I guess I wouldn’t actually consider myself a hippie. I actually hate hippies. Bunch of complaining do-nothings if you ask me. As I get older, though, I find myself becoming more and more interested in things like sustainable building, farming and living. For most, they do this because they want to better the world and conserve resources. NOT ME THOUGH. Why I do it is for way more selfish reasons and I think people should join me in my views. I want to live sustainably not because I want to save the world, I want to live sustainably because I am cheap and I want to stick it to the man!
Let’s start with food. As Americans, we have a growing dependence on foreign countries providing us with food. Why in the world would we let this happen? America has some of the best arable land in the world. Truly, we were blessed that the American Indians were so technologically weak so that we could take this great land. So we sit on this great property and what do we do with it? We totally and utterly waste it. How? By devoting tons of the land to corn. Not corn that we eat, but corn that we use for things like feed for cattle, high fructose corn syrup, ethanol and a whole host of other things. We use corn for everything and we basically force farmers to grow it and soy beans solely. Corn is truly an amazing plant and can be utilized for a number of things, but we have gone corn crazy. Let’s just look at the few things I have listed here.
Farmers switched over to feeding cattle corn a long time ago. Corn has a lot of protein in it and is high in calories. So feeding a lot of corn to cows makes them grow faster, which brings down the cost of beef. Sounds great right? The only problem is that a cow’s stomach is not designed for corn. Cows are ruminant animals, which means that their stomachs are specially designed for eating grasses. As humans, eating grass would not give us any nutrition because our bodies cannot break down grass. Cow’s multiple stomachs can though and do it well. So to make a cow able to digest corn, it needs to be trained to do so, then it must be pumped full of antibiotics and other crazy chemicals that affect us when we eat beef. This also has caused a surge in e. coli poisoning since eating corn changes the pH of a cow’s stomach, enabling e.coli to live in it. Stockyards quell the e.coli by irradiating the cows. GREAT! I LOVE RADIATION IN MY FOOD! Studies have shown actually that by feeding a cow hay, several weeks before butchering it, will cut e.coli by as much as 80%. Stockyards prefer irradiation though because its easier.
Next up is high fructose corn syrup or HFCS. This additive is what gives our processed food its super sweet flavor. It is way more sweet than sugar and cheaper as well, making it perfect for companies that want to cut down their overhead costs. Only problem is, ITS IN EVERYTHING and it is helping in making every generation fatter than the one prior. Nutrition is not an exact science. One day you’ll hear doctors saying something is bad for you, and the next day its not. One thing I think will become more supported with time is that, the more processed a food is, the less likely it will be good for you.
Finally lets look at my last example, ethanol. Everyone in the media has been kissing ethanol’s ass as what will save us from our addiction to gasoline. We can grow corn and then process it to make ethanol fuel for our cars. The only problem is that there are a ton of problems with that. Lets start with the cheapskate problem. Ethanol is not as good a fuel as gasoline because it does not get the same gas economy. You can’t drive as far on a gallon of ethanol as you can gasoline. In fact, driving with high quantities of ethanol will void the warranty on your car. People will say that burning ethanol is carbon neutral. That isn’t true either. It takes huge amounts of fuel for the tractors to cultivate all the corn. It takes even more energy to process the corn into ethanol. The ethanol itself may be carbon neutral, but the process to get it is not. Also, growing corn for the purpose of ethanol actually raises the price of corn to the consumer. Ethanol is not the answer to our gas problems (snicker).
So why all this complaining about corn? Well, drive through a state like Illinois. You are going to see primarily only soy beans and corn. They rotate soybeans and corn from year to year to help the soil stay arable. If all our fields are going towards growing corn, it does not leave much else to be grown. So we have to go elsewhere to get our food. I don’t know about you, but eating vegetables grown in China seems wasteful and dangerous. It used to be that you would get your food grown locally. Now it comes from thousands of miles away. This may not seem like an issue but think about all the fuel that is used to get that food to your home. Do you honestly believe that food prices are going to stay the same when gasoline prices rise higher than they are now? This brings me to my next point. I fucking hate our oil addiction. LOOK FOR PART 2 OF MY LONG RANT THAT YOU PROBABLY DON’T CARE ABOUT!