11/03/2019

many problems, one solution

it's all over the media. we all know that our planet isn't doing very well in the last decades. global warming is the most discussed problem but the quality of our environment depends also on other factors. overpopulation has to be considered as one of the most crucial issues that should be solved extremely quickly. the human population is constantly growing. we're too many and our planet doesn't have enough resources for all of us.
then there is the fact that we are using its resources in a very irrational way, wasting a lot of water, land and food.
at the same time, the average health of our species is degrading too. in europe more than half of the population is overweight, while the 23% of the women and the 20% of the men are actually obese. to make matters worse, the 23% of the children between 5 and 10 years of age is overweight and the 11% is obese. we know what comes with obesity: the incidence of type 2 diabetes, that is closely related to bad eating habits and physical inactivity, is steadily growing. the incidence of cardiovascular diseases, especially among young adults, is growing at the same rate and the increase in cases of cancer in the last decades has been even more relevant: statistically nowadays one person out of three will receive a diagnosis of cancer during his life. an even more significant fact is that in 2016 the life expectancy of the european citizens decreased for the first time since world war II.
apparently, the bad status of both the environment and the average health of the population may seem unrelated, but all animals live in constant balance with their environment, humans make no exception so we can't expect anything good if this balance is lost. an exaggerate number of individuals of the same species constantly depleting the planet of its resources is the perfect recipe for a disaster.
the main problem is that economy worldwide is based on an irrational way to use the resources. our species uses land, water and food to breed animals that, on their turn, will become food for humans. in doing so, a lot of resources are wasted. just consider that to produce a single kilogram of meat the animal that would be slaughtered has to eat 15 kilograms of cereals, food that could be used for human nutrition. this means that for every kilogram of food produced, 14 kilograms have been wasted. producing this insanely large amount of food that is going to be wasted requires a lot in terms of soil, water, storage and transportation. there's a lot of data online on this subject and there's no need to repeat it all again on this blog. just do your researches checking also the UNEP and the FAO documents on this issue (and sorry for the self-promotion, but there's a lot on this same subject in my book too).
when two apparently different problems depend on the same factors, there are good chances that both can be solved with the same solution. and this is the case too. as individuals we can't do very much for overpopulation, but there is something crucial that we can do on a daily basis, as it depends on our personal choices. we can change our lifestyle, making it more sustainable and respectful of our planet and all its inhabitants. the first thing to do is obviously adopting a plant-based diet, avoiding all animal products. a simple choice like this one will improve extremely quickly our health (again, there's a lot of info online on this subject, do your research) and at the same time we won't contribute to the constant waste of resources that is destroying our planet. plus, in doing so we will not cause the exploitation and slaughtering of millions of innocent animals.
the second thing to do is to become more physically active. this means walking more, using bicycles, mopeds, skateboards and all kind of human-powered vehicles. obviously this will have a positive effect on our health but also on the environment, as we will avoid using fossil fuels or other forms of energy (electricity included), saving it for something else.
back on the topic of nutrition, let me add one more thing. basing the big part of our diet on fresh, local and seasonal fruits is the best choice if we really want to protect our health and the environment. we'll get a lot of vitamin and antioxidants and at the same time it will create a virtuous circle in the economy of our area, as a larger demand of fresh fruits will cause an increased need of soil for growing trees, and obviously a larger number of trees will improve the quality of the atmosphere. but it's also a matter of being self-aware and honest to ourselves: i am going to eat what my body is able to eat without technology (not even a fire or a knife), so fruits are the best option.
following the same line of thinking, i am going to go where my energy levels allow me to go and i am going to do what my body is capable of doing without external aids. if i want to do something or to reach some places but the limits of my body and my energy levels don't allow me to do it, it means that i have to work my ass till i get to the point when i am able to do what i want. obviously this applies to our leisure activities, organizing our working schedule and our whole life according to these principles may be hard if not impossible for many people.
still, if we live as much as possible accordingly to our natural limits we improve our fitness level, we stay in balance with our environment without damaging it and by consequence we don't hurt, kill or exploit other living creatures. i know, it seems too simple (and too good) to be true, but that's just the power that we have as consumers. let's use it.