Sunday, January 16, 2011

Harvest for Hope by Jane Goodall

I fully expected to encounter a preachy Goodall telling me that I was a murderer, carcass-eater, and all the other niceties that vegetarians seem to call people who eat meat. But Goodall is smarter than the average vegetarian. She understands that people are different and that being preachy and judgmental isn't the way to save the world.

Instead, Goodall lays out the facts, bit by bit, and leaves it up to you to decide what to do. The facts are many and they are scary. I found myself unconsciously eating less meat while reading this book. She starts off the book with a celebration of food. Why we love it, why we need it and how the different cultures celebrate with it.

Then we get into some dire facts. I honestly had no idea of the extent of the plight of the farmer, no idea about genetically modified foods or how cows, chickens, pigs, etc are "harvested" for their meat. I already knew about the obesity issue in Americans, everyone knows this. But with some helpful suggestions from Goodall, it seems like something that is fixable. She has a chapter on becoming a vegetarian but she repeatedly states throughout the book to just eat LESS meat. The amount of energy, grain and water that is needed to support the meat industry is staggering and if everyone just ate less, it would make a huge difference.

Obviously becoming vegetarian would be helpful, but she says that even becoming semi-vegetarian is helpful. Eating meat only occasionally and eating meat that is organic and free-range shows your support to the farmers who are trying to make a living and make a difference in the world. Going to farmer's markets, buying local produces, buying organic, forgoing bottled water (apparently tests have shown that bottled water has some pretty nasty toxins in it simply because this area isn't regulated like regular tap (public) water is) and growing your own food are just a few ways to help keep the world healthy for the future generations.

The United Nations released a study showing that if we don't stop the degradation of the land, pollution, and overfishing of the seas, we would literally run out of food for the world's population by 2050.

Just reading the book is enough to spur people into action, to take the small steps necessary to protect the earth's food supply for many many more generations. This is a really motivating book.
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