Make Peace with the Earth

December 9, 2006

It’s time to make Peace with the Earth.
We have tortured her for too long. We have dug into her heart and stolen her essence. We have flouted her rules. We have murdered her children. We have pretended to have dominion over her like children playing Gods in dress up.

Our arrogance has become so toxic that those in power have become poisoned with it like the arsenic addicts of the 19th century – a megalomanical buzz before the gasping end. I watch Bush and his handler, Cheney, deny the Arctic Ice is melting; deny that Halliburton is oil profiteering at the expense of the young of at least two countries; deny that there is a limit to our funds, our understanding, and the Earth’s patience. And I despair for our future.

Nature’s deputies are about to evict us from our Earthly home. It is time we stop and hope it is not too late.

We need to make Peace with the Earth. Begging and pleading won’t help. The Earth doesn’t care about us any more than a mountain cares about a mountain climber. We need to do something different, something as fundamental as it is dramatic. We need to change what we eat.

Each American spends, on average, $2245 a year on food – much of it fast food eaten out. Most of the rest is transported 1500 miles or more, stored for weeks in warehouses and refrigerators, before being delivered to our neighborhood supermarkets, restaurants, and drive-ins.

This long distance, bullet-proof food looks good. In fact, it often looks perfect – blemish free, uniform color and size. But it is nutritionally empty. Like a bleached blonde air head of Hollywood legend, it looks good but contains nothing.

When combined with preservatives, additives, antibiotics, hormones, pesticides this industrial food moves beyond the realm of “crap” to “dangerous, unhealthy crap.” Modern food can make you sick. Not nuclear war sick like cancer or stroke, not at first. But through subtle and not so subtle disfunctions of your immune system. New food allergies appear. Skins rashes break out. Auto immune diseases like arthritis and lupis develop and get worse. The list is very long.

So what can we do, besides commit slow suicide at the driveup window?

The answer is to eat healthy food, raised locally, raised humanely, raised in harmony with Nature’s complex and wonderful systems. Local is the first value. When food travels fewer miles, it is fresher, more nutritious.

But local is just the beginning. To be truly healthy, think organic production. “Organic” food is more than just the absence of man-made poisons. “Organic” means raised in harmony with nature, feeding the soil, respecting diversity, leveraging natural systems controls. The truth is a strong plant can resist many pests naturally. And a strong plant needs a healthy soil, a soil full of life and energy. Plants are part of a whole living system, not a product to be manufactured with chemicals.

Also think humane treatment. Nature farms with animals. Animals and their wastes are part of the complex web of life we conduct our agriculture in. But animals need to be respected. In most traditional native societies, animals are honored in formal ceremonies before being consumed.

As one farmer I work with says, “We need to let animals live the way God intended them to live.”
When an animal’s behavioral needs are respected, antibiotics are not needed. Growth hormones should be banned. Animals should be raised outside.

We need to lay down our industrial food armaments and make Peace with Nature. One field of peacemaking can be found in a new kind of farmer’s market, one where organic and humane are the standard, not the exception.

The first of these began in 2004 in Sioux City, Iowa. The Floyd Boulevard Local Foods Market was the nation’s first to exclusively sell “healthy, humane, homegrown food.” Since then the East Central Indiana Heritage Market in Muncie and the Sweetwater Local Foods Market in Muskegon, Michigan have joined the ranks.

These markets are battlefields in reverse. People come there to make Peace, to seek Peace, to join a peacemaking community. The experience of making Peace is unlike anything else. It is as if a great burden has been lifted off your shoulders, a heavy sorrow removed from your heart.

The act of buying organic, humanely raised food from a local farmer is so simple. And so revolutionary. Peace has always been revolutionary.

I hope there is enough time.

Chris Bedford

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