Project Dissertation

I moved to this fabulous city three years ago mainly to; be near an airport for travel, be able to not trade my stilletos for trainers, and to finish my doctoral studies in four years. Yes, that pretty much sums up my priorities at 30. So now I am ABD with nine months to go and San Francisco is no easy city to ignore. Although, I would argue that each experience that deters my academic writing is really just needed inspiration. Welcome and I hope you enjoy...

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Location: San Francisco, California, United States

Bilingual, Bicultural, and Dual Citizen. J School B.A., M.A. in High Incidence Disabilities, & ABD in Education.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Hopes Edge

Finally made it to the Booksmith on Haight for a book, I had been craving to read. Hope's Edge: The Next Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe. Hopes Edge takes up the dialogue from Frances Moore Lappes' 1987 book, Diet for a Small Planet.

I first heard about Diet for a Small Planet on a school trip to Washington, DC. The vegetarians from Eugene, Oregon used it as a reference for a debate on world hunger. The debate was about policy and quickly shifted to food, armed with their paperback copy for reference they toppled all the arguments: I related to the way they framed their arguments. They argued for sustainability, and questioned hunger as anything but the lack of enough food production.

We never really kept in touch, save a handwritten letter or two, but the evenings spent debating U.S. policy on hunger never really left.

That summer on the weekly trip to the Northridge Library my mom insisted on, I came across a copy of the famed book. By the time I read it, I had already given up meat for lent, read Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, and practically failed AP Biology for refusing to dissect a cat (that part has less to do with Lappes' theory, but I think it is telling for me.) However, it was Lappe's theory that finally provided me with the sound argument I sought for becoming a vegetarian.

It will be 17 years this August since I decided to leave the lobster, the carnitas, and the chicken milanesa all behind. The only thing I occasionally crave is lobster, but that might just be for the garlic butter- I don't know though because I haven't gone back for any yet.

What I do know is that what Lappe wrote, I read and based a decision on 17 years before. Finally her insights are emerging and becoming almost pedestrian. What made sense so many years before- finally resounds to everyone else.

For every human being on the planet, the world produces two pounds of grain per day-roughly 3,000 calories, and that's without even counting all the beans, potatoes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables we eat, too. This is clearly enough for all of us to thrive; yet nearly one in six of us still goes hungry.

Worldwide, we're feeding more and more of this grain, now almost half, to livestock, but animals return to us in meat only a tiny fraction of the nutrients we feed them.

To get just one calorie of food energy from a steak, we burn 54 irreplaceable fossil-fuel calories, so producing one pound of steak- providing less than 1,000 calories-uses up 45,000 fossil fuel calories.

To produce just one pound of beef takes thousands of gallons of water, as much as the average American uses for all purposes in several months-and this in a world in which two-thirds of all people are expected to face water shortages in less than a generation. Frances Moore Lappe and Anna Lappe, 2003.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great blog, and very important.

You are right...what has been known to a few, is now becoming more apparent to others. I give thanks to people that are putting it out there (because its been a long time coming), in ways that are easily understood by many.

Just watched The Corporation, and although it wasn't directly related to issues of food security, it did touch on how corporations have a hold on food, seeds, and now biotechnology. People don't realize, that "they" (the psychopaths, the corporations, the government - all the same thing in the US) are controlling us with the food we eat. And now, with globalization and free markets, this regime is spreading faster to other parts of the world and we are seeing the vast effects that this has on populations around the world.

With all the advances in biotechnology and knowledge on sustainable agriculture, why, and I have asked this question so many times, why are we still dealing with issues of world hunger? It's directly related to the buck, and The Corporation does a great job in showing that thats all that matters in the minds of those that lead and keep the corporations running. Its depressing to think, that people only think about their immediate increases in the bank account, and don't think about their children, their children's children, and all the generations that come after that will be affected by whats being done to mother earth, our only home.

Our ancestors took care of mother earth, and whenever a decision was made, it was never made without the conscious thought of how these decisions might impact seven generations from then. We have a responsibility to speak out, and you are doing that here by sharing some simple, but scary facts.

What's going on in this country in terms of health - cancers, obesity, cardiovascular and chronic diseases - is very much related to this capitalistic mentality. Unfortunately, there a shift going on in the rest of the world, and developing countries are now being affected by these things as well, because of globalizations and these corporations. I mean its very clear whats going on, but people are barely waking up to this fact... and its even more unfortunate that although some people are becoming more aware of this, nothing is being done to change it.

With blogs like this, and movies like , Sicko and The Corporation, I do have hope that more people will wake up, but with a feeling of actually taking action, and realizing how some of our very own smallest habits can affect what we are talking about now...

This dialogue needs to continue!


9:11 AM  
Blogger Lorena said...

"Personal and social transformation can't be disaggregated." Lappe & Lappe, 2003

Neither can intuition and karma.

1:07 PM  

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