Updated: Jan 15
Welcome to one person’s journey from enthusiast to Subject Matter Expert (SME)!
… Or maybe just an informed enthusiast. Time will tell...
This blog’s articles will document my process and results of hours scouring the Internet to learn more about my three passions: farm-to-fork sustainability of food production, the materials that make up consumer goods (especially clothing), and what everyday people can do to preserve and grow their privacy in the Information Age. I will communicate my results in plain English, and make recommendations for consumer behavior. I shall scour so you don’t have to! If you disagree with what I find, please make a forum account and post. We can then compare sources.
What binds my three passions together?
I dream of a future in which long-range planning for life, liberty paired with respect for human rights, and the pursuit of happiness for every person overrides short-term spurts of profit-making and zero-sum thinking. Zero-sum is the belief that in order for one person to gain, another has to lose. I dream that, with careful prioritization and a willingness to learn from #history, most of the time resources can be distributed so that everybody gains. Or at least the 99%.
In my dreams, Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) exist only as a cautionary tale for children who wonder why any meat they might eat is raised and slaughtered locally – but most children wonder instead why anyone would want to eat animals. In my dreams, plastics only get manufactured to answer technical needs such as single-use healthcare supplies, and gradually get replaced by new materials technology. In my dreams, spending at least a year living and working on a subsistence farm is fundamental to public education, in parallel to the Amish “Rumspringa.” And in my dreams, people truly have a say in what personal information gets shared with companies, governments, and the media. Right now, if you don’t want to share your information, your only choice is to not use certain services (and even then, service providers collect information you provide passively to other sources). Choosing not to play the only game in town is not the same as setting the rules. In my dreams, data systems get designed so that consumers can not only set up ‘house rules’, they can opt to play a different ‘game’ entirely.
But dreams are only worthwhile when carried forward into the day. This blog will explore and explode these and other vague whispers of utopia. Together, we will carve a path from today’s fantasy to tomorrow’s facts.
In my first investigation, I will respond to a challenge that I saw recently online.
From a New Zealand farmer to a vegan foods producer: “Local, sustainably-raised meat is better for the environment than importing processed soy protein from halfway around the world!” Is this true? How much energy does it really take to process and transport meat substitutes? How do we define “local”? What does it look like to sustainably raise a chicken as opposed to a cow? While I am coming into this aware that the general sentiment is that vegan diets are best for the planet, I don’t know the answers to these questions – yet. If you don’t know either, subscribe, and learn with me!