I just read that the number of children with autism has gone from 1 in 5,000 in 1975 to 1 in 68 today – THAT IS CRAZY and is prompting me to write this post. It’s maddening to read about the immeasurable damage and heartbreak that our defective system is causing; the dying of bees, species extinction, the gigantic garbage patch in the ocean, the plastic, the plastic, the plastic, seeping into our water, into our land, the fracking, the oil spills, the WAR and senseless violence, the militarization of our police force, the GMOS, the pesticides that poison us and strip the land of its nutrients, the way animals are treated in factory farms, the fluoride they put in our water. I don’t mean to be a downer guys, but I am so mournful to witness it all happening.
Michael Ellner said it well: “Just look at us. Everything is backwards, everything is upside down. Doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, psychiatrists destroy minds, scientists destroy truth, major media destroys information, religions destroy spirituality and governments destroy freedom.”
The invasion of our bodies with trojan horses of toxins and chemicals especially troubles me. And many of us ask, what we can do? We are in this system, we were born in it, we prop it up with our everyday lives.
There’s a lot we can do collectively, and small changes add up.
One of the things we can do that can have an enormous effect on this system is to simply boycott giant, unethical businesses like Nestle and Coca Cola. Its also important to educate ourselves and learn more about WHY we should boycott them and then spread the word to friends and others through the internet. We need mass awareness about this stuff really badly, REALLY BADLY PEOPLE, and with all of our modern day distractions, it can be tricky to get folks to really listen. But this awareness can grow exponentially.
Here’s a diagram of the largest companies, and of course they have endless subsidiaries to look out for. Some brands are even made to look like they are from small, friendly, independent companies. For instance, did you know that Honest Tea and Odwalla is owned by Coca-Cola and Pepsi owns Naked Juice? Seeds of Change, a line of organic seeds and herbs is actually owned by Mars, Inc., the same company behind GMO ridden Snickers and M&Ms? (Dang, I used to love peanut M&Ms).
Yesterday I went to the Indian grocery downstairs from my apartment in Vienna and found some authentic-and-delicious-looking curry paste. I rotated the jar and saw the Nestle brand on the back. A shudder passed through me. They are omnipresent. These companies own about 70% of available food. I started looking around the store at the other Indian products and so many of them were Nestle products in disguise. I was so freaked out. This is really scary because at some point, as they continue to grow, IF WE continue to support them collectively, we’re not going to have a choice in the matter anymore. It will be all there is to buy. This is already the case in many bodegas and delis in New York. When I was painting in Rockaway this spring, the deli next door carried ONLY Poland Spring, which is a Nestle product (bottling chemically treated ground water). The rest of the brands in the store also boiled down to the 10 companies you see on the spider chart, companies who all use GMOs.
The good news is that people are really waking up, thanks to social media, determined activists and word of mouth. A really amazing app was created to boycott businesses who have bad ethics or who support things you don’t believe. The app is called Buycott. You can use it to scan products at the supermarket and it will tell you what brand it belongs to and what company that comes from, and who owns that company etc. You can make your own customized boycott campaign and it will tell you if any of the products you are considering are against your causes. Check it out and use it! Tell everyone about it.
We have so much power collectively. If we can reach a tipping point in awareness and action we can start to restructure the unhealthy way our food system works before it is too late. Your money is your vote, they want it and they will change their practices if they stop getting it. Try to buy from companies that are still owned independently, download the Buycott app (it’s eye opening), plant your own food if possible, buy organic, (but check to see who owns those organic companies), buy local, join a co-op, support small businesses, go to your locally owned coffee shop instead of Starbucks and pass the example forward to the people around you.
I leave you with a shortened version of the 100th Monkey Effect (long version here) adapted from ‘Lifetide,’ by Lyall Watson.
(Photo via ericdubay.blogspot.com)
On a remote island in Japan, researchers, as part of a study, started to give monkeys sweet potatoes to eat. They’d put them in the sand and the monkeys would eat them, all covered in grit. Then one young monkey started to carry the potatoes down to the water and washed them before eating. She found that not only did it clean the potato, but also gave it a nice salty flavor. She then taught this to her mother and slowly, step by step, the new sweet potato washing culture spread throughout the monkey colony. Within six years most of the young monkeys on the island were washing their potatoes. The only adults over five years to do so had learned the practice directly from their children. Then something incredible happened. The monkeys washing their food reached a kind of tipping point, estimated at around one hundred monkeys. Then suddenly, through some kind of critical mass, almost every monkey on the island was washing their potatoes. And get this, the new culture then started to appear spontaneously on neighboring islands, having seemingly jumped from the minds of the monkeys on the island where the phenomenon first appeared.
We’re not SO different from monkeys really, and the point is, the game can change in an instant, IF we can reach a tipping point of people power, and soon.