Thursday, April 06, 2006

Food as energy

I recently had a revelation about food and energy -- not the popular connection in terms of "food gives you energy", rather, energy manifested into everything that is life... people, animals, plants, fuel, heat, water, earth, and hence food.

I spend a lot of my time thinking and reading about peak oil, and our incredibly mindless, selfish and blind-sighted over-consumption of oil (energy). I'm also aware that most of us humans eat and think of food in the same mindless, self-absorbed way. In observing people around me (not everyone, but the majority), it's as though we have this attitude of righteousness around food, as if we're trying to make up for powerlessness in other areas of life. I've even heard people proclaim, "if I want it I deserve to have it because I'm worth it and no one can tell me otherwise." (Okay, maybe not in those exact words, but that was the gist of it.)

This is the same attitude people have towards material possessions. Just last night I saw a Toyota commercial for a new hybrid car where the message was that you can have it all (in this case, a car and feel like you're helping the environment), and that whatever you want you deserve, and can fully justify as in fact needing. Demand what you want out of life and you'll get it. Which sounds enlightened to a degree except that it's promoting a superficial, misguided drive -- to consume, feed the capitalist economy and attempt to fill your empty soul.

This is where I find the connection between how the majority of consumers on Earth feel a righteous entitlement towards everything that is basically energy manifest -- food, oil, water, material possesions, everything. I think it perpetuates a horrible cycle of depletion of the spirit and the earth's energy. There is no balance, as everything nature provides freely is seen by humans as free for the taking, with an adamant lack of respect for life in all forms.

I also wondered about something else... if energy can't be created or destroyed, and only transformed, where does all the energy we rob from the land actually go? I welcome ideas, meanwhile I'd venture to guess that some of it goes to heat, in warming the globe. Much of it must go to materials we create that eventually get thrown away into landfills. The toxic things get buried or dumped into water sources. But mostly, I think most of our energy gets transformed into more humans, as our global population doubles into the multiple billions every number of years.


cmthite said...

This is indeed thought provoking.

I think it is only about making energy available to us in the form that we can utilize in the way we want to utilize. Some may want to use it to satisfy senses. Some may want to use it to satisfy other's senses. Some may want to use it to help make others understand the ways to transform it in order to know the

Frannie said...

Maybe it is inevitable, or a part of our nature, to want to satisfy senses -- for a while. I would hope that eventually we all find a deeper meaning to our use of energy, and how we choose to transform it.

Thank you for your comments and insight, Dr. Thite.

veronika said...

I think capitalism gets a bad rap. I think if more people were proud of how they earn thier living we'd have a better planet. A lot of people don't respect money and they don't respect that resources and therefore money are finite, and so you need to find a way to regenerate and recycle resources as much as possible so you can keep the cash flowing. You can't keep digging and taking with the idea that it'll end for another generation so who cares. I think you're right, people don't get that it's a flow of energy and you can transform it into something positive or negative...the true capitalist understands that by turning it into something negative you put a cap on what you can earn. Seriously, organic cotton will ensure that there will always be cotton, organic food means that there will always be food, and you can turn these things into money as long as you can grow them. As soon as you try to make a quick buck you put a limit on what you can produce and earn. So you are totally right that this idea that we should get everything we want is really bad for the planet, but it's also bad for capitalism.

I think it's the credit companies that have found a way to make money out of selfish desires...out of something intangible and they are putting an end and a limit on the planet and themselves. It's a flawed mentality and it's like enron, trying to create something that doesn't exist. The enron documentary (the smartest guys in the room) is the ghost of christmas future for the planet.

I must admit I'm a capitalist. I want to get to the point where I can sell and produce environmentaly sound clothing completely. I want to earn enough money that I can always buy organic and one day build a life that is completely sustainable. It's very upsetting that only the wealthy have this option, but I hope to get there one day and make sure that the energy I produce is positive and limitless.

WOW I sure can rant!!!

Claudia you get me thinking and I LOVE that so much. My opinions shift and grow with all that you write and talk about. Now I'm going to obsess of energy and how to keep it flowing in a positive way.

Frannie said...

Okay, that is so "V for Veronika"!! Thanks for your insight, V, that's awesome. It's almost impossible to be anti-capitalist in our culture and society, especially in the west where we can hardly be self-sustaining, but you have an excellent point that it may not be capitalism itself that's the problem, but the way it's become a perversion of an exchange of goods and services, and has chosen to be destructive and wasteful instead of sustainable and thoughtful. Right on!