To reduce poverty in our country, a common solution proposed by experts is that people need to move away from agriculture and into manufacturing & services : manufacturing because of China’s prowess and services because of India’s success in IT. A few years back, I was of the same opinion, thanks to conditioning. I am of the exact opposite opinion now, thanks to education.
We have prioritized buying and selling of consumer goods & services over Mother Earth, the atmosphere and food. No one seems to be aware of the impact of our actions and lifestyles on ecosystems around us; or people knowingly ignore it because no one around them wants to make a change. Because the change will inconvenience them a little bit. Globalization is used as just another tool that keeps us trapped in the cycle of needless massive investments and debts.
China has had massive environmental health degradation and human rights abuses, while it has been the world’s factory. Its rivers, airs, soils have been polluted heavily, as we have seen in the news in the recent past. We might not even ever come to know the true extent of damage that has been caused because of media censorship. I am not sure we want to emulate China, especially when we are aware of the limits of natural resources for a burgeoning population. But, it seems our central government is doing exactly that – diluting EIA even though it is the time to strengthen it. Manufacturing and heavy infrastructure is not the need of the hour; restoring balance of ecosystems by raising awareness amongst all segments of population is. We need to question this need for consumerism and perpetual GDP growth, not dive deeper into the mess!
I keep shifting between despair and hope for our civilization. I don’t even have hope from the current farming community any more. As Nammazhvar says : we moved from agri-culture to agri-business as soon as the green revolution hit us. Why after almost 6 decades of green revolution are the farmers the poorest citizens of the country? We imported foreign strains of rice, wheat and other staple crops from US & Mexico and called it a revolution. Green revolution only provided the notion of abundance of food; and that too at a significant ecological cost. No, the famines before independence weren’t caused because of poor agriculture practices; most of them were caused because of poor policies by our colonizers and a few because of climate shocks. Millions in our country are still heavily affected by hunger and malnutrition. The current crises with Coronavirus is only going to affect small marginal farmers even more. Shocks such as these in the past have only made the situation dire – shifting power from individuals and small business to larger corporations.
People in the media keep harping on the idea of how we have lost our culture to influences from around the world. No one talks about the loss of diversity in our meal plates even though it is the single largest cause for the loss of culture from our country. The easiest way to fight all of these is to be a part of a cultural revolution : go back to foods local to your region – grow, cook and eat them with your family! Farmers, rather than conglomerates, will slowly start capturing more value from the food supply chain if we start consuming foods which are easy to grow.
Whats the use of being patriotic or a responsible citizen of India if we can’t even do this much? We seem to be in constant validation of actions in lifestyles, so completely foreign to our culture. But, we ignore steps that we can take to go local.
Where are the masses when the urgent need of the situation is to protect local, native foods? All we see in our super markets are packaged and processed foods that are poor in nutrition and high on environmental impact.
Why doesn’t the mainstream media ever talk about any of this? Why does saving the current civilisation from collapse have to be a fringe action? Why don’t individuals want to change even when solutions are known?
No need to answer – these were rhetorical questions. As usual, just another rant; just being #VocalForLocal. Not for manufactured consumer goods. But for what we can not live without – FOOD!
P. S. This is an amazing blog on why a farm life for a significant population is a good thing for most of humanity!