Thursday 2 September 2010

Shiv Chopra (The Macro Picture)

I wondered if this was really 'Transition' material, worried that it might seem like too stark a reminder of the kind of future we DON'T want rather than creating or imagining one we do. However, I felt that Shiv Chopra does for food what Nicole Foss (aka Stoneleigh) did for the economy with her analysis earlier this year, and so deserves at least equal footing on the transition bill. For me, this is the kind of information that brings home to me me just how crucial Transition really is.

As well as his many years' experience in Health Canada (the equivalent of the Food and Drug Administration in the USA) and the Canadian government Shiv Chopra also worked in England and has been a life-long global champion of food safety. He offers a telling indictment of a global food system in which governments' unwritten mandate has become the serving of the interests of multinational agrochemical and pharmaceutical corporations, and in direct opposition to their expressed mandates, which in any democracy of course is the protection of their people and human rights above all.

Further to that, he is eloquently able to illustrate how the actions of the multinationals have resulted in the production of highly toxic food systems due to the use and promotion of hormones, antibiotics, vaccines, GMOs, pesticides and slaughterhouse waste, not to mention the corrupt practises that bend and bypass legislation installed to protect health and the environment.

Anyway, if you do decide to have a look at this series of videos (almost 90 minutes) there is a wonderful light at the end of the tunnel and Chopra's ultimate message is about the return of growing food as a basic pillar of education (mentioning farm schools in Detroit as an example of this kind of transition taking place) and food growing as an essential way of life.

"Once food is taken out of the economic equation, no multinational can exist for more than a year... If people grow their own food there'll be no Monsanto, there'll be no Bayer."

Shiv Chopra, a genuinely decent man and definitely an elder worthy of our greatest respect. (p.s. Get past the annoying two and a half minute intro and Shiv becomes increasingly more engaging as the truth unfolds.)

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