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Monday, January 31, 2011

Overweight and Planetary Overload - two sides of one coin

When we talk about the unsustainable nature of the current global economy, the over-consumption and the waste, the 7 billion people and rising, I think many people have been struck by a simple comparison.

People are constantly destroying their own health, in defiance of well known health warnings and doctor's advice, by over-eating, eating the wrong things and so on. Many of us wolf down burgers, and some smoke and many drink and so on too.

What we are doing to the planet as collective humanity is little different to what we do to ourselves. Nor are problems of recognising the evidence much different.

Like eco-systems, our bodies can be amazing resilient to abuse for a long time until the final straw is loaded. Then multi-systemic breakdown switches in and nothing can stave off ultimate collapse.

This thought bubble is going somewhere.

An eminent former Australian Health Minister Dr Neal Blewett has just finished a report on food labelling in Australia. You can see the whole report or summaries here:

Just throwing this out there, but this report is pretty sensible about health issues while largely ignoring the environment, with the exception being new technologies such as GM, irradiation and possibly ones in the pipeline like nanotechnology.

So how do we apply its thinking, risk hierarchy approach, front of label and front of counter (for fast food outlets) solutions to environmental sustainability more explicitly? Lots to mull over. Thoughts?

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