Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Musings: Food Revolution

This morning's show-stopper, jaw-dropper, was a silver celestial composition against a black sky: a sideways triangle comprising Venus, Mercury and a sliver of waning Moon. Spectacular. And with the Geminid meteor shower heading toward its peak Thursday night, we're got lots of reasons to look up.

As the dogs and I walked, my eyes on the sky, I was nonetheless prepared at any moment to have a pig or two come crashing out of the brush and onto the road. I could hear them tromping around in the hau, silver oak and profusely blooming albezzia (what's up with that, this time of year?) and calling their soft “riiiiiii.”

It occurred to me recently, while digging in my garden, a shama thrush patiently standing by, waiting to mop the worms and bugs I unearthed, making the little clicks that are a part of its amazing repertoire, that the “dumb beasts” aren't really dumb. Listen. They've all got something to say. We just don't speak their language.

I was talking to one of my sisters on the phone the other night and she was telling me about something she'd read or heard, about how dolphins name their babies. Turns out dolphins, crows, primates and parrots all name their babies, as in using calls unique to that individual to get its attention.

And whales not only make up new tunes, their songs spread “all over the Pacific, from Australia to French Polynesia, thousands of miles, over a couple of years.” Chimps use sticks in the same sort of play that little girls develop with their dolls, and they also use mediators to resolve disputes.

Do you suppose one day we'll come to find out that all the animals we dismiss as stupid or emotionless, actually have a lot more going on than we think?” she asked. “Because when you look at dogs' faces, they definitely have expressions.”

Indeed. And no doubt they have a whole lot more going on than we want to acknowledge because then we'd have to treat them differently. As in better, kinder. More fairly and compassionately.

I was reading an article in The New Yorker written by a 44-year-old gay staffer who was marveling at the “startling transformation in the status of gay men and women in the United States.”

When he was born, homosexual acts were illegal in every state but Illinois. This year, we're seeing the legalization of gay marriage in some states, the election of the first openly gay Senator, the political power of a previously marginalized sector of the population.  No, it's not perfect, but we've made tremendous progress.

So do you think the rights of animals, the rights of nature, might be next?

I was heartened by a report that Australia's largest supermarket chain, Coles, will stop selling pork and eggs from animals kept in factory farms. As an immediate result, 34,000 mother pigs will no longer be kept in stalls for long periods of their lives, and 350,000 hens will be freed from cages. The other major supermarket chain in that nation is following suit.

This was accomplished through a media campaign launched by an animals' rights group that pointed out that farm animals are routinely subjected to treatment that would be outlawed as cruelty if inflicted on cats and dogs.

In short, it urged consumers to use their considerable purchasing power. And it worked. It could also work here, where a poll found:

[T]hat 94 percent of Americans agree that animals raised for food on farms deserve to be free from abuse and cruelty, and that 71 percent of Americans support undercover investigative efforts by animal welfare organizations to expose animal abuse on industrial farms.

Consider this: fear of consumer backlash kept McDonald's from using genetically engineered potatoes — a move that pretty much killed that crop's production in America.  

As farmer Jerry noted, when I discussed some of this with him, consumers have tremendous power. But people need to let farmers and food producers know what they want. Right now, it's all turned around, with the advertisers telling us what we want. 

Flip it, and we might just have a food revolution on our hands. Heck, throw in some consideration for the rights of nature, and we're talking about a consciousness revolution.

Now that's some exciting stuff.


Anonymous said...

The county of Kauai is not so smart, they have ag gold but is not willing to use their peanuts. The land that was given to the county near the airport would be ideal to break down and lease out to the public for cheap. This accomplishes many things. Cheaper food for the people, generates profits for the county, generates profits for farmers, Makes Kauai sustainable, Produces jobs, builds a community farming industry, could lead to lower food prices in the supermarkets, and should help the county gain income without trying to nickle and dime the citizens. All of this can be accomplished without PLDC. I guess if we had qualified people running this dog and pony show, then it would have already been proposed, planned, and implemented. 100K jobs and all you guys can produce us is gas theft, expensive consultants, and outrageous lawsuits. You are all Fired!!! get a real job that you fools are qualified for.

Anonymous said...

Say what?

Anonymous said...

hey anonymous on 12/11 @ 10:51pm - what you posted shows cowardice and the IQ of a peanut! and no, i'm not Felicia nor a friend of hers.

grow up and get some brains & guts!

Anonymous said...

The "ag gold" by the airpost is a tiny thin strip of land along the beach with no wind break totaly unsuitable for farming (and to be used for the bike path). But I guess you'd been to do five minutes of research before opening you mouth to know that.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever heard of green houses?? Yeah you probably are one of those unqualified welfare appointees. You don't have to research how stupid you incompetents are, it's written all over your faces.

Anonymous said...

Ok ok let's just pay one of those friends/family/ campaign contributors 100K to consult the county about this. I know what why don't we build a bike path on Kokee so many people can use that to go to work. Just submit false paper work to the federal government saying that it's a transportation route and give your phony numbers to show that Kokee is being routinely used as a mode to commute to and from work using bycicles. Itt worked before so why don't you do it again, since PLDC wants to build a resort up Kokee.

Anonymous said...

The bike path is great for exercise. I'd use it as a mode of transportation if it was finished. But building it on the beach along Wailua Bay is short sighted.

Anonymous said...

Joan, on another subject.....maybe you could check out how it is legal for Mayor B. to give county employees as a Christmas gift - 8 hours of "Administrative leave". Per TGI today (12/13 - page A5) the cost to the county will be $250,000!!!! Let's see the rules concerning "Administrative leave".

Anonymous said...

Ainokea dis how we do it on Kauai-Gas theft, missing one million dollars, and countless discrepancies. Nofea da law not goin get us, we da law round hea! Ainosked cause my uncle aunties Braddah cousin of a friend werk fo protect da u know!!! Cheehooo

Anonymous said...

You sound like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

Is that true that the potatoes we buy are not GMO?

Anyway, donʻt know what this is about. Found it on Walter Ritteʻs site and passing it along in case anyone has anything to contribute:

From Nomi Kaheaonalani Carmona (on Facebook)

about an hour ago
GMO URGENT CALL FOR HELP STAT!!!! Please send every piece of research you can get your hands on to youconduit@gmail.com I need as many resources as possible as to why we should ban or label GMO's stat stat stat especially 1) GMO harm to hum
an health 2) every single country or place that has banned GMO on any level and what evidence they used and legislation 3) medical professionals and degreed scientists and relevant professionals willing to make statements or who already have . Super urgent, can't give details yet but promise it is HUGE please please please share ASAP !!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Joan, where are you? Come home! I promise I will lay off the flipping responses…..but could you check on the mayor’s "gift" (day off) to the county employees?

jonathan jay said...

not only exciting, but perhaps the end of the (unconcious) world (as weʻve known it).

Oh for that!