Organic Food versus Oil Wars
Ten reasons why eating organic food helps avoid oil wars.
- Non-organic food is farmed using agrochemicals made from crude oil. For every kilogramme of artificial nitrogen for use in fertilisers, you need a litre of crude oil. By choosing organic food, you are choosing to eat food that’s grown without using petrochemicals. Which means the food you eat will have far less connection with oil-rich countries and the wars that are being fought to secure an oil supply.
- The best way as organic consumers that we can oppose the current occupation of Iraq, threat of new wars with neighbouring OPEC members, and the widespread environmental and human impact of the global oil industry is to buy locally grown organic food. Locally grown organic food is not tainted with the environmental and political impact of the fuel used to transport non-local organic food supplies. Buy organic food from box schemes and farmers markets wherever possible, or from other ethical retailers. With the current oil wars and the rising impact of climate change, it is more urgent than ever for UK retailers to stop selling us cheap organic imported food. Whilst the Tesco supermarket group currently imports about 80% of it’s organic food, more ethical supermarket chains like Waitrose only import up to 15%. The huge amount of organic food imported from distant countries is not necessary to supply demand.
- For every calorie of energy in non-organic food that is derived from the sun, between four and ten calories are added from petrochemicals. 4% of the US energy budget is used to grow non-organic food, whereas 10% to 13% is spent on distributing this food.
- Consider going vegetarian. 70% of all US grown grain is fed to cattle for meat and dairy production. As a result, meat feeds only a fifth of people that the raw grain used in its production could do. Organic meat answers many questions about the ethics of meat production, but it is a good time to review your personal preferences on this moral issue in the light of the current war for oil.
- Now is the time to give any money you can afford to charities such as Oxfam and Save the Children. All of the major charities have shunned funding from the UK and US governments in order to retain their independent NGO status when dealing with politically charged conflict-related crises. However, the need for your money has never been greater in the face of massive global humanitarian crises in countries like Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia.
- Whether you supported the military action or not, take this opportunity to discover your local Muslim food shop. One in every ten Londoners is a Muslim, each just as much a Londoner as every member of all our other diverse communities in this great, historically multi-cultural city. We are lucky in the UK to have a wealth of restaurants and independent food stores introducing Brits to delicious foods and recipes from all over the world. Likewise, the world is mixing up more and more, with people migrating all over and bringing with them insights and ideas from every culture under the sun. Experiment with Middle Eastern ingredients that you have not tried before. This small act will go a long way in extending the hand of friendship between our many communities, often supporting Muslim people that have faced racist abuse from others in recent times. And don’t stop there. Try out all the other cuisines now available in your own city, from Nepalese to Ethiopian. The world’s your oyster…
- War is massively damaging to our environment. Military airplanes, tanks, war ships and bombs wreak environmental havoc. Additionally in Iraq, Saddam used crude oil as an environmentally destructive weapon. Greenpeace explain that tanks from both sides pulverise any remaining top soil or vegetation in the desert. Unexploded mines and bombs plus abandoned military hardware make countryside and towns dangerous sites for many years after military action. The crude oil deliberately dumped by Saddam in the 1991 Gulf war is still a major environmental problem for the region. Thousands of seabirds died in the oil slicks, the sea level rose causing coral reef destruction, and important shrimp fisheries were damaged. And many hundreds of people in Kuwait and Southern Iraq face severe consequences to their health from inhaling the black smoke from burning oil fields. It is now crucial to support environmental agencies like Greenpeace to begin clearing this environmental catastrophe as soon as possible. Consider becoming a member to give your financial support.
- To alleviate our dependency on non-renewable oil resources, take advantage of public transport whenever possible, or get on your bike! If you do need to buy petrol, BP is the most ethical petrol station group (which trades under the brand name Arco in the USA), whereas Shell has an appalling record in terms of both people and the environment. Better still, avoid petrol by going electric, fuel-cell or air. Many major car manufacturers are on the brink of launching a new breed of environmentally friendly, powerful cars and vans. Visit www.ford.com, www.toyota.com and www.theaircar.com for more information about next year’s clean motoring choices.
- Re-use plastic bags, and buy food products sensitively packaged. Let your favourite organic food brands know that you want them to only use eco-friendly packaging. Be aware of how much plastic you use, as most plastic are made from petrochemicals imported from war-torn countries. Also, avoid wasting power by turning off appliances such as televisions and music systems rather than leaving them on stand-by.
- Always remember that the arguments on all sides are complicated. Pro-war supporters are not bloodthirsty warmongers. Anti-war protesters are not appeasers or supporters of horrific regimes. If you were against the war in Iraq, remain vocal about your beliefs. Write to your MP. Phone in to local radio stations. Anti-war protesters support British and US troops by campaigning to get them home safely and as soon as possible. However, the primary aim of anti-war protesters in the Gulf conflict is to ensure that it will not lead to a continual war with other nations whom we may disagree with, such as Iran, Somalia, Nigeria, North Korea, China, Venezuela or Indonesia.