NOW! JAKARTA | Sustainable Food Systems for Better Living

Sustainable Food Systems for Better Living

|

Capitalism now appears to be at its peak in the natural evolution of the global economy. The question it raises, however, is “is capitalism sustainable”? This question ultimately must be addressed by everyone. Is capitalism to blame for the ecological crisis? And to what degree can we be motivated toward a more sustainable food system?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the rapid expansion of industrial and agricultural industrialisation has demolished up to 75 per cent of the world’s agrobiodiversity. NOW!JAKARTA 

Bound by nature, agriculture is a fundamental concern of all of human life. And, to ensure that the world is sustainable, food systems must be equally in line with a common vision on social, economic and environmental sectors to ensure sustainability.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the rapid expansion of industrial and agricultural industrialisation has demolished up to 75 per cent of the world’s agrobiodiversity, consumed up to 80 per cent of the planer’s freshwater and produced up to 20 per cent of the world’s greenhouse gases.

The rapid development of the global economy in relation to agriculture reduces waste and pollution or recycles resources only when it is profitable to do so. That said, it is only beneficial when it makes a profit for individual self-interest. In other words, throughout human history, capitalists have only played a role to only use the energy to support current demand and consumption but not to renew the energy for long term functions for future generations.

Sustainable agricultural systems profoundly reject the pillars of industrial agriculture. It fundamentally does not commodify food compared to conventional farming systems.
How the world could change food industry into more sustainable?

Scientific data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reveals that the use of chemical inputs and monocropping techniques are more vulnerable to the ecological crisis which is usually associated with climate change.

The loss of useful energy seems inevitable then sustainability is impossible. Nevertheless, what we do is to make a different paradigm, especially the paradigm of living systems.

Industrialised farming as manufactured by the capitalist process has significantly commodified farmland and crops, the practice of agribusiness production that is now specialised and their distribution spread out globally. To put it in context, the commodification of agriculture has depended on mass production, impacting food producers and forcing them to employ energy-intensive growing methods and abandoning the acute ecological impacts of industrial growing practices.

Scientific data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) reveals that the use of chemical inputs and monocropping techniques are more vulnerable to the ecological crisis which is usually associated with climate change.

For these reasons, intensive energy inputs are required in the production of the monoculture because the agricultural technology seeks to remove the biological restrains to sustainable farming as well as to expand corporate benefits. From both an ecological and economic point of view, industrial agriculture is not sustainable at all due to short-term productivity and short-run effects.

With regard to sustainable agriculture, it does not consider multidisciplinary studies such as biological sustainability, economic viability and social welfare all of which will contribute to defining sustainable farming systems in a holistic valuation of food systems.

In a more accurate way, sustainable agricultural systems profoundly reject the pillars of industrial agriculture. It fundamentally does not commodify food compared to conventional farming systems. Scientists and environmentalists agree that in sustainable agriculture, the use of chemical inputs is less, thus causing less soil erosion, conserving water, fostering biodiversity and improving soil organic matter.

Beside agriculture industry, lifestock chicken are among the biggest food industry, driven by factories across the globe.
Lifestock industry also has faced number of issues fro m animal slaughtering to production of methane.

In conclusion capitalism encourages no economic goals to sustain life on earth. However, humans have the knowledge and innate capability and natural tendency to do so. For the past few decades not only have people taken the earth for granted, but also in large numbers have abandoned its natural elements as living, caring beings for the sake of their personal interests.

One thing we can do to restore sustainability is through a different paradigm of living systems; living things by nature are self-made, self-rebuilding, regenerative and reproductive while living plants have the natural capacity to capture, organise, and store solar energy to support other living entities.

Clearly an individual life is unsustainable because every living thing eventually dies. However, through societies of the living individuals we all have the capacity to reproduce our species. As with humans, for example, we are capable of raising families even with a very little amount of economic incentives to do so, while devoting a significant part of our life’s energy to conceiving and nurturing the future generations. The point is that the principle applies to all living systems - ecosystems, families, communities, economies and cultures.

The pursuit of happiness in relation to agriculture, ecological ethics, global economy and ecology is sustainability from within. The relationship among humans, and between humans and nature should be consciously mutually profitable. And we, as humans, must raise social awareness and valuable decisions to maintain positive relations with other people and make sustainable environment and the effectiveness of the natural resources—not just for consumption but also to restock for the benefit of future generations.

 

 

_______
This article is originally from paper. Read NOW!Jakarta Magazine October 2018 issue“A Jakarta Smorgasbord”. Available at selected bookstore or SUBSCRIBE here.


Asyariefah R.A.

Leave a comment

Comments (0)