Systems of Balance

      No Comments on Systems of Balance

The ancient wisdom presented by Anupam Mishra his TED Talk showcased a number of things. Not least of those is the contrast in thinking between the time tested solutions that still work, that were designed and built on the foundation of community, and the money grubbing greed that compels Ivy league institutions and other universities to “invest” in African farmland. As the Oakland Institute’s study revealed, “many of the deals will provide few jobs and will force many thousands of people off the land”. Further, as Obang Metho of Solidarity Movement for New Ethiopia says, the massive revenues generated won’t go to the betterment of African lives but to corrupt politicians and foreign investors. That industrial agriculture has an enormous impact on climate change and thereby water scarcity, is a fact that seems to be recurrently omitted from risk assessments and externalized in cost benefit analyses in these deals. Rather than studying and mimicking the natural systems that have worked for hundreds of years to supply water for inhabitants and agriculture as Mishra suggests, farm development corporations, governments, and institutions would rather continue to recreate the same failed systems based on finance that have caused the problems in the first place.

And speaking of mimicking natural systems, Allan Savory presents a compelling case for doing just that in order to stave off increasing desertification while supplying the world with meat. Equally dramatic was James McWilliams scathing rebuke of Savory’s Ted Talk. But more significantly, these two exposed just how disparate the the arguments are and how contentious is the omnivore vs. herbivore battle. But two things stand out here. One, in the absence of a proposal by Mcwilliams for a better or more well-studied solution, teaming up with the earth system, rather than continuing the insanity of working against it seems a more logical starting point than arguing for the sake of argument. Second, even if all of the emotional and ideological claims in favor of veganism were absolute fact, to base environmental solutions on the narcissistic expectation that everyone should subscribe to one’s own philosophy is as erroneous as using deforestation to reverse climate change. Under no circumstance that I can see will everyone on the planet, let alone in your own neighborhood ever agree on a one-size-fits-all approach. The argument for or against meat is an emotionally charged clash that tends to ignore major system components and the related polarity promotes more argument and fewer solutions. True solutions might be found in the balance that appears so difficult for humans to achieve.

Leave a Reply