As many of you know, I just completed a three year walk across America picking up trash the entire way called Pick Up America. I am writing this to tell one of many stories about our country that I was able to witness firsthand.I am also writing this to build momentum for the Stone Soup Rally happening next Monday at the FDA in College Park. (RSVP here). Here's the flyer for the rally.
For about 1,400 miles of the American heartland I saw the same thing. Everyday, I'd gaze into what seemed to be an endless field of corn or soybean. I'd see rivers choked with sediment and on particularly humid days I could even smell the pesticides hanging in the air. It was a far cry from the "down on the farm" vision I had always had for the Midwest. Aside from the small towns, the midwest seemed to be one giant corn and soybean field spanning to the north, east, south and west for more than 10 states.
Growing just one or two heavily subsidized crops throughout our hearltand is an environmental travesty in itself. It causes rapid degradation of two of life's most precious resources - our soil and our flowing water. It requires huge amounts of climate altering, fossil fuel fertilizers to produce our food. It pours herbicides and pesticides all over our countryside killing bees and the diversity of bugs that can provide resilience to evolving pathogens. It keeps diversity of life, the staple of planetary evolution, at an abysmal low. And it is only this way only because large agriculture industries seek to control our entire seed bank and food chain to maximize profits.
After these GMO corn and soybeans are processed they are mostly transferred to CAFO's -Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations - to make the meat most American's believe to be the staple of a "real meal." The other corn and soybeans are made into intensely processed foods that come into our lives as fast food, TV dinners, and high fructose corn syrup. While this may seem to be an overstatement to some, with all I've seen and heard I stand by this honestly - The primary reason for disease and illness in America is this process of producing our food. And it's all done this way because there are a vast majority of people who don't know any better and with their ignorance are supporting a fossil fuel drenched status quo that is on track to destroying a livable planet.
Just a week ago, congress and President Obama approved provisions in the budget appropriations bill that grant Monsanto immunity from any lawsuits that come as a direct result of Genetically Engineered corn making people sick. What's up with that federal government these days anyway?
And this doesn't even begin to address the environmental oppression of the pesticide and herbicide factories that are the bottom line of the big agribusinesses revenue stream. I have never seen a more blatant racist act than Monsanto's pesticide factory in East St. Louis. In a town with skyrocketing poverty, drug abuse, municipal neglect, and violent crime sits Monsanto's primary chemical production facility. When I walked by the factory I felt nocuous and light headed. When I asked people in the town about the factory they would all tell stories about an uncle who died from a chemical spill, a sister who was paid $800 to never sue Monsanto, and the class action suit of the citizens of East St. Louis against Monsanto for the ill health their facility has caused. The people of East St. Louis are oppressed and were never given a real chance in the world because they grew up breathing air laced with neurotoxins. It's all profits over people.
When the white man came to America there were more than 50 million Native Americans living in the United States. Our fallen native brothers and sisters didn't require pesticides to sustain. They didn't require fossil fuels to make food or maintain clean water. They didn't even need a job - a term only applied after the industrial revolution - to provide for their family. White people have savagely sought to settle North America for the past 500 years. We have ignored the signs from nature and from indigenous peoples that the all of the pollution in the world comes from the profit motive whose short sightedness spreads like a cancer to the mind, spirit, body, and earth. While the motive has brought incredible technological gains I ask "What have we lost by intellectually justifying profits and ignoring the compassion that exists in our hearts?"
The only way to save yourself and your family from the impending climate disaster and increasing privatization of essential goods and services by corporations is to awaken and enliven your compassion for the world and each and every one of it's inhabitants - people, animals, plants, and fungus. Our path out of Babylon begins with a revolution in your heart. We must embody compassion in our every motive. We must share with our neighbors. We must seek real, healthy relationships with our families, our communities, our food, our democracy, and our perception of the divine in self.
Please say this aloud. "I do not exist to make money, I exist to be healthy and happy. I exist to bring health to my friends, family, and nature."
There is no better time to awaken your inner voice for compassion than now. Without a serious change in our behavior, we have very little time before the floods and droughts of climate change seriously begin to disupt our resource consumption and unravel the ego of who you think you are within this morally ignorant industrial society.
On Monday April 8th, we will assemble at the Food and Drug Administration's building in my hometown of College Park, MD to demand that our federal government side with the health of the American people and not the profits of big agribusiness giants like Monsanto, Bayer, Dupont, and Dow Chemical. We will be making a Stone Soup on site to signify the lack of healthy food access in our country. We will be asking folks like you to provide testimonies and will record an submit them to the FDA. Thanks to Occupy Monsanto for putting the call out for the rally. Although, it may seem so, we are not protesting anything. We are simply building momentum for a truly sustainable food system that works for people and not profit.
Grow a garden and bring abundance into your relationships. If you've made it this far in the blog, a pleasent surprise is this recording of my song called "Adam Smith (This Man, This Land)" And my EP - The Escape The Flames EP can be downloaded here for free.