I wanted to take a break from the perils of the world's debt mountains for a moment and talk about another area that seems desperately deprived of critical thought—health.
Why do we value and nurture our health so little? Are we humans crazy? dumb? genetically lazy? Why do we spend so much energy raising money to fund treatment programs and yet so little energy on how to grow and preserve good health from the start?
This is absolutely nonsensical. Researchers tell us that 70% of cancers can be avoided altogether through preemptive habits of moderation, diet, exercise and not smoking. Not to mention a much lower incidence of other things like heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
We know that our food and environments are being poisoned and polluted by chemicals both intentionally and thoughtlessly applied. We know that if we respected the natural life cycle of plants and animals more and stopped treating them as things we can manipulate and subjugate to our human will we would not need to pump them full of chemicals and hormones and anti-bio tics just to keep them alive.
But intuition, research and natural order be damned, we seem determined to persevere to our own demise. We insist on commoditizing and abusing all, even when this breeds our own suffering far and wide.
Today I went to my local Rotary luncheon. Our club is large and works very hard raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to help fund the community dream of a local cancer care center. Yes, if I, or someone close to me gets cancer, it will be nice to have treatment in our own community rather than having to travel to Toronto. That is obvious. But while we are all working so hard at this goal, we are passing around the table plates of what Steve Pavlina so aptly calls “diseased, tortured, chemical-injected” animals and vegetables. Not only is our food poisoning us, but its nutritional quality is only a fraction of what it was when we were kids.
In our house, we spend about twice as much money as normal food to feed my family as much organic, natural, locally grown, free-range, bio diverse, food and personal products as I can find. It costs us twice as much to buy organic, chemical free milk for our kids to drink than the regular fare available everywhere else.
This is how screwed up things are right now! Individuals have to pay more to be preventative, even when the product of their actions ultimately benefits the collective good!
If I use only green power, efficient light-bulbs, hybrid cars, less fossil-fuels, buy organic foods, eat less and exercise more, I am less net-drag on the entire eco-system. I will pollute less, likely tax our health system remarkably less, and raise children more likely to do the same for the world they inherit.
We must take our children out for exercise now in the same way that we walk our dogs. We are too fearful to let kids roam free like we did when I was a kid. So kids are spending most of their time in the house, in their yard. They are not getting exercise needed for healthy development unless they have the now unusual feature of parents who are committed to getting their kids out for “a run” of some kind everyday.
When normal weight kids are at the pool and beach now, they stand out of the crowd. They look almost freakishly thin amid a sea of round and bulbous bodies.
To be healthy is no longer to be normal in our part of the world. If you want your family to be fit and healthy you need to be a bit freakish about diet and exercise. The norm is now to be unhealthy.
As David Suzuki points out we humans are selfish, but even a selfish person should see that respecting and nurturing our natural world is key to nurturing our own health.
North American governments are spending trillions in wars over oil, drugs and medical treatments while our people and planet are falling apart at the seams. We could have green technology and better health tomorrow if we would just stop fighting nature and insisting we can have it our own way. Our own way so far has been dumb, dumb, dumb.
Please, somebody, give us a shake. Lets come to our senses, get a grip, wake up. Change has to come from the bottom up. It starts with each of us as individuals, parents, citizens. Every action that we take matters. It all adds up to the collective “one.” None of our individual choices are irrelevant. For now we do have to pay more to buy sensible, healthy products that help our health and the health of our planet. Buy them anyway. Create consumer demand for the right things. Throw our weight around in the right places. Supply follows demand eventually. Businesses will learn to make money off the healthful solutions, and this will be a win, win all around.
We have the technology, we can do this. Lets start today. Who's with me?