It always amazes and befuddles me that all people don't see the connection between their health and the environment. I guess it's easier for me than for many others because I was raised that way and saw it clear as day. I was raised organically, closely connected to nature, so I felt firsthand a POSITIVE impact. Over the years, I started to realize that how I saw the world was different than the way others saw it. Whether it was people in authority or even friends, they all seemed to think I was the weird one (don't worry, I'm used to it).
What's so awesome to me is that now, many of those people in authority are starting to "prove" that what's good for your health is good for the planet. From a spiritual perspective, many people, including the Native Americans and me, talk about how everything is connected. But from a more scientific/medical/authoritative approach, I like to think about it as permeability. To me, permeability means that what often looks solid is actually not solid, and many things flow between things even though we can't see them. We are in a constant cycle of exchange between nature and our bodies--the air we breathe in and out, the food we eat and expel, the products we put on our skin and surround ourselves with and then dispose of, the medicines we take, which then permeate our bodies and leave our bodies, as well. We now know that there is an impact on everything, between everything. It's science, physics (especially!), and medicine. It's also philosophy.
But even for me, sometimes, connecting the dots can be hard because I'm not a doctor, physicist, or scientist. So when I uncover something, I'm always shocked, again, that more people have't see it. An example that I mentioned in Organic Manifesto was that while doing research for my book I kept coming across tons of research that showed that many synthetic agricultural chemicals are "endocrine disruptors." I know that sounds Really Bad. But even I wasn't sure what that meant and what would happen if endocrines got disrupted inside the body. When you look it up online, you'll find a list of a lot of terrible things. HOWEVER, it wasn't until I was in a doctor's office when my little daughter got a Really Bad burn, and I was filling out the paperwork, that I saw something that shocked me. The form asked if she had any "endocrine diseases" and listed diabetes as the leading endocrine disease.
So, wait...how could it be that no one had mentioned or figured out this connection before? On further research of the research, I found that yes, there is evidence that people exposed directly to agricultural farm chemicals are MUCH more likely to develop diabetes (there are many footnotes on this in my book). What if the diabetes epidemic that started in America and is now spreading around the world along with our horrible eating habits isn't just about what we put into our mouths, but also about how what we put into our mouths is GROWN?
This exact idea is what got my grandfather started in the organic movement in 1940, and what he was still fiddling around with on that same farm where I grew up during the 1960s.
The good news is that more and more people are starting to see these connections and study them. The bad news is: By the time there is enough evidence that we all will listen to, it might be too late. Why?
Think about it for a minute. What's one of the most visible examples of permeability on our planet? Water. Water soaks through everything. Water travels. It goes through our bodies and through the earth and through rivers and streams and oceans, and circulates over and over again. By the time we convince government to stop, regulate, or even label, for land's sake, the horrible and COMPLETELY UNNECESSARY toxins that go into growing our food, our water will be contaminated beyond repair. We are already ingesting too much atrazine, arsenic, 2-4 D, Roundup, and whatever else farmers are convinced they need to grow enough food to "feed the world" cheap food.
The problems are so freaking complicated. Fortunately, the solutions are really, really simple. Buy organic food. Grow organic food. Demand Organic food. Support the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) certified-organic label. Stop arguing, fussing, deliberating, and getting caught up in the "organic is too expensive" argument that chemical companies have engineered to prevent change. Just do it! What is the price of food worth compared to the price of a child's health? The price of your own health? The cost of the medical system to digest all the diabetes and chronic diseases that afflict us because we keep dithering?
I don't know what it will take to get people to see just how permeable everything is. Do you? All I know is that the sooner we all see the permeability of our universe and our place in it, the quicker we will solve all the problems we've brought on ourselves...and the sooner we can start having more fun and fewer worries!
For more from Maria Rodale, go to www.mariasfarmcountrykitchen.com