Wednesday, September 16, 2015

An Agricultural and Humanitarian View of the Word of Wisdom

It occurred to me sometime in the last year that there could be more than just the dietary view of the Word of Wisdom (WoW). It occurred that it could also indicate an issue of world-wide agriculture and the resulting effects on humanity. I have not yet sought the data proof for this idea, but I will lay the theory out in general here.

The concept occurred to me after a couple documentaries played within a week or so of each other. The first was about global disasters caused by changing weather patterns. It linked the 2009 drought in Russia caused by wind changes and then fires to the start, the final straw if you will, of the civil war in Syria, with the obvious current issue of the refugee crisis. After all of the internal troubles the Syrians had dealt with, the impossible rise in the price of bread (supply and demand where 60% of Russia's supply had perished) was simply too much. The people had had enough and war broke out.

The second (short) documentary I saw was about the economy in the area of Africa within view of Mount Kilimanjaro. (There is more than one country border in that area and Africa was the one section of geography I never quite mastered - and I simply have memory problems. I don't remember.) They showed how the economy actually was strong because the fertile lands were used for growing the coffee so many in Western culture is addicted to. (They also showed the local artistic style which I quite liked, but that's beside the point.)

After that second documentary, I was struck with the idea that the list of 'no's in the WoW - coffee, tea, alcohol, drugs,... - are all huge economic industries that use up lots of cropland to produce them. Land and water resources that could be used instead to grow food for the starving people in so many places around the world. The scriptures tell us there are enough resources in the world to sustain humanity if we will use them wisely. They do not say we might just be wasting a lot of those resources.

Consider, then, the injunction to use meat sparingly. By now, most 'first-world' students have heard that much ozone depletion occurs due to bovine flatulence. Whether that's even an issue is beyond my current understanding. But what about other things? What about how much water is needed to keep and feed the amount of animals required for such a carnivorous Western society? What about the living conditions those animals are forced to live in? How much healthier would humanity and animal-kind be if we stopped seeking meat at every meal? There are other sources of protein, and those living in temperate climates do have access to a broader diet than those in the Arctic reaches.  

What if the land used for supporting addictions and the people who thrive off supporting them went to actually growing healthful substances? How much would starvation go down? Especially since so much of that land is in the poorer countries where the baddies can take control more easily! Then the good food would be close to those who need it. Think how that could effect general health and overall well-being? How would that effect local economies, then education, then government and the sciences and the humanities? How many geniuses die with their incredible potential contributions because none of that was available? So not only are we wasting global physical resources, we end up wasting global human resources.

Like I said, I'm not getting into the dietary effect of the pattern recommended in the WoW. I do, however, hope that considering another potential layer of purpose to it might cause you to consider the world and the uses of it. Maybe you will even find some way to help better those uses.

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