday. My energy levels were bouncing and I attribute that to a surge in my Vitamin D levels. Going for a long relaxing walk on a sunny beach makes it apparent that everything around us is living and alive. I couldn’t help but wonder what life would be like without the things that really count – health, happiness and of course, good health.
The world we live in sustains us with life. You might think that is an obvious statement to make. It is just that but it is one that we take for granted. We have everything we could possibly need. Food, water and the ability to live because these fragile factors sit delicately in a harmonic balance.
If that equilibrium is disturbed, it can cause many problems. Being a ‘foodie’ isn’t just about enjoying and appreciating the taste of good food. It requires us to adequately note where and how the food we eat is sourced and how it has been treated.
Who hasn’t just gone into the supermarket feeling exhausted after a long day at work and just taken the first thing of the shelf without reading the label? My confession – I stand guilty as charged. Ease and convenience has made a lot of people compromise the quality of what they eat. In today’s rapidly changing and volatile world, we cannot afford to do this lightly anymore.
Looking around shops and supermarkets, many products we see are geared up to seducing our senses. (I love it-I am a pleasure junkie). Anything that excites our receptors to pleasure is used to appeal to our emotional sensibilities over perhaps more practical and healthy options.
The anticipation of pleasure plays an important role when it comes to influencing what we buy. Brightly coloured packaging, (and of course, not forgetting how much sex sells for instance), these techniques are cleverly used to promote sales of countless products in the market today. Like moths to a flame, we take the bait willingly and perhaps very carelessly.
Take palm oil for instance. If you look at the back of some supermarket products, you will see that palm oil is used as an ingredient. This is extremely destructive on the environment and many of the world’s natural habitats are being exterminated as a consequence (like orangutans for example). We should ignore this at our peril. Out of sight, out of mind will not protect us from the very real danger of the natural world being completely destroyed.
Deforestation, flooding, exploitation of immigrant workers employed on illegal palm oil plantations (to name but a few) .. but it’s all relative…right? If it’s not on our doorstep, we tend to not think or worry about it. But hey, if the packaging is cool and it looks good, who cares….
Again, mass consumerism ensures there is always supply and demand. If there is money to be made, that usually overrides the collective good. Looking through life through a microcosm isolates you from the whole. ‘My demands and needs are all that matters’. We don’t think of the greater good, just our own good.
If we don’t make conscious and ethical decisions in regards to how our food is sourced, we end up with the bleak prospect of destroying the natural habitats of animals not to mention, our own health in the end. We must think how our actions affect other people and the environment.
Our innate selfishness ensures our individual survival but potentially at the cost of the collective wellbeing of the planet if the choices we make create a negative impact on the rest of the world. If that is the case, as a collective species, we could be well on the way to destruction….
According to Richard Dawkins, we act within our own interests and only in the interests of others if it ensures our own survival. Altruism, therefore is part of some kind of default response in an attempt to further our own interests.
I feel that is a poor outlook….I really hope not. I would like to think that people do things for others simply for the joy of doing so and not hoping for anything in return. There is much to be gained in life by acting and loving unconditionally. I think we are too afraid to do so as there is always that doubt that if we show kindness and generosity to someone, they may see it as a weakness and take full advantage. Yes…possibly, but maybe not….
Basically, if you compare humanity’s relationship to nature, (like all relationships), if we don’t nurture them properly, they will not grow and thrive in the way they should. If we abuse people, relationships become destructive and suffer as a consequence.
Why would our relationship with nature be any different? We are all dependent on each other and the earth is dependent on us. Look after the natural world and it will look after you in turn….guaranteed!
© Christina McDonald 2014