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The Edible Calorie

Comments on The Edible Calorie

Nihil Loc
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Posted 11/23/13 - 5:39 PM:
Subject: The Edible Calorie
The economic system we live in today is a marvel of interdependence. Production is given over to efficient and specialized centers which distribute goods in exchange for money.

The most basic goods fundamental to survival are bought and sold, while people go about their lives investing in a types of work which are rewarded with many times the purchasing power needed to satisfy their most basic needs (food, water, shelter, clothing).

The cheapness of food, its quantity and variety, is astounding today when you consider how much work it took for a people to extract calories from the ground before the rise of industrial agriculture.

Wild food resources are vastly more easy to exploit than tilling the ground, waiting months, hoping for good weather, battling pests and all the other unforeseen contingencies that making basic farming really tough. I'm tempted to envision hunting foraging as the primary mode of life under which we acquired our big brains.

Efficient agriculture has major problems, as with all kinds of industrial production. These are externalities: soil erosion, nutrient run off, vast water resources needed, carbon dioxide and methane emission. A popular circulating fact is that it takes 10 calories of fossil fuel input for every 1 edible calorie extracted from the ground by the time it gets to our mouths. The food system is responsible for more green house emissions than our transportation system, and this is likely due to our preference for eating meat.

Shouldn't we try to reform our consumer ways in relation to the true cost of the edible calorie? Does this not apply to any-kind of industry and its resultant consumerism which exploits all kinds of resources unsustainably, including workers?

Why don't we care enough about other human beings to object to their exploitation by our own hands?

Monk2400
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Posted 12/13/13 - 2:53 AM:

Nihil Loc wrote:

Wild food resources are vastly more easy to exploit than tilling the ground, waiting months, hoping for good weather, battling pests and all the other unforeseen contingencies that making basic farming really tough.


Sure, if you like living on the edge of starvation 24/7 and living in a constant state of war over resources ('hey that's MY berry bush!!'). Wild food makes nice slim, taught, hungry humans, always wary, always seeking, always on edge. Just like all other mammals. Nice to live like squirrels and rats isn't it.

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