Ethics are an interesting human phenomenon. Ethics are a learnt thing, they’re personal, often very personal. Years ago I didn’t really have a large suite of ethics, instead I happily went about my business rather content in ignorance. As I aged, I started to see things in my life that compelled me to ask questions. What is this life all about? Why do I behave this way? Why have do I continue this habit? From these questions (and many more) developed an initial set of ethics, which continues to develop as I age (I dare not suggest ‘mature’).
Across the board in society, food ethics continually evolve. Years ago you’d never hear talk of local, free range, beyond organic or even vegan. I met a few vegetarians way back in the early 90’s but even then, a strict vegetarian was a rarity. These days though, many of us have an established view about the food we consume. Often you can see these views and ethics being passionately communicated via online platforms. One side tells the other side that they shouldn’t be eating meat, another team says meat is ok, but it has to be done ethically, another side won’t even consume any animal products, and then there’s people that just want an ‘In and Out Burger’. Another team even goes out of their way to support monoculture, pesticide and fertiliser based agriculture, stating that it’s the only way to feed the growing population of the world. And although many people would dispute that claim, it’s still the individuals right to hold such a belief. In some scenarios, ethics conflict with the ethics in a fiery storm of contradiction. Recently after posting an image of a hunted wild animal we shot to feed us, someone wrote to me, “wtf, I wish some lion will hunt you and eat you like this. How can you kill those innocent animals”. Deeply imbedded in ethics, lies many a paradox.
Much of the population remain distant of the realities of how the very food that fuels them is produced, be that plant matter and animal product. There is much wasted energy in arguments based on ignorant foundations, which, lets face it has been part and parcel of human civilisation. Wars have been fought over squabbles, racial or economically based motivations. The end result often achieves little, but ultimately costs the lives of many. Surely we have the ability to sort these conflicts out in a more humane manner, maybe I’m wrong and innately humans are prone to conflict, based on a differing set of beliefs. Anyway, I’m off track somewhat.
The point I’m trying to make is that now more than ever we are seeing a conflict of ‘my ethics are better than your ethics’. We spend time arguing with each other, convinced that how we live, the diet and lifestyle choices we make, are far superior than someone elses, and often this is all played out online. I can guarantee, even from this post, that someone will, on some platform still express their views, stating that someone else has it all wrong.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, away from the comments bubble on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and blogs, the majority of the western population is getting fatter, sicker and suffering from a plethora of chronic diseases as a result of diet and lifestyle choices. Thats a reality that none of us can deny, no mater what your persuasion of food ethics is. A reality that cannot be altered by opinion, is that as long as the humans continue to eat the poor food, the humans with continue to have the poor health. It is a simple case of cause an effect, regardless of the grey area reasons as to why it’s happening i.e. social issues, education blah blah blah.
Even more alarming than that is the reality that only a teensy wincy tiny percentage of the population have any understanding at all of what the food they are consuming, is actually doing to them, or secondary, have a care as to how the environment, including soil biota, livestock, atmosphere or the hydro systems are being treated.
One might suggest there is more ignorance than understanding or awareness in regards to our food production and nutrition issues. But it’s not like people aren’t making an effort to communicate about food problems. There is an entire genre of food documentary movies dedicated to these issues. Of which most are super depressing and leave you feeling an extreme sense of hopelessness post viewing, hence my current ban on food movies, thanks to a recent viewing of ’Just Eat it’.
Recently I’ve had a bought of depression and a feeling of utter hopelessness in regards to food woes. And it’s completely my doing. Allow me to explain. I started this site years ago, when I was chronically obese, I was medicated for hypertension, anxiety and depression and had the odd food reaction to the preservative sulphite. I had no idea where my journey was to take me, I just knew I wanted to change. I didn’t know I’d become a hunter, I didn’t know that I’d one day like fermented cabbage and cauliflower, or that I’d be excited about pickled beetroot on my home raised eggs for breakfast. I am happy that I’ve stopped eating frozen chicken nuggets and chips for my weeknight meals and I am glad that I decided to avoid food containing preservatives, agricultural chemicals and so on. Over time I changed from being a McDonalds, Subway, KFC loving consumer to a home grown DIY food producer, all because over the course of time, I developed a set of ethics driven initially by a will to make change, as a result of health issues and a feeling of guilt about what I was feeding my children. Over the years I’ve poured my heart and soul into communicating this story, even the ugly bits. I’ll admit that sometimes I live so deeply entrenched in the process of making change that I get horribly depressed with the knowledge that this change (which would benefit other peoples lives, as it has mine) is not being embraced by the wider community.
So these are my ethics, they don’t suite everyone. Sure there might be a few people out there that have similar beliefs, but really it’s not everyones cup of tea. As much as I’d love to see change in the western world in regards to the food we consume, the reality is rather bleak. Change will never be made on a large scale. That’s just the way it is. Lets take television for example, it’s still the most popular form of communication out there, even if much if it is rebroadcasted on the internet. You’d be hard pressed to find a hugely popular program that tells the real truth about food production issues and nutrition realities. Instead most of us are distracted by, and I quote my girlfriend here “tits and fast cars”. A Kardashian story will get more interest than an expose on 417 Working visa abuse, and for obvious reasons, her arse is far more entertaining than hearing about some poorly treated Thai students, being over worked and under paid so that production costs remain economically viable to produce cheap supermarket lettuce. Who wants to hear that reality?
So where to from here? Again my partner shares pearls of wisdom with me. “Live the life you want to live, for you and your family, and just focus on that”. I need to stop being frustrated that I can’t reach a wider ‘audience’. I need to stop focusing on trying to communicate how my life story could be beneficial to others. That’s surely a form of arrogance, even if the intentions are driven by the desire to help others and the environment.
For years I’ve gone to great lengths to communicate that what I do, isn’t going to solve the worlds problems, or it’s something everyone should embrace whether they live town or country. It’s what works for me and my family, based on our established ethics.
So with this in mind, I’m taking a hiatus from this site. I have tried for years to be honest in my message, to show the reality that isn’t shown at the supermarket, the fast food outlet or even the fancy restaurant. I’ve reached my goal. I’ve found the lifestyle and the diet that I didn’t initially know I wanted, but I’m living it now and it’s done wonders for me, and I should be content with that.
I thank you all for your support over the years, the conversations, even the arguments (although the ignorant haters can still go fuck themselves for being outright rude). This site, the ‘journey’, the conversation, it’s all helped shape me in some way. I’m still going to write for outlets like the Guardian and a few others that are popping up, but next year all my energy will be focused on setting up the Nursery Project. A place that will provide access for skills learning, for those people that already have the drive to want to make change, not a place for me to try to change people.
Peace. Out. Good bye.