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Food security and consumerism.doc

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Social Science
SOSC 1040
Claudio Colaguori

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 mass consumption generates destruction we have become dependent on it because it is the basis of economic growth within the current global capitalist system. - Problems of beef and sugar production and consumption from environmental depletion and the human health consequences. - How our food choices are products of The Culture Industry - eating for pleasure (taste, texture and food addictions) versus eating for the nutritional requirements of a healthy body. - ‘Big Sugar’ – is tied to numerous sectors of economy and the production – distribution – sales chain. The history of sugar production is tied to colonialism, environmental destruction, slavery and forced labour, forced migration and displacement, forest and animal habitat destruction etc. - Sugar is primarily used as a sweetener, a food preservative in bread etc. - sugar as a “drug food” – “it deadens hunger pangs without providing nutrition” and produces a sensation of well being for short the term. - Sugar is also a “dead food” hence its extremely long shelf life and its use as a food preservative. - For ancient humans honey and sugar in fruit was a rare and occasional pleasure – today it is an additive that is consumed beyond the point of the human body’s ability 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 massive water consumption. - Grain fed (versus grass fed) 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 contributes to global warming and massive corn farming (now cows pollute more than cars) - Beef ranching and the annihilation of the Buffalo herds upon which Native populations depended in
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