by syaffolee

No One Talks About the Gray

Last time, I listened to a bunch of pro-environmentalists get on their soapbox. Never let it be said that I don’t give both sides a chance, because last night, I was listening to pro-agriculture/industry people. These people were ranting about those who are into organics, especially those crazy hippies who willfully tune out the other side in favor of the all-natural. The industry people’s argument was–with technology, less resources could be used to make more product such as food–and with increased production of food, we could “feed the world.” Yes, I agree ending world hunger is a laudable goal, but you’re not fooling me into thinking you’re all that altruistic.

I am not siding with anyone. The problem is a lot more complicated than what most people perceive it to be. The heart of the matter, the truth, is probably some of each and something altogether different–a gray area. But you know how things are, fanatics from either side have very loud voices and drown out everyone in the middle. And people in the middle are stereotyped as being wishy-washy rather than sensible.

The largest quibble I have with industry is not the science or technology (in fact, I think it’s good that someone is interested in putting science into practical applications), but in how things are ultimately used, how things are marketed, how the notion that money is the bottom line drives their philosophy. Sure, companies have to make money to stay afloat, but that shouldn’t override common sense and individual ethics. As for the people who religiously shop at the co-op and throw money at anything labeled “organic”, “natural” or “environmentally-friendly” (a question I always ask myself and what everyone should ask themselves, is it real or just a label to jack up the prices?)–I wonder if they’ve even tried to look at research to arrive at their own conclusions. Or are they just the environmentalist equivalent to the fashionistas who buy only Jimmy Choos?

So, can you choose between stopping world hunger or saving the environment? In the best case scenario, we would all try to contribute to both. But in the real world, one really has to question the actual motives, biases, and tunnel vision of the agencies and individuals claiming these kinds of things.