SOSC 1040 Feb 14, 2013
Consumerism, Food Security and the Environment
“Environment and Consumption” – R. Robbins
- How the main products we buy and the foods we cultivate and eat
affect the environment, individual health and society.
- Modern agriculture is based on the use of chemical fertilizers,
pesticides and herbicides.
- Consumption rates differ between industrial and non-industrial Nations
- “Our consumption of goods is a function of our culture” – not all
cultures are consuming resources at the same rate.
- Even though it is generates destruction we have become dependent on
a growing mass consumption because it is the basis of economic
stability within the current global capitalist system.
- Problems of beef and sugar production and consumption and
environmental depletion, human health consequences
- How our food choices are products of the Culture Industry - eating for
pleasure (taste, texture and food addictions) versus eating for
nutritional requirements of a healthy body.
- ‘Big Sugar’ – is tied to numerous sectors of economy and the
production – distribution – sales chain, thus it is institutionalized. Also
the history of sugar production is tied to colonialism, environmental
destruction, slavery and forced labour, forced migration and
displacement, animal habitat destruction etc.
- Sugar as a sweetener, a food preservative in bread etc.
- Sugar as a “drug food” – “it deadens hunger pangs without providing
• It is also a “dead food” hence its extremely long shelf life and use
as a preservative
• For ancient humans honey and sugar in fruit was an occasional
pleasure – today it is a food drug that is consumed beyond the
point of the human body to handle it: over-consumption causes
metabolic syndrome, diabetes, heart disease etc.
- Average consumption in North America is 70 lbs per person – now we
have high fructose corn syrup added to many foods, which is also a
major health concern.
- -The Beef complex – even greater environmental damage than sugar
- Beef production and protein conversion - 80% of grain produced goes
to livestock production, which also requires massive land use and
water use. SOSC 1040 Feb 14, 2013
- Beef consumption and health consequences – heart disease, cancer,
osteoporosis, over consumption of hormones and antibiotics, mad cow
disease, e coli poisoning etc…
- Beef and methane gas production and global warming and massive
corn farming (now cows pollut