A Holiday Message

The Dolphin's Brain By The Dolphin's Brain, 24th Dec 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/3djb8a66/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Columns & Opinions

What should we really be doing this season. Eat, drink, be merry? Or should we take a more sober look at the world and what we can do to change it?

The Elusive True Meaning of Christmas

As the year nears its end, and even the majority of workaholics take the odd day off to spend with their families, the world and his wife/her husband (or indeed, civil partner/her wife/his husband in the more enlightened corners of the world) become reflective about the twelve months just passed and the twelve we are about to embark upon.

Cue the lists of best films, top-selling music albums and all the rest of the fluff that accompanies the season with the clichéd ‘monotonous regularity’. Cue also the resolutions destined to be returned to the scrap-heap on January 2nd, carefully within reach for the next and subsequent occasions we are tempted to set ourselves laudable, but mostly unachievable, personal goals.

In the Christian world, where the traditional pagan festival has been appropriated for religious, cultural and commercial gain, the Christmas message is one of peace and goodwill to everyone. Sadly, no religion can claim to be peaceful, and this bogus attempt to promote harmony is hypocritical, to say the least. Oh, I’m sure there are some people who believe the ‘hype’, but Christmas is about making a profit, not about making peace; making money remains the true message of this festive season.

** Image is in the public domain in the US and Europe

Some Real Facts

Here are some facts for you to digest as you go through this period yet one more time.

As you tuck in to the variety of tempting goodies on offer, from turkey through to liqueur chocolates, taking in the odd mince pie en route, sit back and think that there are 178 million malnourished children across the world (according to the WHO as reported on the web site of Médécins Sans Frontières) and that nine children die from malnutrition every minute. That total of 178 million is approximately 2.5% of the world population, adults included. It is greater than the population of any but the six largest countries in the world and nearly three times the population of the UK. It is estimated that there are 2 billion children in the world, which means that about 8% of the world’s children are malnourished.

The rate of nine per minute equates to nearly 13, 000 child deaths per day, or 4.7 million per year. That is near enough the same as the entire population of Birmingham, Leeds, Glasgow, Sheffield, Bradford, Edinburgh, Liverpool and Manchester combined*.

And yet, about 150 billion animals, principally fish and chickens, are killed for food every year, which is 1.5 whole animals per week per family of four for the whole world population. It's 3 billion animals PER WEEK!

In addition, in the UK alone we throw away about 15 million tonnes of food every year. If you do not want to do the arithmetic, I’ll do it for you – we, just as Brits, waste the equivalent of 84 kilos of food per year for each of the 178 million malnourished children mentioned above.

* The cities, not the associated conurbations.

There Is A Connection

Yes, yes, I know – we’ve all heard this before. Indeed, my parents used to use the ‘starving children in Africa’ line to try to make me eat my dinner – hell, I probably used it myself on occasions. But facts are no less true merely by reason of frequent repetition.

What is more disturbing is that all of these issues are related. Children in some parts of the world die of malnutrition not because there isn’t enough food per se but because the wrong food is produced in the wrong amounts and distributed unequally to the wrong places. It is the bankers and the food conglomerates that dictate what food is grown, which animals are farmed, where these activities are practised and to whom the food is distributed. We have a system in which developing countries grow luxury foods to sell to the developed world for money which is used to pay off the debts accrued to those same developed countries – mainly in relation to interest on loans. This is not news – this is why the Drop The Debt and Make Poverty History campaigns exist. Developed countries and the worldwide institutions they control use debt as a means of promoting liberal economics and ‘privatisation’ as the ideal economic model.

The developed world has an interest in the promotion of a protein-laden, animal-based farming method which is responsible for the over-use of water per kilo of protein produced, the devastation of essential rainforests and the obesity epidemic sweeping through the moneyed nations. It is said, also, that the world’s meat production is the greatest contributor of greenhouse gases fuelling the global warming crisis.

But I Can't Make A Difference, Can I?

Yes, there is something you can do – you can try to do better next year, like I will. You can decide not to set yourself unrealistic goals but ones you can achieve or work towards.

Buy fresh food, and buy only what you need. Aim to throw less food away by planning better and using what you buy.

Use local and ethical shops and avoid supermarkets unless you have no alternative. It will not cost you more than you currently spend if you combine this with the first goal above.

Whatever you do not use – compost and use this as encouragement to grow your own veg!

If you eat meat, eat less, eat organic and free range. If you do all three you’ll spend less overall, be better off health wise and money wise. You will contribute to reducing global warming. If you can, go veggie for as many days of each week as you can.

Avoid all junk food, fast food, processed food and fizzy drinks – all of these are very bad for you and the planet and they are mostly made by representatives of ‘the dark side’!

Ideally, go vegan and really help save the planet and ALL of its inhabitants. You’ll be healthier too!

Stress less, argue less, put your children first and try not to be an ass. Yes, I know, for those of you reading this who know me, that last one may be a touch ironic, but still ….

Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve as much as you’d like – some progress is better than none. Be happy and positive about yourself and that you are trying to be better. It really does work!

Try to have more sex – but don’t obsess about it because if you do all of these other things it will happen naturally. Honest ….


All text and images © The Dolphin’s Brain 2013 except where indicated otherwise

Tags

Christmas, Drop The Debt, Health, Healthy Living, Make Poverty History, Malnutrition, Positivity, Poverty, Sex, Vegan, Vegetarian

Meet the author

author avatar The Dolphin's Brain
I am a mixed bag of lawyer, vegan, environmentalist and sports nut and my writing is likely to be passionate, of-the-moment articles on a wide variety of topics. I also write the occasional poem!

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Comments

author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
25th Dec 2013 (#)

Nice post and by the way my friend have yourself a very Merry Christmas for you and your family!

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
25th Dec 2013 (#)

Well argued and thought provoking. I remember the phrase - waste not, want not. We need to become aware of the sufferings of the less fortunate to remain human. I hope these times make us more aware of them - siva

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