Think Outside the Big Box

Having come of age in a small town of 350 people in the midwest, my early day championing of the environment was atypical. This was a place where people still threw trash out the car window without seeming to understand why I thought that was a bad idea, before recycling had made it to the center of the country, chemically driven farming the main occupation, and animals (my pets to be exact) used as props in cruel jokes for the young males I was unfortunate enough to share the classroom with. I saw all of this with the black and white eyes of youth, and I didn’t like it. I tried to start an environmental group, wrote speeches and papers about Earth First! and depleting ozone and energy conservation…all to a general population who thought I was a little bit nuts.

All these years later, the “environment” is still something I champion, but now that I live in an area of the country right in the thick of the environmental movement, I find that I don’t want to be an environmentalist anymore. Our way of life doesn’t necessarily reflect this; sustainability on all levels is our personal goal for our family, our community, and our country. But as Wendell Berry and Micheal Pollen have suggested (here), much of the “greening” that is going on right now, especially in the name of global warming, doesn’t seem to give us any real “solutions”. More often than not, it creates more problems. Some examples of this for me have been green consumerism (rather than shrewd recycling), toxic lightbulbs (a very sore subject in our home where we have inhaled the mercury dust from many broken lightbulbs and also had many go out within a year!!!), and carbon-credits (why pay someone else to invest in the future for you, invest in trees and green energy where you live!!). The show stopper in all this madness is the claim that GMO’s will help us in our global warming disaster. And directly tied to this is a more subversive side of “saving the world”, population control, something that can be a topic of heated debate, but one where deep ecologist stand firm.

Now one of man’s greatest follies is always not seeing the forest for the tree. We have a terrible time looking at the whole, searching for holistic solutions. If the problem we have created stems from gross over consumption, why not try to stop consuming so much. If one wants to argue that most people won’t make these kind of changes, then we have arrived at a crisis of character, not environment. We are more than the sum of our parts, and I really fear where this short-sighted global warming pandemonium is going to take us if we don’t start looking outside the box. So just in case you what to choose GMO’s out of this fear, read the short list of why this won’t work anyways here, and to see where the big agri-pharma-business folks are taking things, consider this from Joel Salatin’s blog:

Last December at the ACRES USA conference in St. Louis I ran into a guy who knew one of the executives at Monsanto. He told me about a conversation he’d had with this fellow regarding genetically modified organisms. The long and short of it was that one of the primary goals of GMOs was as a population control mechanism. I assumed the conversation had been embellished due to paranoia..

So last Friday I had dinner in Minneapolis and met a fellow and his family who are farming north of the twin cities. He had attended Purdue University in Indiana, was an excellent student, and Dow Chemical hired him right out of college. He described the fancy trucks, the fancy dinners, the fancy resort conventions that the company supplied.

His team was working on GMOs and he found out one day that they were putting spermicides into grain to ship strategically to countries around the world where U.S. foreign policy wanted population control. This is part of the U.S. foreign aid package. Appalled at this discovery, he asked the other team members if they had a problem with what was going on–everyone else was fine with it. He handed in his
resignation that day.

In the news lately, the world community reels in horror with the revelations of Nazis sterilizing thousands of half Jews, Gypsies and other undesirables. So how many innocent people around the world are being unknowingly sterilized as a result of this audacious plan? And through pollen drift, this grain can contaminate food globally. It can’t be contained.

It is time to understand that these global corporate elite agendas are not just about personal preference. They are evil. U.S. foreign policy is evil. To unleash something as potentially ubiquitous as GMO human-sterilizing grains is terrorism pure and simple. When our little kiddies are encouraged to get a good enough education to go work for one of these outfits, what does this say about our value system?

Let’s not dance around the issue. An evil food system exists, and a righteous food system exists. We need to be patronizing and promoting the righteous one.


Now this info isn’t vetted, but I trust Mr. Salatin and this isn’t the first time claims of mass sterilization have been made…the UN doesn’t necessarily try to hide its views on this. But a solution to a problem can never be justified if it is unethical. It can never be a solution if it causes its own set of “lesser” problems, and it can never leave the burden of the new problems for future generation to deal with. It seems like right now, all three of these things are happening at alarming rates in an attempt to solve the big issues at hand. When the predictions are so dire, its hard to know what else to do. Still, rather than putting bandages on a broken system, why not look deeper into things? Why not change the paradigm and find that the world outside of its current box isn’t all doom and gloom, that you can give more to this world you are trying to save in one day of taking action within yourself, your home, and your community than with any purchase you can make. In an essay from his collection, “Sex, Freedom, Economy, and Community”, Berry suggests that we will never step up and really take care of this planet or each other until we begin to use the right words to describe it: it isn’t the “environment”, it is creation, he says…it isn’t the “poor” or the “hungry”, it is our neighbors, even ourselves…it is humanity. Now this doesn’t mean, in my mind, having to look at things from a Christian perspective as Berry certainly does, but it does require acknowledging our spirits and the wonder of the world. It does require believing in virtue, which only comes from inside ourselves, and can’t be provided for us. Pollen suggests growing a garden, a wonderful suggestions on all levels. He says, “The single greatest lesson the garden teaches is that our relationship to the planet need not be zero-sum, and that as long as the sun still shines and people still can plan and plant, think and do, we can, if we bother to try, find ways to provide for ourselves without diminishing the world.” I couldn’t agree more.


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