Socially constructed beauty norms: fruits&veggies are victims too!

I remember. The times when I lured in front of the fruits & veggies section at the supermarket, carefully analyzing the produce to make sure I picked the shiniest apple and the most spherical orange. I was disgusted by the weird looking ones, the tomatoes with curves that reminded me of tumours or the carrots with two heads. They seemed to have a chemical deformation but really, it was the complete opposite. In 8th grade, I was about to take a bite of a beautiful apple when my friend made a comment: “Omg, you’re apple is just perfect!”. I suddenly stopped my motion, put down the apple on my desk, looked up and said: “that’s because of all the pesticides they sprayed on it!”.

Why haven’t I thought of this before? How was it possible that after being exposed to all of nature’s deeds, could this apple still be impeccable? No bumps, no holes, no scratches, no bruises… it just didn’t make sense. Nature is far from perfect, but our society decided that even food needed beauty norms. So we had to find ways, environmentally hurtful ways, of meeting them. With big franchises like Loblaws and Walmart stepping over small farms and increasing the distance between the buyers and the producers, people are feeling more disconnected than ever with their food. It used to be that most families had their own farm and garden. From planting the first seed to harvesting the final product, they were implicated at every level of the food production. That means that no matter the shape and size of the apple, each and every one was cherished because they were literally the fruits of the farmer’s labor. Now, in an age of “innovation”, we often only need to lift a finger to make food appear in our kitchen. Don’t have time to drive to the supermarket? You can order your grocery online and have it delivered right at your front door!

Because most of us don’t worry about how and where the produce is being grown, looks and taste are now the two main factors influencing the buyer’s decision. If it doesn’t look good, fruits and veggies are basically considered garbage. “Don’t judge a book by its cover”. It’s a cheesy saying but one of my personal favorites. Consumers all around the world are asking the wrong questions: does it has bruises? Is it big enough? Does it look normal? … How is this kind of information helping families put better food on their tables!? We need to look past beyond the cover, open the book and read the story! Who grew it? Where? At what environmental and social cost? What kind of chemicals could be inside its flesh?

Consumers throw out a lot of unappealing products but it’s the producers and grocery store that waste the most. “More than 20 percent of the produce grown for human consumption is rejected by grocery stores and goes uneaten because of its appearance”. The environmental impacts of food waste is huge: the decomposition of organic waste produces methane (prevents the heat from escaping into space = global warming!) and large amounts of water, fertilizers, pesticides and energy was used to grow this food. However, another aspect of food waste is even more ethically wrong: how can we partake in this kind of activity when we know that millions of people are starving every day?

Thankfully, people around the world are working hard to stop food waste:

Advertisements

Vancouver: the role model for every city in Canada

Vancouver recently became the latest city to commit to running on 100% renewable energy. Some say the goal is unrealistic, but it’s the other way around and we have to face it: our way of life is unsustainable. ”The transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy is inevitable. It will happen whether we take action or not. Fossil fuels are—by definition–finite. They are a one-time gift to humanity” (Global 100% RE Alliance). The only way that change will truly happen is if our cities show leadership by taking such drastic measures. Read the article here: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/apr/10/vancouver-commits-to-run-on-100-renewable-energy

Tiny home, Huge impact

A strange illness has taken over the human race and I might have been a victim of it at some point but I will now fight the urge: mass consumption. Did you ever go to Costco? The first time I visited the King of mass consumption, I almost started to cry. I could imagine the scene of an apocalypse movie, with the elephant size boxes falling on the consumers, too indulged in the pleasure of cheap-bulk-probably-made-by-kids-in-third-world-country products to even notice the chaos.

korea-costco

The only thing missing, I thought, was a slaughter house in the back, because ”where did all this meat come from”?

stock-photo-slaughterhouse-cows-hanging-on-hooks-in-the-cold-half-of-cows-70279201

Or has it ever happened to you, the moment you look at your banana and you don’t understand how the hell it ended up on your plate? Like not how your mom went and picked it up at Loblaws, but how it appeared in Canada. My 5 year old self didn’t remember ever seeing a banana tree growing near my house…

banana

Or when you realised that when you through stuff in the garbage bag, and the garbage truck comes and picks it up, they actually bring it somewhere… so then it stays somewhere… but what will happen when that somewhere is covered with trash… then they will need to find another somewhere… but where? Global solid waste was counted  at 3.5 million tonnes per day in 2010 (that’s approximately 350 Eiffel towers!!!) and is predicted to rise to more than 6 million tonnes per day by 2025 (The World Bank).

weird-college-classes-1002560432-aug-25-2012-1-600x400

I don’t know for you guys, but I don’t want to end up walking on a pile of dump, so here’s my solution: tiny homes! Sun kissed at dusk, covered by a blanket of leaves at noon, spectator of the universe lights at midnight… I always dreamed of living in a tree house. Tiny homes aren’t really tree house (although it could work out…), but they’re pretty much the same: they don’t take much space, it’s super comfy, it’s sustainable, uses a minimum of resources, is affordable, is AWESOME! Plus it’s soooo cute! And it’s so small that you have all the rest of your land to grow food and enjoy the nature 🙂

Click on these to be inspired:
http://distractify.com/culture/arts/hold-me-close-now-tiny-houses/
http://tinyhousebuild.com/
http://www.countryliving.com/home-design/g1887/tiny-house/