Sunday, November 6, 2011

Food and Freedom

So the Mayans, or those who have interpreted their calender, were wrong. The 28th of October has passed by almost unnoticed. The good news – the world hasn’t ended, we are still here. The bad news – nothing has changed. We are in the same situation, almost drowning in our own shit.

What now? Well, I guess one option would be to put faith into the 21st of December 2012, the next date of big change. But I’m not sure how reliable that is. Another option would be to start digging away the shit surrounding us. But where to begin? There are too many problems to name. To do so, I would have to stop writing stories and blogs and instead produce a whole encyclopedia of stuff that needs to be fixed.
Nevertheless, to start somewhere, here’s a small selection of situations which have to be changed urgently if we ever want to see a better world.

Food logistics
In a recent conversation with an Ex-Senior logistics manager of the biggest Swiss cargo airline, I was told a nice example of the perversity of the present food trade: Tomatoes, grown in Israel, travel via Zürich to Holland. That’s kind of acceptable. But then, similar tomatoes grown in Holland travel the same route to Israel. All in the name of profit…
We, the customers, promote this absurdity by constantly wanting everything to become cheaper and cheaper. Yet should’t food be about quality? Does it make sense that we fuck up the planet only to get fresh strawberries all year round? And is it fair to exploit farmers in poor countries only so that we can save up for a new tele? After all, why should a supermarket manager in France earn more than a farmer who grows the food which is sold on the shelves? It’s actually disgraceful for the human race.

I was really disappointed when I read a couple of days ago that the planned referendum in Greece was cancelled. Finally a head-of-state had come to senses and remembered that the voice of the general public ought to be listened to. Always, not only when there are elections. The Greek situation, being hopelessly in debt and slaved to the Euro, is very serious. We’re not talking about which colour the new office of the president should have. It’s an important, far-reaching decision that affects pretty much everybody living in Greece. Maybe they don’t want to pay huge amounts of interests only to keep a currency that is doomed anyway. But thanks to the influence of Merkel, Sarkozy and the other ‘leaders’, the Greek people have been basically told to shut up again. Is that democracy? Is that what Plato had talked about?

Here’s a little challenge for you: try to explain to a 6-year old the concept of borders. Seriously. I have tried it and failed miserably. Why? Because there is no logical explanation. Borders are just another senseless thing we created.
Many would argue that if you didn’t have nations protected by ‘walls’, everybody from the poor countries would go to the rich ones. But I think this is a misconception. Almost all the people I have met over the years prefer to live in their home countries. Some might enjoy travelling, but only few want to move to a different country. No matter whether they are from Argentina, India, Senegal, Spain or Germany. Now, if some countries become rich because they steal from the poor, leaving them with hardly enough to survive, surely it’s no surprise if the poor start migrating to the rich lands. So to solve the problem of mass immigration we don’t need passport control, but fair trade!
The worst thing about borders is that we are told that we are still free. Yet trying to create freedom and erecting walls at the same time is like trying to create a baby and putting on a condom – it’s totally counterproductive!

What to do? Maybe we should bomb the big supermarkets, kill all politicians and throw away the passport. Alternatively, we could buy local food, stand up for injustice and invite someone from a different country into our home. Opening doors to new possibilities…

1 comment:

  1. Hi Claus, is the transition initiative of Coín still ongoing? and are you still involved? I am trying to contact the initiatives in Spain and having a tough time doing so. I am the author of the blog Visiones de Otro Tiempo. You can contact me at joe dot sull at live dot com. Thanks, JS